|Model||Max. Trailer Weight||GCWR||GVWR||Payload||Rear Axle
|XLT Price *|
|3.73 Gears||4.10 Gears||4.88 Gears||MSRP||Cost|
All figures except prices are weights in pounds. Data taken from the 1999 Ford Super Duty F-Series brochure dated 3/98. Payload figures rounded to the nearest 100 pounds. All F-450 and F-550 models are Chassis Cab only (no pickup bed available). Note that the F-350 SRW is also available as a Chassis Cab, and there is a pickup box delete option on F-250 longbed (and regular cab) and F-350 DRW (longbed) models.
* Prices taken from the Kelley Blue Book online guide, 5 Apr 1998. Prices shown for models equipped as indicated, including destination charge, with these specific features: 7.3L Turbo Diesel engine, XLT trim package, 3.73 gears (not limited-slip), four-wheel ABS, and towing package. These prices are for comparative purposes, and represent neither base prices nor fully equipped models. The "Cost" column indicates the dealer's cost as listed at the Kelly Blue Book site.
Additional configuration information: 3.73 is the base final drive ratio offered on the F-250 and F-350. The 4.10 ratio is only available on the F-350 DRW, as limited-slip only. 3.73 is not available as limited slip on the F-350 DRW. Also, the F-350 DRW is only available with the longer wheelbase (172") and 8-foot bed; according to the Kelley Blue Book site, the shortbed F-350 DRW was discontinued after 2/2/98.
With the weaker V-10 gasoline engine, 4.30 gears are available, but the GCWR remains 20,000 lbs (F-250 and F-350). This yields a net 400-lb increase in towing capacity due to the lighter weight of the V-10. But serious haulers above sea level know that Turbo Diesel is the way to go. Yes, it's loud, stinky, expensive to buy (about a $4k option on all new trucks), and expensive to maintain, but a Turbo Diesel engine loses virtually no power at high altitude, compared with the 3-4% loss per 1,000 feet for a gas engine (or a non-turbo diesel), and it does get much better gas mileage.
Annoyingly, EPA ratings are not available for these big trucks, but as an example, I know someone who hauls a medium-sized gooseneck trailer with their Dodge Ram 2500, with its smaller 6-cylinder Turbo Diesel, and they get 15 mpg hauling on the highway. This is compared to the 8 or 9 mpg you might get with a large gasoline V8 or V10. And they get an amazing 25 mpg on the highway when they are not hauling. The Ford engine is bigger, so expect a little less. Plus your gears, etc. make a difference. I've been told to expect 18-20 mpg on an F-350 w/4.10 gears, and 15-18 mpg on an F-450 w/4.88 gears (unladen). I will post actual numbers if/when I get one of these trucks.
(Update Tue Nov 24, 1998: I got an F-350 with 3.73 gears, and I have not seen better than 17mpg when not towing. This tends to be mostly 70mph highway driving, though. It would be better if I drove slower. I get 11-12mpg when towing my 2-horse trailer over hill and dale at 70. I am hoping I can hit 20mpg by tweaking my driving habits, settling on a good tire pressure, and finishing the engine break-in period, which I'm told is about 15,000 miles on a diesel.)
Note that the fuel tank on any of these trucks with the short bed is 29 gallons, while the long bed offers a whopping 38 gallon tank. (36 gallon on all chassis cab models).
The differences between the Super Duty F-250 and the Super Duty F-350 SRW are very slight, apart from the heavier rear springs on the F-350. Both front and rear axle ratings are identical, and physical dimensions are identical on width and length, and there is less than an inch difference in load height and cabin height. The F-350 SRW has an axle clearance of 8.1 inches versus 8.3 on the F-250. (F-350 DRW has 7.8.) The cab dimensions of the F-350 DRW are only an inch larger than the F-350 SRW, but it does have a significantly stronger rear axle (plus the dual rear tires, of course).
I am still trying to understand the exact tradeoffs of SRW versus DRW. Dualies seem to offer more lateral stability and heavier payload, at the cost of 400 pounds towing capacity, due to the extra weight they add to the truck. It seems ironic that the stronger, safer truck gets the lower towing capacity "by the numbers." I have spoken with some horse haulers who swear by DRW, and others who prefer SRW. I wonder how much of the reliance on DRW is legacy information, based on older trucks which had less capacity to begin with. With a payload of about 4,000 pounds, the 1999 F-350 SRW is not a "1-ton truck" at all; it's a 2-ton, adequate for supporting even a 25% tongue weight of a front-loaded trailer weighing 16,000 lbs (which would be 3,000 lbs over limit).
Seeing many large horse trailers being hauled down the highway by "3/4-ton" (F-250, Dodge 2500, etc.) and "1-ton" (F-350, Dodge 3500, etc.) trucks of various age and configuration, and speaking with some truckers in person, I am beginning to understand that it is common to haul more than the rig is officially rated for. But until now, there hasn't been much choice in the consumer market. So the F-450 and F-550 are welcome additions.
For example, one old cowboy I met has been hauling 17,000 pounds with a 1997 F-350 DRW Chassis Cab, a truck that is rated for about 13,000 pounds towing capacity. Now he is selling it and buying an F-550. This is mostly for liability reasons, because his F-350 actually does a great job. After all, it has the same "power stroke" engine as the F-550. However, the bigger trucks do have monster rear brakes and super-low drive ratios. I believe an experienced driver and good trailer brakes can largely compensate for these things, but not in the courtroom.
(Update Tue Nov 24, 1998: I have hauled 6,500 lbs of dirt in my truck for a short distance, and it handled it just fine. That's 60% over rated capacity. I would not try that kind of overload with a trailer, though.)
Disappointingly, Kelley's does not have any prices for the F-450 and F-550 online, and I haven't found them in any publication, yet. But for reference, I did get an MSRP from a local dealer for a fully loaded F-450 4x4 Crew Cab XLT Diesel, and it was about $41,000. However, that does not include any type of a bed, which could range anywhere from $1,500 for a steel flatbed to $6,000 for a painted utility bed with lockboxes, rigged for hauling a goose-neck trailer.
Date: Sun Nov 22 10:34:27 -0700 1998 From: Paul Caskey To: Tom Oakes CC: Sue Caskey, Bruce Caskey Subject: Ford truck power Tom, I keep meaning to tell you this stuff, but I always forget, so I'm emailing it while it's on my mind. One day in Dairy Queen, we were discussing engine power in trucks. I wanted to know how many times more powerful a semi engine was than my F-350 diesel. Well, I found the answer: 3 to 4 times. My truck has 500 lb-ft of torque, and the big guys have 1500 to 2000 lb-ft. But I was also trying to remember how much horsepower my truck had. I thought it was 335, but you thought that was too much. You were right; it has 235. Here's the rundown on the Ford Super Duty trucks: 5.4L Gas V8 6.8L Gas V10 7.3L Diesel V8 ---------------------------------------------- HP @ RPM 235 @ 4,250 275 @ 4,250 235 @ 2,700 Torque @ RPM 335 @ 3,000 410 @ 2,650 500 @ 1,600 Compress Ratio 9:1 9:1 17.5:1 So the turbo diesel has the same horsepower as the small gas V8 (which is also about the same as the 5.2L engine in our Dodge Dakota.) But the torque is much more, and at lower RPM. I'm glad I looked this up, because I forgot where the peak power points were for the diesel. There's a graph in the brochure that tells the story much better. The diesel's torque starts off at 375 and goes up from there. It's flat from about 1,500 to 2,250 RPM, which is good because that's the range I usually use. :-) Then it drops off, but HP is still climbing. I still don't fully understand the relationship between HP and torque. But I can see the latest I want to shift is 2,500 to 2,750 RPM. Which is natural because redline is 3,000. (The big semis redline at much lower RPM -- 1,500 to 2,000.) References: http://www.cummins.com/ (Ford's web site is too fluffy for me to find anything useful.) Paul