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2003 Ford F-250 6.0L - Baselines

Our First Look 4 Years Ago at the 6.0L Power Stroke

The first thing we noticed about the new 6.0L Power Stroke was how much quieter the engine was. The second thing we noticed was how the power came on above 1,500 rpm like a freight train. With 325 hp, 560 ft-lb of torque, and the five-speed auto tranny, we could outrun the '03 Cummins truck with ease. When we popped the hood to look at the new International/Navistar powerplant we concluded that we could have done a cleaner job of swapping this engine into the F-250. The new Torque Shift five-speed automatic transmission got mixed reviews from the judges. Some thought it didn't downshift when it should, others fell in love with the way it would rifle through the gears as you blasted away from a traffic light. The new "Tow/Haul" mode did work to downshift the truck and slow hill descents, but we didn't think it was as effective as the Allison 1000. Perhaps the most unique feature of this transmission was that you can select a Second gear, and even Third gear starts from a standstill. We suppose that if you were driving in slippery conditions it might be hard to control wheelspin with that much torque on tap.

We were so busy enjoying the new power of the 6.0L that we almost overlooked the Super Duty's wallowing suspension and three-lane-wide turning radius. But no such luck! The Ford was judged to ride almost as well as the new Dodge trucks, but it wouldn't carve corners or weave down back alleys like the Ram did.

Likes* Hot rod diesel engine* Five-speed transmission* Monochromatic look

Dislikes*Unnecessary running boards*Empty dashboard*School bus turning radius

KellEy Blue BOOk Value$30,694with 53,000 miles

SPECIFICATIONS
GENERAL
Manufacturer Ford
Model F-250 Super Duty XLT Supercab
Base price $30,735
Price as tested $40,745
Options as tested Power Stroke 6.0L diesel,
TorqueShift 5-speed automatic, LT265/75R16
tires, 3.73:1 gears with limited-slip differential,
advanced security group, XLT sport package
(chrome tublular side steps, sliding rear window,
color-keyed rear bumper, camper package,
deluxe aluminum wheels, trailer hitch receiver, 6-
way power seat)
ENGINE
Type Turbocharged, intercooled, 32-valve V-8 diesel
Displacement (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/363
Bore x stroke (inches) 3.74 x 4.13
Compression ratio 18.0:1
Induction type Hydraulic rail, direct injection
Fuel required (octane)/capacity (gallons) Diesel/38
SAE peak horsepower 325 @ 3,300 rpm
SAE peak torque (lb-ft) 560 @ 2,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION
Type Five-speed automatic overdrive
Model TorqueShift
Ratios First: 3.09:1; Second: 2.20:1; Third: 1.54:1;
  Fourth: 1.00:1; Fifth: 0.71:1; Reverse: 2.88:1
Transfer Case
Type Two-speed part-time, manual shift
Model NVG 271
Low-range ratio 2.72:1
AXLES
Front type Dana 60
Rear type Visteon 1011/42-inch with limited slip
Hubs Manual
Ratio 3.73:1
SUSPENSION
Front Live axle with leaf springs
Rear Live axle with leaf springs
STEERING
Type Power-recirculating ball
Turns lock-to-lock/ratio 4/17:1
Turning radius (feet) 57.12
WHEELS
Size (inches) 16x7
Material Forged-aluminum
TIRES
Size LT265/75R16
Brand Firestone Steeltex
BRAKE SYSTEM
Front 13.03-inch discs with ABS
Rear 12.83-inch discs with ABS
WEIGHT (pounds)
Curb weight 6,010
Advertised GVWR 8,800
MILEAGE
EPA estimate (city/hwy. mpg) N/A
As tested (mpg) 9.49
ACCELERATION
Standing 11/44-mile (seconds @ mph) 17.52 @ 82.53
Braking
60-0 mph (feet) 160.92
DIMENSIONS (inches)
Wheelbase 158.375
Overall length 246.5
Overall width 99.5
Overall height 78
Front/rear track 69.5/68.25
Front/rear overhang 35.875/52
Minimum front ground clearance 8.125

'03 Dodge Ram 3500 Common Rail 5.9LOur First Look 4 Years Ago5.9L Common RAIL CumminsThe Ram 3500 was a brute, and it was the one everyone wanted to take home at the end of the test. Visibility was good on the road, but the massive A-pillars and tall cowl can limit how well you see that Hyundai in front of you. The Ram 3500 shared many components with its 2500 series brother (1410 U-joints, AAM axles, NVG 273 transfer case) we tested, but the Cummins diesel-equipped 1-ton actually rode better than the Hemi Ram, thanks to its optimized spring and shock tuning. We couldn't say enough good things about the new H.O. Cummins and felt cheated that the 305 hp/555 lb-ft diesel wasn't available in California. When mated to the NVG 5600 six-speed (the automatic was not available with the high-output package), the Cummins made the 7,150-pound truck accelerate like a pickup half its size. Even though the 3500 was slower at the dragstrip than the Hemi 2500 (hey, it takes some time to shift through all those gears), it still felt like it had more power than everything but the 6.0L Power Stroke. Under the hood the inline-six engine was set way back, but there was still room to service everything and maybe even add a second turbo. Inside the truck, judges still thought that the Dodge seats were too hard and flat and that the shifter was a little rubbery and not always easy to get into gear. Be prepared to shift this truck a lot on the street because of the close gear spacing, and don't be afraid to experiment with Third gear launches in the sand just to keep a lid on the explosive wheelhop. Overall engine noise was lower this year, thanks to a new Bosch common rail pilot-injection system. Cummins owners, however, will not be disappointed with the turbodiesel sound or the newfound horsepower. This was a tow vehicle to fight over!

Likes* Earth-moving torque* Six-speed transmission* Tons of cargo space

Dislikes*Needs a seven-speed tranny*Rear limited slip*Small rpm range

KellEy Blue BOOk Value$32,950with 53,000 miles

SPECIFICATIONS
GENERAL
Manufacturer Dodge
Model Ram 3500 Quad Cab SLT
Base price $35,030
Price as tested $42,370
Options as tested Customer Preferred Package
28H (tow hooks, 8-way power leather seats, rear
60/40 split folding, LT265/70R17 tires, 17x8 cast-
aluminum wheels, power adjustable pedals,
electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case, foglamps,
body-color side moldings, bright body-color grille,
Infinity AM/FM/CD/cassette, 7-speaker stereo,
leather-wrapped steering wheel with stereo controls,
overhead console with trip computer, flat-folding
load floor, sliding rear window, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, woodgrain instrument panel, dual
zone A/C controls, keyless entry, security alarm,
transfer-case skidplate), Trailer tow group (750-amp
battery, Class IV hitch, 7-pin wiring harness),
supplemental side airbags, 5.9L HO Cummins
Turbo Diesel, BFGoodrich on/off-road tire upgrade
ENGINE
Type Turbocharged, intercooled, inline-six diesel
Displacement (liters/cubic inches) 5.9/359
Bore x stroke (inches) 4.02 x 4.72
Compression ratio 17.2:1
Induction type Electronic, high-pressure common
  rail injection
Fuel required (octane)/capacity (gallons) Diesel/34
SAE peak horsepower 305 @ 2,900 rpm
SAE peak torque (lb-ft) 555 @ 1,400 rpm
TRANSMISSION
Type Six-speed manual overdrive
Model NVG 5600
Ratios First: 5.63:1; Second: 3.38:1; Third: 2.04:1;
Fourth: 1.39:1; Fifth: 1.00; Sixth: 0.73:1; Reverse: 5.63:1
TRANSFER CASE
Type Two-speed part-time with electronic shift
Model NVG 273
Low-range ratio 2.72:1
AXLES
Front type AAM 911/44-inch
Rear type AAM 1111/42-inch
Hubs N/A
Ratio 3.73:1
SUSPENSION
Front Live axle, four-link with track bar and coil springs
Rear Live axle, longitudinal springs
STEERING
Type Power-recirculating ball
Turns lock-to-lock/ratio 2.75/15.40:1
Turning radius (feet) 44.6
WHEELS
Size (inches) 17x8
Material Cast-aluminum
TIRES
Size LT265/70R17
Brand BFGoodrich Rugged Trail
Brake System
Front 13.9-inch discs with ABS
Rear 13.9-inch discs with ABS
WEIGHT (pounds)
Curb weight 7,150
Advertised GVWR 9,900
MILEAGE
EPA estimate (city/hwy. mpg) N/A
As tested (mpg) 10.91
ACCELERATION
Standing 11/44-mile (seconds @ mph) 18.51 @ 76.84
BRAKING
60-0 mph (feet) 160.40
DIMENSIONS (inches)
Wheelbase 140.5
Overall length 228
Overall width 95
Overall height 78.25
Front/rear track 69/68.5
Front/rear overhang 39.25/48
Minimum front ground clearance 8.25

'01 Chevrolet Silverado2500HD 6.6L DuramaxOur First Look 6 Years ago 6.6L DuramaxThe GM/Isuzu Motors 32-valve, aluminum-head 6.6L replacement for GM's 6.5L diesel was the star of this new platform. The turbo took about one second to spool up, then boom-you'd better be ready for a surge of oil-burning acceleration. The new heavy-duty Allison five-speed auto electronically controls shift timing and locks up the torque converter in lower gears when in "Tow/Haul" mode to prevent overheating. The Allison shifted with a nice, firm feel, but it did shift a lot and there was no overdrive "off" button. We needed to manually pull the shifter down from "D," which was annoying in some situations.

Inside were the same Barkalounger captain's chairs, radio with big, logical controls, and center console with room for a baby elephant as before. However, there was plenty of ludicrousness, namely in the form of a 229.5-inch long vehicle with poor rear legroom and brakes that worked well on pavement but not in the dirt. The ABS released way too early, resulting in a loss of stopping power and causing some pretty hairy situations on muddy mountain roads. Then there's GM's OnStar system, which combines GPS with cellular technology to pinpoint your exact position and speed in case you're lost, broken down, or just lonely. Welcome to the age of Big Brother.

Around town the 2500HD was surprisingly agile for a vehicle of its size, but we were reminded of its length, especially when trying to park. On the highway the familiar diesel clatter goes away, only to be replaced by the most awful bucking you'll ever find outside of a rodeo. It's a 31/44-ton truck that sure rides like a 1-ton. However, with super-low gearing and the age-old Gov-Lock, the diesel strutted its stuff in our rockcrawling tests despite an enormous breakover angle, an exposed tranny filter and pan, and a diesel fuel cooler mounted in harm's way next to the unskidplated plastic fuel tank.

Likes* Obscenely powerful diesel* Crawls like a conveyor belt* Best-of-bunch mpg

Dislikes* Rough ride on- or off-road* Tight rear seating* Sticker shock

KellEy Blue Book Value$25,970with 70,000 miles


SPECIFICATIONS
GENERAL
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Model Silverado 2500HD LT Extended Cab
Base price $33,785
Price as tested $40,755
Options as tested: Locking differential rear axle;
roof marker lamps; trailer hitch platform, LT
package (air conditioning with air filtration system,
ISRV mirror with compass and temp., dual power
heated OSRV mirrors, rear window defogger, deep
tint glass, pushbutton transfer case, front foglamps, AM/FM stereo w/ cassette and CD,
electronic speed control, power locks and
windows, remote keyless entry with content theft
alarm, leather wrapped steering wheel, forged polished aluminum wheels, bodyside moldings,
six-way power heated bucket seats w/ front leather
surfaces and driver memory, OnStar communication system, tan custom leather trim),
M74 Allison five-speed auto trans, Duramax 6600 V-8 diesel, tonneau cover
ENGINE
Type Duramax Diesel 6600 V-8
Displacement (liters/cubic inches) 6.6/402.7
Bore x stroke (inches) 4.06 x 3.89
Compression ratio 17.5:1
Induction type Direct injection, high pressure
  common rail
Fuel capacity Diesel/26 (shortbed)
SAE peak horsepower 300 @ 3,100 rpm
SAE peak torque (lb-ft) 520 @ 1,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION
Type Five-speed automatic overdrive, tow/haul mode
Model Allison 1000 (M74)
Ratios First: 3.10:1; Second: 1.81:1; Third: 1.41:1;
  Fourth: 1.0:1; Fifth: 0.71:1; Reverse: 4.64:1
TRANSFER CASE
Type Two-speed part-time
Model NVG 263
Low-range ratio 2.72:1
AXLES
Front type IFS
Rear type Solid axle with locking differential
Hubs Automatic
Ratio 3.73:1
SUSPENSION
Front Independent/torsion bar
Rear Semi-eliptic, two-stage multileaf springs
STEERING
Type Integral power recirculating ball
Turns lock-to-lock 3.75
WHEELS
Size (inches) 16x6.5
Material Polished forged aluminum
TIRES
Size LT 245/75R-16E
Brand Firestone Steeltex Radial R4S
BRAKE SYSTEM
Front 12.80-inch disc with ABS
Rear 13.0-inch disc with ABS
WEIGHT (pounds)
Advertised GVWR 9,200
MILEAGE
As tested (mpg) 14.18
ACCELERATION
Standing 11/44-mile (seconds @ mph) 17.54 @ 81.61
BRAKING
60-0 mph (feet) 155.16
DIMENSIONS (inches)
Wheelbase 144
Overall length 229.5
Overall width 93
Overall height 74
Front/rear track 63.375/66.125
Front/rear overhang 38.25/45
Minimum front ground clearance 8.25
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