like to say thanks to Ford Motor Company, again, for coming through
and letting us borrow their Michigan
Proving Grounds (MPG) near Romeo,
Michigan, about 50 miles due north of Detroit. We used this world-class
vehicle testing facility back in 2002 for the 7% and 15% hill climbs.
We used the same grades again this year.
Due to time
constraints at Milan, we also conducted the ¼-mile
tests for the three-quarter-ton trucks on Ford’s 2-mile long east/west
straightaway. The road surface is so level that it follows the curvature
of the Earth. The pictures you’ll see of those trucks, though,
were taken at Milan Dragway.
You’ll also be reading about our new squat, ‘SuperMax’ 25%
grade, and downhill brake temperature tests.
to GM. After a trailer deal fell through at the last minute, General
Motors stepped up to quickly and graciously loan us three 10,500-pound
ballasted trailers with 60 square-foot windscreens. They’re the
funny looking double axle rigs you’ll see behind the trucks in
we’d also like to thank all the OEMs - Dodge, Ford,
and GM – for coming through with the vehicles you’ll read
about. We asked for the pickups to be configured as similarly as possible
and we stayed in constant contact with the manufacturers, so each OEM
was aware of what the others were bringing to the challenge. For the
most part, the trucks are identical except for some of the rear axle
ratios. There was one last minute change. The Ram 2500 HD was originally
supposed to have a 4.56 rear axle but it was changed just before delivery
to a 3.73 rear axle.
We’ve also partnered again with Ricardo Inc. to instrument and
measure each truck’s performance. So, not only were the vehicles
tested by PickupTruck.com as a neutral third party, but PickupTruck.com
went the extra step to hire this globally recognized automotive engineering
and consulting company to collect metrics – absolutely ensuring
no bias was introduced into our tests. In pictures you’ll see the
vehicles running side-by-side in drag contests for subjective comparison,
but Ricardo only collected data one truck at a time.
instruments are first class. They brought along an RT3102 computer
from Oxford Technical Solutions for capturing and processing data.
It contains 3 accelerometers, and three angular rate sensors, as well
as GPS, and a Pentium processor. From this Ricardo engineers collected
three types of acceleration (lateral, longitudinal, and vertical),
three body movement rates (roll, yaw, and pitch), as well as position,
velocity, orientation and slip. Time was obviously collected too. The
RT3102 outputs a whole host of other items, including pitch and roll
angles, the three acceleration figures in either body or frame orientation.
You can spend a lot more on one of these. A fully-specced one retails
for around $110,000 USD, when used in conjunction with a base-station
to get positional accuracy to 2 cm!
is in an incredibly short period to pull together and finance such
a comprehensive test. We’re grateful to Superchips for quickly
jumping on board and becoming an early sponsor. Superchips is a market
leader in electronic tuning products for late model cars and light trucks,
offering a complete line of hand-held tuners to cover most domestic cars
and trucks, including diesel powered pickups. We hope you take the time
to learn about how their products can benefit your truck.