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Post Info TOPIC: TFL Truck Gold Hitch Award 2017


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TFL Truck Gold Hitch Award 2017


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Another good comparison done by the guys at TFL Truck & Mr. Truck running up & down the Ike Gauntlet.  The Big Three are pumping out some very impressive trucks.  Look at the spec. sheets and you might be able to find a winner if you split hairs.  When you look at these runs it is pretty clear you could flip a 3 - sided coin and not make a bad choice on a tow vehicle.

For me the biggest reason to pick a tow vehicle is not how much power it has but how well it controls the load.  These trucks all have semi engines under the hood and have plenty of power to haul trailers well above 20K.  What these trucks don't have is the mass & air brakes of a semi.  With that said these trucks comfortably control this trailer downhill with very little braking effort .... that is very impressive.

To me they are all winners and I would without hesitation buy any of the 3 to haul a 20k trailer.

Andy



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Thank you for sharing. I agree with you.

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Sad they had to dumb down the test for the GM of only 23K towing capacity. Have to say this test shows again how Ford inflates their numbers when GM has nearly identical numbers and performed better. VERY surprised RAM did not come in WAY behind in third.

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Great compare of the latest iteration of the towing beast offerings. I agree all three are incredibly capable, so on that score there is no real difference in most applications. Subjective scoring is a bit more arbitrary. One factor they don't mention in scoring is potential maintenance costs and component durability. My mechanic friends almost unanimously agree the GMs are easiest to repair and less frequently also. Funny, to me, is the fact that they are more Ford or Dodge fans. Whenever I ask somebody who touts one brand over another, I ask them what would be their second choice. Doing this helps eliminate their obvious bias toward their first choice preference. GM gets the nod most of the time I ask a Ford or Ram owner or fan. Must be something in mechanics blood. Or is that they are job security. confuseCombined with lower upfront cost makes GM still my ranking favorite for the application we envision. That being, a 5er in the 16.5K to 18.5k GVW range, though, as I said, all are fully capable.

JMHO and naturally YMMV. 

My second choice in case are wondering would go to Ram, by a whisker, though the upfront cost is bit of a concern. On a tighter upfront budget, I'd go with the Ford as second choice for our envisioned needs.

FWIW, Brian



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Andy,

You are right. Any one of the three would do a great job ... provided the weight being towed is within spec. When you get close to the edge of the envelope, there could be clearer choices ... but if you are a 20K or less rig (which is most of them), then any one of the three is awesome.

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RAM first choice for me as my 98 12V had 360K on it when I sold it to my Son. My 11 towed 29K over 1/2 it's 65k I had it with a washer bottle and tie rod end recall. 15 RAM/AISIN 32k, towing 33K combined almost 1/2 miles towing no visits to dealer. CP3 pump on RAM no issues, Fords CP4 just do a google search. GM used the same pump thru 16. Now they have changed out to Denso injectors and pump for good reason as they were tired of paying warranty claims.

So my choice would be RAM, GM then Ford only if it had a gas engine.

Yes they all are capable especially since Ford beefed up their 17's. But if looking past warranty when maintenance/repairs are on your dime RAM then GM would be my top two.

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Does Chevy still wax coat their frames?

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I personally think that GM is always picked last because their tow rating is the lowest. This is unfortunate on two fronts. First I think GM has the most realistic and consumer safe numbers. Second I think that Ford & Ram both inflate their numbers for purely marketing value. How many times have you heard Best in Class....that's what matters to marketing and unfortunately macho men (which most of us are me included).

Which ever make you like you will find reasons to like that make/model and dislike the others. Always run the numbers to make sure the tow vehicle is in spec. for the size of the trailer. For trailers less than 20k, the trailer would have to be pretty imbalanced or the tow vehicle overloaded for any of the new Class 3 DRW trucks to hit the axle rating.

A bigger problem is the F250/2500 or F350/3500 SRW thinking they can pull the same load safely.

Andy



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ahull wrote:

I personally think that GM is always picked last because their tow rating is the lowest. This is unfortunate on two fronts. First I think GM has the most realistic and consumer safe numbers. Second I think that Ford & Ram both inflate their numbers for purely marketing value. How many times have you heard Best in Class....that's what matters to marketing and unfortunately macho men (which most of us are me included).

Which ever make you like you will find reasons to like that make/model and dislike the others. Always run the numbers to make sure the tow vehicle is in spec. for the size of the trailer. For trailers less than 20k, the trailer would have to be pretty imbalanced or the tow vehicle overloaded for any of the new Class 3 DRW trucks to hit the axle rating.

A bigger problem is the F250/2500 or F350/3500 SRW thinking they can pull the same load safely.

Andy


 Andy:

Your training and perspective offers the most accurate assessment I've read in this and other posts.  The "my truck is best" is a useless argument.  GM has a 3.76 rear end and that, to some extent, limits the "big tow numbers" which are actually useless as we have discussed.  For a 5th wheel, not a gooseneck which is what is always used in the "tests" and marketing hype, the limiting factor is always the rear axle capacity.   We've written and discussed this many times.  That's why, in reality, the F-350 still has better useful "numbers" then the F-450 pickup as pertains to 5th wheel towing due to its higher RAWR.

I admit I am not totally sure why GM has never offered a 4.1 rear end with the Duramax other then to say it just isn't necessary with the Aillison.  But I can tell you this, the HP and torque numbers really are to the point it just doesn't matter.  When I went to the RAM 5500HD I gave up some significant HP and torque vs. the Chevy as one would with either an F-450/550 commercial truck; both are highly reduced as well from the pickups.  But, you know what, it didn't matter one bit.  Having the larger truck made towing a totally "no drama" event.  The Chevy towed, up the Ike pass gauntlet by the way, our 22K trailer just fine.  Didn't break a sweat up or down.  However, the 5500HD Class V truck just made towing into like driving an unloaded pickup.  Simply no drama.  That's really the big deal.  It is just so effortless, even more so then when I was towing a 17K trailer with a Class 3 3500HD.  It has to do with the size and weight capabiliites of the 5500HD vs. the pickup weights.

Pick whatever brand you want and they will all do, as you said, a fine job for any trailer under 20K assuming the truck isn't loaded with a hauler bed, aux fuel, enough tools to run a shop, etc., etc.  If one adds all that extra weight on the truck before connecting the 5th wheel it is very easy with a 20K trailer to exceed the rear axle capacity.  Just a fact.  5th wheel pin weights are much higher then goosenecks used in the tests in the real world.

The "tests" are indeed interesting but only to show the differences, in reality, are mostly preference, not engineering at this point.

Good to see you post again.

Bill



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ahull wrote:

I personally think that GM is always picked last because their tow rating is the lowest. This is unfortunate on two fronts. First I think GM has the most realistic and consumer safe numbers. Second I think that Ford & Ram both inflate their numbers for purely marketing value. How many times have you heard Best in Class....that's what matters to marketing and unfortunately macho men (which most of us are me included).

Which ever make you like you will find reasons to like that make/model and dislike the others. Always run the numbers to make sure the tow vehicle is in spec. for the size of the trailer. For trailers less than 20k, the trailer would have to be pretty imbalanced or the tow vehicle overloaded for any of the new Class 3 DRW trucks to hit the axle rating.

A bigger problem is the F250/2500 or F350/3500 SRW thinking they can pull the same load safely.

Andy


 Actually, Chevrolet was picked first in this test and in last years as well.  Oh, and Chevrolet is touting that the new Duramax has "best in class" HP @ 445 😜



-- Edited by RonC on Monday 6th of March 2017 04:56:09 PM



-- Edited by RonC on Monday 6th of March 2017 04:57:04 PM

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"Duramax has "best in class" HP @ 445"

Honest question, why did the RAM come so close with a lot less power @ 385 HP? Personally I was very surprised.

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Honest answer ... Ram 4.10 rear end, Chevy 3.73.

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That monster torque number wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it? Only a few seconds slower up the Ike gaunlet than Ford or GM... I could live with such a minor deficiency. Now if drag racing is your thing.... totally unsat, performance-wise.



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BiggarView wrote:

That monster torque number wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it? Only a few seconds slower up the Ike gaunlet than Ford or GM... I could live with such a minor deficiency. Now if drag racing is your thing.... totally unsat, performance-wise.


 It was GM, RAM then Ford in that order.



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As far as I'm concerned it was a dead heat. Towing up 9 miles of 7% grade and only seconds separate them. If my life depended on mere seconds in those conditions then there would be a case for which was better. I'll never be in that much of a hurry.



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BiggarView wrote:

That monster torque number wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it? Only a few seconds slower up the Ike gaunlet than Ford or GM... I could live with such a minor deficiency. Now if drag racing is your thing.... totally unsat, performance-wise.


 Brain:

Actually, you are correct.  When towing, torque is what gets the load up the hill - and moving in the first place.  HP will determine, once a speed is reached, just how fast the vehicle will travel.  But torque is the key in towing.  And yes, the relatively "fast" rear end on the Chevy does make a difference in a head-to-head "race."  But in the real world, with the 3.73 rear end, the Allison will simply use a lower gear longer then if it were coupled to a 4.1 or a 4.88.  (With a 4.88 one will be in 6th gear at ~40MPH.)   It's not just the rear end ratio but the complete drive train gearing one needs to take into consideration.  For example, larger trucks may actually have even lower rear end  ratios - in the 2.xx range.  But with more gears and over 1,000 lb/ft. of torque all good.

FWIW, from the tests I've seen the Allison looses less torque from the flywheel and transfers more to the rear then some other transmissions.  That just what I've seen in dyno testing.  

Let us all remember these engines still have a great deal of "power" that is untapped due to the programming of the ECM.  But the harder an engine is run the more likely something will break.  Again, that is why it is very common that commercial trucks, using the same basic engine, have de-rated torque and HP.  Longer life in real world.  Ram and Ford both do this.  GM no longer de-rates the 3500HD commercial truck.  But they did de-rate the Duramax till 2012 if memory serves as to the date.  No longer for whatever reason which I won't speculate about other then to guess the MTBF of the LML was acceptable at the same power level in the commercial truck.

Bill



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"FWIW, from the tests I've seen the Allison looses less torque from the flywheel and transfers more to the rear then some other transmissions."

If all three trans are locked what would cause the Allison to transfer more power thru it?

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Cummins12V98 wrote:

"FWIW, from the tests I've seen the Allison looses less torque from the flywheel and transfers more to the rear then some other transmissions."

If all three trans are locked what would cause the Allison to transfer more power thru it?


 Less parasitic drag would be my first guess.  Even "locked" torque converters still have losses in the power transfer from the flywheel to the drive shaft. 



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Cummins12V98 wrote:
BiggarView wrote:

That monster torque number wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it? Only a few seconds slower up the Ike gaunlet than Ford or GM... I could live with such a minor deficiency. Now if drag racing is your thing.... totally unsat, performance-wise.


 It was GM, RAM then Ford in that order.


 Yep ... you got it.  IF you take out the subjective scoring ... the finishing order remains the same, but the differences are very little.  The 2015 Ford F350 (with a 3.73) went up the hill in 9:44.  I can't explain how the 2017 with a 4.10 and a torque bump from 860 to 925 lbs-ft was 45 sec slower than the 2015.  I also can't explain how the Chevy outdid the other two, because on paper, that shouldn't have happened.  But the facts are the facts, so there you have it.

 



-- Edited by RonC on Tuesday 7th of March 2017 12:08:56 PM



-- Edited by RonC on Tuesday 7th of March 2017 12:09:45 PM



-- Edited by RonC on Tuesday 7th of March 2017 12:12:56 PM

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My 2012 Chevy towed my 21k Teton like it owned it. Only issue was rear axle overload.

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Glenn West wrote:

My 2012 Chevy towed my 21k Teton like it owned it. Only issue was rear axle overload.


 What was your Teton's pin weight?  My 2016 F350 DRW has 5,250 lbs available to carry pin weight (9,650 GAWR less 4,400 RAW loaded to travel with full fuel and passengers).  My pin weight is only 3,500, so plenty of head room.



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First of all this is a photo finish between these three trucks.....there is 15 seconds difference between them.  This is not enough separation to call any of them a winner or loser.  If a proper statistical sample was taken I think you would find they are statistically equivalent.  Drafting a semi part way up, having to stop for the stop lights at the top, small change to the running start at the beginning, air pressure change, temperature change, tire pressure difference, A/C on vs. off etc. all could contribute to a 15 second change in the run.

To say the Ford didn't perform as expected or the Ram did better than expected or the Chevy should have been last are, in my opinion, missing the point.  It is surprising to me that they all performed as well and consistent as they did.  The Ram ran 3 seconds faster than the Ford .... ok this gives bragging rights to the Ram over the Ford but really that is crazy close.  Even the comparison of the Chevy to the Ram/Ford of 15 seconds that is incredibly close.

Comparison to or scaling to a 1/4 drag race.

So the Ike is 8 miles which is 32 times longer than a 1/4 mile drag race so convert to seconds & divide by 32.  The average speed for these trucks are ~45 MPH (10.5 minutes over 8 miles) which is 66 ft/s (used to calculate distance at end of run).  In drag racing the difference between these trucks could easily be consumed by the reaction time to the lights or lane variation. 

Truck   Time Minutes   Time 1/4 eq.   Length ahead of Ford in football fields
Chevy   10.28 minutes   19.22 seconds   3.3 football fields (990 ft)
Ram   10.48 minutes   19.65 seconds   0.66 football fields (198 ft)
Ford   10.53 minutes   19.74 seconds   0 football fields (0 ft)

Power Comparison 

There probably is a few percent difference in power output in production engines and the difference between the Ford torque of 925 & Ram at 900 is 2.8%.  This is flywheel power not rear wheel power which can be significantly different.  These engines have a map with inputs like Tow/Haul mode, manually shifting, % load, engine speed, vehicle speed, or throttle position which can all change the power output of the engine.  In the industry I am in, the exact same engine & engine computer are used to produce 100 to 300 hp by only changing the software or mapping in the controller/computer.  

Truck   Hp   Torque 
Chevy   445 hp   910 ft*lbs 
Ram   385 hp   900 ft*lbs 
Ford   440 hp   925 ft*lbs

So how can this happen given the numbers on paper?  I think what we have on paper is the maximum the mapping will allow at some condition.  This some condition was not seen during this testing and for the conditions during the test each engine mapping essential output the same rear wheel power.  Now it might also be the Ram is underrating their numbers and Ford is overrating their numbers while the Chevy is spot on.  It might be at these elevations the turbo on the Chevy is stronger than the Ram which is stronger than the Ford.  It might be the final drive to the rear wheels favors one setup vs. the other. Depending on who you are rooting for, pick what you would like but it can't be denied that no matter what the paper says these trucks are nearly identical in actual performance up & down.

Braking

Forget the uphill run to me the most impressive improvement is the downhill. With grade shifting engaged these trucks basically controlled 22.8k lbs. with just the turbo brake!

Andy



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Andy!! Drop the Mic! 😀



-- Edited by RonC on Saturday 11th of March 2017 08:36:53 PM

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ahull wrote:

First of all this is a photo finish between these three trucks.....there is 15 seconds difference between them.  This is not enough separation to call any of them a winner or loser.

Power Comparison 

There probably is a few percent difference in power output in production engines and the difference between the Ford torque of 925 & Ram at 900 is 2.8%.  This is flywheel power not rear wheel power which can be significantly different.  These engines have a map with inputs like Tow/Haul mode, manually shifting, % load, engine speed, vehicle speed, or throttle position which can all change the power output of the engine.  In the industry I am in, the exact same engine & engine computer are used to produce 100 to 300 hp by only changing the software or mapping in the controller/computer.  

So how can this happen given the numbers on paper?  I think what we have on paper is the maximum the mapping will allow at some condition.  This some condition was not seen during this testing and for the conditions during the test each engine mapping essential output the same rear wheel power.  Now it might also be the Ram is underrating their numbers and Ford is overrating their numbers while the Chevy is spot on.  It might be at these elevations the turbo on the Chevy is stronger than the Ram which is stronger than the Ford.  It might be the final drive to the rear wheels favors one setup vs. the other. Depending on who you are rooting for, pick what you would like but it can't be denied that no matter what the paper says these trucks are nearly identical in actual performance up & down.

Braking

Forget the uphill run to me the most impressive improvement is the downhill. With grade shifting engaged these trucks basically controlled 22.8k lbs. with just the turbo brake!

Andy


Keep preaching, Andy.  Music and truth to my ears. :)  Coming down Ike with over 30,000 lbs and not having to brake with my 2012 Chevy, that was impressive to me.

Bill



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