Fat Boy! Ford's
2008.5 F-350 Widetrack Monobeam Front Axle Super Duty
Call it trickle down engineering.
Job 2 Ford Super Dutys are getting ready to head to dealer lots, and most notable amongst this batch of Ford's heavy pickups is the 2008.5 F-350 with option 67W checked off on the order sheet.
67W is Fordspeak for "widetrack monobeam front suspension and extended axle". You can call it 'Fat Boy' for short.
Fat Boy's front running gear is a hand-me-down from its big brother, the Ford F-450 pickup. The Class 4 suspension uses a larger and wider axle and stabilizer bar, beefier coil springs, and stronger linkage arms and knuckles that give this one-ton F-350 more capability than an F-350 with the stock Class 3 twin-coil narrow track front suspension.
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is lifted from 11,500-lbs to 13,000-lbs. That's still well short of the F-450's 14,500-lbs GVWR and 24,000-lbs towing capability, but if you don’t need to tow or haul anything at the upper end of the F-450's envelope this new F-350 is better suited to the trailer pulling needs of most of the market. Plus, it has a better ride unloaded, because the Fat Boy F-350 retains its standard rear suspension setup, and you'll save quite a few bucks over the F-450 you can use for diesel fuel.
But the changes don't stop there.
The Fat Boy also gets big front wheel cutouts and bulging arches, just like the F-450. Its 44.5-degree wheel wells are 12.5-degrees larger than a standard F-350’s. They give the truck more than just aggressive looks. The larger openings enable the Fat Boy to shrink its turning radius to 50-feet, versus 56-ft for the standard F-350. That’s near light duty territory and best-in-class for a dual rear wheel, crew cab, one-ton pickup with an 8-ft box. In comparison, Chevy Silverado 3500 DRW long box’s turning circle is 55.1-ft and Dodge Ram 3500 DRW long box’s circle is 52-ft.
According to Todd Eckert, Ford's truck and SUV marketing manager, you'll only have to pay $470 to chop those 6-ft off your turning circle. That's how much option 67W costs.
Mr. Eckert also says the Fat Boy treatment is only available on 172-inch long-wheelbase F-350 Crew Cab 4x4 duallys with 8-ft boxes – about 10% of Ford’s Super Duty lineup.
What's it like to get behind the wheel? I drove the F-350 Fat Boy briefly around a coned course after driving a single rear wheel F-350 with the standard front setup. The sharper turning radius in the dually was immediately evident and made for a much nimbler truck - relatively speaking, of course.
We just missed having a pre-production Fat Boy as part of our Heavy Duty Shootout a few months back. We'll have to save towing with the Fat Boy for a later date, but it’s definitely on our radar screen. (Hint to Ford)