Ford started it, Ram continued it. Ford recently announced that its upcoming F-450 commercials will claim a best-in-class towing capacity of 31,200 lbs. That means that it would surpass the 30,000-pound towing rating that Ram claims for its 3500 heavy-duty.
But Ram would not let Ford grab the spotlight. The same day Ford unveiled its new Super Duty trucks to journalists, Ram issued a press release saying it is the first maker that boasts of an entire pickup lineup that has towing capacity ratings developed under an industry standard established by SAE.
Ram also reiterated that the towing capacity for its 3500 4x4 heavy duty -- powered by a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel – is the best in class, noting that its offering and the Ford F-450 are in different classes and thus can't be compared.
On the other hand, Ford insists that the 3500 and the F-450 belong in the same class. Trucks are classified by gross vehicle weight rating, the maximum loaded weight of the truck, as well as the percentage of a trailer's weight sitting on the truck's axle.
Ford insists that the F-450 truck belongs to the Class 3 – or trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds – although it bears a Class 4 name. The Ford F-350 – the one given a Class 3 names – is fitted with the same engine as the F-450, but only has a maximum towing rating of 26,700 pounds.
To squeeze more towing capacity for of the F-450, Ford upped the rear axle ratio to 4.3 from 3.73 and fitted commercial grade 19.5-inch wheels and tires. Ford also boosted the truck’s suspension with new leaf springs, front and rear stabilizer bars and shocks.
Ford spokesman Mike Levine said that the Ram 3500 and the Ford F-450 both have identical gross vehicle weight ratings. Ford's truck marketing manager Doug Scott, meanwhile, remarked that the carmaker will comply with the SAE J2807 industry towing standard when it launches all-new versions of its pickups – starting with the 2015 F-150 that will be rolled out this year.