How Thin Can You Slice a Segment?


Making the distinction between a Class 3 and Class 4 pickup truck used to be simple — if it said F-350/3500 it was a Class 3; if it said F-450/4500 it was a Class 4. But now the lines are blurring a bit, all in the name of being able to claim some kind of best-in-class honor. According to Ford, it owns the heavy-duty maximum towing capacity record with the 2015 F-450 (considered a Class 3 vehicle because it has a gross vehicle weight rating less than 14,001 pounds), but others in the industry aren't so sure. 

When last we visited the saga of which truckmaker had the best-in-class maximum towing capacity, it was Ram that announced all of its truck-towing capacities were measured using the Society of Automotive Engineer's J2807 testing guidelines. Among its most impressive achievements was that a regular-cab two-wheel-drive dualie with the high-output Cummins engine and Aisin transmission could tow a 30,000-pound fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer. 

Just before this announcement of J2807 compliance, Ford had released its 2015 Ford Super Duty towing capacities, claiming best-in-class maximum towing capacity because its new F-450 (now with stronger wheels, tires and axles — but still with the F-350 frame — to handle the extra payload and towing capacity) could tow and carry more than its Ram counterpart. During our inpromtu testing, we found the combination of the upgraded Power Stroke and stronger chassis an impressive pairing. 

The announcement raised questions, however, because some wondered (especially Ram enthusiasts) how an F-450 (in some minds a Class 4 pickup) and a Ram 3500 (certainly a Class 3 pickup) could be considered to be direct competitors or, at least, in a similar class. The short answer is that they both have 14,000-pound GVWRs, but Ram believes it has the best-in-class honor (when comparing the Super Duty F-350 with the Chevrolet's Silverado 3500 and the Ram 3500), and Ford believes it has the best-in-class honor (comparing all max-tow pickup-version HD pickups) of being the strongest mainstream HD pickup truck around. Could the key here be that Ford is simply calling its one-ton max-tow package the "F-450" while Ram chooses not to call its one-ton max-tow package anything unique? Both trucks offer a host of unique parts and pieces to achieve their max-tow number. 

That brings us up to speed, where Ford now would like to assure anyone who is suspicious of its claims about the F-450's max-tow capability by announcing the 2015 F-450 (but not the F-250 or F-350 yet, which Ford says will meet J2807 when they are redesigned next year) is fully SAE compliant with the towing criteria.

Some Ford fans will note that the max-tow F-450 only comes in the more popular four-door crew-cab version, and the Power Stroke has the highest horsepower of any turbo-diesel in the HD class. Likewise, all Super Duties get the max-rated Power Stroke when the turbo-diesel option is chosen, whereas not all Ram 3500s get the max-rated Cummins or heavy-duty Aisin transmission or the biggest max-tow 11.5-inch rear axle (the last two of which are also used on Ford's medium-duty chassis-cab 4500 and 5500 commercial trucks).

Ram fans will note that its Cummins turbo-diesel offers more torque (now with 865 pounds-feet) than any engine offered in the HD segment, and customers can choose between three different power ratings depending on their needs. Additionally, Ram takes great pride in the fact its full lineup of tow ratings (half-tons to one tons) are all SAE J2807 compliant.

We'll note that the max-towing Ram 3500 has a gross combined weight rating of 37,600 pounds, while the new F-450 has a GCWR of 40,000 pounds. Maximum GCWR for the F-350 crew-cab 4x4 dualie is 35,000 pounds with a max towing capacity of 26,700 pounds; Ford will say it's giving its customers exactly the right truck needed for the job they have in mind, while Ram fans will likely cry foul because the F-450 should be in a different weight class if it wants to claim best-in-class honors. From our vantage point, this isn't likely to be resolved anytime soon but it sure is fun to watch.

Where this will end up is anyone's guess (and what about GM? How should it respond?), but we can't wait to get these trucks back into a cage match to see who is left standing at the end of testing. Can you say King of Beasts II?

To read the complete Ford F-450 J2807 announcement, click here.

Editor's note: This article was modified Sept. 4 to more accurately identify the changes made to the 2015 F-450 and Ram 3500 HD Cummins/Aisin combination.

Manufacturer image


2015 Ram BIC stats[1] II



These stories should really be about safe & sane load management.

Any decent 1 ton should be able to pull an impressive load with a goosenecked lo-boy like the one in the photo.

You need more?

You really need to go a different route, i.e., a dedicated hauler/tow vehicle, not an upgraded pickup.

Just my opinion.

I think Ram is in the right with the SAE J2807

Ram 3500 max towing 30K
Ford F350 max towing 26,700

Sounds like SAE needs to define classes too!

Ford likes to twist the numbers and say they are the toughest, most payload, and max towing, but they say the truck isn't strong enough to earn a better powertrain warranty. Talking out of both sides of their mouth. I was considering buying a Ford (I've had one, good truck) but now I think I will pass. Already know one guy that got bit by their lack of warranty. This is going to hurt Ford more than they think. Bad PR is never good. Change the warranty or shut up about how bad you are.

H ere is the thing. If Ford wanted to, they can make their their F350 rated to tow over 30,000 lbs and still pass the J2807. How do I know? Because the the F350 and F450 share the same motor so any time requirements the F450 can pull towing a load then so can the F350. The F350 also outperformed the Ram 3500(that is rated to tow much more) in just about every performance portion of the last challenge too. It also completed the Davis Dam test, which is used in the J2807, over a minute quicker then the Ram while towing about the same weight. So why would they move that kind of weight to be towed by the F450 when they can easily apply it to the F350 and still pass the J2807? Maybe it comes down to thinking that that kind of weight should really be meant for a class 4 truck in the first place and they will not lower their standards by just slapping that kind of tow rating on an 350/3500 like Ram did. I guess we will never know.

There's no SNIVELING in "pickups"!!!

It's tough to dismiss a 40,000 lbs pickup, because of badging or "class".

A pickup is still a pickup, is still a pickup.

Ford just claims to offer the Mother of all pickups. And it does. And there's nothing stop Ram from stepping up with a "4500 pickup" of their own, incorporating medium duty pieces, or simply dropping a bed on a 4500 cab/chassis Ram (or 5500). I'm sure they will eventually.

@Ram Trucks - Don't cry about it, shut up and just do it!

Consumers and the aftermarket have been dropping pickup beds on medium duty F-450 and F-550 cab/chassis trucks, since day one. And the same with Ram 4500s/5500s. Instant "medium duty pickup". But they suffer from diminished towing and engine output vs a factory pickup (F-450 pickup) with medium duty pieces.

A factory built, medium duty "pickup" is best way to go about it, with maximum legal towing and power.

Who buys a 2wd standard cab diesel???? That is the only way you are getting close to 30k J2807 rating with a ram. F450 with the same frame, engine, and tranny as a 1 ton ford, maybe ford should just do away with the 450 badging and put 350 badging on it and call it max tow cause truely that is all the 450 is anyways.... A max tow 1 ton. At least you can get a crew cab that can tow over 30.

Ram has spent too much time putting time and resources in in getting a faux leather dash and arm rests which caused them to fall massively behind ford in performance and towing while using 3 times as much urea to do everything slower.

Rams answer is to sprinkle some of that magic torque rating fairy dust on there outdated underperforming diesel. Hey at least they have fake leather every where and pie plate size cowboy looking emblems on the side of there truck.


Marketing will always be marketing. The end goal is to sell a product, so people shouldn't be surprised when the marketing dept misrepresents a truck's capabilities. I see it all the time across all brands.

I thought that it was common knowledge that the F450 is/was a more capable truck than the Ram. Apparently not, because it appears the Ford fanbois are already here to bash Ram.

A F450 and Ram 3500 in my mind are not 2 trucks I would cross shop between. I would compare a Ram 3500 with an F450. I would more likely compare a F450 with a medium duty.

If Ford wants us to believe that the F450 is a competitor to the Ram 3500, then what is the F350 a competitor to? The Ram 2500? I don't think so.

I think that there is very good reason to have different classes of truck that have vehicles that are commonly associated with that class.

"maybe ford should just do away with the 450 badging and put 350 badging on it and call it max tow cause truely that is all the 450 is anyways.... "
I agree with you. They did it with All1 F150 ecoboost already, so what the heck.

Try riding in a f450. It rides like a chassis cab.

Who buys a standard cab diesel? Anyone who uses it as a work truck that is who.

As for these bogus tests, please stop with the starting from zero mph and conduct the tests as the trucks are used in real life. when these trucks come up on a grade like Davis Dam and others they are not coming to a stop at the bottom and then accelerating. They are already at the speed limit and that is how the tests should be conducted the same way these trucks are driven.

Guess what, I bet the times would all be within a few seconds of each other. This crap that starting from a stop is just completely bogus.


I would rather have that inline six cylinder diesel than of the V-8 diesels, the Cummins is a proven work engine that will go one million miles.


"Ram brand with sales 38.7% higher than last year. Ram pickup/chassis-cab sales soared 32.6% to 43,775 trucks and the Ram Cargo van doubled its 2013 deliveries."

Take that! Ford.

my inanimate object is better than your inanimate object. i know so because i am a brand loyalist that is defined by a marketing department that makes me feel good about having a tool to get from point a to point beer. the rest of you are stupid.

It takes a F-450 to compete with a class leading Ram 3500.

More Guts

More Glory

More @$$ kicking

Class leading


F-Series monthly sales totaled 68,109 vehicles. Down from  71,115
last year.

Car and driver just did a intrumented test of the 2014 ram 1500 sport r/t. You can access it from their home page if you are interested. 0-60 5.4 seconds and 14.1 @ 99 mph quarter mile. This, not the express, is the competitor to the tremor both price range and performance wise. Just as a f-350 is a 3500's competitor. Otherwise, just say the f-450 is the 2016 f-350 and be done with it. Do really want all truck makers to put beds on 4500s, 5500s, 6500s, 7500s just to shut ford up? You think the jacked up diesel trucks blowing smoke everywhere and towing ratings are outrageous now?! Remember the international cxt? Think that mass produced with people buying them just to say they have the biggest, baddest truck because ford couldn't rest and had to go try and change the whole industry just out of fear of not being number one. And the thing is Chrysler isn't backing down either a 4500 pickup from ram is possible. 30, 000 lb tow ratings 865 lb ft torque trucks 707 hp 200 mph cars are nice, but my god, how much does one really need? That sport r/t is ad fast as I need to go and more than enough than I will ever tow.

Ram has its best August since 2003 sales up 33%

This is a dumb debate. The fact isthe ford is the most capable pickuptruck. Who cares what class designation it has? I think ford is cheating a bit with the marketing because they clearly underrated the truck(you think they just happened to build a truck that can tow the exact maximum to be considered class 3 but no more?), but you won't see the ram fans touting that because it just illustrates the fact that the ford is more capable. What really needs to be done imo is have an independent group rate the trucks so we get no underrating. I think they do it to make it easier to one up each other. Also pretty telling that the f350 and f450 share same engine frame and transmission so I agree they should really call it f350 max tow. Doesn't matter though. I think owners would rather see that 450 on the side than 350 with max tow.

The F450 shares the same frame with the F350? I do not recall Ford making their weak frame stronger in the last couple years. How does the F450 meet J2807 standards using the F350 frame?

Ford had to beef up the frame of the F350 for the F450. So as Fords magic dust works it is the same frame but beefed up. As I read on other sites. Of course there F250 and F350 won't use the J2807 standards. In other words they are saying the are not being truthfull like Ram is.
Ford is waiting for the 2016 HD's to come out before they do it. Makes one wonder how much their off on their numbers.
GM needs to step up as well on the HD's and release their J2807 numbers as well.
Let the game of leapfrog continue!

Ram is acting like a crybaby because they had class leading towing for a week and now they don't. Ford is J2807 compliant. Sorry, that's how the ball bounces.

Other than Roger Hedbloom being a crybaby, my biggest problem on the Ram itself is that their $30k Max Tow rating uses a very unpopular regular cab.

As Mark Williams stated in the 2011 $30k shootout about the Ford choice for a Regular Cab - What didn’t impress us was the strange choice of an integrated brake controller (do regular cabs tow much?).

How thin can you cut a cab?

Here is Mark Williams' true feelings on regular cabs and towing, fancy interiors vs interior space/people hauling ability.

"The engine impressed everyone. What didn’t impress us was the strange choice of an integrated brake controller (do regular cabs tow much?), and why include the tailgate step instead of a bedliner? This configuration forced us to compromise our people-hauling abilities, especially when compared with the others. Clearly, there is a lot of good stuff here, but in the end, fancy features couldn’t outweigh our need for extra interior space." - Mark Williams

It is a PR exercise being fought by Ford and Ram.

The F450 is basically a max tow/haul F350.

A few guys have already pointed out that Ford could of called it an F350.

Zviera pointed out that the F150 comes in max tow/max haul already.

People should put aside the brand squabbling and buy what they need.

If all you want is a reg cab long box dually and a 30k tow rating get the Ram.

If all you want in a crewcab long box dually and a 30K tow rating get the Ford.

It isn't that tough of a choice.

If I had to tow 30K on a frequent basis I'd be shopping at Freightliner not Ram , not Ford.

@Ram Big Horn 1500:
"As for these bogus tests, please stop with the starting from zero mph and conduct the tests as the trucks are used in real life. when these trucks come up on a grade like Davis Dam and others they are not coming to a stop at the bottom and then accelerating. They are already at the speed limit and that is how the tests should be conducted the same way these trucks are driven."

The beginning of the pull up Davis Dam is at a stoplight. It's at the bottom of this map image:,+NV/@35.1797905,-114.5706443,3549m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x80ce447c75bf5f79:0xa553e5ccc49f2e5c

Except Ford does not call it a F350 Max Tow Haul, the call it what it really is a F450 then they down rate everything on it to try and claim that it is a class 3 truck when the reality is the F450 has always been a class 4 truck.

Sorry but Ford has really stooped to new lows on this one.

Lol, most that want to tow that much (F-450/4500 Ram) don't have a bed! They buy a flatbed! A bed is nice option, but a lot of them hauling heavy put the stuff in the trailer.

@All Gone: and how did the sorry Ford F-350 stop the load?

Ford and GM, making racing trucks, with hp ratings, not everybody wants to drive the living $#!+ out of their trucks! Some like low rpm torque, atleast that's what Ford tries selling in the Eco Boost.

That's the side you take in the 1500/150 class, funny to see you like the higher rpm pullers in the HD classes. Must be a Phord thing!

Atleast Ram doesn't play around to get their truck into another class, like dishonest Ford! Lol!

Ford says they have the highest towing rated pickup truck. A 6 year old should be able to understand that. How old are these ram blind faithful? As for warranty, chrysler had to extend their warranty to sell vehicles, due to perceived poor quality. I'm not saying it was warranted, but it is what it is. If I were in the market for such a truck I'd but the one that had the best components. Including brakes. Not sure about this 450, but the original had the best turning radius of the HD trucks.

How thin can you slice a cab to get a max tow rating?

That is the question.

Seems like Ram has a interior space/cab problem here. They can't get their max tow without going to a Regular Cab and it still doesn't beat the Ford.

Ford and Mike Levine can stick this in their crack pipe and smoke it.

Mike Cairns, Director— Ram Truck Engineering, Chrysler Group LLC. “Our 2015 Ram Heavy Duty Trucks own all three relevant titles in the segment: towing, payload and power, while delivering an impressive level of comfort and features unavailable elsewhere in the market.”

@Mark and PUTC,
Here is the bottom line.

The F-350 is an F-250 with a beefed up frame. So, should the F-350 be called an F-250HD, and transitively, the F-450 the F-250 HD HD?

Further, the only confusion is that which has been introduced by Fiat, who has apparently decided to mix the first number of a truck's model designation with its DOT class, despite an abundance of F-350s and Fiat-Ram 3500s that carry Class 2 ratings.

Fiat invented this "3500 class" designation in order to claim a paper victory in towing over the F-450, and then when Ford pointed out that the F-450 was in fact a Class 3 truck, Fiat doubled down on their silliness rather than quietly backing away from it.

Please respond.

Unless things have changed recently f250 and f350 have the same frames. Always have.

*Dodge Ram 3500s.

@Mark and PUTC,
Here is the bottom line.

The F-350 is an F-250 with a beefed up frame. So, should the F-350 be called an F-250HD, and transitively, the F-450 the F-250 HD HD?

Further, the only confusion is that which has been introduced by Fiat, who has apparently decided to mix the first number of a truck's model designation with its DOT class, despite an abundance of F-350s and Fiat-Ram 3500s that carry Class 2 ratings.

Fiat invented this "3500 class" designation in order to claim a paper victory in towing over the F-450, and then when Ford pointed out that the F-450 was in fact a Class 3 truck, Fiat doubled down on their silliness rather than quietly backing away from it.

Please respond.

Posted by: RT | Sep 3, 2014 12:41:17 PM

Who knew that you can also snort Ford's magic Spring and towing dust.

Once Ford was caught red handed deleting parts to get the weight down on their Class 4 F450 truck to falsely try and claim it is really a Class 3 truck, they now back pedal and drop the load rating instead to try and pass off the same Class 4 F450 as a Class 3 truck.

Are there no bounds to the underhanded lying Ford and Mike Levine will go to misrepresent their trucks to the public?

While I hate having Government sticking their fingers into everything this may be one of the areas that the Government is going to have to step into because it is clear that Ford and Mike Levine will trust the truth every way they can to try and fool the public.

The only ones Ford is fooling are their own customers because everyone else can see what Ford and Mike Levine are doing and they know what frauds they are.

GM is likely to follow Ford's lead and create a beefed up 3500/4500 crewcab for max towing, so Ram is going to be left in the dust playing first number of the model is the DOT Class game, to claim paper victories.

The only lying is that coming from Ram and Roger Hedgbloom in order to claim a paper victory.

Ford did exactly what was asked for. Ford dropped the rating in order to go with base curb weight and went to J2807. These are F-350 frames.

Now Ram fans are saying Ford is underatting their trucks' ratings? Just last week you said they were overrating everything. These shows who is lying and it is Ram. Make up your minds!

@ Big Horn Spam 1500. This is big boy truck talk. When there is a V6 topic feel free to chime in, otherwise nobody cares to read your whining posts.

If it had been Ram that did the 1st (partly) medium duty pickup, the Ram bros would've been strut'n around like roosters, not crying fowl.

Did Ford cheat? Well we all win!

No doubt we'll see 40,000+ lbs pickups from Ram and GM. How is that a bad thing??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Looks like this to me,

Ford - "Our PICKUPS can tow the most PERIOD!"

Ram - "ONLY our regular cab 3500 PICKUP can tow more than anyone else's 350/ 3500 PICKUP! We don't offer a PICKUP 4500.

So it kinda looks like they are both right to me. Why does Ford need a max tow 350 pickup if it already has a 450 pickup crew-cab that out tows any pickup period?

Ram the only truck manufacture who rates all their trucks in the Class 1, Class2 and Class 3 using the SAE J2807 standard.

Ford does not and General Motors does not.

Game, Set, Match!!!

Lets simplify this discussion.

F450 base MSRP: 51k

Ram 3500 base MSRP: 30k

Winner: Ram 3500

Not good comparo, S2H

The base F-450 is a crew cab 4X4 diesel dually, while the base Ram 3500 is a 2wd reg cab, gas engine and single rear wheel.

The Ram J!had has their towels wrapped too tight and are towing (bad pun) the party line.


@papa jim,
Agreed, it is get into a stage that you want a dedicated MDT rather a Pickup, if towing those loads constantly

LMAO..... Everybody beats on ford and GM for not figuring there own tow ratings with a spare tire and bumper but then add that stuff and J2807 and it tows right what ford said it would....

But then Ram j2807 there pickup with transfer case removed, back seat not there and the rear doors missing, prolly have to fold and adjust the mirrors by manually cranking the windows down and reaching out with your arm and crawl across the seat to do the same on the passenger side. And if you are in cold weather you prolly have to scrape the mirrors off with an ice scraper but that is ok as you will prolly be outside anyways putting tire chains on to just make it out the driveway cause it doesn't have a front driveline to send power to the front wheels. But once you are in the cab all is good cause you have the 2 speaker am radio blaring loud to drown out the sound of the overload engine noise do to the lack of sound deadening material cause if it did it wouldn't have a class leading 2wd crap dually.

Instead of making a stronger truck ram takes things away instead of making a stronger truck.

Hey they did sprinkle some magic torque rating dust under there hood over the Cummins logo so they can have 5 more ft/lbs but still lose to the ford and GM when it comes to actual towing.

I have never in my life seen as big a cry babies as the Ram fanboys on here. Do you guys have that much of a inferiority complex that you all sound like idiots!!! They are fricken trucks its not life or death!!!

If Ram had taken a 4500 and did what Ford is doing with the F450 you Ford and GM fan boys would all be crying about it.

Ford takes a truck that is a Class 4 truck, no one can say it is not and they got caught red handed deleting equipment from that truck until they could get it down to 14,000 pounds and there is even a Ford rep who admitted that the seats were 45 pounds of that amount so they did remove the seats to get that truck to the 14,000 pound mark in their attempt to call it a Class 3 truck instead of the Class 4 that it is.

After being called out for that by a few members of the press Ford got scared that the press was going to check on those weights and pull the same equipment and when the press would have had to pull the seats out to make the weight Ford would have looked even worse because Mike Levine came out saying oh no we did not remove the seats yet another Ford rep says then did and revealed the seats where 45 pounds Maybe it was the passenger seat Ford pulled but man that is really low to have resort to pulling seats out of the truck something no buyer is going to do.

So what does Ford do? They leave all the equipment in that F450 truck that weighs more than 14,000 pounds and they decided to just de-rate the truck instead taking away some of the load capacity. But wait we all know this is just a game Ford is playing with this Class 4 truck with all those frame and drivetrain upgrades.

If a true F350 could tow and carry those loads Ford would have used a F350 but Ford has no F350 that can match or beat the Ram so they pull a Class 4 F450 and think they can fool the public.

Even the Ford fan boys are not fooled as they know the truth, they just don't want to admit what Ford has done here is bogus.

Face the facts Ram out did Ford and GM and did it fair and square.


I know you are mentally challenged Scott, but you can actually buy the Ram truck, it is a truck they sell, Ram did not delete parts off the truck like you are trying to pass off. That model of truck is for sale and anyone who wants one can walk up and buy one.

You can't do that with Ford because they have no F350 that can match the Ram. You can keep trying to pass off that F450 all you want but at some point the automotive press will have no choice but to call out Ford for these bogus marketing ploys they are doing.

Fords crap is just pulling us closer to the government stepping in and making even more regulations so the manufactures can't play these silly little games.

What is funny is I was really considering a Ford on my last truck purchase, I am now glad that I did not buy a Ford and I will never purchase a Ford after this latest round of crap they are pulling with this Class 4 F450 truck.

By the way who buys a regular cab pickup? many do, while the 4 door is the most popular there are those who the back seat is just wasted space. I have had several quad cab Rams over the years, this time I decided that we just do not use or need the extra cab space so we bought a regular cab and it works perfect for us.

Not to mention in my opinion a regular cab truck just looks better.

These four door trucks are just another American fad as the four door truck is nothing new, they have been around for decades only they were called crew cabs back in the day and they were pretty much only bought by businesses and even then they just were not really popular with businesses which is why they went a way for a while until the public started buying four door pick ups and this new fad started.

Most businesses just did not use a pickup truck that required four doors, and even today 99% of the work trucks do not require four doors. The vast majority of work trucks are only carrying two workers as labor is one of the biggest expenses for any business. If a job requires more than two workers on that job you can bet it also requires more materials than one truck can carry as well.

About the only ones who can really use a 4 door pickup are mowing crews and they are not carrying heavy loads.

I am very happy with my 2014 Ram.

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