Ford has revised its mighty Super Duty truck lineup, otherwise known as “F-250 and up.” Every new truck that gets trotted out seems to come along with crazy-high payload and towing capacity claims and these are no different. 37,000 pounds? What the hell weighs 37,000 pounds, man.
As Ford’s press release dropped bragging about this immense tow rating and a max payload haulage claim of 7,850 pounds, I noticed the community of people commenting on cars on Twitter had reactions ranging from “why” to “who’s using this?”
There aren’t really any recreational scenarios where you’d need to pull the weight of several African bush elephants, and you often couldn’t even legally drive around with more than 26,000 pounds between your truck and trailer without a commercial driver’s license.
There are exemptions for farming and non-commercial use of heavy trucks, but, most “regular” driver’s licenses, like California’s Class C, limits your total truck and trailer weight.
A U-Haul car trailer with a car on it might weigh 7,500 pounds. Many camper trailers are less than half that. Even a sailboat on a trailer is probably going to be less than 10,000 pounds.
But if you need a vehicle for work, like, commercial cargo hauling, not a Sunday Home Depot run, you actually can run up against 37,000 pounds of trailer. As Jalopnik contributor and living automotive encyclopedia Bozi Tatarevic tweeted in response to some wonderers:
Of course, let’s acknowledge the reality that Ford’s new “37,000-pound” capacity claim only applies to specific configurations of its new Super Duty trucks, and the number’s most certainly leveraged in marketing to entice weekend warriors who definitely do not need that kind of pulling power into dealerships to eventually buy something with four full doors, leather seats, and a relatively small cargo bed.
But the fact remains: there are applications for extreme capacity, as exampled above.
As for the 7,850-pound payload rating, I have to admit I initially struggled to imagine what could possibly be so heavy that would also fit in a pickup truck’s bed, but a few seconds of casual Googling proved that things are apparently heavier than I thought.
A 2020 Ford F-350 long bed single cab, a truck Ford claims can carry 7,850 pounds, has 78.5 cubic feet of volume in its eight-foot cargo box.
Beach sand, for example, weighs about 95 pounds per cubic foot. So, fill your F-350 to the brim with sand, and boom, you’re already approaching the limit at almost 7,460 pounds.
Something like steel, of course, is much heavier–that can weigh almost 500 pounds per cubic foot. And while you obviously couldn’t fill every crevice of your truck’s bed with steel, you’d only need to fill about a fifth of it with heavy steel to hit your payload mix.
Also important–a cubic foot of water, about 7.5 gallons, is just over 62 pounds. So, you could theoretically use this F-350’s bed as a hot tub!
The point is, while it does kind of seem like Ford, Chevy and Ram are perpetually locked in a pointless battle for arbitrary extreme truck specification claims, there actually is some application for the upper end of modern truck capabilities.
Just don’t get too wrapped up in big flashy numbers when you’re shopping for a truck for weekend jobs and project car towing. You don’t need max capacities that are thousands of pounds above whatever your truck’s tasked with to be safe, you just need the truck to be well maintained so it performs to its original spec as intended.
Correction: This article originally stated that you need a commercial driver’s license to drive with a higher GVWR of 26,000 pounds. but that is not always the case. The post has been updated!