Let the Games Begin: Ford and Ram Do Battle Over Best-in-Class Claims


Right about the time Ford was showing journalists its 2015 model-year Ford Super Dutys, the Ford legal team was sending a Ram cease-and-desist letter regarding Ram's advertising claiming that the 2014 Ram 3500 HD Cummins-equipped full-size pickup truck offered the segment's highest maximum towing capacity of 30,000 pounds (gooseneck or fifth wheel).

Ford believes it has the best-in-class pickup with its newly released 2015 F-450 Super Duty, now rated to pull 31,200 pounds. Beyond the obvious, meaning that it looks like the Ram HD is a Class 3 pickup and the Ford looks to be a Class 4 pickup, the distinctions are further complicated by how each truckmaker calculates that number. Ram says its vehicle follows the Society of Automotive Engineers' J2807 guidelines (an agreed upon list of standards for verifying towing capacity created by representatives from each truckmaker and towing industry professionals), while Ford says it will officially adopt the SAE guidelines when the Super Duty's new platform arrives, likely in 2016. Ram was quick to point out that means Ford is using its own methods to determine towing capacity, and those methods may or may not follow the SAE standards.

According to Automotive News, both Ford and Ram representatives are sticking to their stories and accusing the other of not understanding the issues properly.

Much of the argument in this towing war of words hinges on the the fact that both the Ram 3500 and Ford F-450 have an official gross vehicle weight rating — a factor used by most pickup truck users to determine work capability — of 14,000 pounds. However, according to Automotive News, when adding the F-450's curb weight and max payload capacity, its GVWR total is 14,061 pounds, which would officially put the F-450 into a different weight class and make its "best-in-class" claim something of a misnomer.

So the methods Ford uses to determine its maximum payload number could be seen by some as less than fair. It's worth noting that the debate about max payload numbers has a long history, with Ford still using very questionable practices. For example, Ford typically uses stripped models to get the highest max payload number possible. That means for a given vehicle's stated curb weight number, it is quite likely it was achieved by removing the spare tire, the radio or navigation system, and very likely the jack and center console as well. One ounce of truck removed, of course, means one more ounce of carrying capacity can be added to that model. Ethical? Probably not. But against the rules? No.

GM and Ram (and Toyota and Nissan for that matter) do not go to the lengths detailed by Automotive News that Ford does, but that could change if there isn't some kind of agreed-upon standard for calculating those numbers. In the meantime, we don't expect this to be settled soon. It wouldn't surprise us if both the Ram 3500 and Ford F-450 ran commercials stating they both lead the segment in max towing. To be honest, we're not sure anyone who knows pickups really pays attention to those types of hyperbolic claims. All we care about is how each of the comparably equipped and optioned trucks compare when towing the same type of loads up the same hills on the same day in a straight-up head-to-head apples-to-apples comparison. And that's why we'll have our 2014 Ultimate Heavy-Duty Challenge ready for you in two weeks.

Cars.com image by Bruce Smith

(Editor's Note: this story has been modified on 7/28 to reflect a more accurate list of the optinal equipment that could potentially be removed when determining a pickup's maximum payload. Ford does not remove seats for calculations.)



I would have to side with Ram on this one for two main reasons.

First, Fords numbers are not J2807. I have read Ford's new in house standards are more stringent than the J2807, but that doesn't matter since there is a standard now.

Secondly, numbers don't lie. If that truck is over 14,000lbs how it is normally sold then it needs to be in a class 4. I would point that I think a class 3 shouldn't be towing that much weight and a heavier frame class 4 should be. I think a class 3 shouldn't be rated for anything over 25,000lbs.

I am not saying that the Ford could not tow this weight perfectly fine. I am just saying that that F450 is a class 4 if the numbers are what they are, and that kind of weight should be towed by a class 4 anyways.

@Hemi Rampage


Hey everyone look Hemi Rampage gets excited to copy a companies commercial jingle.

Guts ..Glory why do I have a vision of this idiot sitting at his moms computer wearing a hockey helmet with spaghetti sauce on his face.


Shoot fire, all the articles on Super Dutys racing up hills, how about one about how a truck goes down the hill? The last HD shootout, the Super Dutys were behind Ram and GM in braking.

Lol, Ford would over rate their trucks? Really?! You're kidding me! Ford would NEVER fudge! LOL!

I doubt Fords in house standards are more stringent than the J2807 standard.

Ford has to delete content including the spare tire and jack just to get the weight of this F450 down to the 14,000 pound weight.

Just more of Fords marketing BS. I hope Ford does take this to court and the courts ream Ford a new arse hole.

Seems you can't trust anything from Ford marketing. First it was all their bogus MPG claims they have had to back track on and now we are still dealing with Ford refusing to use the J2807 standards and instead pulling out that big bag of magic spring dust and magic towing dust. Ford must have bought that stuff by the ton. Seems that all the magic towing and spring dust is about as useful as that big bag of magic MPG dust they had.

Hey Ford. Your F350 couldn't hack it so you use a F450 instaed. Your truck has a crappy warranty to boot. You talk tough, but can't back it up. Going to wait til 2016 to comply with the SAE tow standard. What are you Ford guys afraid of.

Ford typically uses stripped models to get the highest max payload number possible. That means for a given vehicle's stated curb weight number, it is quite likely it was achieved by removing the spare tire, the interior seats, the radio or navigation system, and very likely the jack and center console as well. One ounce of truck removed, of course, means one more ounce of carrying capacity can be added to that model. Ethical? Probably not.

Whoa they remove the seats to aid in their bogus towing numbers? Just what is the driver going to sit on? A bucket from Home Depot?

Ford what a joke.

How do you drive a Ford without a seat? Just stating facts, not opinions.

Ford can't compete when they use the J2807 towing standard.

That is why they keep putting off trying to comply with the J2807 standard. They are having to completely redesign their trucks in order to comply with the J2807 standard.

Kuddos to Ram for adopting the new towing standard before the Blue Oval! Fords towing numbers are all moot until they adopt this new standard! Are you listening Ford?

the Latest revision of SAE J2807 covers vehicles up to and including 13,000#, meaning that NONE of current model the DRW pickups fall under its scope. Therefore, technically they aren't compliant. One could adhere to the standard regardless and publish findings, but if we're splitting hairs (like whether the Ram 3500 and F450 are technically in the same class) then we aught to note that.

"All we care about is how each of the comparably equipped and optioned trucks compare when towing the same type of loads up the same hills on the same day in a straight-up head-to-head apples-to-apples comparison. "

True statement, but add to that:

1. Engine RPM at each stage of towing, including while climbing the steepest hills. This has to do with longevity and heat generation.

2. Engine and transmission temperatures at each stage of towing. This also has to do with longevity.

Kuddos to Ram for doing it on all theirs, and not just 1500s!

I am curious to see how Ford thinks their new 3.5 v-6 non-Turbo will tow 7600 pounds, I wonder how stripped that cab is? Yep, less torque and less horsepower per cubic inch, and less total then the penta star V-6, with newer technology, and two gears less, it's going to tow more than the RAM because you shaved maybe 700 pounds off of it? And so it might be 600 pounds at the most lighter then an equally equipped Ram?

Hey, we see how good it worked out for Ford when they tried to jump up higher then the Rams penta-star rating, when Ram first put out there v-6s, Edmunds.com tested the two and the Ram did not overheat or anything like that, it did get down to a slower speed yes, but it did not overheat the transmission, like the Ford did!

Yet, we have Lou lost in BC, talking about payload ratings and stuff like that and Ram, LMAO!

So Ford says their F-450 can outwork Ram's 3500?

What next...are they going to go after Nissan claiming that their F-150 can outwork Nissan's Frontier?

I don't know who the brains are behind Ford's advertising campaigns, but it's pretty obvious they never graduated high school.

So let me get this straight.

Ram claims they have the best in class towing for the Ram 3500 because it was engineered and then vetted by standardized industry criteria established by the SAE.

Ford claims they have the best in class towing because?... because they put a bed on a medium duty class 4 truck and... um.... because they say so and swear "honest injun."

And the question is what exactly?

If the review is apples to apples. They should put in additional 61 lbs in the Ram's bed and see what comes out.

Also ignoring the label on the side of the truck BOTH trucks are GVWR around 14k. So regardless of if it is called class 3 or class 4 they are built for roughly the same work load.

The review will be interesting... if Ford loses, they'll need to eat crow on their lawsuit. If they don't win by a large margin....RAM can argue the difference between the two in performance.

Either way I intend to let the numbers speak for themselves.

@TRX-4 Tom - J2807 is a tow standard not a haul standard.

When it comes to 1/2 tons and most 3/4 tons the weight in the box is a fraction of the trucks weight.

How much does a Ram Laramie Longhorn short box Ecodiesel 4x4 weigh?

881 lb capacity is less than 20% of the overall weight of the truck.
How can that ever remotely come to over stressing the truck?
Ohh, its a Ram..........nuff said.

I do agree with the sensible posters that Ford is full of crap on this one. They need to comply with the standard.
Ford must figure that they are profitable enough that they can absorb the liability claims.
That is a stupid idea. Look at GM. They are spending all of their profits on recalls and litigation.

I personaly think that it is fair to compare these trucks, they are in the same class as far as customers are concerned. if you need to Tow 30,000 lbs you either get an F450 with all the towing options selected or you get a ram 3500 an select every Towing option. With the F450s high payload, i'm sure Ford could put a sticker on it that lowers the Payload by 61lbs, Ram could easily market the Max Tow ram as a 4500 for marketing purposes but it doesn't and Ford does , and the fact is that these two trucks are cross shopped will put them in the same class. Remeber that Manufatures set the GVWR so if Ford keeps it at 14000lbs then thats the amount of weight that that truck can leagly weigh and it keeps owners from having to pay a higher tax for class 4 .

An F450 xlt has a payload rating of 5450lbs
an comparble f350 has a pay load of 5920lbs

So it would appear that the F450 has a lowered pay load in 4x4 crew Diesel DWR than the F350, this is obviously to keep it Class 3 im sure that RAM derates some of their 3500s to stay in lower classes as well. on Fords build and price site you can even spec f250s and f350s to have lower GVW ratings to avaoid them falling into certain classes, while mainiting their tow ratings.

@ Lou BC,

You really need to get a new act because your current one is very old and stale.

I know you are pissed that Ram is growing by leaps and bounds every month but you just need to accept the fact the buying public seems to love the new Rams.

I was thinking of buying a Ford, but I can't stand people who lie. I've about lost my respect for them. I'm not a lawyer but I'll bet Ram wins this one. Taking the seats out? I never knew you could order a seat delete. What a joke. I hope people see through this and take Ford off of their list of trucks to buy. Totally unethical.

I see the Ford excuse makers are now starting post.

The 450/4500 class of trucks are not in the same class as the 350/3500 trucks. Ford playing fast and loose with numbers and their magic spring and towing dust again is all this is.

Fords F350 can't match the towing ability of the Ram 3500 so Ford went up in class to their F450 and are trying to fool the public.

Ford you are fooling no one except for the completely stupid. Lord knows you have a vast amount of stupid people to cater to with your bogus ratings Ford.

@Lost Lou: well, if the four-wheel-drive crew cab Laramie eco-diesel that I drove had a payload sticker of about thousand and 50 pounds, and it has a gross vehicle weight rating of 6950 pounds, then they weigh right at 5900 pounds.....

That's a truck without a Ram box, like I have to keep telling bozos like yourself, the Ram boxes weigh about 150 pounds.

I noticed you were spewing more crap about the Ram 2500, talking about it like it was a car. Hey, maybe everybody doesn't want to drive around in the truck that beats the crap out of them like you do?

Lol, there goes Lou in BC spewing lies about the Ram 2500.

Question: have you loaded a new Ram 2500 heavy and then put that exact load a GM 2500 or F-250? For your info, the 6.4 2500 has payloads in some cases higher then GM 2500s, and right with or higher than F-250 (ass low trucks when loaded)

Can't find the 6.4 ratings, Lou?

Usually you go by payload numbers, which the Ram 2500 6.4 (two different payload ratings between the 6.4 and the 5.7) but, since the ram 2500 has more payload with the 6.4, you're probably gonna try to spin it in the direction of coil springs, and spew some crap about squatting.

Funny thing is Ram wasn't using J2807 a month ago and waited to Ford said they would use it on the F-150.

The F-450 and Ram 3500 High Output are equivalent pickup trucks, regardless of name. Both have identical 14,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight ratings.

The F-450 is not an F-450 chassis cab with a pickup box. It's an F-350 chassis with F-450 components, such as the 19.5-inch wheels and brakes and stronger rear axle.

Max GN/5th wheel tow rating for F-350 is 26,700 lbs.

@ Ram Big Horn 1500 - the news story on the JD Power ratings sums it up.

Ram scores just as high as most cars but scores lower when compared to pickup trucks...........

Yup, just when we thought BOF sedans were a thing of the past Ram puts coils on their pickups.

"by removing the spare tire, the interior seats"

@Mark Williams and PUTC,
Please cese and desist or update your story.

The peice did not say interior seats were removed. It said center console. Big difference.

@TRX-4 Tom - I never mentioned squatting but considering the number of turds you post on this site, you must do a lot of it.

Chris, probably because 2015 is when Ram said they would use J2807, not because whatever Ford does.

Ford wanted to wait to 2015 to do theirs, so we can't really see how their pre aluminum F'n 150s do.

Typical Ford comparo, oh no, they don't want to compare a 450 to a 4500...

I thought we were talking about trucks Lou, but I see you are full of it....

I'm not a brand hater at all but boy, Ford really hates not always being on the top, huh. We've all seen them sprinkle magic spring dust on their pickups whenever the competition updates their numbers. The cease and desist order though made me chuckle.

While I do believe you can argue the semantics of both sides and I do side with Ram due to complying with the new J2807 standard, I find it hard to believe Ford removes seats and other equipment to get their tow numbers to be above the others. Where's the proof? Because some automotive journalist said so? Even the article says it is "quite likely" so in other words pure speculation on what they do or don't do. Oh but that's right because it's on the internet it must be true....Just like the State Farm commercial..."They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true, oh look here comes my boyfriend, he's a French model."

Lou, as for being Ford being ahead on JD Powers, when you haven't changed your trucks since 2011 (new F-150 engines, last real change) you should be used to building them, and have bugs worked out


You can order a F-450 without the big center console. I just did it. Mike Levine needs to respond to that nasty seat removal charge. This is libel.

There is a 40 20 40 seat with a minconsole which is just a floor cupholder. I doubt this journalist is correct about stuff being removed as he says "quite likely" which means he is just guessing or trolling.

The title of this article should read "Let The BS Begin"

Wow the Ford worshippers really have their pink panties in a wad.

As for Mike Levine, the guy has no credibility being in bed with Ford. Ford has been caught many time with their magic spring dust and magic towing dust and even their magic MPG dust.

Ram is the only manufacture to use the J2807 standard on their 1500, 2500 and 3500 series trucks, Chevy and GMC do not nor does Ford.

Ford has been caught in another lie.

Ford to pay owners for overstating MPG.
By Gregory Wallace @gregorywallace June 13, 2014: 12:19 AM


Ford caught with their pantyhose down again. LMAO!

Ford is a joke just like most of their Kool aid club owners. LMAO!

It seems that Ford has rigged the system. The truck they are using for comparison is the F-450 Super Duty, which by most any reckoning is a Class 4 truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 14,000 pounds.


End in sight for pickup towing claim game.


Ford hikes revamped F-150 pickup prices as much as $3,385
Dealer orders for 2015 model begin today
11:36 am U.S. ET | July 28 | UPDATED: 7/28/14 3:14 pm ET -


I think this is all hilarious. Maybe not on paper (ratings), but in the real world the Duramax has been spanking both Ford and Ram since 2011. Being 2nd and 3rd for so long must really hurt! That might all change with the PUTC results in 2 weeks. In the meantime, fight on fellas!

We now know how Ford shaved 732# from the new 2015 F150's! A milk crate seat saves them about 175#, then there is the brakes, we don't need no stinkin` brakes.
And without a spare tire, now the jack is not needed. I'm surprised they wasn't able to shave a thousand pounds or more from the truck.

The title of this article should read "Let The BS Begin"

For once the Fake Lou BC made a decent remark.

I see A LOT of BUTTHURT CRYsler fans on here trying to defend the crap they worship. Sorry boys, you lost your dignity when you were bought by Fiat. Goodbye "Big Three", just the "Big Two" now. I'll take my American truck over some Italian truck ANYDAY

We finally have an article that singles out the proverbial problem child in this whole J2807 implementation.

Ford's desire to carefully mislead customers is remarkable.

Hemi V8 posted a link to freep.com, the article stated that GM and Ram had to follow Ford on the new standard, yet GM implemented the standard on the 1/2 tons, weeks before Ford made the announcement, and even Ram stated that ALL there pickup would comply before ford. So, who is following whom?

@: EcoBoost, So now that Fiat is the majority owner of stock in Chrysler does that mean my Ram is more Ferrari than Chrysler?Is my 03 Ram more Mercedes SLS when Daimler owned the company stock? You Ford owners need the Eco Boost for those dizzy high altitudes. lol

GM did follow Ford.

In 2012 for the 2013 MY GM revealed their tow numbers, and then quickly took them back when Ford said it would use it when the new truck is relased.

That is GM following Ford.

Then GM came out with a new truck and still no J2807 numbers.

Fast forward to February 2014 and Ford annoucnes they will follow J2807 numbers on the new F-150.

GM's response? GM said they will follow it when the others follow. They also said they will have to adjust the numbers on the 2014.

That is called following.

Ram also agreed to J2807 for 2015 LD.

It was only months later this month of July that Ram said it would follow for both LD + HD.

Give credit for Ford for announcing the half-ton following and for Ram for announcing HD.

I give no credit to GM. They only followed Ford.

@HEMI V8 - you are the one who routinely makes posts supporting union made products and "buy American" and "profits leave the country".

That makes calling out Ram for being foreign owned and foreign built fair game.

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