Keeping Score: Which One-Ton Heavy-Duty Pickups Tow and Haul the Most?


Ram has released the full towing and hauling specs for its 2011 Heavy Duty pickups armed with the new High Output 6.7-liter Cummins ISB six-cylinder diesel. We've created an updated comparison chart to see how the final numbers stack up against Chevy's and Ford's HDs.

The HO Cummins diesel increases torque 23 percent to 800 pounds-feet (at 1,600 rpm), up from today's rating of 650 pounds-feet (at 1,500 rpm). It will be standard on all 2500 and 3500 models equipped with Chrysler's 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission also gets a new torque converter with updated shift calibrations to handle the increased power settings. The only mechanical change to the Cummins is a new crankshaft damper that's said to reduce engine noise and vibration.

When the HO Cummins is paired with the new Max Tow Package option for Ram HD pickups, the Ram 3500 claims bragging rights among one-ton pickups for the highest fifth-wheel towing figure — 22,700 pounds.

The Max Tow Package for the Ram adds a beefed-up rear axle with a new 4.10 gear ratio, new rear-axle pinion, new helical gears, upgraded bearings and an aluminum differential cover with large cooling fins. There's also a new water-to-oil transmission cooler and new power steering cooler to help manage the higher trailer towing ratings.

This table compares the 2011.5 HO Ram vs. the early 2011 Ram with the standard Cummins diesel, plus competitive Chevy and Ford trucks

A two-wheel-drive, regular cab, dual-rear-wheel Ram 3500 can tow up to 22,700 pounds, beating a similarly configured Ford F-350 by 100 pounds and the Chevy Silverado 3500 by 1,000 pounds.

Among two-wheel-drive crew-cab dually heavy-duty pickups, Ford still claims the top fifth-wheel towing rating at 21,800 pounds, beating the Silverado by 300 pounds and the Ram by 2,600 pounds.

Ford can also lay claim to the highest payload and conventional towing figures for one-ton trucks. The Ford F-350 Super Duty can haul up to 7,070 pounds in a regular cab, two-wheel drive, DRW configuration. The Silverado 3500 crew cab can haul the most cargo among four-door HD pickups, at 6,223 pounds.

It's interesting to see the differences in ratings among crew and regular cab trucks, but it's difficult to tell among all the heavy-duty truck makers where engineering capability is outperformed by to lay claim to best-in-class bragging rights.

[Sources: Chrysler, Ford, General Motors]


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