Ford has adopted the SAE J2807 towing-capacity measurement standard for their F-450 crew cab 4x4 pickup and maintained its insane 31,200 pound rating. They really want to end this "best-in-class" dispute with Ram, but Chrysler still won't concede that silly title.
As you may know, Ford, Ram, and GM all agreed to rate the towing capacities of their pickup trucks to a standard outlined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) called "J2807," the details of which are outlined above.
The original covenant had the Big Three applying the standard to their light duty (half-ton) trucks. GM adjusted the ratings of their 1500-series trucks in July, resulting in about a 400 pound capacity reduction.
A couple weeks later Ram went ahead and adjusted their numbers across their entire lineup, which basically didn't result in any chances. The 30,000 pound max on their single-cab rear-wheel-drive dually remained.
So What Changes Did Ford Make?
Ford says achieving J2807 compliance required the truck tow 400 pounds more than what they'd done in internal testing, hauling up Davis Dam Road with two passengers instead of one with a truck that's configured to "base" curb weight.
That ups the 2015 Ford F-450 pickup's gross combined weight rating (the most it can carry in the vehicle and on a trailer) from 40,000 to 40,400 pounds. Just don't get caught at a highway weigh station with that kind of loadout if you don't have a commercial driver's license.
The "base" curb weight is opposed to "minimum," at which the F-450 was presumably previously tested. Ford and Chevy offer "delete options" where customers can shed bumpers, consoles, and other non-essentials to get the starting weight below what would be considered "base" (no extra options ordered) thereby increasing payload.
As a result of ditching that practice, the F-450 pickup's payload capacity (what it can carry in-bed) drops from 5,450 to 5,300 pounds
So Is Ford Finally "Best In Class" For Heavy-Duty Trucks Or What?
Ford says yes, obviously; "the 2015 F-450 pickup is a beefed-up F-350 with a GVWR (max the rig can weigh, not including a trailer) of under 14,000 pounds making it a Class III truck in every way."
Yet Ram is hanging on to the title with their 30,000 pound rear-drive dually, maintaining the F-450 pickup should live in Class IV.
Will We Ever Get A Definitive Answer On That?
Probably not but I wouldn't worry about it. J2807-compliance or no, automakers can change the capacity ratings of their vehicles arbitrarily and put them in any weight class they want.
What we know is true in the case of the 2015 F-450 pickup is that the frame is indeed different from an F-450 chassis cab, and it does have the highest towing capacity of any four-wheel-drive crew-cab pickup by some 2,000 pounds.
Also, it looks pretty sweet playing in this giant sandbox: