by Vitaliy Dadalyan
Tags: American Freight Trucking
<img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/blogs/m-img-20160727-122633140-1.jpg" border="0" alt="
This Load Max gooseneck trailer, laden with block and stone, weighed 29,960 pounds, a Ford engineer said. The F-450 easily handled it. Photos: Tom Berg
This Load Max gooseneck trailer, laden with block and stone, weighed 29,960 pounds, a Ford engineer said. The F-450 easily handled it. Photos: Tom Berg">
Trailer towing is a big deal for some pickup-truck owners, and Ford says its next-generation 2017-model SuperDuty pickups are more capable than ever. Tow ratings have gone up and weight has come down, as we've previously reported.
Ford showed reporters how good the new SuperDuties are at a demonstration in and near Denver in late July. Three “waves” of magazine writers, including me, traveled to the Mile High City (it's official altitude really is 5,280 feet, but you probably knew that) to experience the new trucks. We got to pull several types of trailers with pre-production F-250, 350 and 450 pickups.
The heftiest trailer was a Gladiator Load Max gooseneck utility, loaded with eight pallets of concrete blocks and decorative limestone. A Ford engineer told us they were very close in weight, one scaling at 29,900 pounds and the other at 29,960 pounds. Each was hitched to an F-450 pickup, whose emphasis is on towing rather than hauling (that's the F-350's role), though the 450 will carry a lot, too.
Gross combination weight of this “tractor-trailer” was about 40,000 pounds, the F-450's former maximum GCW rating. It's now 41,800 pounds, thanks to higher torque (925 lb-ft, up from 860) of the revised, second-generation PowerStrike diesel. Those of us with commercial driver's licenses were encouraged to take one for a spin, and I was the first to climb behind the wheel. Three other people, including that Ford engineer, also piled in (raising our GCW closer to the new maximum).
I headed out of the hotel's parking area and onto wide boulevards that climbed up and down rolling hills in the upscale, hotel and office-populated neighborhood west of Denver. The PowerStroke