2008 Ford F-450 Lariat Super Duty Crew Cab 4x4 – Big Dog Daddy
If you’re a manufacturer, how do you really know if your pickup has gained acceptance with true truckers? When it has songs written about it by a country music star, like Toby Keith. Keith has gone even farther and named his entire summer tour after the ‘Big Dog Daddy’ F-450 – which is capable of towing up to 24,500-pounds.
When we put this year’s shootout together we asked Ford to prove the F-450’s capabilities. They came through by delivering the truck with a 4.88 rear axle hitched to a 20,000-pound three axle fifth wheel trailer. With an estimated curb weight of approximately 8,850-pounds, we were driving an almost 30,000-pound rig around metro Detroit!
The F-450 had the same 6.4-liter PSD as the F-350, but due to the truck’s very low final drive ratio, power was detuned to 325-horsepower and 600 lbs-ft of torque. This is a new power management approach from Ford that we believe is used to increase engine life. If we had been loaned an F-450 with a taller 4.30 rear axle, PSD output would have been equal to the F-350’s.
Before the 2008 model year, Ford used to hold PSD power ratings the same across all its Super Duty pickups, including the F-450 and F-550 chassis cab models. GM follows a similar limited-output approach in its diesel 4500/5500 medium duty trucks, by detuning the Duramax’s power ratings below those found in its three-quarter and one-ton pickups.
We’d never dream of running this truck as an unloaded daily driver. It would be like buying a $1000 espresso machine to make decaf coffee. You just don’t do it.
Look for Ford to offer the F-450’s front radius-arm suspension as an option on the F-350 by late summer. The advantage of this setup is greater front load bearing capacity and improved turning maneuverability. You’ll be able to recognize it by the arched fender flares over the front wheels, needed to cover the wider track of the F-450’s front axle.
Think we’re done with our shootout? We haven’t even gotten warmed up. Here’s the results of our first exam.
For our squat test we took one of the 10,500-pound trailers and rotated hooking each of the three-quarter and one-ton trucks up to it. We wanted to measure how much the rear suspension of each pickup would compress under load. To ensure we were only loading the rear suspension, we didn't use weight distributing equipment.
The trailer had an 11% (1,075-pound) tongue weight - the downward force applied by a trailer's own weight and cargo on the hitch ball.
Looks like Ford's newly lengthened leaf springs (increased by 8-inches over 2007) didn't dramatically impact the levelness of the Super Duty's suspension under load, while still helping to moderately improve ride comfort.
Quarter-Mile Unloaded and Loaded Test
Here's Part 2 of the PickupTruck.com Heavy Duty Shootout, with the results of our 1/4-miles runs.