By on December 7, 2017

2018 Ford Super Duty, Image: Ford

It’s become a trend. The annual who’s-got-more-twist competition between Ford and Ram is now so regular, so expected, we can even predict by exactly how many foot-pounds the new victor will reign.

Five lb-ft.

Recently announced by Ford, the 2018 Super Duty line’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 wrestles the torque crown back from the Ram Heavy Duty, which had held it for just a year. The exact same scenario played out in the leadup to that particular upset. At this pace, it shouldn’t be too long before American buyers are laying down greenbacks for twist numbers in the four-figure range.

Recall that in 2015, a lifetime ago, Ram’s 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel topped Ford’s Super Duty in terms of torque — 865 lb-ft to Ford’s 860. Ford then upgraded its Power Stroke to 925 lb-ft, forcing Ram to boost the Cummins’ output to 930 lb-ft for the 2017 model year. General Motors, of course, was in the back of the heap, trying in vain to catch up.

Not happy with this situation, Ford’s latest salvo returns it to the top podium. For 2018, the Super Duty’s top engine generates 450 horsepower (an increase of 10 hp) and an all-important 935 lb-ft of torque. The uptick in output comes by way of a cylinder head redesign and a change in fuel and turbo boost calibration.

Regaining the high ground means more bragging rights for the fourth-generation Super Duty, launched (and lightened) for the 2017 model year. Ford now claims best-in-class payload, gooseneck towing, and conventional towing. A 4×2 F-450 model appears for 2018 to bring up the line’s maximum towing capacity. With a gooseneck hitch, this particular model carries a 34,000-pound tow capacity, beating out the Ram 3500’s 31,210-lb capacity. Max payload for Power Stroke Super Dutys stands at 7,630 lbs, squeaking out Ram’s 7,390 lbs (when equipped with the 6.4-liter gas V8).

With a conventional hitch, Ford beats Ram’s towing capacity by 1,000 lbs.

Ownership of that 34,000-pound figure, which necessitates buying the rear-drive 2018 F-450 dually, starts at $54,125 for base XL trim. Availability begins this winter. The model’s newly updated engine mates to a six-speed TorqShift automatic transmission.

Your move, Ram and GM.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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52 Comments on “Stop, or I’ll Separate You Two: Ford Delivers Another Ram Beatdown in the Ongoing Torque War...”


  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Ford. Where looking good on paper is the most important thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Ford. At least they don’t rust out in a year.”

      (TBF, though, “Ford. Ignore how bad the original PowerStroke and 5.4L Modular were.”

      I trust exactly zero of the big three trucks to not have some horrible failing of some sort or other.)

      • 0 avatar
        Menar Fromarz

        Hey! I love my 6 liter PS! mind you I have a ’06, and its not chipped and honked out, so I have had zero issues with it, but I guess there is an outlier in everything.
        I still loved my 5.9 mechanical injection Cummins a bit better for some things, but boy does the 6’er make grunt! Actually REALLY loved the 8.2 Cummins, but that was big boy toy only.
        Actually the best thing about the later 6’ers is the transmission. The TorqueShift thing is amazing!
        Just don’t get me started on build quality though!

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        It’s been decades since any vehicle “rusted out” on a year. Although seeing all the Ford’s with paint flaking off of their aluminium body panels is quite amusing.

      • 0 avatar
        No Nickname Required

        Actually the original Powerstroke was quite good. It was the next 2 Powerstroke motors (especially the 6.0) that garnered Ford the bad reputation.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    How’s your collection of Ford voodoo dolls coming along?

  • avatar
    FOG

    @Fordson, do you need a Hurt Feelings report form to fill out?

  • avatar
    arach

    Since a $500 tune will take either of these well above 1000 lb-ft, at the expense of towing dependability, why doesn’t Ram just add an “offroad Only” mode that tunes it up to 1015 lb-ft of torque, and won’t let you use it when its got a load on it? Then any time ford out-does them, they just crank up the tune a little bit in this mode to maintain the crown for a while?

    Then it can take the crown, doesn’t have to spend any money on redesign, and will allow people to win the p****ng match.

    No one ACTUALLY needs that extra 5 ft-lb. I don’t care if you tow 30,000 lbs. The difference between 935 and 930 ft-lb of torque is not noticeable, and the bigger deal is likely the torque curves.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The vast majority of people focus on the peak numbers when it comes to engine performance.

      An even larger number cannot correlate weight, gearing, and aerodynamics.

      Ford could be playing coy on output though like they have with the new Mustang.

      The A10 GT is running 12 flat with just 5 more horsepower practically running neck and neck with the much lighter Camaro with just five more horsepower on paper.

      If that’s the case if Dodge rolls out anothersmall increase in power Ford will easily do the same since it is a paper game for each manufacturer at the moment but pays dividends when it comes to keeping the conversation alive and people walking into showrooms.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A lot of time that extra 5 lbs is just a slight tweak to the program. I know Ford did that in the past with the introduction of the 6.7, introduced it at one rating, let themselves get one upped and then released the new calibration, which was a free upgrade to the earlier trucks as well.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      When it comes to trucks, especially commercial ones, many buyers simply choose the “most”, “best”, “biggest” for their big jobs.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How many tugboats does it take to guide these suckers into port?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      On the 450, the front wheels actually turn. Due to having a front track, hence wheelcut, much more suitable for a dually than the rest of the bunch, who strangle the 8 foot wide duallies with the same front track as their sub 7 foot wide SRW counterparts.

      In exchange for that, you do have to accept a truck with exactly zero millimeters of suspension deflection, both front and rear, and ditto ride compliance from big, class 4 medium duty wheels and tires; unless it is loaded to at least 12000lbs….

      Them’s are the pros, and cons, of trading the number 3 for the number 4…

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Yeah, it is funny they use the F-450 instead f the F-350 which is closer in class to the Ram 3500.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Class is based on GVWR, not name.

          The F-450 *pickup*, despite its moniker, is actually a Class 3 vehicle, with a GVWR of 14,000 lbs, which is the same as a maxed-out F-350. Due to certain upgrades, it has a higher towing capacity, but it’s still a “one-ton” vehicle.

          The 3500 model that Ram advertises as having max towing (the one with HO Cummins and Aisin 6-speed) is also a towing-optimized model with a max GVWR of 14,000 lbs.

          The F-450 *chassis cab* is a true Class 4 vehicle, with a GVWR of 15,000-16,500 lbs. It actually has a lower tow rating than the heavy Class 3 model, because its GVWR is optimized for payload. The same is also true of the Ram 4500 chassis cab.

          tl;dr? Here’s the breakdown:

          Ram 3500 = Ford F-350
          Ram 3500 with HO Cummins and Aisin 6-speed = Ford F-450 *pickup*
          Ram 4500 chassis cab = Ford F-450 chassis cab

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “Ram 3500 = Ford F-350
            Ram 3500 with HO Cummins and Aisin 6-speed = Ford F-450 *pickup*
            Ram 4500 chassis cab = Ford F-450 chassis cab”

            The F450 comes standard with 19.5 wheels/tires, a 48 gallon tank (on extended wheel bases) and a live PTO off the trans. I don’t know if the last two options are even available on the 350 but I know the 19.5s are not, which is significant when considering GVW.

            One thing I like about the SuperDuty is the ability to do a forced Regen. I wish Ram would do this. Every single SCR equiped Cummins I’ve ran in construction has the ability to do a forced Regen. So it’s on Rams end as to why they don’t have it. As it is now, the only way to do this is through Witech.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The 19.5s are (along with heavier springs and larger brakes) what helps it achieve max towing even with the same GVWR as a regular F-350. The F-450 pickup rides stiffer, but turns sharper thanks to the wide front axle.

            48-gallon tank is, AFAIK, available on any ’17+ CCLB. The PTO provision was standard on older F-350s-and-up with manuals, and more recently became an option on any automatic Super Duty.

  • avatar
    ajla

    How much torque do they make under regen?

    Bring back the gasoline big blocks or V10s.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      If you’re going for towing *and* fuel economy, you still can’t beat a diesel. I have a friend that has an F-250 SuperCrew Limited FX4, and he tows some heavy trailers (~10,000lbs), and he gets better unladen mileage than my V6 Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’m not saying to drop the diesel offerings or anything. But, for a long time the HD trucks had the option of an intermediate gas engine. Bringing that back would be nice for the people that want/need more than the current V8s but don’t want/need to pony up for the diesel.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The new Ford, with the 4.30, has as much “capability” as one could want for (darned thing can even be had with livedrive now…), provided one is talking about an SRW truck. AND, and this is big, at least to me, it has a 48 gallon gas tank, albeit only in crew-long trim.

          I’m sorta-kinda-theoretically-principally in the OHV for gas HD trucks camp that many other commenters here seem to be (to be honest, in the OHV I6 with a manual camp, but it’s really lonely there…), but my inherent bias does not nearly make up for the loss of 12 (GM) to 16 (Ram) gallons of gas, in a class of vehicle notorious for guzzling the stuff with abandon.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        I’m not going to say that you or your friend are fibbing, but I will say that I’ve owned a 2000 F-350 7.3L, a 2008 Chevy Duramax, and a 2015 F-350 6.7L. At *best*, and I mean driving at a constant 60MPH completely unladen, I found 19MPG to be achievable.

        In real-world (city/highway) unladen driving the diesels all averaged around 15MPG. I’ve read the forums, and there’s always “some guy” who claims that by installing a second overdrive and buying special tires and re-gearing his rear axle he got his standard cab 2WD diesel up to 22MPG, but there is no way that real-world mileage on any of the current crop of heavy-duty pickups is better than a Tacoma, all else equal.

        • 0 avatar
          OzCop

          My 2500 ’04 Duramax would hit upwards of 22 and 23 mpg driving between Dallas and Lexington, KY…A one ton dually probably would have a tough time meeting that kind of fuel mileage, but the 2 wheel drive crew cab Duramax 3/4 ton would certainly exceed 22 mpg on the highway. Of course, that was without pulling a trailer…

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Regearing the rear end would definitely help. I can’t remember the last time we saw even 10 MPG in our ’08 F-350 with the V10 and 4.30 rear end. I wish it were possible to fit a 2-speed rear under there.

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        To be fair, the last time I checked the F150 2.7 got better mileage than a 4-cyl Tacoma, all while making twice the power. What’s Toyota’s problem with the fuel mileage on these things?

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This. Totally. Diesels pollute a ton more than gasoline trucks, even with DEF, and spew a lot more NOx. Even though fuel consumption would be a bit higher, a gasoline V10 would pollute a whole lot less. And dont get me started on diesel owners that remove the DEF system…

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Diesels pollute a ton more than gasoline trucks, even with DEF”

        False.

        Diesels are stupidly held to the same emission standards as gasoline and in some cities the air coming out of the exhaust is cleaner than the air going in.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    A cylinder head redesign to gain 5 ft-lb of torque? Okay, and some PCM recalibration.

    How do they figure it’s the 4th generation, anyway? The truck was basically the same from 1998 through 2016, even though there were restyles and a new dash (and a new frame along the way), so I would consider this the 3rd gen (after the Super Duty trucks in the ’80s-’90s, then the ’98-’16 trucks).

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Pikers.

    Shoulda just gone for 1000.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So there’s a 6.4l gas engine now? Is this a displacement increase for the 6.2l that was used in the Raptor?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Great, so they’ll pass me on the freeway, trailer swaying drunkenly on hot tires, at 93 mph instead of 92.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    “Ownership of that 34,000-pound figure, which necessitates buying the rear-drive 2018 F-450 dually”

    Of course, Ford is comparing a F-450 to a Ram 3500. Wonder what a similar Ram 4500 would match up.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You can’t get a Ram 4500 in regular pickup format. It’s chassis cab only.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Ram 3500 has a higher towing capacity than the 4500 due to it having a higher power rating. Chassis cab trucks have different engine hardware and don’t have the highest power figures in the lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The F-450 *pickup* is a fundamentally different vehicle than the F-450 *chassis cab*. GVWR-wise, it’s a heavy Class 3 vehicle, not a Class 4. So it competes just fine with the high-GVWR Ram 3500 with HO Cummins, which despite its towing capacity is still also a Class 3.

      The respective Class 4 chassis cab models of both mfr. (F-450 CC or Ram 4500) have a higher GVWR, but a lower tow rating, because more of that weight is focused on high payload rather than towing.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Sort of like the supercar market – Ferrari does 201 mph, in response Lambo does 203, then Porsche does 207, etc. – meanwhile 99% are garage queens that never see the far side of 85 mph during their twice per year exercise sessions – you see if you actually drive them it hurts the “investment” potential.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I don’t think that applies to this class of truck. A 3500 dually is a pain in the ass to own and drive and it’s pretty rare to see these that actually don’t do some towing. There may be a few garage queens, but I think that’s the exception with these.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        In flyover country, you do see some DRW Class 3s being driven empty, but only when they’re “between gigs.” I’ve never seen the heavy GVWR models (F-450 pickup or Ram 3500 HO) not hooked up to a triple-axle gooseneck.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I remember learning that a semi made 300-500 horse and wondering how it was possible to pull those trailers. The miracle of torque, obviously. At the time they were making 750 to maybe 1000 pound feet.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      And 12-speed transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Raw pulling ability is really about horsepower, not torque. Horsepower is a measure of work. A 450-horse Power Stroke would power a semi just fine… up one hill.

      The difference between the Power Stroke and the heavy truck engines is that the big guys are built to put out peak power for hour after hour, day after day — a workload that would destroy the Power Stroke in short order. They spin slowly (thus putting out more torque to generate the same horsepower) and the sheer volume of metal helps them dissipate heat really well.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        It would be interesting to know when and for how long these can do rated power. Full authority electronics gives the ability to do a lot of things situationally.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well the current 6.7 is used in MD straight truck and tractor applications. In those trucks they are rated at 270, 300 and 330 Horses and their B10 life is 500K with the assumption that they will be pretty much run flat out all day every day.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            Contrary to Ford’s delusional and somewhat troubling advertising, very few of them make it anywhere near that long in MD trim. I always wondered how they got away with those statements.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        @dal20402

        Um, what?! Transmissions multiply torque – not horsepower. Try pulling an old boat with a F1 car or a motorcycle… You’ll destroy both transmissions regardless of installed horsepower. Also, over-the-road trucks do NOT operate at ‘peak power for hour after hour, day after day’: they run the highest ( numerically lowest ) gear they can get away with for both fuel economy and longevity. More Also, the difference between a Power Stroke and a heavy truck engine is displacement – not designed output. Twice the displacement gives twice the torque – at a similar horsepower. Give your head a shake.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          If you can cool the F1 engine at max output, without help from the airflow resulting from the speed they normally attain after about 3 seconds of max output, you could gear them low enough to pull a boat no problem. It’s not an efficient way of building engine for pulling, but the only torque that ultimately counts for towing, is wheel torque. Which can be attained by high engine torque and tall gearing, or low engine torque and a deep gear. The latter being aided by being able to go a decent speed even in a low gear, at 18,000 rpm.

          Someone told me a horse can put out over 1000ft-lbs of peak brake (static, zero speed) torque. More than a Superduty! Which is great for getting a stuck carriage moving without the aid of a gearbox. But, as it’s just one horse, it still only has one horsepower (even the sometimes poo-pooed, slow revving Cummins has more than that…..), so the carriage will never move very fast up a hill.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Did you see anything in my comment about transmissions?

          stuki is right – the F1 engine would pull the boat just fine if you could manage to keep it cool.

      • 0 avatar
        TR4

        “Horsepower is a measure of work.”

        Not quite. Power is work per unit time. If you double the power you can do the same work in half the time, or twice the work in the same time.

        James Watt measured a horse and found it could do 33,000 ft-lbs of work in one minute. This became his definition of one horsepower. Note that even though torque and work have the same units, they are NOT the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Still “Horsepower” is an antiquated measurement and deceiving until we know the type of engine, its max torque and when it hits. I say let’s do away with it, or mention it after telling us about the torque figure.

          140 HP means one thing for a 4 cylinder, something totally different for a V8, and yet something wildly different for a diesel. Just knowing the max torque figure tells us a whole lot more, with little need to know its HP rating. We really can’t equate “horses” to cars anyway. Like a Kia Forte would have “Shetlands” and Cummins would have Clydesdales. Dumb measurement.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    “Raw pulling ability is really about horsepower, not torque.”

    Still so wrong.

    We drive torque on this continent, not horsepower. I’ve been to Europe and the U.K. five times each – they drive horsepower. Redlined in every gear and gloriously so. Their cars are engineered for it. Ours aren’t.

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