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Post Info TOPIC: Ford F350 vs. F450 Comparison


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Ford F350 vs. F450 Comparison


Sorry if this is long…attempt will be made to make this organized, short, and concise as possible.  What I will attempt is combine my research & opinion on the topic of F350 vs F450 in DRW configuration for 2015 & 2016 model years.

Background & Acknowledgement

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering with advanced degrees in Engineering Design. I know of Ford engineers that can’t change their oil so in addition to the degrees I worked as an Automotive Technician “Mechanic”, driven medium-duty flatbed tow trucks, and currently work for a company the produces diesel engines.  Although I have towed lots of conventional trailers, I have no experience towing a 5th wheel trailer.  My wife and I are alum’s to Howard & Linda’s Educational Rally and would also like to thank Jack Mayer for e-mail correspondence on this topic.

Basic Overview

The F350 is a Super Duty truck that is beefed up.  Think F250 with higher rated components.  The F450 is watered down medium duty truck shoved into a F250/F350 frame and body.  More details to come but this is a very general comment to set the tone.

Similarities

The F350 & F450 are similar in many ways including the engine, transmission, and body*.  The interior has the same options and configurations for both or in other words what you can option on one you can get on the other.

*F450 comes in one configuration 4 door 8’ bed DRW whereas the F350 is completely configurable in cab, bed, & SRW/DRW.

Part 1

Andy



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Differences

Even though both trucks look the same from a distance there is a significant difference when you look underneath.

Tires

The first thing you will notice are the tires. F350 DRW comes only with 17” wheels which you would normally find on a pickup truck…..lots of options. The F450 comes only with 19.5” wheels which you would normally find on an RV or medium duty truck…..very few options (I found 3 on Tirerack).

Axles/Brakes

Look under the rear bumper on both the F350 & F450 and a novice will see a huge difference. The F350 has a nice tough looking Dana M80 rear axle with heavy duty truck brakes. THEN you look at the F450….as the jaw drops…..the Dana S110 is a massive junk of metal with large protruding brakes…..did I say this is a massive rear axle?

The front axle are both Dana Super 60’s but the F450 has a larger turning angle (I think F350 38% & F450 45%) which results in the F450 with a significantly reduced turning radius (F350 ~56’ & F450 ~50’). Driving these trucks back to back, for me, the turning radius was the final feature that swayed me to the F450. Maneuvering a 5ver should prove a lot easier with the F450.

Part 2
Andy



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Gear Ratio’s
For towing the F350 has two options 3.73 & 4.30 and the F450 has one option 4.30. A later section will address towing capacity. Here is an estimated table of gear ratio combinations vs. RPM @ 65 mph (not actual values). Notice the F450 4.30 is almost identical to the F350 3.73 as far as RPM’s at 65 mph.


DATA HERE WAS WRONG SEE LATER POST.


Realistic Towing Capacity 5th Wheel
My focus hear is the 5th wheel towing capacity and you can look up the numbers at Ford. On paper the F350 4.30 rear axle and the F450 have the same rating of 26.5k and if you ask a salesman both can tow anything you hook to it. Realistically using fifthwheelst.com (http://fifthwheelst.com/2015-one-ton-truck-towing.html) both the F350 & F450 are capable of ~23.5k and the F350 when configured properly (4x2) “on paper” is rated to haul more than the F450.

Part 3

Andy



-- Edited by ahull on Friday 18th of December 2015 11:53:42 AM

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Conclusion/OPINION

The F350 and F450 are both very nice and capable trucks and to me are more similar than different if that makes sense.  Capability wise I think they converge at the same point but from different paths.  When driving the F350 there was a general feeling of driving a beefed up light duty truck or having roots to the F150/F250 line of trucks.  The F450 seemed like a tamed down medium duty truck with slight more mass and stiffer ride. 

This next section are my opinions only and what “I” would do in certain situations.

F350

I personally would keep the trailer weights 20k or below for the F350 and if the trailer is heavier I would switch to the F450.  The F350 would be a better daily driver with the occasional 5th wheel towing.  Overloading this truck will not have the same safety margin as the F450.  I would not consider an F350 4.30 rear axle as I think this is too aggressive.  Stick with the 3.73 for <20k trailer weights (a 4.10 rear axle would probably be perfect).  This should provide a little better fuel economy when not hitched and still plenty of starting power off the line under load.

F450

Even with a realistic towing limit of ~23.5k I would watch the weight and balance very closely when approaching a trailer of this weight.  Even though this truck has its roots to medium duty trucks it is not a medium duty truck.  Heavier trailers require heavier trucks to control the weight.  Frame twist is a significant problem http://fifthwheelst.com/truck_frame_twist_test.html and has to do with the C-channel frame construction and probably the limiting (weakest link) for the rating of this truck.  This truck will do better in the mountains and as a dedicated towing vehicle. 

Final

Andy

 



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Great technical analysis, so do you have any thoughts on the other factors that one should consider, like cost of maintenance, build quality and reliability?

Brian

 



-- Edited by biggaRView on Wednesday 16th of December 2015 06:38:18 PM

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Andy: The thing to keep in mind, IMO, is the rear axle weight rating of the F-450.  It is only 9,100lbs.  That is usually the limiting factor for the F-450.  On a larger trailer, especially with a hauler-bed which is highly desirable along with an aux fuel tank, one will run out of rear axle capacity long before running out of towing or GCWR.  The F-350 is better in this regard than the F-450 in some applications.

Do note that in all the marketing materials showing how much the F-450 can tow they always use a gooseneck trailer which allows a very low pin weight as opposed to be a big 5er.

I agree with your comments:  While the F-450 is rated at 14,000lb GVWR, it is not a true medium duty truck unless one purchases the commercial version of the F-450.  Then all the axle ratings increase and do make it realistically a class 4 truck.  But the commercial F-450 has significantly reduced horsepower and torque ratings in spite of the same engine. (Same for the F-550.) So good to keep this in mind when going to any of the commercial class trucks.  All commercial trucks have reduced horse power and torque and sometimes no exhaust brake.

Not knocking the truck in any regard. Just commenting on the specifications for the pickup. Sometimes the F-350 can be the better choice, especially with the wide front cab option allowing an improved turning radius.  IMO, good to consider all the specs vs. the trailer weighs including pin, not just “it can tow this much.”



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Andy with your background I would think you would mention the F250/350 trucks don't meet SAE J2807 specs but the F450 does. Also the fact is the F series trucks are VERY outdated compared to GM and RAM since the F series trucks are basically the same truck since 1999. The 2017 F series trucks will no doubt meet the SAE standards.

Now why don't you compare the F350's "claims" and the F450's SAE specs to the GM and RAM 3500's that follow the SAE for their ratings. The RAM 3500 DRW is a 4500 with a 3500 badge. So the RAM 3500 and the Ford 450 should be compared.

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·The available 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel has best-in-class standard power ratings.
·Best-in-class 440 horsepower*
·Best-in-class standard 860 lb.-ft. of torque*

·Maximum 31,200-lb. tow rating*
·Best-in-class 40,400-lb. gross combination weight rating (GCWR)*


I don't see how one could go wrong with the F450 other than Big $$$$$$$$

 GAWR is  12000 lbs. (F-450);    (someone mentioned its only 9000)

 



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 01:15:51 PM



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 01:23:41 PM

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000_0139.jpg?t=1299763281



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Well that is certainly unique looking. Lots of room for a onboard car carrier.



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As Bill Napier said…the key issue is rear axle capacity…the 9,100 rating is just too low for the rest of the ratings on the truck…undoubtedly so Ford can sell bigger trucks.

We have a New Horizons Majestic 39 footer and weigh about 22,500 pounds loaded…when H&L weighed us we were about 300 pounds overweight back in 2013. Since then we've added an aux fuel tank to the bed for our trip this past summer to Alaska…that's another 600 or so pounds so we're at about 10% overload on the rear axle. Every other rating we are well within.

On the way back from Alaska…we ended up damaging the trim strip on the bottom of the bedroom and dinging up the drivers side bed rail…due to plain insufficient clearance even with our Trailer Saver hitch pumped about an inch above the nominal height but still below max height.

Between the overload condition and the bed damage…we now have a RAM 5500HD with hauler bed on order from Classy Chassis…we really wish that we had been good friends with Bill before we bought the 450 because we would have gotten the 5500 instead. Still though…we're getting the original price of the truck less about 15K back on trade even with almost 4 years and 45,000 miles of towing so we are just considering it lessons learned. 

The new truck has more brakes, more rear axle, air suspension on the rear and lots of nice storage bins in the bed.

Even New Horizons is no longer recommending the 450…you really need to check the bed rail to bedroom clearance and see what it is before going with the standard pickup bed…again if we knew then what we knew now then a hauler bed would have been the buy instead of a pickup bed. Trouble is that the hauler is probably 900-1000 pounds heavier than the pickup bed and that just makes the axle load worse…which would have again pushed us to the bigger truck.

We did order the Cummins engine and Aisin tranny with the new truck…it's a lot of bucks to spend but well worth it.

 



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Couple follow up answers.

First I hope this doesn't go the route of Ford vs. Ram vs. Chevy......To be completely honest I have never liked Ford trucks and always preferred GM or Toyota vehicles.

In my opinion the F450 is in a unique position where it has some medium duty components mixed in with the Super Duty truck. In general my research showed that the GM 3500, Ram 3500, & F350 are all similarly capable of "realistically" towing
I think there is no comparison when going up to Cab & Chassis models that the Ram rules the 4500/5500 class but with detuned engines. Don't understand bigger stronger trucks with lower powered engines. Maybe someone has an answer? I think if I needed to go bigger than an F350/F450/3500 I would go Jack Mayer's route with a HDT.

Bill brings up a great point on the rear axle rating of the F450 at 9,100 lbs vs the F350 at 9,650 lbs and this really had me stumped for a long time. This is my answer.....The F450 is rated to the SAE J2807 standard. My understanding of the Ford internal testing (and other manufactures that don't follow SAE J2807) is that they set the tow ratings based on the most stripped down version of the truck (i.e. no options) and 150 lbs. person. For the J2807 standard a better equipped vehicle is used along with in Fords case 400 more lbs. The GCVW for the F450 went up from 40,000 lbs. to 40,400 lbs. but the GVW rating stays at 14,000 lbs. so the extra weight came off the rear axle rating. There is something with a 14,000 lbs rating that must be a hard ceiling.

I think the 2017 Super Duty trucks will all be tested according to the SAE J2807 and these ratings will re-sync.

The Dana specifications for S110 GAW is 14,000 lbs & the Dana M80 GAW is 11,000 lbs and Ford underrates them to S110 9,100 lbs. & M80 9,650 lbs. Take a look at the rear axles of both and it is clear there is no way the F350 has a larger GAW rating.....it is only on paper.

ticat900 ...... best in class is also interesting. What class is the F450 in? If Ford wants to compete with Ram 3500 then it is not best in class. Ford 440 HP 865 lbs.ft Ram 400 HP 900 lbs.ft. Gooseneck towing Ford F450 31,200 Ram 3500 31,210.

I really can't see anyone going wrong with any of these trucks given a trailer in the
Andy



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Previous message cut of

I really can't see anyone going wrong with and of these trucks given a trailer in the <20k lbs. range.

Also I am not saying to go over manufacturing specifications and qualify that I continue to say <20k lbs. trailers.

Andy

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two things here personally I would rather have 440HP and 865lbs of torque verses 400HP and 900 torque
BUT the ISB is a great engine tried and proven

Regard rear axle F450 crew cab dually axle at 9100LB
where are u seeing 9100 lbs ?? what I found: 2016 Ford Super Duty F-450 DRW Axle Capacity - Rear (lbs)12000

9100 lbs makes little or no sense especially when u consider the F450 has to have a better axle rate over a F350 in part because of the 19.5 wheels and tires and 10 lugs

 



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 05:17:36 PM



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 05:18:10 PM

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Andy,

As Bill mentioned, adding the High Capacity Trailer Tow Package option to the F350 will get a better turning radius that will compare to the radius of the F450.

From the 2016 Ford Superduty brochure:

High-Capacity Trailer Tow Package (F-350
Crew Cab DRW 172" WB 4x4 only; requires diesel
engine and 4.30 limited-slip rear axle) includes
max. front springs, wide track front axle, front
fender flare moldings, and increased GCWR from
31,900 lbs. to 35,000 lbs.

However, as an offset of an advantage, with the F350 with that package it has to have the 4:30 rear axle ratio.

Terry



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ahull wrote:

Gear Ratio’s
For towing the F350 has two options 3.73 & 4.30 and the F450 has one option 4.30. A later section will address towing capacity. Here is an estimated table of gear ratio combinations vs. RPM @ 65 mph (not actual values). Notice the F450 4.30 is almost identical to the F350 3.73 as far as RPM’s at 65 mph.


Truck F350 F350 F450
Speed 65 65 65
Tire Diameter 17 17 19.5
Diff Ratio 3.73 4.3 4.3
Tran Ratio 0.67 0.67 0.67
RPM 3210 3700 3230


p>

Part 3

Andy





I don't know where you came up with the RPM's in relation to the gearing, but they are not in the ball park. I have a F-350 DRW with 3.73 and at 65 MPH I am under 2000 RPM's. Your figures for the 4.30 gearing on the F-350 means the truck is going to have to red line to get to 65 MPH.

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travlingman - you are absolutely correct that I am wrong. I meant it only as a comparison and even in doing so that was wrong. Here are numbers that should be a little closer.

Truck F350 F350 F450
Speed 65 65 65
Tire Diameter 17 17 19.5
Diff Ratio 3.73 4.3 4.3
Tran Ratio 0.67 0.67 0.67
RPM 1732 1997 2003

I stand-by my previous statement about the F350 4.3 rear axle for 5th wheel towing. It is overkill for realistic trailer weights of <20k lbs. If you were towing a gooseneck at higher weights or more low end was needed for plowing snow the 4.30 rear might make sense.

Andy

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Better Format.....Sorry.


Truck            F350      F350      F450
Speed            65          65          65
Tire Diameter 17          17         19.5
Diff Ratio      3.73        4.3         4.3
Tran Ratio     0.67       0.67       0.67
RPM              1732     1997       2003

Andy



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That looks about right for the 3.73. I would have thought the RPM's would be lower for the F-450 since it had the 19.5 tires.

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F450 tire is 22570195 (factory)

32 inch tall 65 mph .67 trans ratio 4.30 rear gear = 1966 RPM
*********75*****************************= 2269 RPM

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I'll wager that the 15% higher RPMs at 75 translates into a much larger drop percentage-wise in MPGs while towing. Methinks 65MPH is plenty fast enough for towing with either rear axle ratio. The truck and trailer tires, brakes and suspension components will appreciate the lower speed too.



-- Edited by biggaRView on Wednesday 16th of December 2015 10:45:17 AM

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ticat900 wrote:

two things here personally I would rather have 440HP and 865lbs of torque verses 400HP and 900 torque
BUT the ISB is a great engine tried and proven

Regard rear axle F450 crew cab dually axle at 9100LB
where are u seeing 9100 lbs ?? what I found: 2016 Ford Super Duty F-450 DRW Axle Capacity - Rear (lbs)12000

9100 lbs makes little or no sense especially when u consider the F450 has to have a better axle rate over a F350 in part because of the 19.5 wheels and tires and 10 lugs

 



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 05:17:36 PM



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 05:18:10 PM


 

Paul:

Go here for the ratings of the F-450 pickup.  I believe you are looking at the F-450 commercial truck page.  You will also notice on this page the F-350 DRW has a 9,650lbs rear axle capacity on the line right above the F-450 having a 9,100lb rear axle rating.

http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/chassis/

I agree, the 9,100lb rating makes no sense - to us.  But to Ford it does from a warranty standpoint.  They don’t want the F-450 pickup, with the full power engine and lighter frame, used in commercial, 365 service.  So they give you, the private user, the high engine horse power and torque excellent for the marketing department and private use, but limit the rear axle capacity so up-fitters can’t put big boxes, boom truck, etc. adds to the truck.

The F-450 “pickup” was a new product in 2008 designed for private “pickup” use and actually not based, except for the cab, on the commercial F-450 which had / has higher axle ratings.  The only way to keep the pickup F-450 out of the commercial up-fitter’s hands was to limit the rear axle and frame capacity.  (BTW, Howard and Linda's 2005 F-450 is a commercial truck.  The "pickup bed" was added at time of purchase and now has been replaced with a hauler bed.  It being a commercial F-450 is why they are not overloaded with their truck.)

Again, this is not a criticism of the truck.  All commercial trucks, including RAM’s, have de-rated engines from their pickup versions.  It is simply the official Ford ratings and only the OEM (Ford) – not an up-fitter no matter what they add to the truck suspension or rear end wise – can change the OEM ratings.

It will be interesting to see if the “new” F-450 pickup – the 2017 - will have any change of significance on the rear axle rating.

And no, this is not a Ford, Chevy, RAM discussion.  It is a ratings discussion and they are what they are.  With some trailers the F-450 can be a good choice.  But for others the F-350 might actually offer more overall useable capability.  For still others a true commercial truck is the more appropriate choice.  "It depends."  That's why these discussions can be helpful.  But one has to consider all the ratings, IMO.  Not just the ones from the marketing departments, IMO, which tend to leave out some important details.



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Bill

makes sense sort of but one can assume that its a marketing deal but in the end the F450 is a better choice if you strictly want it for its overall
weight capability both in loads and especially towing it far outshines the F350 in those compartments
However it rides empty like a cement truck. that's the downside

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ticat900 wrote:

·The available 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel has best-in-class standard power ratings.
·Best-in-class 440 horsepower*
·Best-in-class standard 860 lb.-ft. of torque*

·Maximum 31,200-lb. tow rating*
·Best-in-class 40,400-lb. gross combination weight rating (GCWR)*


I don't see how one could go wrong with the F450 other than Big $$$$$$$$

 GAWR is  12000 lbs. (F-450);    (someone mentioned its only 9000)

 



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 01:15:51 PM



-- Edited by ticat900 on Tuesday 15th of December 2015 01:23:41 PM


 I like the twist on words "best in class STANDARD power ratings".  RAM has 3 different offerings.

 

Yes Ford has more HP but RAM has 900TQ VS Fords 860TQ.

 

I do agree when towing heavy the 450 is the way to go in a Forn but there can be a negative since the 450 may be considered commercial to some insurance companies.  Best to check.

 

The RAM 3500 is in the same arena as the 450 but with the lighter BADGE.  



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I bet u a dollar to a doughnut the 40 lbs of torque is not measurable by human feel and the 40 more HP is

Iam not a ford fan at all but if I ever wanted to haul 30++K I surely would take a look at the diesel F450


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ticat900 wrote:

Bill

makes sense sort of but one can assume that its a marketing deal but in the end the F450 is a better choice if you strictly want it for its overall
weight capability both in loads and especially towing it far outshines the F350 in those compartments
However it rides empty like a cement truck. that's the downside


 

Indeed, I agree assuming you don’t overload the rear axle.  That rear axle limitation is why I didn’t purchase one.  It just can’t handle a hauler bed, aux tank, tools and the pin weight; at least according to the Ford’s specifications.  I’ve done the math and seen real world scale weights too many times trying to make it work.  But it is also about application and warranty as I noted; commercial vs. private use as far as Ford’s application for the two different versions of the “F-450.”

As to riding like a cement truck – Oh, I really agree with that.  But that can be fixed for a few thousand dollars with full air-ride.  Air-ride doesn’t change the rear axle capacity but sure does improve the ride – especially solo.  (Just kidding about “a few thousand.” It’s expensive to do it right.)

BTW, without air-ride on the rear the RAM5500HD and the F-550 also have that “cement ride” feature, except its a bit worse, IMO.  I know, I’ve driven them.

Good, informative discussion and not about Ford vs. Chevy vs. RAM as such, at least from my chair.



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I think Bill is exactly right. I think we are asking too much from the light duty trucks.

Class 3 Truck
I looked into the 14,000 number and that is the highest weight rating for a Class 3 light duty truck. Over 14,000 lbs you are now in a Class 4 medium duty truck. Ford has taken the medium duty axles, brakes, and some body modifications and placed them on the F450 'light duty' truck and kept it as a Class 3 truck.

F350 vs F450 Rear GAW
What I do want to caution in is the debate between F350 & F450 rear GAW rating. Generally speaking the F350 & F450 front axle, engine, transmission, body & frame are the same (there are some minor modifications to stiffen the F450 frame). The F450 gets the rear axle and tires from the medium duty trucks both with higher ratings yet the F350 gets a higher rear GAW rating. This goes back to the Class 3 truck & J2807 standard.....on the F450 Cab & Chassis the rear GAW is 12,000 lbs as a Class 4 truck. What is different between the F450 'light duty' & the F450 Cab & Chassis? Not the rear axle.

I think if there was a 'Class 3 plus' rating of say 15,000 lbs Ford would immediately increase the rear GAW rating the 1,000 lbs on the F450. In other words Ford can't increase the rear GAW rating of the F450 because it would push it into the medium duty class truck.

Scenario
Take an F350 4.30 rear (max tow) vs an F450 towing a trailer 23.5k lbs with a pin weight & rear axle combined weight of 9,200 lbs and all other weights within specs. Which truck would you pick to tow the trailer? According to 'paper' the F350 is within specifications but I personally would feel more comfortable with the F450.

This is the problem with the numbers on paper and this push to make light duty trucks semi's. If you need to tow a 5th wheel trailer larger than 20k lbs I would suggest moving to MDT or HDT tow vehicle.

Andy

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ahull wrote:

I think Bill is exactly right. I think we are asking too much from the light duty trucks.


This is the problem with the numbers on paper and this push to make light duty trucks semi's. If you need to tow a 5th wheel trailer larger than 20k lbs I would suggest moving to MDT or HDT tow vehicle.

Andy


 

Andy:

I especially agree with your last sentence. Likewise your comment about the 350 vs. 450.  These “super pickups,” as they have been called, are many times under rated as to what they can do axle wise in private service. No question.  In occasional “over rated weight service” I doubt you will hurt or break anything although I’ve seen issues with some RV use. By occasional I mean RV towing of a few thousand miles a year.  Feel free to define “a few” as you like.

That said, I’ve seen reports from people using these “super pickups” in daily use hauling cars, etc. beyond the capacity ratings and they do have rear-end and rear axle issues.

Many on this forum reiterate many times over having “enough truck to do the job.”  I agree with that and it is why I make the comments I do and as you commented above.  Just providing facts from the manufactures.  We are free to make our own judgments as to the validity of those ratings.  But in an accident situation I believe one will see the manufactures ratings being taken as the limits by the authorities.

It’s not just the total trailer weights to be considered as mentioned.  One must include, if on the agenda, the increased weight from hauler beds – if required - aux fuel tanks, (60 gallons of diesel weights almost 500lbs plus the weight of tank,) tools, air-ride hitches (Trailer Savers weigh 350lbs plus mounting plate) and other personal items.  Naturally the biggest number is pin weight and those can reach close to 5,000lbs even with a trailer weighing 20,000lbs.  (25% pin weight is a valid build although ~22% is more common on larger 5ers.)  As was mentioned, many of the available capacity ratings are for a “stripped” truck which no one has.

I also agree that with most trailers at or under 20,000lbs, assuming a few things, most any of the Class 3 trucks, which the F-350, F-450, 3500HDs’ etc. really are, will all do a very good job in RV travel towing service.  No question. Pick your brand and badge on the side.  All very fine trucks  (BTW, let’s not quibble about 14,000 being a Class 4 truck. It depends on who’s doing the rating; some don’t include 14,000 as Class 4, others do. This discussion is about ratings, not truck class.)

Over the years I’ve been on this forum I’ve just come to see most RVers only look at the trailer towing weight ratings with and without the new J2807 standard.  I just want to encourage examining all the ratings and application including all the upgrades many install. I don’t have a brand preference went it comes to ratings. I just put them all down on a spread sheet and do the math.  Sometimes the Ford product is fine.  Sometimes the GM product is fine.  Sometimes the RAM product is fine. Sometimes they are all “fine.”  But, “it depends” on all the rating to make a choice and I just suggest we all do just that.  Look at all the ratings and make a choice.  But all three brands are very good trucks within their specific ratings and warranty limitations.

Again, Andy, nice conversation.

Bill



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"If you need to tow a 5th wheel trailer larger than 20k lbs I would suggest moving to MDT or HDT tow vehicle"

Give me a break! I see you are a new member on here with 9 posts that are all on this thread. I looked at your profile to see what RV you may own to see if you have any experience "Towing Heavy" and you have nothing listed.

I have had thousands of miles Towing Heavy. My last RV was at 20K being towed by my 2011 RAM Dually in ALL weather conditions with ZERO issues.

My current RV weighs 23K, my trucks front and rear axles are within axle ratings along with combined weight being well within ratings. I can tell you the new RAM's are far superior to the 10-12 RAM's that were great at the time. With a few thousand miles towing the BEAST I can tell you this truck is more than capable of SAFELY towing these weights.

So with respect please tell us what personal experiences you base your above statement on.



-- Edited by Cummins12V98 on Saturday 19th of December 2015 06:58:47 AM

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"Over the years I’ve been on this forum I’ve just come to see most RVers only look at the trailer towing weight ratings with and without the new J2807 standard"

Bill I appreciate your posts. I am curious you say you agree with Andy saying 20K+ meeds a MDT but you also mention the SAE J2807 that clearly supports RAM's ratings allowing for much larger than 20K.



-- Edited by Cummins12V98 on Saturday 19th of December 2015 07:09:00 AM

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To Cummins12v98

You can read the very first post where I clearly and fully disclose my experience and also that these are my opinions.

Beyond that I will not respond to any personal attacks.

Andy

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As a full-timer, I would consider this as well.
When considering a truck and looking at numbers, the closer you are to weighing and towing to the maximum weights, the faster you will be replacing parts. If you use 100% of your capabilities 100% of the time items will wear out, compared to using say 75% of your truck capabilities.
If I had the money to throw around, then yes a "New" 2016 Ram dually with most of the bells and whistles would be nice, I'd even take the Chevy or Ford if they we're within MY 75% rule. But we can't afford to upgrade trucks every few years to the latest and greatest models.
So therefore when we knew we had to either upgrade trucks or downgrade RV's, we went with the most capable vehicle we could find within our cash budget.


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ahull wrote:

To Cummins12v98

You can read the very first post where I clearly and fully disclose my experience and also that these are my opinions.

Beyond that I will not respond to any personal attacks.

Andy


 Nothing personal meant, sorry!



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F450 crew cab dually diesel still wins overall in the GCWR

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Cummins12V98 wrote:

"Over the years I’ve been on this forum I’ve just come to see most RVers only look at the trailer towing weight ratings with and without the new J2807 standard"

Bill I appreciate your posts. I am curious you say you agree with Andy saying 20K+ meeds a MDT but you also mention the SAE J2807 that clearly supports RAM's ratings allowing for much larger than 20K.


-- Edited by Cummins12V98 on Saturday 19th of December 2015 07:09:00 AM


First, I am being “general” in my comments.  I have all the Ford, RAM and GM charts and have done extensive research based on specifications, not the marketing materials which are notoriously either misleading or conveniently out of date.

The chart you reference I have including the 2016 for all RAM trucks.  (It’s like 17 pages long. RAM is sure detailed. LOL)

The reason I agree in general with needing a true MDT, like an F-550 or 5500HD for trailers over 20K, is the OEM’s rear axle capacity rating.  Not the towing capacity.  I thought I had made that pretty clear as I have in many other posts.

I don’t want to get into a longer discussion, but the short version is this: The F-450 and RAM 3500HD when you include the base weight of the truck on the rear axle and then add a hauler bed, aux fuel tank, tools, an air-ride hitch, etc., etc., one can run out of rear axle capacity pretty fast. Even without a hauler bed you can really bump up against the rear axle capacity.  It’s just math and I’ve done the spreadsheets for years as people have privately asked my opinions.  When you go over a 20K trailer, in general as outlined in my previous post, is when that pin weigh can start to become significant to the total rear axle weight.

When I started working on a new trailer I actually designed it to work without a hauler bed truck and still have at least 7” of bed rail clearance - another problem with all newer trucks post 2011 - GM, RAM and Ford.  That allowed the trailer to be safely towed with a RAM3500HD, Chevy 3500HD or an F-450 IF the trailer’s pin weight didn't get too high without an aux fuel tank, etc. weight allowance.  The “towing capacity” of the RAM3500HD, or F-450, was never in question and still isn’t.  Both are outstanding tow vehicles within all of their ratings.  Do keep in mind the model year of the truck is equally important.  The ratings, including HP and torque, do change and changed significantly for some in 2011 and others in 2013.  “It depends.”

Moving on with why I agree with Andy, “in general.”  Once past 20K in a trailer IF you want the hauler bed, etc. the pin weight will start to push that rear axle rating if not before the 20K number.  Certainly if one can stay within all the ratings then pulling a 23K trailer with the RAM, or F-450, is just fine. No question ratings wise for either truck.  But it is hard to do that based on the charts in the real world.  Not impossible, but hard as rigs and trucks tend to gain weight over time, etc.

So that is my reason for agreeing “in general.”  Further, many people read these posts for information.  I try and put a few items in the posts that might trigger some research on the part of the readers without promoting or criticizing any brand as best I can. They all have their strong and weak points. This board is for full-timers, mostly, and RV new comers. It is also the most civil board on the web. So my comments are focused on what I hope is factual information, not brand selling or promoting as such.

Having said all that and putting our money where my opinions are, based on math, specifications and test drives of them all, we are building a RAM 5500HD with Classy Chassis.  Some will say, “I thought you were a Chevy guy.”  Well, based on now 180,000 miles of virtually trouble free operation from the  Duramax Allison combination, not to mention the Chevy 3500HD actually has a higher rear axle capacity than the F-450, (9,375 vs. 9,100lbs) I chose the GM truck before building our second rig.  However, my trailer came off the line heavier than anticipated (hoped for, LOL) in spite of efforts to keep the pin weigh down.  So to totally forget about ever being overloaded on the rear axle, no matter what I load in the truck or trailer, we’re changing to the MDT truck.  The F-550 MDT would also be an acceptable choice.  BTW, The Chevy 3500HD tows the trailer, stops the trailer and controls the trailer just fine as it did for the trip to Alaska and for multiple trips around the US including the Rockies and is within towing specs.  But for us it’s about specifications, not brand; and being able to totally fill the trailer, including full fresh water, still be within all truck specs and have the best performance possible from a commercial, MDT truck.  I guess the “engineering” background in me always wins.

This post is too long and I apologize for that. But I thought it the best way to explain my opinions and comments. We all get those, including Andy’s, which I appreciated.

I hope this answers the question as best I can including some questions others might have as they continue their research which I always encourage.

Bill



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Thanks Bill!

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This is a fantastic topic. I'm a complete novice when it comes to trucks. I appreciate you guys adding all the detail. Thank you,



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As Bill mentioned I expect this post will get a lot of views from those looking to purchase a new truck for full time RVing.....I wish I would have found a post like this before I made my purchase.  There are two follow up comments that I would like to address.  

Cummins12V98 wrote:

Now why don't you compare the F350's "claims" and the F450's SAE specs to the GM and RAM 3500's that follow the SAE for their ratings. The RAM 3500 DRW is a 4500 with a 3500 badge. So the RAM 3500 and the Ford 450 should be compared.


The RAM 3500 does have very similar towing specs. to the F450 but the RAM 3500 doesn't have the rear axle of the MD trucks.  The Ram 4500/5500 has the S110 and the Ram 3500 has the AAM 11.5 which has similar specifications/construction as the Dana 80 axle used in the F350.

 

Bill and Linda wrote:

That said, I’ve seen reports from people using these “super pickups” in daily use hauling cars, etc. beyond the capacity ratings and they do have rear-end and rear axle issues.


Bill I did a little research into this and found the 2011-2014 F450's regularly towing at or over max weights are prone to axle issues.  The F450's in these model years have the Dana 80 axle not the Dana 110 axle.  

Andy



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"The RAM 3500 does have very similar towing specs. to the F450 but the RAM 3500 doesn't have the rear axle of the MD trucks. The Ram 4500/5500 has the S110 and the Ram 3500 has the AAM 11.5 which has similar specifications/construction as the Dana 80 axle used in the F350."

The RAM truck that would be compared to the 450 in the 3500 RAM has a 11.8" ring gear with the 4:10's that give the truck the MAX towing capacity. You can correct me but from what I have read the 450 rear axle load max is around 9,100# and the RAM 3500 is 9,750#.

I agree the RAM's rear axle is not as HD as the MD trucks but the AAM 11.8 is rated to carry and tow more than RAM rates it for.



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I'm also a complete novice/ignorant about this topic and really appreciate y'all laying it out here. When I've tried to decipher the stats for the various trucks on my own, it made my head spin. I'm a long way off from my FT life, but trying to get educated. I'm leaning toward a motorhome at this time, but I want to keep my options open.

Thanks to all you experts.

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Cummins12V98 wrote:
You can correct me but from what I have read the 450 rear axle load max is around 9,100# and the RAM 3500 is 9,750#.



 

Based on the two manufactures published specifications for both trucks, these numbers are correct. The F-450 is 9,100# for the "pickup" version of the truck.  There is a commercial version of the F-450 which has a much higher rear axle rating but that truck has much lower HP and torque specifications and does not have an exhaust brake. (Same engine - just de-tuned for commercial service.)  Likewise it does not have a bed on it.  It is a chassis-cab. I.e. bare rails behind the cab.



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ahull wrote:

As Bill mentioned I expect this post will get a lot of views from those looking to purchase a new truck for full time RVing.....I wish I would have found a post like this before I made my purchase.  There are two follow up comments that I would like to address.  

 

Bill and Linda wrote:

That said, I’ve seen reports from people using these “super pickups” in daily use hauling cars, etc. beyond the capacity ratings and they do have rear-end and rear axle issues.


Bill I did a little research into this and found the 2011-2014 F450's regularly towing at or over max weights are prone to axle issues.  The F450's in these model years have the Dana 80 axle not the Dana 110 axle.  

Andy


 

Yes, Andy.  Agreeing with your comment by saying, “that’s why there are specifications.”  And the same problem would occur regardless of brand or “badge” on the side of the truck.

One must look at all the specifications to make a selection.  Based on years of looking at these types of numbers, including engine specifications, I always recommend ignoring the marketing brochures which are always misleading.  Ever notice the trucks with the big combined rate weightings are shown with a gooseneck trailer.  That’s because it is the only way to get the pin weight down low enough to be within rear axle specifications with the “test trailer” and still have that heavy a trailer to show with the GCVWR rating.  (Minimum pin weight is 15% of the trailer’s overall weight.) All three brands are "good trucks" IMO. But it’s just math, not brand loyalty determining my comments here.



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Just a FYI AAM rates the 11.8" 4:10 axle at 11,500# so with RAM limiting the load to 9,750# there is a nice margin.

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Like you say its all personal preference. Having through the years worked on all three, did several salvage rebuilds on all three etc

If I was to buy a new 3500 series tomorrow I would buy the chevy/gmc one ton dually. GM through the years just seems to build a better overall truck
especially interior wise. I know that dodge has caught up in quality in the last few years etc
I just prefer the drive feel, interiors, duramax noise level, braking etc of a GM made unit


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Just a FYI, the Dana S110 is rated at 14,000 lbs., so with Ford limiting the load to 9100 lbs., there is a real big margin built in. biggrin



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travlingman wrote:

Just a FYI, the Dana S110 is rated at 14,000 lbs., so with Ford limiting the load to 9100 lbs., there is a real big margin built in. biggrin


 I agree!



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travlingman wrote:

Just a FYI, the Dana S110 is rated at 14,000 lbs., so with Ford limiting the load to 9100 lbs., there is a real big margin built in. biggrin


If you’re creating your own specifications, which one is free to do, then do make sure the truck in question has the S-110 along with bearings equally rated.  They are not all the same.  Just saying . . .  



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Bill and Linda wrote:
travlingman wrote:

Just a FYI, the Dana S110 is rated at 14,000 lbs., so with Ford limiting the load to 9100 lbs., there is a real big margin built in. biggrin


If you’re creating your own specifications, which one is free to do, then do make sure the truck in question has the S-110 along with bearings equally rated.  They are not all the same.  Just saying . . .  


 

 

 

Rear Axle Load Capacity

 

S10-110 10,000

 

S12-110 12,000

 

S14-110 14,000

 

 



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travlingman wrote:

Just a FYI, the Dana S110 is rated at 14,000 lbs., so with Ford limiting the load to 9100 lbs., there is a real big margin built in. biggrin


True in some regards, depending on year, sometimes even on date, of manufacture -  As Andy researched and posted:

"Bill I did a little research into this and found the 2011-2014 F450's regularly towing at or over max weights are prone to axle issues.  The F450's in these model years have the Dana 80 axle not the Dana 110 axle.  

Andy"

So it is important to check the specific truck as I have commented over the years.  Not all "F-450's" or RAM's or Chevy's etc. are the same.  There have been significant changes over the years - even recently.  "It depends."



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Plan to order the new 2016 F-450 this week. Glad I came across this thread first. My line of reasoning started with, hey a F-450 was good enough for Howard and he researches the heck out of things (yes, I know things have changed since then). We weren't sure what trailer we might end up with, so I wanted to be prepared for most any 5'er (we decided on the Arctic Fox 32-5M). Every time one of those pesky salesman asks what will you be towing this thing with I simply say a F-450 and that part of the conversation ends. We all have our strong suits and I am trying hard to develop one of mine as being dependent on others research and knowledge!



-- Edited by Dave and Denise on Tuesday 26th of January 2016 05:51:27 PM

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