Ford F-Series Super Duty to Reclaim Best-in-Class Conventional Towing Ratings

Ford F-Series Super Duty Claims Best-in-Class Conventional Towing Ratings

The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty and GM Heavy Duty pickups were introduced a year ago, but the battle between these giants for best-in-class bragging rights continues. The latest move: Ford is set to reclaim the top spot for maximum conventional towing from the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra HD twins.

On Monday, Feb. 7 — if the massive winter storm bearing down on the Midwest doesn’t disrupt production — Ford F-350 and F-450 two-wheel and four-wheel drive dual-rear-wheel Crew Cab pickups will roll off the assembly line able to pull up to 17,500 pounds with their ball hitches, according to Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari.

"We’re adding upgraded towing hardware to the trucks," Gattari said. “New hitches will work with the frame change we made [in August 2010]."

Last year, Ford made a running change to the Super Duty’s ladder frame that reengineered the number six cross member with high-strength steel. That change, plus a power hike to 400 horsepower and 800 pounds-feet of torque for the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel, increased maximum payload to a best-in-class 7,070 pounds and maximum fifth-wheel towing to a best-in-class 22,600 pounds for the Ford F-350. The Ford F-450 can tow a segment-leading 24,500 pounds with a fifth-wheel trailer.


The previous maximum conventional towing weight rating for the Super Duty was 16,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds less than the Chevy Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD with four-wheel drive and the 397 hp, 765 pounds-feet 6.6-liter Duramax V-8.

Ford’s revised 2.5-inch Class 5 hitches will still come with removable 2-inch reducer sleeves.

Unlike GM’s HD pickups, which require only a weight carrying hitch to pull conventional trailers at their max rating, the Super Duty’s maximum WC hitch capacity will be 8,000 pounds. Towing trailers with weights above that amount will require a weight-distributing hitch, according to Ford.

WC hitches place a trailer’s full tongue weight on the hitch ball, while a WD hitch’s special equalizer bars connect truck and trailer to redistribute the leverage placed by tongue weight on the ball to more of the trailer and more of the truck frame.

With Ford aggressively pushing the limits of HD capabilities, we wonder how much more of an increase the segment can handle before these heavy-duty pickups turn into over-the-road medium-duty haulers. It’s unlikely that GM (or Ram) will respond to this news passively. Could 18,000 pounds max conventional towing become the new 17,500 pounds?


The 2011 Silverado HD is a superior truck for towing than Fords powerjoke and no amount of tow ratings will change that fact. Ford fans hate getting beat by Chevy, and will point to silly things like "well we sell more trucks" than chevy yada, yada, yada.

Throw any rating you want on the Ford superduty, GM'S HD'S still beat it and that is a FACT!!! Tests prove my statement and and Diesel power tests proved it. So let it be written, so let it be done!!! take that ford fan boys.


You are right, no mention at all regarding brakes.

The bottom line is Ford made the truck better for the customer.

"We’re adding upgraded towing hardware to the trucks," Gattari said. “New hitches will work with the frame change we made [in August 2010]."

I also heard that the Engine noise in the GMs HD is way louder than the FORD.

So yeah, it screams loud as hell.

GM can make the fastest truck on earth, that doesn't mean people will buy it.

Its funny how you call it a joke...these trucks are very similar the chevy won both ways up and down hill...kudos...the one only flaw i see in this test was the transmission grearing. Chevy has its peak power at a higher speed, thus why ford got beat nad it dosent prove that ford is junk or chevy is better. What i think would be intersting is to test fords 3.31 rear end or chevys 4.10 rear end to offset the transmission gearing and make these trucks truly matched even.

Mike, when do we get the Ford 5.0 test? Im ready to get the trophy back in fords corner;)

What does any of these changes in tow capacity accomplish?
Bragging rights?
I'm not going to walk over to my GM owning neighbor and say "ha ha - Ford's diesel is rated higher than Chev's diesel".
How many guys out there are going to pull 17,000 lb trailers off of a tow ball on a reciever hitch?
@Bob - driving a '84 S10 with a 6ft. trailer with a lawn mower on it does not make you an expert on trucks.
You've never told me what you own, or drive. WHY????

Hay Lou, I don't have to tell you s..t about what I drive or anything else. I can tell your a kid with a smart mouth and if you keep it up I will report your post to the moderators about droping your pants and the sexual induido you made towards me.

GM'S heavy duty trucks are better than fords and you can't handle that fact so you have to resort to flaming. Keep it up and I will report you to the moderator. Ford had it's behind handed to it by Chevy in the shootout and the towing contest that Ford was to chicken to do because they knew they would get beat. Chevy, the car and truck more champions trust. I love it!!!

Why do people think that just because Ford is upgrading the towing hardware to pull a certain max weight, that everyone is going to go out and buy the biggest and heaviest trailer just for the fun of it? It's nice to know your truck is more than capable of what you are actually pulling, sort of like a safety barrier. People who are currently pulling 17,000 lbs on a bumper hitch are already doing it beyond the recommended capabilities of their truck. Now they can get a truck that is made to do it. Stop complaining that trucks are getting better.

@ Bob- Would you be so kind as to stop wasting everybody else's oxygen? Seriously you say Lou is acting like a kid with a smart mouth. You seem to scream the loudest and finger pointing is more your style. So let it go. GM does some things better Ford other things. And Dodge has got that beautiful cummins. Every truck has it's strong suit.

@Harry: I never said the Ford wasn't safe traveling downhill on I-70. It's wheel brakes worked perfectly. They just needed to be applied 10 times on the descent to keep speed at 60 mph or lower. I still don't follow how that translates into we don't know how to drive in the mountains.

@Nick: The 5.0L is back in the driveway. We're picking up a 9,000 lb horse trailer tomorrow and headed to Arizona to test it.

poor ford,what is next,,,,a trailer whit gm brake to stop the ford truck,and wy not to put a dmax engine in your trailer to push the ford..

The ideal truck, for me, would be: a Ford F-250 4X4 FX4 Crew Cab long bed...with a Cummins engine and an Allison transmission. The best of all worlds!

@Mrknowitall Yeah, they're great big old anodized boxes sitting on the tongue of the trailer making all kinds of noise pressurizing the system when you hit the brakes. It was a real revelation over surge brakes lol

@ Buy American or say Bye America- That was a truck just built in the NOV. or DEC issue of Diesel Power. I for one agree. My Dad just bought a new Dodge and my Aunt just bought a newer Ford, both are great trucks that are light years improved over trucks from 15-20 years ago! In ride, power, handling and in shear comfort.

With reference to having to use weight distributing hitches or not, does anyone know what the tow ball weight limits are for these trucks? Can't find the specs on the Ford or GM sites, only overall no's and rear axle limits.

Would I love to have 800 lb/ft of torque? Sure. I would also like a motorcycle, a new 4 wheeler, and a new shotgun. But the thing is, I don't NEED any of these things. Point is, in these times when people are getting smarter with their money, I think it is silly for the Big 3 to have this top of mind. The bigger and badder (and more expensive) these trucks get, the more likely a potential buyer might say, "I really don't need all of this," and walk away totally.

Many of these buyers may trade down to the Eco-Boost, as they may have only been in the 3/4 ton segment for diesel engines anyway. Again, another case is made for a smaller diesel.

Mike, speaking of larger trucks, still looking forward to hearing about GM's medium duty plans. Thanks.

In order to tow a trailer of that size the tongue weight must be at or above 2000lbs. To put that much weight that far behind the axle is going to make the front end get very light, and therefore make the stearing get very squirlly to say the least. Just because a truck has the power to drag something and the frame to handle it, does not mean it should. A bumper pull trailer that size belongs behind a 650 or 750. At least then the engine is heavy enough to counter the tongue weight. That just doesnt seem smart of Ford. Whats next, are they going to sell tractor weights to put on the front bumper as part of the max tow package. LOL

@gabe logan - I agree that these trucks are much better than 20 years ago. I had a 1990 F250 long box regular cab with a 5.0. It had 195 HP and got around 16 MPG highway and maybe 12 in the city. My 2010 F150 supercrew is 24 inchs longer, weighs much more, can tow and haul more has considerably more power and I'm getting 13-14 mpg city and combined 17 mpg. The new 5.0 comes close to doubling the performance of the old 5.0.
These are great times to be in the market for a new truck.
I'm amazed at the capabilities of these new trucks.

Whew! This is getting out of hand! The comments and the ratings alike! Ha ha!

All this 1up-manship I find kind of annoying, but I suppose it's great for the customer. That is assuming Ford and GM alike are not pushing their trucks well beyond their limits. Because if that's the case someone is going to end up with a broken frame and/or a blown engine. And that's no good for anyone, well except for the repair shop.

I don't know a whole lot about towing (90% I learned by reading articles on this site) but 17,500lbs seems like a lot for a conventional hitch. I suppose the main advantage in towing using a ball and receiver type hitch is that you can still use the bed on the truck?

Anyway, Peace!

@ Bob - I thought you said you were going to get me banned quite some time ago.
How is that Prius you and Barrack are sharing.
What's an "induido"?
Is that an OnStar option?
I like the GMC Denali, and I like the performance of the GM diesel trucks.
I like the fact that I didn't have to pay twice for the product I'm driving.
What kind of innuendo am I making now?

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Ford has the best HD pickup! :)

"All this 1up-manship I find kind of annoying, but I suppose it's great for the customer." -HeyHombre

Without all of this 1up-manship, we would have bland choices of vehicles without features that stand out. It is because of this 1up-manship we had such great muscle cars in the '60s and '70s. Cars like; 427 Camaros, 426 HEMI/440 Challengers, 401 Javelins, and 428/429 Mustangs. Competition improves the breed.

Ford is the number one selling truck because their trucks do not last as long as GM's. Plain and simple!

@Greg - quote " Plain and simple!" Please leave Bob out of this conversation.

@ lou
what's ur hard on for Bob?

This is why I love ford, it shows they are trying to give the customer what they want!

Btw... bashing brand thing does get annoying, HOWEVER, it really just makes me more proud to be an owner of a ford! It should do the same to everyone! Although when things get childish it is, really annoying...

Lou, sorry to burst your bubble, but you're buying two trucks no matter who you go with. Obama has your other truck, and he's dumb enough to put 17000 lbs on his balls.

"Ford is the number one selling truck because their trucks do not last as long as GM's. Plain and simple!" -Greg

If this were true, which it is clearly not, people would get wise and quit buying Fords.

@UncleBud - thanks for pointing out that disturbing fact. At least I have control over which one I park in my driveway.

@GregD - you are obviously new to this site. Give it time. Bob will grow on you too.

The haters don't hate the new Super Duty. They are not mad at Ford. They hate good stuff! This is the haters job - to hate. Every time Ford comes out with something good, whether it be EcoBoost or a new towing hardware, they are going to hate. They have no choice. They are mad because they are driving an old outdated truck from the 80's, 90's or the early 2000's. When their neighbor buys a new 2011 F250, they are looking at them like their neighbor is screwed up - they say - "what you need to tow 17,000 lbs for?" Shut up and fix the rust on your 1995 Silverado. This is 2011!

@theChevyGuy - I agree that the new GM diesels have proven their worth in various shootouts.
I suspect that Silverado and Sierra sales are up due to the new HDs.
I haven't had the chance to climb inside a Denali nor have I been inside any 2011 truck.
I know the 2010 Sierra and Silverado high end trucks (excluding Denali) were well below the Ram and Ford in comfort and interior layout.
I still think GM has a ways to come in quality and reliability. They are getting better which is great for the consumer.
2012 -13 will be a very exciting time as all of the manufacturers will have "all new" trucks.


Excellent point! In my Chevy days, my '73 Cayenne 5.7L rusted the whole bed. It was horrid, my brothers would use that as a restroom when we would go on long road trips, no kidding.

@Katt - funny. Do you have 6 TVs in your truck? LOL

There was a study which listed the reasons people would switch truck brands for.

The top 15 reasons were:
1) fuel economy - diesel power mag rated fuel economy a tie, pickuptrucks says Ford is better towing, Chevy empty. Tie.
2) operating costs - have not been tested
3) durability (lasts a long time) - not tested here
4) how far on a tank of gas - about the same
5) reliability (doesn't break down) - not tested here
6) ride smoothness - seen it go both ways, some tests say GM was better, some say Ford was better
7) performance fully loaded - in the HD shootout the differences were minimal, real world it would be neck and neck
8) seat comfort - Ford
9) engine power - both have plenty of power. Ford has room to grow. GM is supposedly near the end of the life cycle. Tie.
10) visibility for driver - it was said GM's tow mirrors did not extend far enough as would like
11) towing capacity - Ford has a higher capacity and a factory 5th wheel package.
12) overall front seat roominess - Ford.
13) in vehicle electronics, technology - Onstar vs Ford sync, productivity screen, work solutions. Advantage Ford.
14) front seat for passenger area - Ford.
15) exterior styling - Ford more modern, Chevy classic styling, take your pick. Both need to do something soon. Tie.

So the shootouts are nice, but are they going to make a lot of customers switch brands? Is GM the new benchmark? Not according to the 15 reasons for switching brands.

Both truck can benchmark certain things from each other for the all new models in 2013. For example, Ford go with a stronger boxed frame like Chevy, and Chevy cut down on the noise and make it as quiet as the Ford, etc. But is Chevy the new bench mark? The 15 reasons for switching don't say so and neither do sales yet.


Do worry about it you raggety ****. Figure out how to get that duct tape off your tail light.

Katt Williams is one heck of a funny guy.

@ Frank - I don't need duct tape, I drive a Ford ;)

They not mad at us. They hate good shhhhh.

They used to want good shhhhhh, hope for good shhhh. Then good shhh didn't happen to them. So now these foos hate good shhhhh. They don't hate us. They mad at us cuz Ford got good shhhh.

What you need to tow 17k for? You don't even have a trailer that big! Don't you worry about it you raggedy fool. Figure out how to get that duct tape off your dash panel and mind your gd business. It's 2011. Beotch.


This is the 2011.5 Ford 3500 HD, right?
So, how can someone can Ford claim the Ford F-Series Super Duty to Reclaim Best-in-Class Conventional Towing Ratings while the 2011 Chevy & GMC 3500 HD are 2011 models?

These numbers don't say much about these trucks. We all remember the what happened in the last tough truck testing publoished i this site. If you are not convinced, here is another proof as evidence by Edmunds Inside Line’s latest tough truck testing:

in Edmunds Inside Line’s latest tough truck testing, the 2011 GMC Sierra Denali HD vanquishing the 2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty to take the top prize. Each diesel-powered, four-wheel-drive crew cab pickup was subjected to tow testing on the 11.5-mile Jacumba Grade in Southern California, and a battery of track testing.

Dan Edmunds, Inside Line’s director of vehicle testing, praised the Sierra Denali HD for having “plenty of power, torque and poise.”

“The 2011 GMC Sierra Denali wins because it does the important truck things well,” Edmunds wrote on Inside Line. “It accelerates, brakes and just plain drives better in just about any situation, towing or not… On top of that, it costs significantly less to buy and it drinks less fuel.”

I'm appalled that no one has mentioned this yet...

Go look at the weight capacity of most of the 2-5/16" 1-1/4" shank trailer ball (NOT the gooseneck ones)... They're not 18,000lbs. Many 2.5" drawbars aren't, either.

LMFAO @ Dave & Lou

According to Motor Trend, "In the heavy-duty truck world capability is most important." And Silverado HD is very capable in the all the areas that matter to Chevy owners.

We engineered the 2011 Silverado 2500HD with durable, advanced technologies like a stronger powertrain for bigger towing numbers, a sturdier frame to handle more payload and deliver an improved ride, and more secure trailering features to help keep it all under control.

With everything Silverado 2500HD has going for it, you can understand why Motor Trend said, "No wonder it's this year's Truck of the Year."

Ten years ago these weights were the realm of medium duty trucks, today we're trying to sell light duties for it.

I wonder if the drivers of light duty trucks are ready for the realities of towing this kind of weight?

And what is more, at some point you need a commercial license to tow so much. Maybe the Big Three (or really, just GM and Ford) should stop chasing a light duty truck in name only and instead work on cost and efficiency of production. the sheer price of these beasts is getting prohibitive.

Also, a bass boat that weighted in at 2000-5000 lbs ten years ago was cable of being pulled by a half ton. Today a half ton can anywhere from 75% or 100% as much as that. I'm really beginning to wonder why I'd need a 3/4 ton or larger anymore. Even people in the trades can get in heavy equipment that fits under a 3/4's maximum towing. I have a customer who tows a 10,000 pound concrete trailer nearly every day. The only reason he buys a 3/4 ton is because it gives him a little headroom, but we're not sure if it really needs it.

Allen - any trailer over 10,000 lb needs a CDL or special drivers licence endorsement.

@ Bob - to quote your quote
"in the all the areas that matter to Chevy owners"

What would that be - poor interiors, poor commercials, poor financial planning, poor management, poor option choices???????

You don't need a CDL to carry 10,000 pound trailer.

You only need one if the trailer is more than 10,000 lbs AND GVCWR (gross vehicle combination weight rating - cobmined weight of the trailer and the truck) is over 26,001 lbs.

Correct me if I am wrong.


I know what you mean.

My 6-year old 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 (5.7L V8) is rated to tow 10,500 pounds.

A 2011 Ford F-150, with a 3.5L V6 (and 6.2L V8), is rated to tow 11,300 pounds! Sheesh!!!

Biggie Smalls - it depends on where you live and the jurisdictions you travel through.

My understanding is that most areas you are okay as long as the combined truck and trailer are under 26,000 lb.
Other jurisdictions put a cap at a 10,000 trailer regardless of truck weight. You then need a "heavy towing" endorsement.

Even if you went with the 26,000 lb combined weight limit it would break down as follows:
F350 diesel dually 8,540 + 17,460 trailer = 26,000 lb
Sierra HD diesel dually 8,100 + 17,900 = 26,000 lb
Ram diesel dually 8,060 + 17,940 = 26,000 lb.

The F350 would require a CDL to tow a 17,500 trailer.
The HD GM's are currently 17,000 so they are okay.
Ram is currently rated the lowest. I have heard that they will offer a "max tow" package that will put them in the same ballpark as Ford and GM.

This stupid towing race will have no choice but end at the 26,000 lb. limit.

The comments to this entry are closed.