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The maximum towing wars are heating up again with Ford boasting 31,500 pounds of max towing capacity on the new F-450, besting Ram by 1,500 pounds. This figure is enormous when you consider that a new F-series truck was rated to tow half this amount just 10 years ago. You may be wondering how it’s possible for Ford – and Ram and GM, who have made similar leaps in tow capacity – to add so much capacity. The answer is 3-D technology.

2015 Ford HD Models Lay Claim to Towing Title - 31,200 lbs!

This beast can tow up to 31,200 lbs. What can you tow with that? Almost anything you can think of.

3-D Technology Leads To Improved Design

In order to further improve their F-series trucks, Ford has turned to 3-D technology. For example: Ford is better able to ensure the ring and pinion gears match up more precisely using 3D modeling. Since matched-up gears are more capable, tow ratings can increase.

Using 3D modeling, Ford (and others) have adjusted their frame designs, transmission designs, etc. to maximize tow capacity. They can test different designs, model different materials, etc. to arrive at the optimum design for any given part.

What’s more, 3D technology can also be used during vehicle assembly. Two separate cameras are used to create a 3D image of a complex assembly – like the ring and pinion gears mentioned earlier – and then a computer can determine if the gears have the proper specs. If they don’t, they’re modified or rejected and replaced with gears that mesh better.

In years gone by, Ford used skilled craftsman with micrometers to help determine the proper gear mesh. While this process wasn’t bad, there’s no substitute for a mathematical model.

So, What Can You Tow With 31,500 Pounds of Capacity?

Wondering what you can tow with 31,500 pounds? How about:

  • Construction equipment on a flatbed (like a back hoe)
  • Car haulers used to transport several vehicles between dealerships or to a junkyard.
  • Horse trailers that hold multiple horses, feed and accessories
  • Race car over/under haulers that usually hold 2 cars and are often 30+ feet long
  • Large fifth-wheel RVs with other vehicles and an additional storage trailer

Practically speaking, you can tow anything you want (at least if we’re talking about normal consumer-type activities rather than commercial duty).

Reversing Intake and Exhaust on New Diesel

Ford’s new diesel has both a welcome upgrade (the block is now compacted graphite iron) and a significant innovation – the intake and exhaust have “switched sides” on each head, with the exhaust routed to the inside of the “V” and the intake coming in from outside the “V.” This is advantageous because:

  • The length of tubing between exhaust valves and the turbocharger has been shortened, reducing lag
  • By putting the turbo closer to the exhaust manifold, the setup is more efficient (exhaust gases are hotter, so there’s more energy to be harvested by the turbo)
  • Reduced NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness)

Ford says the new Power Stroke’s “reversed head” engine will also accommodate a larger turbo (which means more power) while improving efficiency (better gas mileage).


This comparison chart is really eye opening.

The new Ford Super Duty has “upped the ante” in the ongoing competition between Ford, GM, and Ram. Will Ford’s new F-450 push Ram and GM to greater and greater heights? We’ll have to wait and see.


About the author: Tim Esterdahl


Tim is a married father of three living in Western Nebraska. He is the editor and contributor to several automotive sites and is becoming an influential automotive journalist. He spends a lot of time reading, writing and talking cars/trucks with fans, insiders and manufacture reps. When he isn't talking about cars, he is usually out playing golf - a never ending obsession to see how far the little white ball will fly.


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  1. Pingback: Are Towing Numbers Getting Out of Hand? | Tundra Headquarters Blog

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