Behind the 2011 Ford Super Duty Payload Numbers

2011 Ford Super Duty payload numbers

We’ve just given you the full rundown of the new 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty’s power, towing and hauling specs. The numbers are best in class in most areas, but we’re going to look past the dazzling figures at some interesting relative comparisons.

Let’s look at the payload ratings.

You might think the F-450 pickup would have a higher maximum payload than the F-350 pickup, but for 2011 that’s not the case. Ford reduced the F-450’s gross vehicle weight rating from 14,500 pounds in 2010 to 13,050 for 2011, decreasing maximum payload from 6,180 pounds to 4,920 pounds (highlighted in orange). The move is aimed at improving fuel economy by using new frame components and lighter axles.

But take a close look at the F-350, where the class-leading payload is limited to one very specific configuration. It’s 6,520 pounds (highlighted in yellow) for an F-350 regular-cab long-box two-wheel-drive dually with a 12,800 pound GVWR and the all-new 6.2-liter V-8. However, the same configuration in four-wheel drive with the 6.7-liter diesel is rated at 5,230 pounds (highlighted in yellow) – 1,290 pounds less. Adding four-wheel drive in similar DRW configurations subtracts 300 to 400 pounds from the maximum payload. Taking into account the extra weight of the diesel and urea SCR system could account for another 300 to 400 pounds or so.

Where did the approximately 500 pounds of extra payload capability come from? Could it be from the 385-horsepower, 405 pounds-feet 6.2-liter gas V-8 engine?

2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty payload ratings

Let’s compare to the payload ratings for the 2010 Super Duty. The green highlighted numbers we’ll discuss were calculated with the 362-hp, 457 pounds-feet 6.8-liter V-10, which is now only available for the F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs.

Maximum payload is 5,730 pounds for a crew-cab two-wheel-drive F-350 at 12,600pounds GVWR. That’s a very different configuration from the 2011 F-350 maximum payload setup. The closest we can get to the 2011 payload number is 5,690 pounds at 12,000 pounds GVWR in two-wheel drive and 5,460 pounds at 12,200 pounds GVWR in four-wheel drive.

We’ve been told by Ford that the springs haven’t been changed for 2011 from the 2010 hardware. Perhaps that’s not the case because it doesn’t seem as if the differences in engine ratings are enough to boost payload in the 2011 truck to such a high figure.

Finally, let’s compare to the , which for a brief time had class-leading payload in the three-quarter-ton segment. The Chevrolet 3500 loses to the Ford by 185 pounds. But look at two notable items about GM’s payload figures. The first is that the GM HD pickups have a 6,000-pounds-plus payload rating for every cab configuration. The second is the spread is much narrower between the largest GM number and smallest — 6,335 pounds versus 5,905 pounds. In the Super Duty, it’s 6,520 pounds vs. 4,900 pounds.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD payload ratings

So we’re scratching our heads a bit about the Ford number. We’re not saying it’s that gets them the 6,520-pound best-in-class rating, but there’s something at work that isn’t quite clear from last year’s numbers and versus the competition.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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