As you'll recall from Part I, we gathered up the entire crop of 2007 heavy duty pickups for the ultimate Power Pulling Tow Test. Dodge, Ford, and General Motors provided us with three gas engine, single rear wheel, three-quarter-ton trucks, plus three diesel engine, dual rear wheel, one-ton trucks, and Ford's ultimate F-450 one-and-one-half-ton Super Duty.
The first round of testing performed by our team of truck journalists and independent data collectors, hired from Ricardo Engineering, was level ground loaded and unloaded runs at Milan Dragway, just outside Detroit. The track features an IHRA sanctioned 1/4-mile dragstrip. It's perfect for determining time and speed performance over a fixed distance.
Some may ask, what's the point of running heavy duty pickups through the 1/4-mile? Isn't the job of a three-quarter or one-ton rig to simply deliver a heavy load or haul a trailer from point A to point B? You'd be absolutely correct except for one circumstance where the 1/4-mile test almost always comes in as a handy measurement - getting on the freeway.
The tests we performed represent a reasonable scenario for those drivers interested in learning how quickly they can accelerate up to 60-mph plus to join the flow of traffic on a freeway, without holding other drivers up behind them or causing an unsafe situation in a slow moving vehicle towing a trailer.
All the runs at Milan were carried out at wide open throttle (WOT) in the normal 1/4-mile direction, using the right hand lane, starting from the regular start line. Every run was initiated by following the staging and countdown lights on the Christmas tree from a dead stop.
To make Milan a bit more interesting, we invited all the manufacturers to send as many PR and engineering folks as they wanted to observe the testing first-hand. Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford Motor Company all took us up on that offer and had at least one person onsite during the races.
In the pictures that accompany this story, you'll see the trucks racing each other. However, our data collectors only gathered metrics and information from one truck at a time using a $50,000 Oxford Technical Solutions.
All the tests were conducted in 4 wheel drive (high range mode) with tow-haul engaged when towing, and disabled when not towing.
A minimum of three runs was carried out in each configuration tested. The fastest runs are presented in the results.
We didn't have time but an interesting test would have been to have done these runs for three days, to see how the adaptive computer programs would have changed acceleration and shift points in the transmissions. Though under load, such as a trailer, we may have been close to our top parameters.
Three-Quarter-Ton 1/4-Mile Assessment
One-Ton 1/4-Mile Assessment
One-and-One-Half-Ton DRW Crew Cab 4x4 Diesel Pickup