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  • How 2015 Ford F-450 and 2015 Ram 3500 Trucks are Engineered to Pull 15 Tons

How 2015 Ford F-450 and 2015 Ram 3500 Trucks are Engineered to Pull 15 Tons

30,000-Pound Tow Tech

Jun 26, 2015
Photographers: Trevor Reed, Courtesy of Manufacturers
We live in a time when a massive 30,000-pound maximum tow rating has become the new benchmark for 1-ton diesel pickups. It’s an eye-catching number, and it’s almost hard to believe that modern “civilian” diesel trucks can now tow 15 tons or more (ratings are set by the manufacturers and can be verified using SAE-J2807 test standards). Just 10 years ago, 1-ton dualies had max-tow limits of a little more than 16,000 pounds, but for model year 2015, only a handful of single-rear-wheel ¾-ton models have lower ratings. You almost have to go out of your way to buy one.
Photo 2/37   |   2015 Ford F 450 Side View 312000 Pound Tow Rating
There are currently two diesel truck models that meet or exceed the magic 30,000-pound tow rating: the ’15 Ford F-450 (crew cab, four-wheel drive) and the ’15 Ram 3500 (regular cab, two-wheel drive, with the heavy-duty Aisin AS69RC transmission). We asked each company to show us what sets the “max-tow” models apart from their “normal” 1-ton diesels, and both Ford and Ram graciously gave us full access to crew cab 4x4 dualie versions of the trucks, as well as engineers to give us exclusive guided tours. Here’s what we learned.
Ford F-450 vs. F-350
The Ford F-450 debuted in 2008 with a mixture of chassis cab strength and “civilian” parts (such as a pickup bed!). The ’15 model shown here uses the same 6.7L Power Stroke engine, TorqShift transmission, and rear frame structure as an F-350, but it’s rated to tow 31,200 pounds. That’s the most of any Class 3 consumer pickup truck with a maximum GVWR of 14,000 pounds. It accomplishes this feat with the help of a heavier-duty front frame section, a wide-track front axle, a massive Dana S110 rear axle, stiffer springs, bigger brakes, 19.5-inch wheels, commercial-grade tires, and more. The dual-rear-wheel crew cab 4x4 version of the F-350 can be ordered with the same wide-track front axle and 4.30:1 gearing as the F-450 to give it a maximum tow rating of 26,700 pounds. The F-350 shown here is the more conventional setup with 3.73:1 axle ratios and the standard-width front axle that’s available in all cab configurations. We asked Ford to show us the crew cab four-wheel-drive dualie version of the F-350, which is rated to tow a maximum of 23,500 pounds.
Photo 3/37   |   The ’15 Ford F-450 is rated to tow a maximum of 31,200 pounds. The main differences between the F-450 and the “standard” F-350 are a heavier front frame section, a wide-track front axle, a Dana S110 rear axle (also found on commercial trucks), a stronger suspension, larger brakes, big tires, and 19.5-inch wheels.
Ford Super Duty Maximum Tow Ratings
F-350 DRW 2WD Regular Cab....24,700 pounds
F-350 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab....24,300 pounds
F-350 DRW 2WD Super Cab....24,200 pounds
F-350 DRW 4x4 Super Cab....23,800 pounds
F-350 DRW 2WD Crew Cab....24,000 pounds
F-350 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 3.73:1 axle ratio....23,500 pounds (shown)
F-350 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 4.30:1 axle ratio....26,700 pounds
F-450 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab....31,200 pounds (shown)
Photo 4/37   |   Calling the Dana S110 rear axle in the F-450 “heavy-duty” is a bit of an understatement. It features a 12.17-inch-diameter ring gear swimming in 7 quarts of oil that turns 1.61-inch od axleshafts.
Ford F-450
Vehicle: F-450 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke V-8
Power: 440 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 860 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission: TorqShift six-speed automatic
Drive type: Four-wheel drive
Frame material: Mild- and high-strength steel
Frame design: C-channel ladder frame with boxed sections
Frame manufacturing method: Stamped components joined with welds and rivets
Framerail thickness: 0.26 inch (6.6 mm)
Number of crossmembers: 8
Crossmember thickness: 0.12 to 0.23 inches (3.0 to 5.74 mm)
Gooseneck/fifth-wheel crossmember thickness: 0.25 inch (6.35 mm)
Front suspension: Solid live axle with trailing arms, coil springs, Tenneco shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Solid live axle with four leaf springs, Tenneco shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
Front axle: Dana Super 60
Axleshaft material: 1040 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.35 inches (34.4 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 10.07 inches (256 mm)
Oil capacity: 2.9 quarts (2.8L)
Track width: 74.8 inches
Rear axle: Dana S110
Axleshaft material: 1040 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.61 inch (40.9 mm)
Differential type: Helical open
Ring gear size: 12.17 inches (309 mm)
Oil capacity: 7 quarts
Track width: 75.9 inches
Axle ratios: 3.73:1
Driveshaft material: Steel
Driveshaft outside diameter: 3.5 inches
Dirveshaft U-joints: Dana SPL55
Front brake size: 14.49x1.54 inches (369x39 mm)
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Rear brake size: 15.35x1.54 inches (390x39 mm)
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Parking brake size: 9.53 inches (242 mm)
Wheels: 19.5x6 aluminum
Tires: HSR 225/70R19.5 Continental All-Season
Curb weight: 9,204 pounds
GVWR: 14,000 pounds
Maximum payload: N/A
Maximum trailer tow rating: 31,200 pounds
Photo 12/37   |   The F-350 DRW 4x4 crew cab shown here features the standard-width front axle and is rated to tow a maximum of 23,500 pounds.
Ford F-350
Specifications
Vehicle: Ford F-350 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 3.73:1 axle ratio
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke V-8
Power: 440 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 860 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission: TorqShift six-speed automatic
Drive type: Four-wheel drive
Frame material: Mild- and high-strength steel
Frame design: C-channel ladder frame with boxed sections
Frame manufacturing method: Stamped components joined with welds and rivets
Framerail thickness: 0.26 inch (6.6 mm)
Number of crossmembers: 8 Crossmember thickness: 0.12 to 0.23 inches (3.0 to 5.74 mm)
Gooseneck/fifth-wheel crossmember thickness: 0.25 inch (6.35 mm)
Front suspension: Solid live axle with trailing arms, coil springs, Rancho shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Solid live axle with five leaf springs, Rancho shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar
Front axle: Dana Super 60
Axleshaft material: 1040 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.35 inches (34.4 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 10.07 inches (256 mm)
Oil capacity: 2.9 quarts
Track width: 68.3 inches
Rear axle: Dana M80
Axleshaft material: 1040 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.45 inches (36.8 mm)
Differential type: Traction-Loc limited-slip
Ring gear size: 11.26 inches (286 mm)
Oil capacity: 4¼ quarts
Track width: 74.7 inches
Axle ratios: 3.73:1
Driveshaft material: Steel
Driveshaft outside diameter: 3.5 inches
Dirveshaft U-joints: Dana SPL55
Front brake size: 14.29x1.49 inches (363x38 mm)
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Rear brake size: 14.29x1.49 (363x38 mm)
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Parking brake size: 9.05 inches (230 mm)
Wheels: 17x6.5 aluminum
Tires: LT245/75R17E BFGoodrich Rugged Trail All-Terrain
Curb weight: 8,639 pounds
GVWR: 14,000 pounds
Maximum payload: N/A
Maximum trailer tow rating: 23,500 pounds
Ram 3500 with 68RFE vs. Ram 3500 (H.O.) with AS69RC
Ram’s 3500 was the first diesel pickup to reach the magical 30,000-pound tow rating with the high output (H.O.) 865-lb-ft version of the 6.7L Cummins backed by the heavy-duty Aisin AS69RC transmission. The two-wheel-drive regular cab dualie is the only one that hits that rating (right on the nose), but there are four other Aisin-equipped versions rated to tow more than 29,000 pounds. The non-H.O. versions of the Ram 3500 come with the standard 68RFE automatic (370 hp, and 800 lb-ft of torque) or the G56 manual transmission (370 hp, and 660 lb-ft of torque). Along with the three powertrain configurations, the diesel Ram 3500 is available with multiple axle ratios for everything from the Regular Cab to the Mega Cab models for a total of 48 different setups—yes, 48. Unlike Ford’s F-450 and F-350, all models use the same frame, suspension, and axles (except for a larger rear ring gear in the H.O. trucks). We asked Ram to provide two crew cab 4x4 models (one with the heavy-duty Aisin and one with the standard 68RFE transmission) so we could compare the “max-tow” model to the “standard” dualie.
Photo 20/37   |   The high-output version of the Ram 3500 comes with a heavy-duty Aisin AS69RC transmission and a 6.7L Cummins engine calibrated to make 865 lb-ft of torque. In this crew cab four-wheel-drive configuration, the truck is rated to tow a maximum of 29,010 pounds.
Ram 3500 Maximum Tow Ratings
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio....16,510 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio....18,510 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio....17,550 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio....19,550 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio....22,550 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio....21,410 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio....24,410 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio....30,000 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio....16,130 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio....18,130 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio....17,180 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio....19,180 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio....22,180 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio....21,030 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio....24,030 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Regular Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio....29,530 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio....15,960 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio....17,960 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio....17,000 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio....19,000 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio....22,000 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio....20,860 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio....23,860 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio....29,360 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio....15,610 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio....17,610 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio....16,660 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio....18,660 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio....21,660 pounds (shown)
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio....20,150 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio ....23,510 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio ....29,010 pounds (shown)
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio ....15,720 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio ....17,720 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio ....16,770 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio ....18,770 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio ....21,770 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio.....20,620 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio....23,620 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 2WD Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio....29,120 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with G56 manual and 3.42:1 axle ratio....15,420 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with G56 manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio....17,420 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with 68RFE and 3.42:1 axle ratio....16,460 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with 68RFE and 3.73:1 axle ratio....18,460 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with 68RFE and 4.10:1 axle ratio....21,460 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.42:1 axle ratio....20,320 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 3.73:1 axle ratio....23,320 pounds
Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Mega Cab with Aisin AS69RC and 4.10:1 axle ratio....28,820 pounds
Photo 21/37   |   The rear axle used in the high-output Ram 3500 models, shown here by Rod Romain, Senior Manager Ram Truck Integration, is made by AAM and has an 11.8-inch ring gear, an oil capacity of 4 quarts, and 1.50-inch axleshafts. Other than the transmission, the ring gear size is the only other significant difference from Ram 3500 trucks equipped with the standard 68RFE transmission.
Ram 3500 w/Aisin
Vehicle: Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with Aisin AS69RC
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6
Power: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 865 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm
Transmission: Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic
Drive type: Four-wheel drive
Frame material: 35,000-to-50,000-psi high-strength steel
Frame design: Boxed ladder
Frame manufacturing method: Hydroformed rails
Frame rail thickness: 0.11 to 0.28 inch (2.7 to 7.0 mm)
Number of crossmembers: 8
Crossmember thickness: 0.11 to 0.28 inch (2.7 to 7.0 mm)
Gooseneck/fifth-wheel crossmember thickness: 0.19 inch (4.7 mm)
Front suspension: Solid live axle, three-link with track bar, Magneti Marelli shocks, and coil springs
Rear suspension: Solid live axle, six leaf springs (optional supplemental air bags), and Magneti Marelli shocks
Front axle: AAM 9.25 with center disconnect
Axleshaft material: 10V45 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.50 inches (38 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 9.25 inch
Oil capacity: 2.4 quarts
Track width: 67.7 inches
Rear axle: AAM 11.8
Axleshaft material: 1541 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.50 inches (38 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 11.8 inches
Oil capacity: 4 quarts
Track width: 75.2 inches
Axle ratios: 4.10:1
Driveshaft material: Steel
Driveshaft outside diameter: 3.5 inches
Driveshaft U-joints: 5110
Front brake size: 14.17x1.54 inches
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Rear brake size: 14.09x1.34 inches
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Parking brake size: 8.11x1.65 inches (206x42 mm)
Wheels: 17x6 aluminum
Tires: AT LT235/80R17E Nexen Rodian All-Terrain
Curb weight: 8,319 pounds
GVWR: 14,000 pounds
Maximum payload: 5,680 pounds
Maximum trailer tow rating: 29,010 pounds
Photo 29/37   |   The Ram 3500 dual-rear-wheel four-wheel-drive crew cab shown here has a 6.7L Cummins with 800 lb-ft of torque, a 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission, and 4.10:1 gears for a 21,660-pound maximum tow rating. The only significant differences between the standard Ram 3500 and the “max-tow” model are the engine calibration, the transmission, and the size of the ring gear inside the rear axle housing.
Ram 3500 68RFE spec box
Vehicle: Ram 3500 DRW 4x4 Crew Cab with 68RFE
Engine: 6.7L Cummins I-6
Power: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 68RFE six-speed automatic
Drive type: Four-wheel drive
Frame material: 35,000-to-50,000-psi high-strength steel
Frame design: Boxed ladder
Frame manufacturing method: Hydroformed rails
Frame rail thickness: 0.11 to 0.28 inch (2.7 to 7.0 mm)
Number of crossmembers: 8
Crossmember thickness: 0.11 to 0.28 inch (2.7 to 7.0 mm)
Front suspension: Solid live axle, three-link with track bar, Magneti Marelli shocks, and coil springs
Rear suspension: Solid live axle, six leaf springs (optional supplemental air bags), and Magneti Marelli shocks
Front axle: AAM 9.25 with automatic center disconnect
Axleshaft material: 10V45 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.50 inches (38 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 9.25 inches
Oil capacity: 2.4 quarts
Track width: 67.7 inches
Rear axle: AAM 11.5
Axleshaft material: 1541 steel
Axleshaft diameter: 1.50 inches (38 mm)
Differential type: Open
Ring gear size: 11.5 inches
Oil capacity: 4¼ quarts
Track width: 75.2 inches
Axle ratios: 4.10:1
Driveshaft material: Steel
Driveshaft outside diameter: 3.5 inches
Driveshaft U-joints: 5110
Front brake size: 14.17x1.54 inches
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Rear brake size: 14.09x1.34 inches
Brake pistons per caliper: 2
Parking brake size: 8.11x1.65 inches (206x42 mm)
Wheels: 17x6 aluminum
Tires: HTX LT235/80R17E Nexen Roadian All-Season
Curb weight: 8,172 pounds
GVWR: 14,000 pounds
Maximum payload: 5,830 pounds
Maximum trailer tow rating: 21,660 pounds
Commercial Power
Both Ford and Ram had Class 5 trucks available to compare to their “civilian” models. In addition to having standard-width commercial rear frames, the trucks feature massive spring mounts and stiff rear suspension setups designed for capability before comfort.
What About the GM dualies?
Chevrolet and GMC trucks were not included in this up-close look because General Motors currently doesn’t have a 1-ton model that can tow more than 30,000 pounds. Our contacts at Chevy and GMC say they are confident the 3500HD trucks can fully compete in real-world conditions with everything Ford and Ram have to offer. The General just does things a bit differently and, according to the folks there whom we’ve spoken with, the numbers—including the 30,000-pound rating our readers want the lowdown details on—are not the primary concern.
General Motors Maximum Tow Ratings
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 3500HD DRW 4x4 Regular Cab....23,200 pounds
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 3500HD DRW 2WD Double Cab....23,000 pounds
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 3500HD DRW 4x4 Double Cab....22,800 pounds
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 3500HD DRW 2WD Crew Cab....22,900 pounds
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 3500HD DRW 4x4 Crew Cab ....22,600 pounds
Exclusive Info!
Special thanks to Ford and Ram for giving us unprecedented access to their 1-ton trucks and specifications not normally released to the public. We knew it was a lot to request. It required red-eye flights to and from Detroit, and close to 100 emails to nail down all the data, but it couldn’t have worked out better. None of this would have been possible without the help of the following people:
Team Ram Scott Brown—West Coast Media Relations
Nick Cappa—Ram Trucks Media Relations
Rod Romain—Senior Manager Ram Truck Integration
Jeff Johnson—Manager Ram Heavy Duty Pickup Marketing
Team Ford Jessica Enoch—Communications Coordinator, North American Trucks and Vans, Ford Motor Company
Mike Levine—Truck Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company
Nicholas Terzes—Vehicle Integration Supervisor, Commercial Vehicles, Ford Motor Company
Brock Winger—Brand Manager, Super Duty, Ford Motor Company

Sources

Ford Motor Company
Dearborn, MI 48126
800-392-3673
www.ford.com
Chevrolet
Detroit, MI 48323
www.chevrolet.com
Ram Trucks
Aubum Hills, MI 48321
800-726-4636
www.ramtrucks.com
GMC
888-988-7267
http://www.gmc.com

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