Part of the benefit of using GM's Milford Proving Ground was having access to the infamous Black Lake dynamic testing area. The area is difficult to describe, other than to say it looks like a giant lake of blacktop pavement: tens of millions of square feet of almost dead-level, consistently even asphalt, perfect for a high-speed brake test. (It's also great for an autocross test, but with our one-tons and trailers, we didn't see the need for that.)
In the end, the Ram 3500 came close to sweeping all three 60-to-zero-mph tests, beating both the Ford F-350 and GMC Sierra 3500 by more than 30 feet in the trailer-with-trailer-brake combination. With the trailer brakes unplugged, the Ram beat the GMC by more than 10 feet, and the Ford by more than 20 feet. Only in the empty braking did the GMC beat the Ram by just 2.4 feet. The Ford was almost 11 feet behind the GMC.
How We Did the Testing
We had three types of brake tests we wanted to use for comparisons. First, we wanted a measured distance from 60-to-zero mph when empty (not counting driver and passenger); second, with the integrated trailer brake controller set to a level 5.0 gain; and third, with the trailer behind the one-ton without the benefit of trailer brakes (we disconnected at the plug). Again, to keep things as real world as possible, we chose 60 mph as our target speed; once we hit that speed we would dynamite the brakes to replicate a normal panic-brake situation. We should note that all brake testing was done on a closed section of Black Lake with the benefit of GM supervision and safety equipment and personnel at the ready.
For this tricky testing situation, our longtime friend and fellow truck enthusiast Kent Sundling from MrTruck.com was behind the wheel, with Joe Lachovsky from RaceLogic in the passenger seat, calling out the speeds and signals necessary for accuracy.
Each double-axle engineering trailer weighed just less than 16,000 pounds and had 64 square feet of flat-panel surface area facing the wind.
Each one-ton was tested with several runs; for our results we used the best stopping distance for each. The trucks were alternated between runs to allow for a full cool-down between the three test runs.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears