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2015 Ford F-450 Platinum - First Look

Ford makes moves to reclaim the towing crown

Text By , Photography by Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

We’re guessing Ford didn’t take too kindly to cross-town rival Ram’s introduction of a truck with a massive 30,000-pound rating for the 2013 model year. We say this because Ford’s top towing machine is “only” rated at 24,700 pounds and Ford is not a company known for standing by while competitors challenge its dominance in the truck market. Making things even more uncomfortable for the Blue Oval is the fact that the new Ram 3500 has proven in real-world testing to be more than just shiny numbers on a spec sheet (see ’13 Ram 3500 HD vs. ’13 Ford F-450 on page 72).

What resulted from this shifting of the poles within the truck market is a truck that Ford intends to use to reclaim the industry’s towing crown. The ’15 F-450, while not looking much different on the outside, has been touched in almost every important area under the skin. Ford engineers did a tremendous amount of work in a short amount of time, and we fully expect the ’15 F-450 to set the bar with best-in-class power, as well as best-in-class towing when it arrives on scene later this year. Isn’t competition great?

Read on for an exclusive first look and an overview of changes in store for Ford’s latest F-450.

Chassis
The ’15 model year boasts the biggest chassis changes to the F-450 lineup since the original ’08 to ’10 trucks lost their unique frame to one shared with the F-350 in 2011. While the frame stays mostly the same (a more robust rear crossmember adds towing capacity for fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitches), some of the original F-450 bits return, such as the gorgeous, 19.5-inch forged-aluminum wheels—the one visual key that really sets the original F-450 pickup off. These Alcoa wheels are wrapped in LT225/70R19.5 Continental HSR tires and carry an “N” speed rating, which means they are good to 87 mph, the ’15 F-450’s electronically limited top speed.

Other changes include the return of the massive 12.25-inch Dana S110 rear axle, upsized U-joints, and a stronger driveshaft in place of the current truck’s Dana M80 rear setup, while the front retains the Dana Super 60 axle, albeit with a 1,000-pound GAWR increase to 7,000 pounds. Both axles will be stuffed with 4.30 gearing. Steering has been beefed up with a stronger steering gear and linkages. Suspension modifications include new rear leaf packs (the front retains coil springs), unique shocks, and upgraded front and rear sway bars.

Current-generation owners will be happy to know that the F-450 uses the same upsized brakes as medium-duty chassis cab models, including the parking brake and ABS calibration.

Turbo
While the changes to the chassis are important, the bigger news is an improved, more powerful 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 that will be shared across the Super Duty lineup. The second-generation 6.7L’s most notable change will be a Garrett GT37 VGT turbocharger replacing the single-sequential GT32 VGT unit on today’s truck. Based on what we believe to be the popular Garrett GT3788VA PowerMax aftermarket turbo, the new GT37 loses the dual compressor wheel design for a traditional single wheel to improve performance at high altitudes. The turbine wheel’s size grows to 72.5mm from today’s 64mm, which means better efficiency at altitude and greater power potential, and it allows for much more exhaust braking capability. Because the GT37 operates at lower peak exhuast pressures, it rules out the need for a wastegate. The new turbo setup also benefits from improved oil and cooling lines with enhanced sealing, and exhaust brake operation is now manually controlled by a switch on the dashboard, a welcomed change over the current truck.

Fuel System
With all the improvements to the turbo system, Ford’s engineers couldn’t leave the fuel system alone. The Bosch CP4.2 fuel pump’s cam now features a longer stroke to improve flow in high-demand situations, and the piezo injectors use redesigned tips that atomize fuel better. According to Ford, the changes to the injector nozzles lessen noise, vibration, and harshness, while also reducing emissions and valve deposits. Fuel economy is expected to be similar to today’s truck.

Drivetrain
Ford engineers didn’t just bolt on a new turbo and fuel system and call it good; they opened up the 6.7L and tackled efficiency and durability. For example, the main bearings are now covered in a new polymer coating for reduced friction, while the crankshaft receives an enhanced fillet design to increase strength. A new, heavier damper is used to reduce rotational forces on the crank at high rpm, and piston assemblies have been improved to increase load-bearing ability. Interestingly enough, material was added to the cylinder heads, exhaust manifolds, and valvetrain for increased durability, and the 6.7L now sports five-layer head gaskets and four-layer exhaust manifold gaskets.

Not even the transmission could escape the scrutiny of Ford’s engineering team. In order to cope with the increased output from the Power Stroke engine, Ford also made major revisions to the 6R140 six-speed automatic, the sole transmission offering. In addition to a new torque converter with modified K-factor (performance curve), the damper springs are now heat-treated, and the intermediate shaft’s fatigue strength has been improved. Enhancements were made to the software calibration for improved shifting, torque management, and response.

Our Take
So while each of these changes is important and significant in its own right, the sum of the parts should add up to a truck that delivers a prodigious increase in power and, therefore, capability. Ford wasn’t ready to announce any official power or towing numbers at the time we went to press, but we estimate an output of 425 hp and 875 lb-ft of torque, once again establishing the Super Duty as the most powerful heavy-duty pickup available.

With these changes, Ford is hoping to reestablish the F-450 as the undisputed king of the heavy-duty towing segment, and we can’t wait to test the production truck against its peers. Until then, it’s your move, Ram and GM.

Fast Specs
Vehicle model: 2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty Platinum
Base price: $70,000 (est.)
Engine type: 6.7L 90-degree V-8
Valvetrain: OHV, four valves per cylinder
Aspiration: Variable-geometry turbocharger, water-to-air intercooler
Mfg.’s hp at rpm: 425 hp at 2,800 rpm (est.)
Mfg.’s torque at rpm: 875 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (est.)
Transmission: Six-speed TorqShift 6R140 automatic
Axle ratio: 4:30:1
Suspension (f/r): Mono beam (wide front track) with coil springs, shock absorbers, stabilizer bar/Live axle with leaf springs, staggered shock absorbers; stabilizer bar standard
Steering: Power-assisted recirculating ball
Brakes (f/r): 14.53-inch vented disc/15.35-inch vented disc
Wheels/Tires: 19.5-inch forged aluminum/LT225/70R19.5 Continental HSR
Curb weight: 8,700 pounds (est.)
Max payload capacity: 6,000 pounds (est.)
Max towing capacity: 32,000 pounds (est.)

Dream Puller
Is There Anything the F-450 Can’t Tow?
Ford’s F-450 has become so synonymous with towing that NASA even uses the truck as part of the research going on at the historic Dryden Flight Research Center in the Southern California desert. We recently had a chance to watch NASA’s F-450 in action as invited guests of Sierra Nevada Corporation to observe the company’s Dream Chaser space plane undergoing testing.

Looking like a mini Space Shuttle, the composite Dream Chaser is a vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing, lifting-body aircraft that has design roots in the famous Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar, Russian MiG-105 and BOR-4, and HL-20 lifting-body research programs dating as far back as the 1950s. It is one of three vehicles participating in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCD) and Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program. The goal is to develop a spacecraft that can provide NASA with safe and affordable access to low earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS), utilizing American vehicles and rockets launched from American soil.

The composite Dream Chaser is about a third of the size of the Space Shuttle and is able to carry from two to seven astronauts, depending on the mission and cargo requirements. While its primary mission would be to resupply the ISS, other uses could include research as an orbiting laboratory and space tourism.

In order to improve the level of safety as compared to the Space Shuttle during launch, the Dream Chaser is designed to mount atop an Atlas V rocket, much like a capsule. However, unlike a capsule, the Dream Chaser can be piloted to a horizontal runway landing, similar to the Space Shuttle, giving astronauts the best of both worlds: a safer lift to orbit, and a piloted, glided landing.

Some of the unique features of the Dream Chaser include a heat shield that can be replaced in panels, instead of tiles, and a nontoxic fuel system that allows the orbiter to be handled immediately after landing. The Dream Chaser is designed to be turned around quickly, greatly lowering costs of the reusable spacecraft.

On the day of our visit, we were able observe ground testing as a ’12 Ford F-450 pulled the spacecraft up to 10, 20, 40, and 60 mph before releasing it to validate how the vehicle would perform after landing and verify the operation of the Dream Chaser’s various control systems (such as steering, braking, and navigation)—a requirement before the Dream Chaser could begin its free-flight testing. Witnessing the Dream Chaser testing on the very runways that once hosted the Shuttle program was a special experience for those of us who grew up during the Shuttle era.

We can report that the tests were a success, and despite not being able to watch the Dream Chaser take flight, it was a great honor to be on hand to observe an important milestone of what could be America’s next great spacecraft.

Special Thanks To

Dryden Flight Research Center
www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden
Sierra Nevada Corporation
www.sncspace.com

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267 comments
bob beo
bob beo

Ford F450 also dodge ram 3500 with only horizontal, but the price is much higher .Ford f350 < Dodge ram 3500

TimM
TimM

Comparing a 450 model to a 3500 model? Show me what the 2015 F-350 max towing numbers are. The Ram 3500 with 30,000 lb towing has a base price of $40,000 but the F-450 is at $70,000 base? The fact the author doesn't acknowledge this glaring difference just goes to show the bias in the reporting.

Dustin Loftus
Dustin Loftus

Ford and Dodge all the way but Dodge is better

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

Selling my 6.0 and upgrading tomorownlol

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

And im not saying its bad it seems like the 6.7 is a powerhouse. But that doesn't make the duramax bad 800 ft/lbs of torque or 765 still gonna tow more than anyone asks of them. And im just saying the duramax has a good history besides some early injector issues

Adam Matthew Wilson
Adam Matthew Wilson

It's fords first in house diesel motor in a while I'm sure is what you mean.

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

You can seem to understand that this is fords first in house motor in a longggg time.

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

Its fine that navistar built those motor they're good motors. I dont have problems with it.. ive said since the beginning that Isuzu helped design the duramax and makes a hell of a motor but you cant seem to accept that gm builds it in Ohio and owns it and has been doing so for over ten years way before ford made an in house motor sorry Adam Matthew Wilson gms been doing it for a decade

Adam Matthew Wilson
Adam Matthew Wilson

Please show your facts to backup that Cummins walks all over the 6.7 powerstroke in dependability.

Liam Knight
Liam Knight

Hell yes that's a beautiful truck.. And it just so happens to be the best truck. :)

Evan Keifenheim
Evan Keifenheim

These are only estimated numbers..... The Ram 3500 are proven numbers. Plus Cummins dependability walks all over the Powerstroke.

Adam Matthew Wilson
Adam Matthew Wilson

Obviously I wasn't talking to you Jesse Stone when I mentioned it wasn't Ok to use Wikipedia as a source of information. And Preston Lawrenz my apologies I think I spelled it isuzu instead of izuzu a total of one time. Fact is you all are having a hard time admitting who engineered the duramax but won't hesitate to call out ford and navistars partnership. How convenient.

Ken Wagner
Ken Wagner

I hope that's not the final look.....yuk!!!

Bryan Ramey
Bryan Ramey

All of you people are acting childish and giving DP and the rest of us diesel owners a bad name. Brand and motor does not matter it is what works for you and what each person likes, that is all that matters. So grow up.

Bryan Ramey
Bryan Ramey

Nice truck can't afford it but still a nice truck.

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

+ i got a ford van mark 3 high top im that im going to put a 6.0 power stoke in + 4 wheel drive kit that im getting off of u joint off road hell thats all the truck i need

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

all i have had is noting but good luck out of my truck thats why i wont buy the new trucks maybe one day and ford will all ways be my 1st one to buy

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

nice truck i love it but one thing it does not have a 6.9 ih flat like the 1989 ford f350 diesel i have test drove a new ford diesel truck and they suck i love my old truck these new trucks look nice but does not have the power like i wont

Blake White
Blake White

Patrick Willis every shop loves every kind of truck.

Preston Lawrenz
Preston Lawrenz

Adam you should read some more GM bought out all of Isuzu's shares. It's completely owned by GM. And by the way it's Isuzu not izuzu.

Patrick Willis
Patrick Willis

The local diesel shop loves the 6.7. Keeps them in business.

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

You've made yourself look stupid enough... id just quit commenting. And my site was diesel power mag..

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

Adam Matthew Wilson is the definition of an IGNORANT BRAND LOYALIST LMAO

Chris Mathews
Chris Mathews

Are they serious.. 70k for a bass model and it only tows 32k.. cant beat the dodge

Adam Matthew Wilson
Adam Matthew Wilson

I wouldn't be bragging about the 6.2 and 6.5 that chevy had. Those are two of the worst diesel motors in history. And really the 6.9 idi and 7.3 idi were trash? Stop doing drugs please.

Joseph Strunk
Joseph Strunk

throw a inline 6 cat making 600hp stock and show the cummins guys whats up haha

Adam Matthew Wilson
Adam Matthew Wilson

Wikipedia is not the site to use to try and make a reputable point. DMAX is a joint effort between GM and Izuzu. Does it bother you at all that Toyota has a stake in izuzu too?

Апач Главный
Апач Главный

International built the 6.0's, 7.3's, and the 6.9's. They no longer build engines for Ford.

Preston Lawrenz
Preston Lawrenz

And Ford did take a bailout.... probably better research a little more jeff.

Ryan McNair
Ryan McNair

me and my buddy were looking at both trucks ford n ram n i noitice ram was coping F was first use the eco boost F was first u camra F was first ram cant keep up

Preston Lawrenz
Preston Lawrenz

I guess you don't pull much Andrew because my 06 Duramax 2500 out pulls my tuned 08 F450

Ryan McNair
Ryan McNair

that is a sexy truck i whant it bad lol all tho seem like evry new truck they make ppl whant but cant have

Preston Lawrenz
Preston Lawrenz

Umm.... They do make on road diesels in their own trucks the CT660, the motor is a CT13

Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone

And gm will never design/engineer a diesel engine haha are you dumb? Ever heard of Detroit diesel with the powerhouse two strokes and they had great truck engines.. i know gm doesn't own them now. But the 6.7 is fords first in house motor in a while and their old diesels were trash.

Chuck Rutler II
Chuck Rutler II

@TimM #1 The $70,000 is base price for the Platinum package. 

#2 it says (est.) final $ could be more or less. 

Compare the 2014 base price F450 Platinum of $67,530, the price increase is $2,470...again, number isn't set in stone. 

Now, compare that price to the F350 Platinum of $52,510. add $3,190 for 4x4 because there is no 4x2 F450, and add $8,315 for standard Diesel option. What you have is $52,510 + $3,190 + $8,315 = $64,015 (base F350 price) - $67,530 F450 Platinum) = (A $3,515 price increase) 

F450 base truck price = $50,560

F350 base truck price = $30,930

RAM 3500 base truck price = $30,595

RAM 3500 base truck price for Megacab dually Laramie Limited 4x4 = $68,315

YOURDADDY
YOURDADDY

WRONG you must be a gm fanboy because you don't know your facts.