Chassis Changes: Revisions Help 2011 Ford Super Duty Earn Top Tow Ratings

If you thought the truck wars were cooling down, think again. Today Ford announced upgrades to its 2011 F-350, and F-450 Heavy Duty trucks with dual-rear wheels and the automaker’s 6.7-liter turbo-diesel V-8 will be able to tow 17,500 pounds, more than any other offering in the segment.

"Super Duty stays on top because of our ongoing engineering work and analysis of extensive field data," said Rob Stevens, chief engineer of the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty. "We keep pushing to deliver the best-in-class attributes our customers demand."

Power is an important figure for nearly any vehicle, but towing capacity may be just as important for consumers in the market for a new truck. Ford recently upgraded its 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel V-8 to an industry-best 800 pound-feet of torque, but the automaker apparently wasn’t done perfecting its heavy duty offering.

Ford engineers added higher-strength steel in a frame cross member and upgraded the trailer hitch to boost the heavy duty truck’s towing and payload rating substantially. The upgrades apply to Ford’s most capable Super Duty trucks equipped with the automaker’s Power Stroke diesel and dual-rear wheel design. The improved design increases the conventional trailer rating by 1500 pounds to 17,500 pounds, besting the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC 4x2 by 1000 pounds and their 4x4 offerings by 500 pounds.

Additionally, the offerings are now capable of hauling a best-in-class 22,600 pounds via a fifth wheel trailer mount, leading GM by 900 pounds. Payload increases to 7070 pounds, a new industry best by 435 pounds.

It’s no news that Ford’s F –series trucks continue to lead U.S. truck sales, but it also topped the list as the most bought vehicle in January with 35,806 in sales. Ford notes that although the segment is filled with three competitors, its heavy duty offerings account for nearly 50 percent of the market. Production of the upgraded Super Duty offerings begins this week.

Last year GM seceded in the power race, do you think it or Ram will lay back and let Ford lead the way in tow rating too, or will they roll out improvements to keep things interesting? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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