Road Test: 2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty
By: Mike Levine Posted:
04-01-08 00:07 PT
© 2008 PickupTruck.com
I got the
call. You know, the call. When someone asks you to help move stuff
with your truck. If you own a pickup, sooner or later you always get
the call. But this wasn’t the usual, "I need help moving," or,
"Can you help me take some junk to the dump?" This was a desperate
plea from the most beautiful woman I've ever seen asking me to help
wife took the lead coordinating volunteers to build a new feed garden
at the California
Wildlife Center (CWC) near Los Angeles. The noble
folks at the CWC selflessly give their time and skills 365-days a year
to rescue and rehabilitate injured animals for release back into the
wild. And my kids and their classmates were in on this too because
this was a community service project for the younger grades at their
and helpless baby animals, there was no escaping this request.
was to haul two cubic-yards of donated topsoil from a nursery in Simi
Valley to the animal sanctuary, about 40-miles away. It might not sound
like it, but that's a lot of dirt. A cubic-yard is 27
cubic-feet and weighs about 2,250-lb. Carbon footprint counting moms
and dads with visions of using their Prius to adventurously haul a bag
or two of mulch cruelly found they couldn't complete the circle
of life with their alt-powertrain sedans. Not unless they wanted to make
ten or twenty trips.
trucks are challenged by loads like this. The most capable 2008 Toyota
Tundra (Regular Cab 5.7-liter V8 4x2) has a max payload rating of only
1,925-lb. And most three-quarter-ton and one-ton pickups won’t
work either. A Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Crew Cab Long Bed Dual Rear Wheel
(DRW) 6.6-liter Duramax V8 diesel 4x4 can only manage up to 4,029-lb.
(4,706-lb. with the 6.0-liter gas V8).
called for serious hauling capability. If we were going to save Bambi,
it was going to be done as efficiently as possible using the biggest
pickup we could find - because I was sure I was going to get a call
from my wife when we were loading up asking for 'just
one more' cubic-yard of soil, which I figured I could negotiate
down to a half cubic-yard extra.
truck that fit the task was Ford's one-and-one-half-ton
2008 F-450 Super Duty Crew Cab 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel V8.
last time we drove the "Big Dog Daddy" of pickups was
during the 2007 Heavy
Duty Shootout. We used it to tow a 20,000-lb. trailer
up an insanely steep 25% grade, but we didn’t drive it unloaded
or hauling cargo. Helping
out the CWC was all the excuse needed to test the F-450’s astounding
5,720-lb. payload rating (the 4x2 F-450 has an even higher 6,120-lb.
max payload). That's 1,000-lb. more than
either a Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab Long Bed DRW 4x4 or the Silverado 3500.
borrowed the optional 4.88 rear axle version (4.30 is standard), geared
for pulling the biggest loads. It's detuned,
to 325-horsepower / 600 lb-ft of torque, compared to the standard 4.30
truck rated at 350-hp / 650 lb-ft., to reduce driveline wear.
is Ford's Class 4 chassis cab truck with a factory pickup
box. It's commercial grade but Ford has civilized this beast so
it looks normal, almost. The tell is the widetrack monobeam front suspension
and extended axle that adds big front wheel cutouts and bulging arches
to the truck. The radius-arm suspension gives the F-450 its bulldog stance
but it also shrinks the truck's turning radius to 50-feet, versus
56-ft for a conventional narrow track F-350. The F-450 is surprisingly
agile maneuvering at low speeds even though its length is just shy of
22-ft. But it's agile like an NFL linebacker instead of a ballet
dancer because the truck is 95.5-in. wide – enough to require side
and roof marker lamps.