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Ford promises honest payloads (updated)

by David Zatz on

Automotive News’ campaign against Ford and GM’s practice of stripping their trucks of key parts in order to increase their rated payload has, according to both companies, now been completely effective.

The influential weekly’s Larry Vellequette exposed the fact that GM and Ford both measured payload by fudging curb weights. GM was the first to say they would stop removing items from their trucks, such as bumpers. Ford, which had removed the spare tire, jack, radio, and console, promised to stop doing this, and instead use a standard curb weight to determine payload. (Payload and truck weight combined should equal the vehicle’s gross rated capacity.)

Ford also said it would stop using its own un-verifiable tests to issue tow ratings on the F-450, switching to the industry standard SAE J2807 method used by Ram and Toyota. The company had previously said it would move to this standard, but at the last minute reneged on their promise. Ford also said the 2015 F-150 would adhere to the standard, which is followed by Ram and Toyota.

The F-250 and F-350 will remain on the “Ford standard,” but their payload ratings will use curb weights, which include all liquids, required components, and 300 lb of driver and passenger.

Automotive News reported that Ford was the first to artificially boost their payload ratings by dropping equipment that can be deleted from truck orders, though normally companies only do so to replace it with their own gear.

The result of the change was a drop in the payload of the F-450 by 150 pounds ( Automotive News had calculated that 61 lb would have to be left off to avoid exceeding the 14,000-lb gross weight rating).  A Ford spokesman told Allpar that the seats accounted for 45 lb, the spare and jack were 103 lb, and the radio was 6 lb.

Ford continues to claim best in class towing, though they define their class as “full size pickups over 8,500 lb GVWR,” and Ram defines their class as “Class 3 pickups” (it is the pickup with the highest tow rating, ignoring classes).

The maximum payload on the F-450 is lower than that of a similar F-350 by over 1,000 pounds, despite the greater towing capacity and heavier-duty components, suggesting that the actual payload might be higher, pushing the gross weight rating over the 14,000 pound maximum for Class 3 (the top F-350 also has a GVWR of 14,000 pounds). The curb weight is, according to Ford, 8,611 pounds, which is over 400 lb more than any F-350.

Ram’s official response is, “Ram Truck stands firm on our claims within the 350/3500 segment with best-in-class 30,000 pounds of towing capacity, best-in-class 865 lb.-ft. of torque, and best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds [around 2,000 pounds more than the claim for F-450].  Additionally, unlike our competitors,  our entire 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line up adheres to J2807 test criteria, not just one model.”

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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