Ultimate One-Ton HD Challenge: Milford Braking

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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


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Overview | Milan Dragway | Fuel Economy | Milford Hill Climb | Milford Braking | Davis Dam | Davis Braking | Eisenhower Pass | Eisenhower Braking | Results


Interesting, last years test, the Super Duty ruled the braking categories. This year it's last!

Tire make/model size, cold/hot inflation pressure
Weight distribution of truck.

Can't wait to hear what the GM/Ford fanboys say with this one, you know, since the Ram 2500 was crap because it took a whole 5 feet longer to stop.

Its hard to compare a "5" setting on one truck to a different truck's "5" setting. Also, every trailer is a little different and one may require a different amount of input to get the same brake response, even if still new. Using the same trailer for each test, while certainly more labor intensive and time consuming, would have been preferred to the multi-trailer method used in this test. The "empty" and "trailer brake unplugged" comparisons are better data to evaluate vehicle braking due to these differences.

Also, I would have liked to see the result of repeated stops and any resulting brake fade.

The Ram clearly has the best breaking for these heavy work trucks.

The gain set to "5" does not allow for individual trailer variablity.
They should of done at least three brake runs with each separate trailer on each truck. That would rule out trailer variablility since each truck would brake using each trailer.

I say this on every truck test - all of the trucks need to be running the exact same tires.

Good and very interesting tests. What would be even more interesting would be to look back a decade at similar test results and see how much things have improved.


I don't understand the lack of continuity here. Perhaps no one on staff has a scientific or engineering background- or even has a desire to emulate such a thing, but rather only truck enthusiasts?

My point: These are not tests, but more an attempt of very singularly functional and limited reenactments of the real world. Ok for fun perhaps, but all this effort, and no real data or consistency across all of the testing? Glorified fun with big trucks, but no real constant to measure the albeit loose, "data".

Sadly, pretty much a waste of time. Your "test" isn't sharing any real information- only your interpretation of a planned and supposed real world situation. Disappointing guys. All this support from manufacturers, and cooperation... and thousands of dollars on arguably the highest researched and engineered machines for the public to purchase, and this is what is presented?
Please- Do the hard working engineers at Ford, GM, and Ram a service and at least get a university involved next time, as your testing procedures are not effective.

Really this is so cool to have this website.

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