the F-450 empty was comfortable, as long as the road was smooth and
the lanes wide. It has 11,000-lb. of rear spring capacity and rides
on 19.5-inch wheels with 12-ply steel belted tires aired up at 80-psi.
Hit a bump unloaded and you feel the shockwave from the rear leaf springs
in your eyeballs. Taming the F-450's ride requires pushing the
truck past the limits of most full-size pickups. If you want to be rewarded
with a smooth ride you need to work the F-450 hard.
ahead to the plant nursery to setup a time to receive the soil. These
guys know dirt. They also know what it takes to move dirt, and they
assume you do too if you're asking for a few cubic-yards. I
had some fun though asking how they wanted to load up my Prius. There
was 5 seconds of silence while the professional gardener figured
how to politely tell me a Prius wasn't going to work. Not even
if they carved out a space for me to drive the car and filled most of
the rest of it with earth, though that might improve its aerodynamics
by giving it a lower profile.
not making this up. When we arrived at the nursery there was a half-ton
pickup getting ready to head out. Its owner looked shell shocked as
he cleaned a foot-high pile of dirt from the roof of his extended cab.
He was standing on a gigantic mound of raw soil in the cargo box, which
was sagging noticeably over the rear wheels. See, there are two kinds
of truck owner. Those who estimate cargo capacity by volume – as
in, I can fill my pickup’s cargo box with whatever can fit in its
dimensions, like furniture, dirt, or matter from a neutron star. And
those who logically fill cargo capacity based on a truck's rated
hauling capability – as in, I'm not driving home riding on
the bump stops.
doesn't mean you won’t overload a truck.
Almost all pickups are engineered to handle an overload situation, but
only for a few moments, like when a cubic-yard of earth is being dumped
in the back of the truck from a skip loader. And the guy at the nursery
is the last person you should depend on to tell you if your truck can
handle a load. He just wants to sell you dirt.
care of the donation paperwork first, out of sight from the F-450.
So ready or not we were committed to receiving about 2.5-tons of soil,
or the equivalent of 1.6-Priuses. When we arrived at the truck the
skip loader operator, who was basically the Yoda of dirt, knowingly
approved our choice of hauler for the task. "Good for hauling earth
the F-450 is," I swore I heard him murmur.
I was able to get the camera ready, the gardener was belted in the loader
dumping soil from a height of about 5-feet over the bed. The dirt
tumbled out like a waterfall into the cargo box. It was amazing to
watch as the F-450 received it all in about 6-seconds with barely a
shudder, sound or sag. 2,250-lb. down, 2,250-lb. to go.
load was dumped just like the first. By the time it was done we had
a pyramid of dirt in the back of the F-450 but the rear suspension
squatted only about 2 or 3-inches, almost unnoticeably.
the pile so it was even, just below the bottoms of the cargo rails.
Turns out we didn't need any more soil because the CWC had overloaded
their half-ton the day before hauling one cubic-yard back to the future
step was sprinkling several gallons of water over the dirt before covering
it with a tarp, to prevent leaving a bread crumb trail of soil and
amendment on the freeway.