Max Towing Wars: Ford F-450 Versus Ram 3500 HD, Part II

1 F vs R II

Well, that didn't take long. Ford, like many others, still remembers the shellacking Ford took at the hands of the 2013 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty in our King of Beasts contest in which we pitted the 2013 Ford F-450 Super Duty against Ram's hulkiest fighter in a cage battle. You will recall that the new-for-2013 max tow package the Ram HD offered in our last competition had a maximum towing capacity of 30,000 pounds and a gross combined weight rating in excess of 36,000 pounds; by the end of our King of Beasts comparison test, the Ram was crowned the victor. But a funny thing happened on the way to this week's 2015 Ford Super Duty media event in West Virginia.

Before we reveal what happened, we should note that did not put together this head-to-head test but did take advantage of the opportunity. For the media event, Ford ordered a fully optioned 2014 Ram 3500 HD Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4x4 with 4.10:1 gears so auto journalists could drive the combination for comparison purposes. After we examined both Monroney price sheets for the max-tow trucks — the Ram 3500 and Ford F-450, both with gross vehicle weight ratings of 14,000 pounds — we thought you might want to know how these two compared in a direct flat-out hill climb up a 7 percent grade. Thankfully, we had a VBOX data reader and access to both trucks with equivalent trailers.

Here's the setup: We had a brand-new 2015 Ford F-450 that is all-new underneath with a heavier-duty frame (basically taken from the stronger F-450/550 chassis cabs platform), a newly upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke (bigger turbo, new injectors, stronger cooling, upgraded tranny and a brand-new dedicated exhaust brake switch), a monster fifth wheel and new GCWR numbers (max towing of 31,200 pounds and GCWR of 40,000 pounds), and a similarly equipped Ram 3500. Having these two max tow monsters together in one place was special enough, but Ford also had two identically equipped Load Max trailers on hand, each offering just more than 24,000 pounds of weight (seven pallets of cinder blocks) for towing with these two beasts.

Naturally, it wouldn't be a reasonable tow test unless we had some challenging terrain, and we had some nearby in the form of the Beckley Grade (some call it the New River Gorge Grade), a stretch of Interstate Highway 64 that basically gave us 6 nasty miles of climb, starting around 4 percent but averaging between 6 and 7 percent the last 3½ miles. This is a grade we've never seen before, but it is impressive, and in the day and a half we spent on the road, we saw seven big rigs smoking their brakes down the backside and dozens of commercial vehicles creeping up the climb.

We understand that it looks more than a little suspicious to have one manufacturer be responsible for including a competitor's truck in a drive event that highlights its own product's newly strengthened assets. And to tell you the truth, we can't fully guarantee that there wasn't some hanky-panky; but we can tell you that after scouring each truck and checking all the aspects of the engines, transmissions and pricing sheets, these two trucks and trailers looked like a pair of similarly weight-classed cage fighters. So here's what we found.

We ran both trucks from exit 139 to exit 133 westbound on I-64 from Sandstone to Pluto Road. We mapped the section of road to give you an exact understanding of how and where the grades move up the highway and where the steepest parts are. Our start line for the flat-out max-pull contest began from the shoulder of the on-ramp to I-64, just off Meadow Creek Road. And we finished at the summit 5½ miles later.

Ford vs Ram chart photo

For simplicity — because this was a quick-and-dirty test — we've plotted all the time and distance information in a single graph with speed, distance and grade data laid out. The 2014 Ram 3500 with a Cummins engine, Aisin transmission and 4.10:1 gears covered the distance in 6 minutes and 22 seconds, while the 2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty Power Stroke 6R140 ran the hill climb in 5 minutes and 42 seconds.

We'll have more to write about the 2015 Super Dutys in our full review at a later date, as well as a focused look at the 2015 Ford F-350 in our upcoming 2014 Ultimate Heavy-Duty Challenge comparison test, due to be posted in August.

We'll be posting more photos of our clandestine, quick-and-dirty truck test on our Facebook page later.

To see a larger image of the chart, click here. photos by Mark Williams

2 F vs R II


3 F vs R II


4 F vs R II


5 F vs R II



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I know Ram had to out source their Diesel....Injector pump failure and big dollars to constantly replace that front end. nothing wrong with the Cummins but the wrapper sure id flakey.

do you remember when FORD had 30% shares in Cummins and the Dodge boys boasted how Dodge was giving it to Ford.
lol... kinda like a government worker stealing a pencil thinking their getting back at the government for paying taxes.

K cars, AMC and Italians all merged. The Germans were smart to off load the boat anchor.

Its interesting. I would hope there was no inprorpiety as it would ultimately come to light and damage the rep of the perpatrator. Still not to say that it doesnt happen.

The results are not shocking with the Ford putting out more power than the Ram.

I would love to know what rear was in the Ford, how much each truck weighs, priced out at, and their FE figures.

I dont know the reputation of either engine for reliability or long term durability especially as both are relatively speaking new engines (both less than 10 years old) and both suffer from complicated emissions controls although Cummins has the better engine reputation and the straight 6 is a simpler design. I havent heard of either being problematic.

Looking forward to more info and more comparison.


YA, gotta love that Ford tough wrapper. LMAO!



Rumor has it Fiat is thinking of replacing the Cummins with a Fiat diesel in the not to distant future.

Wrangler with independent suspension

check out the prices for Rams zf out sourced transmissions...yikes

Check out the payload on the new 1/2 ton diesels.... yikes

Check out the prices to repair a VM diesel... especially if you need a head... you could almost buy a Cummins!

Fiat will destroy the Mopar brand... a few years from now the landscape will be unrecognizable.

ask insiders why Fred Diaz jumped to NISSAN...He seen the vision of FIAT and ran as fast as he could.

Enjoy the Mopar landscape while you can because it will disappear and you'll wake up one day surrounded by everything with a FIAT fingerprint.

Oh great, there goes all logical thought out the window in this article. The advertising Ramtard goat herders of Italy are here.

If 6 speeds are so "outdated", then why is the 6 speed 66RFE is still offered in current Ram 1500 models and the only thing you can get in the 2500/5500 is a 6 speed? If they were so outdated then Ram wouldn't use a thing like that...

Way to go Ford...SUPERLATIVE Duty wins again...although they are both nice and capable trucks I would still take the Superduty as they do stand up better during rough usage...take'em both over any thing from GM


And I quote,................" However, those very same people didn't mind a Ram 1500 with an 8 speed transmission being compared to a Ford F150 with a 6 speed and calling it even. A tad bit hypocritical, don't you think?"

Posted by: ALL1 | Jul 17, 2014 9:54:21 PM

@Hemi I4

Who said I was referring to you in that comment. You got a guilty conscious or something? I was referring to the comments in this article.......

Again, if I was referring to you then I have enough balls to tell you outright unlike you and your brethren that don't have enough big ones to use one name. So STFD and STFU.

The past Ford Super Duty Diesels always had reliability problems.
The Ram Cummings Diesel has been a proven reliable engine with no problems with excellent gas mileage.
Instead of a 6 or 8 speed transmission why can't the offer a 2 speed rear differential?
One good thing is Ford is taking it personal when they read PUTC comparison tests. You have to fail the comparison tests to make it better the next time.
( PUTC is forcing Ford to make their Super Duty better - Ford is listening to PUTC )
The Ford top brass is reading PUTC and the comments and making the changes to their Super Duty like average guys like you suggest. They are giving the truck buyer what they want.
I have suggested in the past for them to build a modular light duty pickup, a pickup that folds in or out like a Transformer, such as transforming the truck bed to extra seating when needed, or fold up for a larger bed area, or the side of the bed to fold down or inside to load big items from the side of the truck. The front of the pickup hood and fenders one piece that opens from the back similar how a semi truck hood opens.
Ford? I will be a consultant working for free with talented drawings and prints of a modular pickup truck that I think will be revolutionary.

So... Fords 450 beat rams 3500... that's what you'd expect and should have happened last year. Competition is a good thing. I wonder how much DEF was used in this challenge.

MARK... For bed liner I would go with LINE-X. I've had it in 3 trucks now (1992, 2001, 2011), and they work great, and the small issues I had were fixed, often times thousands of miles away from the dealer that installed it. As for the Rust protector, I would get it now. Anything helps, and if you spray it before any contaminants get on the metal it has a better chance of holding up. Most important thing is to wash your undercarriage during the winter...

Enjoy your new truck. Any of the new HD/SD's are very capable.

Are you kidding ?
Ford test the 450 x the 3500 and think that if beats Ram in a weird test , they will save the image hahahaha
If they are good enough , why did they not compare de F350 X Ram 3500 !!!
Nothing more simple that 850 lb-ft with a V6 engine and Ford with the complicated V8 ?
OMG !! I really do not believe in that , witch kind off transmission have the Ram ?
It's just a quetion of time .....

"A funny thing happened on the way to this week's 2015 Ford Super Duty media event in West Virginia."

"Before we reveal what happened, we should note that did not put together this head-to-head test but did take advantage of the opportunity. For the media event, Ford ordered ..."

"We understand that it looks more than a little suspicious to have one manufacturer be responsible for including a competitor's truck in a drive event that highlights its own product's newly strengthened assets. And to tell you the truth, we can't fully guarantee that there wasn't some hanky-panky; "

Common people, even Mark knows this test was prepared and rigged by Ford.
That's what they do, that's what they are. It's in the Ford blood.
Shark bites, Ford lies.

Zviera, I do agree. Ford puts out videos like their bed bounce video which is clearly misleading. Every Ford I drive behind has terrible bed bounce I would say on the same par as the Tundra maybe worse. No other trucks are nearly as bad as the Ford and Toyota.

"On an off topic though. Did anyone see the power numbers for that 2.3L I-4 Ecoboost they are putting in the Mustang? A whooping 310hp and 320lb-ft feet out of that little thing. This makes me wonder how much power the 2.7L V6 Ecoboost going into the F150 will have." ALL 1

I did see that but what has me pissed is the 435hp'400lb ft 5.0 which means the F150 may have a 380hp/400lb ft 5.0. Now you may easily guess why I would be pissed. Now that engine may have to rev more to get it but still.

@Toycrusher.. Right, because whereas these two trucks towed for over 5 miles at max speed, the Tundra space shuttle stunt lasted 300 yards at a crawl. LOL. If you hooked the trailers used in this story to a Tundra you'd see driveline pieces scattered. Nobody was buying that gimmick Toyota had all over TV last year. That was the most lame truck ad campaign I have seen since the 1980s.

Why compare high GVW trucks with boxes on them? If i'm hauling that weight I want a flat decks on them...cause their WORK TRUCKS...not grocery getters!

This is like watching two garbage cans roll down the road!

@AD - I was reading that Ford down-rated the power in the 3.7 V6 in the 2015 Mustang so it did not overlap too closely with the EB 2.3.
The only real advantage that I can see to the 4 banger EB 2.3 is the fact that the 3.7 V6 comes with a top speed limited to 180 kph (118 mph).
Guys who have chipped their V6 Mustangs have had driveshaft failures at speeds up to 135 mph. The V6 Mustang tires do not have high enough speed rating either.

The argument is Ford wants to keep the entry level Mustang affordable for those who want looks first and outright performance secondary.


check out the Ford 8 speed transmissions...yikes

Check out the new Ford 1/2 ton diesels.... yikes

Check out the new Ford.... yikes

Nice stuff. These comparisons are always interesting.

But if you routinely haul 10+ tons with a pickup truck - especially in terrain like this - you are out of your mind. If you gotta, you gotta. I get that. But you're still crazy.

God Kent must love his job, getting to test and play with trucks all day!!! Thanks for posting this, can't wait to see what all else video wise comes up in the next week!!!

@greg.....the garbage can rolling down the road would be one of those trucks from generic motors

I love sandstone mountain I live about thirty minutes from there. In fact me and my family were going camping in Virginia and had to go down that mountain with a camper. We were pulling it with a 2007 gmc canyon with the four cylinder engine. The camper weighed around five thousand pounds. That camper went all over the road were lucky we dint lose it. Thats a dangerous mountain for towing up or down.

@ Lou BC

Ford won't build a 8 Speed transmission and media reports it will be a 10 speed built in house not out sourced. When your Ram 8 speed fails you better pray you have warranty.

Ford has diesels ready for the half ton but realize there is more then just dumping a diesel into a half ton like Ram did.
Cost of diesel option and higher fuel costs just makes no sense at this time. Ram claims $2850 option for diesel but even smart Ram owners can see it is only optioned for the more expensive packages to off set the real cost. 11 second zero to 60 and a 490 payload...other manufactures are laughing their asses of at RAM.

Ram Coil springs.... here we can fix your squat problem with a $1500 optional air bag on four corners.... no future problems here right? give me leaf springs and no worries.

A Ford on Fire.... I suggest you Google RAMS burning as the list is long.... ask motor trend when they went to test the RAM and it caught fire.

RAM and FIAT like to market their products with ridiculous claims. Facts speak louder then words and history indicates RAM/DODGE have a history of being inferior in reliability.

Chyrco and Fiat love to rebadge and reinvent using the same garbage that failed before.... mini van engines in trucks and jeeps. Ask Ram owners of failed transmissions...injector pump failures... front end rebuilds. Ram and Jeep high speed wobbles.

Check the costs to repair the VM diesel.. you will hate RAM and wished they went Cummins. same thing with the ZF transmission. Happy travels in your Ram and if you think you hear rear end noise be afraid very afraid as Ram is hiding one serious problem of Rear ends locking up!

As a former RAM owner I have experienced enough of this second rate product. When you end up in the service department over and over meeting the other Ram owners over and over you start to realize.... HOLY CRAP what are you in for now? I said I'd never buy another and many owners I kept meeting in the service dept said the same..... you watch in five years how many repeat customers will not purchase this junk. FIAT is riding the gravy train now but the quality issues will haunt them and repeat customers will flock to other brands.... nothing worse then having something new always in service.

FIAT loves to give great deals because down the line they will get you in the service department. No other manufacturer operates like this.

A few hundred pounds towing difference, a few seconds here or there. blah, blah blah.

Go to any job site or industry. mining, oil patch, construction site and see what the professional use... it is FORD.

FORD dominates as the number 1 truck to get the job done period.

Real world, Real tough jobs, Real tough workers rely on FORD.

Meanwhile Ram owners are chipping and lifting their cummins to blow black smoke to drive to the store to get their old ladies some tampons.

Real trucks can be seen on the job. FORD dominates the tough job landscape for a reason.



scott made a good point about speed and towing with gears. the dually "long hauler" type trucks are meant to travel long distance with a big load. the cab chassis trucks aren't meant to travel at all! they have low end power for work. to tow a bockhoe and large trailer up a hill with a stop sign at the bottom for example. I must say that the RAM will probably be the better over the road traveling. the 450 ford seems like it might not be much more than a cab chassis with a weaker frame and pickup box. also the engine isn't detuned like the work model cab chassis. I used to read a lot on cummins forum when these trucks first came out for 13 MY. a lot of guys were talked into buying 4.10 gears for towing wicked long heavy loads. DOUBLES. they were unhappy! too low of a gear, and this is from a guy that owned 2012/13 back to back 3.73 then upgraded to 4.10 I would hate to be the guy that buys a 60k truck with the wrong gears!

Ram Truck Owners are always defending their trucks with blame and excuses.
Just the facts please...............

Wow, it is amazing how closed minded some people are.... Also you can tell who have first hand experience and knowledge, and who is relying on what they read. Just to fix one funny comment above... The Cummins is not a V6.... It's a inline 6... Thanks for the comparison, and looking forward to the full test in August.

"Go to any job site or industry. mining, oil patch, construction site and see what the professional use... it is FORD."

Yep , Ford is a Fleet Queen with just 66% retail.

But they are no worry. They will get your money at service department.


8 speed is a ZF design build in Chrysler-owned plant in Kokomo, Indiana, USA. Win-Win situation for Chrysler.

Let's see how Fords own design can fire against ZF, when they produce the first one next year maybe.

@Turbo Yoda

The Ford 6R series transmissions are ZF 6HP series transmissions. It is not Ford's design. ZF designed it and Ford makes it in their own plant instead of having them built by ZF like Ram and other makes do.

8 speed ZF is build in Chrysler-owned plant in Kokomo, Indiana.
It's not build by ZF or other makes. It's build by Chrysler.
Chrysler spent $300 million to build this plant.

We were talking about 10 speed Ford/GM . Not 6 speed btw.

@Turbo Yoda

If it has an 8HP in front of the model number then it was made by ZF. If it has 845 in front of it's model number number then it was made by Chrysler. Chrysler just recently began building these transmissions and there are still Ram's being sold with the 8HP ZF built transmissions.


Yah, those Ford Transmissions are problem free. LMAO!

Ford Recalls About 4,000 Super Duty F-Series Trucks For Transmission Issue. May 05, 2014

Nobody beats Fords proud history of Fires. YOU GOOGLE IT!

Cruise Control Fire Recall Expanded To Ford's Largest Ever!

The Ford cruise control recall now includes 14 million vehicles, making it the company's largest recall ever. The cruise switch in affected vehicles can fail, potentially causing a fire and other problems.

The ongoing recall now includes the 1995-2002 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer, 1995-2003 Ford Windstar, 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ford Ranger, 2000-2003 Ford Excursion with diesel engine, 1992-2003 Ford Econoline vans, 1993-1997 F35 motor homes and 1999-2003 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks with diesel engines.

The cruise control deactivation switches were made by Texas Instruments and can overheat, creating a fire hazard even after the vehicle has been switched off. Warning signs of failure can include malfunctioning cruise control and brakes, unusual activation of brake lights and difficulty shifting out of "park." That sounds pretty scary and Ford is suggesting that vehicles included in the recall that haven't been fixed yet shouldn't be parked in garages or near homes. Two deaths have been linked to the fires, as well as several home fires.

Ford recalls F-150 trucks
The Electronic Power Assist Steering may have a flaw leading to loss of control

Ford Motor Company is recalling 4,629 model year 2014 Ford F-150 trucks manufactured May 26, 2014, to June 19, 2014, and equipped with Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS).

The affected vehicles may have an incorrectly installed EPAS gear motor position sensor magnet that can lead to a total loss of steering control while driving.

A loss of steering control while driving increases the risk of a vehicle crash.

Owners are advised not to drive their vehicles!


Ford Super Duty vs. Ram HD up a 7.5% grade

Ram is getting slaughtered!


Go Ford Go. The Super Duty is just cruizing right up the hill.

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Your information is 1 year old.

8 speed ZF is build in Chrysler-owned plant in Kokomo, Indiana.
It's not build by ZF or other makes. It's build by Chrysler.
Chrysler spent $300 million to build this plant.
ZF has capacity to build 50 000 of them /year,
but not 200 000 to meet the Chrysler needs.
Differences between the 8HP45 and 845RE include, the clutches (845RE has extra friction plates) and, for some vehicles, a higher capacity oil pan. Many internal parts do not interchange.
Chrysler has used 8HP45 in model 300 2 years ago, but not in the RAM with HEMI.

Why are Ram owners so jealous over FORD and GM products.

Dodge/RAM have always been inferior and much less reliable.

Consumer reports,JD power and history speaks to this.... I guess some people love the underdog no matter how many times it goes bankrupt.

A few years ago it was the Germans who were going to bring quality and craftsmanship now it is the Italians who will bring exotic know how.... who knows after the next bankruptcy maybe WALMART will want to purchase and we can have RAMS with smiley faced stripes.


It's not jealousy, it's correcting of your old information from the past.
I don't know any GM or Ford with 8 speed, RAM BOX Rear coil suspension, Air ride, best 6.7 Turbo diesel, 1/2 ton award winning turbodiesel..... I could go on and on.
Because, you don't know this stuff, we have to teach you.

@ Dave z

Ford Super Duty vs. Ram HD up a 7.5% grade

Ram is getting slaughtered!


SPANKED ...nice video! This will be followed by 101 excuses from RAM owners. the Ram has 4.10 gears the ford 4.30 and we got bad diesel fuel... we had the passenger side windows down in the Ram... We had all this change in our pockets when we did the test ... it just goes on and on with the RAMTARDS

@ zviera, You can lead a horse to the water trough but you can't make um drink it. lol


"Continuing its proud history of vehicle fires, Ford is recalling the 2011 F-Series and the Ford Edge/Lincoln MKX crossover after two 2011 Ford F-150s caught fire at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. Built Ford flammable?"

@ zviera

It's not jealousy, it's correcting of your old information from the past.
I don't know any GM or Ford with 8 speed, RAM BOX Rear coil suspension, Air ride, best 6.7 Turbo diesel, 1/2 ton award winning turbodiesel..... I could go on and on.
Because, you don't know this stuff, we have to teach you.

WOW... Ram has a 8 speed and lost this test to fords 6 speed old tech. The gap will really open when Ford brings their new trans and all indications are a super duty that could be aluminium as well in the near future.

Coil suspension needs air ride.... never problems with air ride or just another thing to break down?

Ram box... expensive option and thieves love them

Cummins is good to bad Ram can't put a quality injector pump with it. Remember when Ram said no DEF and 2007 and 2008 6.7 Cummins were being towed in the Dealers like fat girls at a all you can eat restaurant because the particulate filters shut down the trucks...oh the unhappy customers, the horror.

award winning 1/2 ton turbo diesel... with 490lb payload...selling like hot cakes but no one has seen one. 11 second zero to sixty...maybe they're on the way.. $2850 option but you have to buy the premium packages to get one because we have a lot of profit wrapped up in those trucks... how stupid are RAM purchasers?

why do RAMs depreciate faster then other brands?

I've owned Rams and Dodges... Shiny new ones that age faster then other brands and have the most ridiculous problems develop. compared to other brands and servicing they are not on equal ground... RAM and DODGES are inferior.

We used to be a die hard MOPAR family... the wife was the first to step away saying never again... then others. I did my research and walked away..... The happiest moment of my auto loving LIFE!

You can believe all the hype you want... first this ,first that and award this and award that.

do your research as many pointed out here already Many of Rams firsts are a joke and the proof is sitting there for all to see!

Awards by journalists? Even the tests conducted and sponsored by manufacturers.... really your going to buy into this shock and awe?

Go to the real world and talk to owners, companies.... go to job sites.... people love to talk truck do that and you will enter a real world of truth. Go talk to mechanics that work on all the brands with no vested interest.

RAM is not the leader by ay stretch of the imagination and there is a solid reason why they trail GM and Ford.

Research can cure RAMTARDISM and set you free... once Free you will see the light and it will not be the ram service department bulbs

@ HEMI V8, You can lead a horse to the water trough but you can't make um drink it. lol



check out truck sale numbers for the last 50 years.. FORD AND GM are the leaders and Dodge/ FIAT RAM ARE IN LAST PLACE in NORTH AMERICA.... EVERY YEAR!





Ford Super Duty vs. Ram HD up a 7.5% grade

Ram is getting slaughtered!

@Dave Z,

Holy @#$#%! That was awesome.


@Turbo Yoda

No, Chrysler does not build the ZF 8HP transmission, only ZF builds the 8HP. Chrysler builds there own variant of the ZF 8HP transmission which is the 845RE. Look at the Kokomo plants list of what they build. do you see a 8HP transmission anywhere on there? NO........ Hell, even you precious Allpar will tell you "It is designated 8HP45 or 8HP90 when made by ZF; the Chrysler version of 8HP45 is called 845RE." --

Also, the Chrysler built 845RE transmission is weaker than the ZF 8HP transmission. This is why the 845RE is only available with the Pentastar 3.6L in the Ram. You would have to step up to the ZF 8HP if you wanted to purchase a Hemi or Ecodiesel because the ZF transmission is able to handle more torque. You don't believe me? Go to Ram's website and build a 1500. Tell me what happens to the transmission choice when you go from a 3.6L to the Hemi or Ecodiesel.

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