Ultimate Three-Quarter-Ton HD Challenge: Milan Dragway

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We started our Ultimate Three-Quarter-Ton Heavy-Duty Challenge at the Milan Dragway, about 30 minutes south of Ann Arbor, Mich. We've used this facility several times before for PickupTrucks.com comparison tests, and appreciate having the dead level track and tons of grip at the start line, plus full use of the Christmas tree (stacked red, yellow and green lights that let racers know they can launch).

Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek, our resident Cars.com "hot shoe" and all-around muscle-car enthusiast, had no trouble getting the best times out of each truck on the grippy track surface, but it typically took three or four passes to figure out exactly how to get the pickups (especially when running empty) to hook up best off the line. We also had our VBOX wizard, Joe Lachovsky, in the cab during each run with his recording gear. The total added weight in each vehicle amounted to about 320 pounds. Of course, that weight, when combined with our payload, put our HD trucks at, or right on top of, their maximum gross vehicle weight rating numbers. For our empty runs it was a nonissue.

Track conditions were good but outdoor temperatures fluctuated throughout the day. Track temperatures were about 80 degrees at the start, but by the afternoon when it was warmer but cloudier, temperatures on the track surface climbed to almost 120 degrees.

During our empty zero-to-60-mph runs, the Ram 2500 left little doubt as to which truck felt more at home on the drag strip, running almost a half-second faster than the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 2/10ths of a second faster than the Ford F-250 Super Duty.




To some, since Ram had the biggest engine and 4.10:1 axle gears (where the Ford was only equipped with 3.73:1 axle gears), the outcome was not unexpected. But it's worth noting here the Ford did outweigh the other trucks by at least 120 pounds (more than the Ram and 380 pounds more than the Chevy), yet it gave our driver the most thrilling launches off the line. Clearly, the Ford engineers have done the best job of allowing the most power to get to the rear wheels for hard acceleration starts. Of course, that also meant we'd have to be careful at stop-sign launches in the rain.

During our loaded runs, which included 62 bags of rock salt (weighing 40 pounds each) moved from one bed to another by a team of Cars.com editors, we had, as you might expect, no trouble with spinning tires at the start line. Again, the bigger and stronger Ram 2500 muscled ahead of the other two competitors.

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This time the Ram beat the Chevy by a wider margin (maybe to be expected given its smaller, older-tech Vortec engine, but don't forget that the Chevy was a few hundred pounds lighter) and beat the Ford by a smaller margin than it did when running empty (see chart below).

In the quarter-mile runs, the Ram again showed its dominance with 16.8 seconds at 86.5 mph, setting the fastest time and top speed in both the empty and loaded runs down the track. It's worth noting the Chevy did a pretty good job when empty, holding the 2nd-to-3rd shift for a good while to keep the engine rpms in the strongest part of the power band; that's probably why it came in second (not to mention its 4.10:1 gears) during empty running but had a little more trouble getting enough breath to move out of third place when hauling more than 2,500 pounds (including driver and passenger), finishing in third with a time of 18.8 seconds at 78.5 mph.

It's worth taking a look back at the times we collected in our 2010 Heavy-Duty Shootout, when we tested three-quarter-ton diesels and gas engines as well as one-tons. The Ram 2500's 5.7-liter Hemi is a strong powertrain, and it was even back in 2010. These new trucks seem several generations faster off the line and down the strip with just a single upgrade to the powertrain tuning and software upgrades. Of course, the Ram's larger Hemi is a completely new entry.

How We Did the Testing

We used the same driver in each vehicle during the acceleration runs to keep as many variables as possible constant as we moved from truck to truck (windows up, air conditioning off, Tow/Haul off when empty, on when loaded).

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


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


Look how hard the 6.0 Vortec is pulling through the 1/4 unloaded, erases the SD lead .2 0-50 and beats it by .2 a sec, thats nearly half a second.

GM needs the 6.2 in the HD and it would have bone crushed both Ram and Ford regardless of Gears, a 6.2 in a 1500 crew cab 4wd did 0-60 in mid 5 seconds.

Why do PUTC continue to point out that the rear end ratio is an reason for the performance differences when any true motorhead would quickly point out that the transmission ratio needs to be included otherwise the rear end ratio reason is irrelevant.

Ram may have a lower rear end but with fords transmission gearing, ford has an lower overall ratio. This is PUTC twisting the truth.

already seeing the bias... Mark Williams moaning about the ford only having 3.73's despite having the deepest first 3 transmission gears of the competition.

To be fair though, people do gripe alot about rear end ratios in the comments on these, so they can be forgiven I suppose

Looking at tire sizes, rear axle ratios, and transmission ratios:
The Chevrolet needs 3rd gear to hit 60mph.

The "old" 6.0L and 6 speed transmission seem to be holding their own pretty well against the competition.

The Chevy held up really well. The 2011 upgrade has made a huge difference. My brother says there is a big difference in feel between his 2013 Chevy 6.0 crew cab 4x4 and the 2010 he had.

Despite GM's recall fiasco, their HD trucks have consistently been more durable than what Ford or Ram offers.

The problem with thinking that chevy can just stick the 6.2 in it's 3/4 ton is that the higher compression, more aggressively tuned engine isn't as suitable for the demands of heavier duty truck. Just like the half-ton version of the ford 6.2 was higher rated than the HD version of the 6.2 (411hp vs 385hp) the same would necessarily be true for GM's 6.2 as well, probably finding it's HP rating right around 400-410. There is no reason to think the Vortec's would outgun the hemis since we don't see this anywhere else (IE, corvette's 6.2's 450hp to the Hemi's 6.4 485hp, etc).

You will be seeing a 7.0 in 2016 for GM HD trucks. It will be a spinoff from the 7.0 Corvette motor. I cannot wait for it!!!

@Greg - the 7.0 is a rumour so far.

The LY6 6.0 Vortec has been in current form since 2007, many tuners have easily got 480+ HP, GM could have bumped it, but its done the job and I can promise you will outlast the Ford and the Hemi.

@ Greg

If they did put the 7.0 in the Chevy HD, it's going to be detuned so they can handle the heavier loads that the truck would put on them and still have the longevity that truck owners expect out of their truck engines! The only way they would put a true Corvette engine in a truck is if it were a dedicated sports trucks that would have low towing numbers! But it would be cool if the did put it in a truck, I'd love to see Ram put the 6.2 Hellcat in a Ram!! Could you imagine a 707 hp truck!! LOL

Remember when the top picture was shown last week and all the Ford fan boys where whooping and hollowing about how bad the Ford was going to kick the rams ass?

Gee looks like the Ram ended up kicking the Fords ass instead.

I think the GM 6.0L is the most durable gas engine out there. I am even seeing them in UPS trucks now.

@uh huh

Don't call yourself a true motor head. You're embarrassing true motor heads! Your logic is backwards and makes no sense! While the transmission has a lot to do with gearing, there's only one that comes with the truck! It is what it is! There isn't different transmissions to choose from like there is for the rear ends! The only way to change the performance of your truck (stock) is by the options you choose! You can choose different rear ends, not transmissions though! The rear end absolutely makes a difference because you can choose which one you want unlike the transmission! The Ford would've done much better with the 4.30 rear end with the exception of the gas mileage! To say the rear end has nothing to do with performance has got to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard! Considering how the RAM barely beat the Ford in most acceleration runs, it's feasible to say the Ford could've beat the RAM in the close ones if it had the 4.30. Of course we'll never know first hand,but it's not out of the question!

Where did these 7.0L rumors come from? There were some rumors about a larger LS engine for the GM HD's 5 years ago, but last I heard they were dropped because of the new CAFE fuel economy standards affected HD pickups.

@Big Bob - Greg mentioned it and I Googled it. No concrete evidence other than chat on the GM blogs.

GM has truly pulled a lot out of the old 6.0. However, it would be nice to see them put a new motor in the truck. Nevertheless, I won't be at all surprised if the 1 ton challenge has the GM ahead of the competition again even though the Ford and Dodge theoretically have more horsepower and torque. Part of that expected domination is due to the Allison and part of it is due to the 6.6 Duramax being such a great motor. Ford has been trying for years to match it and have yet to succeed in that quest. The Duramax/Allison combination is the best stock diesel platform out there and that has been proven many times. I expect the domination to continue. We will see what happens next week.

Did anybody notice that the back windows are down in the chevy while they are up in the ford and dodge? Just an observation.

Interesting how they mention the ford weighs 120 pounds more yet on the one ton shootout they load the ram at 2-500 lbs more on almost all the tests, and it comes in.... Last. Wow! Crazy how that works! They all run so close who cares! The leader is one fat chick in the back away from being last


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