Put a group of writers in two large pickups with various loads in the bed, and what word litters the notebooks? Torque was high on the list, as were references to power gearing and barely manageable girth. Surprisingly, however, tools popped up most frequently.

These trucks are tools to be used for carrying gear and towing. They might be trimmed rather opulently for grimy work, but that's just because truck enthusiasts use tools as much or more for recreation as they do for work. The examples herein are two of the largest tools available.

How large? Filled with fuel, the big red Ram 4x4 tips the scales at more than four tons, has a cast-iron gearbox best serviced with a floor jack, and more pistons in the brakes than in the engine. The 4x2 Ford is lighter--but not lean--at almost 7300 pounds, will leave almost two feet sticking out of a 20-foot-long garage, and has more rear-seat legroom than the front of either truck.

As you know, diesels are selling well. In fact, they're such hot items it was hard to get pickups with the exact same configurations. In addition, these trucks aren't representative of most: Roughly 70 percent of Rams and two-thirds of Super Duties have layouts different from the ones we tested. With so many variables among the trucks and no available Duramax, consider this more a study of configurations.

Although both are dualies with the biggest cabs available, important differences nullify an apples-to-apples comparison. Our sister publication, Motor Trend, has a more direct engine-comparison test in production, but variables in vehicle mileage, transmissions, and tires, not to mention production-line tolerances, won't provide the data gleaned from an engine dyno.

Six thousand odometer miles separated these tools, and if you're familiar with truck diesel engines you know that, regardless of what the owner's manual might say, a half-ton iron Cummins ISB engine isn't broken in at 2000 miles. Our Power Stroke friends suggested the 6.0 might be getting close at the 8000 miles it had on the clock, and a little more wouldn't hurt.