2003 Western Diesel PickupTruck.com Diesel Shootout, Part 3 of 3
By: Tom Keefe © PickupTruck.com, 2002
Posted: 12-02-02 00:00

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Part 1: Quarter Mile Drag
Part 2: 7% Grade Test

Here it is - the Monster! A fifteen percent grade measuring 1000 feet long. We used the same measuring equipment for this test that we used on the seven percent grade but we changed our measurement intervals because of the shorter length.

For the curb weight test, the readings were taken at 250 feet and again at 750 feet. Each of our test trucks passed the 500 foot mark and the 1000 foot mark in less than 5 seconds. All of the times were calculated and added together to show elapsed time to the 750 foot mark.

For the tests with the trailer each of the points recorded a time. The timing points were zero to 250 feet, 250 to 500 feet, 500 to 750 feet and 750 to 1000 feet. All of the times were collected and added together to show elapsed time.

As with the other tests the high and the low from each of our three testers were thrown out and the remaining times were added together and then averaged. This is the time represented in the following charts. Again this test was run only in one direction, up hill, for obvious reasons.

If you have never climbed a fifteen percent grade with a 12,100 pound trailer latched to the hitch of your pickup, well it's an experience you should only do after you have significant trailer towing experience under your belt. With an automatic transmission missing a shift while climbing the grade was never a problem but missing a shift with a manual transmission provided a whole different experience.

All of our testers were experienced with manual transmissions and towing trailers. Each of them missed a gear on the way up the hill and one of the testers even missed bad enough to force a restart halfway up the hill. This is the type of experience that makes you appreciate an automatic even more than you might have previously. Our tester was faced with having to back down the hill from the halfway point or drive it up the hill. If neither of those worked a tow truck would be needed.

While the truck and trailer were able to drive up after the missed shift it's not something that you want to do everyday. For safety reasons we didn't try to duplicate the missed shift and subsequent halfway restart on the hill with the other trucks. A group decision was made to retry the test if a missed shift caused a stop on the hill otherwise no mid hill starts.

Each of the testers believed that all of the trucks were capable of mid hill starts and therefore no test for each truck was needed.

Let’s get to the results:

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