Keeping Score: Which One-Ton Heavy-Duty Pickups Tow and Haul the Most?

Keeping Score: Which One-Ton Heavy-Duty Pickups Tow and Haul the Most

Ram has released the full towing and hauling specs for its 2011 Heavy Duty pickups armed with the new High Output 6.7-liter Cummins ISB six-cylinder diesel. We've created an updated comparison chart to see how the final numbers stack up against Chevy's and Ford's HDs.

The HO Cummins diesel increases torque 23 percent to 800 pounds-feet (at 1,600 rpm), up from today's rating of 650 pounds-feet (at 1,500 rpm). It will be standard on all 2500 and 3500 models equipped with Chrysler's 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission also gets a new torque converter with updated shift calibrations to handle the increased power settings. The only mechanical change to the Cummins is a new crankshaft damper that's said to reduce engine noise and vibration.

When the HO Cummins is paired with the new Max Tow Package option for Ram HD pickups, the Ram 3500 claims bragging rights among one-ton pickups for the highest fifth-wheel towing figure — 22,700 pounds.

The Max Tow Package for the Ram adds a beefed-up rear axle with a new 4.10 gear ratio, new rear-axle pinion, new helical gears, upgraded bearings and an aluminum differential cover with large cooling fins. There's also a new water-to-oil transmission cooler and new power steering cooler to help manage the higher trailer towing ratings.

This table compares the 2011.5 HO Ram vs. the early 2011 Ram with the standard Cummins diesel, plus competitive Chevy and Ford trucks

A two-wheel-drive, regular cab, dual-rear-wheel Ram 3500 can tow up to 22,700 pounds, beating a similarly configured Ford F-350 by 100 pounds and the Chevy Silverado 3500 by 1,000 pounds.

Among two-wheel-drive crew-cab dually heavy-duty pickups, Ford still claims the top fifth-wheel towing rating at 21,800 pounds, beating the Silverado by 300 pounds and the Ram by 2,600 pounds.

Ford can also lay claim to the highest payload and conventional towing figures for one-ton trucks. The Ford F-350 Super Duty can haul up to 7,070 pounds in a regular cab, two-wheel drive, DRW configuration. The Silverado 3500 crew cab can haul the most cargo among four-door HD pickups, at 6,223 pounds.

It's interesting to see the differences in ratings among crew and regular cab trucks, but it's difficult to tell among all the heavy-duty truck makers where engineering capability is outperformed by marketing wizardry to lay claim to best-in-class bragging rights.

[Sources: Chrysler, Ford, General Motors]


I don't think I am alone in saying, this is getting absolutely ridiculous.

Hi All,

I recommend we all get Class A DL because this is hideous.

Hey Ram, I see Ford sent you some magic spring dust.

@ Sean L - agreed. When will Peterbuilt, Mack, Kenworth etc have to start looking over their shoulders?
All this is kinda like the high school locker room - mine is bigger than yours!

Will GM be next with the magic spring dust?
Enzyte for trucks. LOL

Good job Ram! Time for some good competition.

Ford and Ram can tout any max tow figure they want but it still won't out tow the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission. Also the max tow rating is just for marketing purposes to be able to claim best in class towing. Ford claimed best in class horsepower, torque and tow rating but got beat badly by the Duramax in "Rumble in the Rockies" despite their bold claims.

Put a 4.10 rear axle on the Duramax one ton and the tow rating would be equal or exceed the rams claims.

I am looking forward to another "Rumble in the Rockies" pull off between the Ford, Ram vs the reigning champ the Duramax. So ram can brag all they want about tow ratings, I will wait to see them tow equal loads vs the Duramax and Allison transmission.

Now that Ram has caught up and GM too this all means buy the one you like, there is no difference unless you want 4x4 then leave GM out of it.



@Scott - Ram doesn't need to "catch" up to GM.
Sales figures indicate that Ram has caught and passed Chev in HD sales.
That was before the HO Cummins and Max Tow package.
I look at the trucks used for work in my part of the world and most trucks are Ram or Ford HD's.
The bling trucks with the lift kits and 20" rims are usually wearing a bowtie.

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Dr. Seuss

I think you have some typos for the Ram 3500 GVW Mike.

@Ian: Which ones? I just checked the GVWs again. They look correct.

2011 reg cabs and crew cabs have the same GVWR and GCWR?

Tows, hauls and LOOKS the best! Good job Ram!

I thought the 3500 DRW GVWR was 12,200# in 2011 and 12,300# in 2011.5??

I guess I was reading the GVWR for the 4x4 models which are 12,200#. The numbers you quoted are indeed correct for a 2wd.

what i find weird is the gvwr n gcwr is diff between a reg cab n crew cab. payload n tow ratings i can understand for the diff bcuz of cab styles but gross vehicle/combine weight ratings? it's as though ram is saying the crew cabs r weaker.

@ bob
this why i never will own a GMC GM to get $14 billion domestic tax break

It looks like General Motors will be able to skip out on around $14 billion worth of taxes domestically and another $19 billion in taxes overseas thanks to a deal with the U.S. government.

...GM may have gotten the break to help reduce the perceived cost of the auto industry bailout.

6 strait is better than 8! notice the 800 ft lbs hits at 2,000 rpm on the powerstroke....not where you need it! Even the 650 lb ft cummins hits lower than the d max. Torque down low it where it counts. 6 in a row if ya wanna tow!

@Ian: Thanks for checking. I appreciate it. :-)

Bob said it best, Rumble in the Rockies proved the Duramax/Allison combination can't be beat. Power rating bragging rights is one thing and nice to have but I'd rather have real world towing rights to brag about.

@Judd, why don't you need torque at 2,000 rpm? Any diesel engine can get a trailer off the line, because in 1st gear, you have more torque going to the wheels. In the Rumble in the Rockies contest, these engines won't be idling up the mountain!

FYI, the PowerStroke has 800 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm!

yes but the more torque you have off idle the the faster you get your load moving

and your right alex about the 1600 sorry had a brain fart. Bottom line is all there new eninges are impressive

Amen Bob.
The bailout WAS the right thing to do, enough about that already! Focus on the big 3 building better vehicles now than ever before and let it go at that.
"I'm Proud to be an American Where at Least I Know I'm Free".

This is all great news but I think the "romance phase" of what 800 pounds-feet feels like is somewhat over. It's kinda normal and boring now. I would like to know who will be first to advertise 1,000 pounds-feet (yikes) with the performance data to back up such a claim, not some bull.... Job #X. Love the Cummins boost in TQ, I could care less about the one-up tow ratings. Always had much respect for Cummins. I drove a non-CDL delivery truck, summer job while in high school, with a 5.9L CTD and drove a 8.3L CTD 5-ton 6x6 in Iraq. No complaints and delivered when asked to do so. I went GM in 06 just cause it had the high wow factor when i test drove all three. But Ram was my initial first choice and the Sierra barely nudged me over, It was all in the handling and powertrain. The IFS had proven durable from off-roading in Texas to North Carolina to the Cali Mojave to Alaska.

Why is it that no matter what the article is about Bob has to come on here and make some crack about it unless it has something favorable to do with a GM product? I really don't know what he sees in chevy/gmc trucks, yeah they're nice machines but do you really feel it 100% necessary to go on to another post talking about another automaker's product that has slightly higher markings than yours and just bash the hell out of it as though someone was making a 103 mph pitch for you to make a toad out of yourself?

This article is about the Dodge Ram truck's return to being a competetive product coming from an automaker that is finally returning from hell; that hell being its previous 2 owners, the first was like having an abusive stepfather, the second was like being run by idiot. Fiat is a car company that cares about its presence and capability, and along with that, the companies it owns and considers its allies.

Now, had the US government not been compassionate towards BOTH Chrysler and GM, Bob would probably still be catatonic and we would all be forced to drive Honda Accords or Ford trucks. The only difference in the situations at GM and Chrysler is GM is owned some 60% by the US treasury and Chrysler is only 6%. Also, Chrysler has new products in the pipeline. GM.. not so much.


@Bob- After reading the Rumble in the Rockies article, something occurred to me. Ok, keep up with me on this. IIRC, both Fords 6.2 gas and the 6.7 diesel use the same tranny (maybe mike can help me on that one) The 6.2 easily beat the 6.0 chevy down in the uphill tow tests. Even tho the 6.2 is more powerful than the 6.0, if the tranny wasnt up to snuff I dont think it would have beaten it as handily as it did. So Id say the tranny is in the clear. Now, the power curves (not sure where I seen them but I know I have) on Fords 6.7 look good. This, coupled with the fact that in the original shootout, the one that wasnt at Davis damn, between the Ford 6.7, the chevy and the dodge (cant remember when mike wrote up this article but I am sure its here somewhere), the Ford barely lost to the chevy when in 2wd and I believe was right there with it when they put them in 4x4, lead me to believe that the Ford 6.7 isnt tuned as well as the Dmax for high altitude towing. I mean, if the motor wasnt as powerful as they say it is, wouldnt it have lost horribly to the dmax in the first shootout? If the tranny wasnt efficient, wouldnt the 6.2 have barely beat the 6.0? Yes, the Chevy won the RITR shootout. But that WAS in very high altitude. I would still like to see a shootout between the two at a closer to sea level location, uphill, either with both traction controls being turned off or both being in 4x4. Call me a fanboy who just wants to see the Ford win, Idc. I just want to see if it really is that the 6.7 just isnt yet tuned correctly for high altitude towing.

This is all kind of pointless. What's the point of having a 30,000 lb GCWR when you need a CDL for anything over 26K? They've upped the ratings, but 90% of the people buying these trucks can't legally take advantage of that increased capacity.

Anybody ever notice how the silverado's grille looks like a dodge grill upside down with a bowtie on it?

I rarely ever see any HD fully loaded pulling a monster trailer.
The work trucks I see have heavy duty headache racks with box rails and aluminum checkerplate box liners often on top of spray-in liners. They carry large fuel tanks, tools, and equipment parts.
I'm more inclined to see large camper trailers and toy box trailers during the summer months.

As far as who can tow the most or haul the most:

I see Ford and Ram HD's the most, therefore they carry and haul the most.
It ain't beating anything haulin' or packin' sitting on the car lot irregardless of the manufacture numbers or test wins.

The only thing I am going to say about the whole thing is It is only good for the consumer if there is competition. The trucks while never stop improving, all have strengths and all have weaknesses. Ram's lack top end power, but can idle a house off of its foundation. Ford's are not dialed in right for higher elevations, but are tougher then nails. GM's have thin skin, but have an amazing power train. What truck is perfect? They are all awesome in there own little niche, and they are all more truck then I really need (however I would not say no to any of them!) So why stress about it. All you need to do is find which one most closely matches what your needs are. Then do the paper work and drive it...

Just a thought, the Ford beat the Chevy in 4x4 with less HP and torque, right? Wouldn't that mean Fords tranny put more power to the ground?

We're going to have a "Grudge Match" among all three trucks later this year at high and low altitude.

@Mike Levine

is there a more complete/official list than this? My biggest issue with the Ram is the 3500 SRW's low 10,100 lb GVWR when Ford and Chevy have 11,500. Given that these rigs weigh more than 8k ready to tow, this leaves very little room for payload. Does any know if this has been increased for these MY2011.5 trucks?

Also, has the 12,200 for the dually's been upped to 13k? If not, they need a new frame. While the towing figures are out of control, Ram's payload figures are very low when compared not only to Ford and GM but also to the comparatively tiny European trucks like the L200 and Defender which are able to carry the same weight.

I see another truck with mystical numbers from a 4:10 axle upgrade and a torque increase ,no horsepower increase,no frame upgrade, no class V hitch. Only available in the automatic 68rfe. The manual is still rated at 610 ft/lb of torque due to a waek G56 clutch. The 68rfe gets a torque converter upgrade but the rest of the tranny won't hold, this i know first hand with mine. Nice truck, but just another one for the Duramax to beat towing up and down steep grades. Other problem Ram forgot about is with the 2010-2011 snapping tie rod ends (check out face book or Cummins forum for more info). Can't wait for the shootout with the Ram actually included this time.

@ Luke

What about those of us that do have CDLs and CAN take advantage of the capacity? I mean, should they have to put an artificial limit on what it can do just because not everyone can take full advantage of it?

I mean, after all, if you want a lighter duty truck they'll be perfectly happy to sell you a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton.

Why don't the Ram 2011.5 Regular and Crew cabs have the same GCWR

The have the same underparts, why would it change?

Quit fing deleting my posts dang nabbit!!! When
Some idiot takes a shot at me I am going to respond.
I didn't bash dodge, I said dodge and ford can claim any
Tow rating th hey want but it mean a dam thing when "Rumble
in the Rockies" take two takes place.

If you are gong to delete any posts, you better read all
the posts and see who started the B.S. in the first place.
Any manufacture can claim any tow rating it wants but it
wont mean squat when towing a load up a mountain.

The Duramax will win "Rumble in the Rockies" part two
and you can take it to the bank.

Bob, Calm down and top cursing.

wow ford recall again wy you close the comment so fast..

@ Bob Purhaps you should take the fact that your posts keep getting deleted as a hint. A big, obvious HINT. Have a nice day.

Of course GM will win, it already smoked the Ram Cummins in every category . The Ram only upped the torque to 800ft/lb only available in the automatic. The Ram was beat by too much of a margin for a power upgrade to beat Ford or GM's new trucks. Ram needs to be able to steer straight, handle corners without drifting ect. The Ram still doeas NOT have trailer sway control, traction control, hill assist. How can it possibly compare to the other 2 with such minimal changes of torque 650hp/800 torque. Most Cummins guys buy the stick shift and that is getting no power upgrades 650hp/610 torque. Come on Ram when is the real upgrade comming????

Would have a market maybe in some other RHD countries for these pickups. The problem is outside of Australia, US/Canada few people two 5th Wheelers.

The Cummins is the lazy puller, the Duramax is the screamer, the PowerStroke is somewhere in the middle. They are all good engines..... No... the debate must go on as usual. :)

Honestly, I am not going to buy an HD truck over another because one can tow 100 pounds more than the other. This game is getting old. I think the big 3 are focusing to much on just the one aspect and are all going to start falling short of overall quality.

That was a good chart Mike- I like it broken down by body style. Think you could do one for SRW 350/3500 class trucks? Will be shopping for new truck this year (lucky me) and I am on the fence weather to go dually or not.

Mike Levine-

Are the new Ram ratings based on the new S.A.E. testing or are they still based off of the old standard?

The first shootout in Michigan was close between the Ford and Chev diesels.
It would be nice to see a repeat test at low and high altitudes.

Ram does deserve a kick at the Cat or should I say DMax.

There have been enough upgrades to the Ram and some minor ones to the Ford that a rematch is in order.
Guys are saying that the Ram HO without DPF will be a pig on fuel.
A repeat test will prove or disprove that theory.
Can't wait for the shoot out.
Some guys already have picked a winner.
Not wise.
I'd say throw in a test on a gravel drag strip in 4 wheel drive.
That aught to bring out the best or worst in a chassis.

I'd say the biggest and baddest HD truck out there is the International CXT. I saw one a few hours ago. Now there is a bad assed truck.

"...I'd say the biggest and baddest HD truck out there is the International CXT. I saw one a few hours ago. Now there is a bad assed truck." -Lou

International discontinued those trucks, after a few short years, a year or two ago. I guess it was just too much truck for the average person so they never sold very well? They sure are some monsters.

@ Buy American According to these new towing numbers are to the new SAE standards

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