Crucial Cars: Ford Super Duty F-250

From timeless icons to everyday essentials, Crucial Cars examines the vehicles we can’t live without. In this installment, we explore the unstoppable beast that is the Ford Super Duty F-250.

2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty photo 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty

When it comes to geography and trucks, bigger is always better. Just ask the people of Texas, or Ford Super Duty F-250 owners. The Ford F-150 pickup is enough muscle for most weekend warriors towing the occasional camper, horse trailer, or boat for a weekend getaway. The same holds true for drivers hauling a bed full of hay bales, mulch for the flower beds, or a relative’s furniture. But when the game shifts to towing bigger, heavier loads more frequently, that’s when truck drivers opt for the big guns – the Ford Super Duty F-250.

  V8 Car Engine

Super Duty – it wasn’t a truck first

The Ford Super Duty F-250 debuted in 1998 with the ’99 model year. Those early models featured distinct styling – including unique headlamps and grilles – with countless Ford Super Duty F-250 accessories, still available today, that help it stand out from its less powerful F-150 brethren. That first 250 featured a 5.4 liter V-8 delivering 255 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque, with available options including a 6.8 liter V-10 or a 7.3 liter turbodiesel.

Fittingly, since the 250’s branding and performance focus on power, the Super Duty moniker first appeared on the scene in 1958 not as a truck but rather as a big, weighty engine producing high torque at low RPMs. And this engine was never designed for the light-duty tasks of transporting kids to a Saturday morning soccer game or hauling a couple of bags of potting soil and some plants. No, this beast of an engine worked hard and was usually found only in industrial-type vehicles such as buses, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and cement mixers.

Forty years later, the first Ford Super Duty F-250 model would seem a fitting way to honor an engine similarly designed for heavy lifting and hard work.

 Ford Super Duty F-250 towing trailer 2015 Ford Super Duty F-250

Towing capacity is what matters

Ford says, “90 percent of all Super Duty trucks are purchased by customers who tow often.” That’s the main reason truck marketing, and particularly Ford Heavy Duty ads, emphasize towing capacity. But just how much can they tow? 12,500 pounds – and that’s just for starters.

Pretty much across the board, any 2015 Super Duty F-250 sporting a 6.2 liter, gas, V-8, and a 3.73 gear ratio can tow 12,500 pounds using a standard hitch and ball setup, regardless of cab configuration . The only exceptions being the Super Cab 4x4 and Crew Cab 4x4 which max out at 12,400 pounds and 12,200 pounds, respectively.

Jump up to a 6.7 liter, Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V-8, however, and that towing capacity increases to 14,000 pounds for both the Super Cab and Crew Cab configurations. Add a 5th wheel gooseneck towing configuration and towing capacities climb higher still, topping out at 16,600 pounds for the Power Stroke Diesel, 4x2 with a 3.31 axle ratio.2016 Ford Super Duty F-250, red 2016 Ford Super Duty F-250

Which one of these is not like the others?

The Ford Super Duty F250 differs from its truck family members on both ends of the scale mainly in towing capacity. For example, the 2015 F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds, while a diesel F-350 or 450 can tow north of 26,000 pounds or 31,000 pounds, respectively, as compared to the F-250 topping out at close to 17,000 pounds.

The F-250’s distinct chrome-bar style grille featuring a huge Ford emblem, big telescoping mirrors, and available roof clearance lights also give the Ford Super Duty F250 a look that helps further distinguish it from its less-powerful sibling.

Ford got it right

The Ford Super Duty F-250 isn’t necessarily the right choice for every pickup truck driver out there, but Ford's lineup of impressive F-Series trucks continue to blast the competition out of the water. The F-250 Super Duty is no exception. It's no wonder why F-Series is the best-selling truck in America.

Editor’s note: If you’re searching for Ford Super Duty F-250 parts or accessories, stop by Advance Auto Parts for everything your truck needs. Buy online, pick up in store, and get back to the garage.

Last updated June 7, 2017

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