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1999 4x4 of the Year: Ford F-350 Super Duty

Posted in Project Vehicles on February 1, 1999
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Photographers: 4-Wheel & Off-Road Staff

Ford F-350

•Really low 5.72 First gear
•Confident limited slip
•Torque curve impressively flat

•Drivetrain noise
•Beyond bouncy on and off highway
•It's a V-10?

Want to know the biggest brain-buster of the competition? The F-350 Super Duty SuperCab was $95 more expensive than the F-150. So why was that significant other than the hmmm factor? Because when we began the test, we figured you'd be smokin' it if you didn't fork over the minute dough for a pickup with an optional V-10 and a payload of 4,255 pounds.

However, we could not hide our immediate disappointment with what those extra Washingtons would get you: a gutless truck with a painful ride. We test pickups unloaded, but this suspension was found stiff even for a 1-ton, and the rear end would kick out at the slightest freeway crack. Then there was its 230 1/2-inch length, making it less than desirable for roaming the city.

Once at the racetrack, its fan club downsized. The F-350 posted fourth-slowest accelerator and dead-last stopper. Sure, it is 2,448 pounds heavier than the Suzuki, but still. Not making matters easier was the poorly positioned transmission shifter, which lead to difficulty with finding the gates and dislocated shoulders from stuffing the stick into Reverse. And don't ask about the mpg or the noise.

But then the Super one hit pay dirt. The beast showed what it could do with its just-more-than-8 inches of front clearance and dead-serious limited slip: scale rocks and hills. Being heavy forced it to bog on sand, but that wasn't a limiter on inclines. It walked very determinedly up the knoll with nearly no driver assistance, and then it showed the naysayers of long wheelbases that great traction, clearance, and compression braking are all it takes to four-wheel-the F-350 came in behind the Jeep and the Dodge for third at rockcrawling, exactly one point behind the Jeep at four-wheeling attributes, and behind none at hillclimbing. But it was the real winner in all our hearts for having manual locking hubs.

There were other quirks, though, that couldn't move it past middle-of-the-pickup pack in the final cut: a parking brake that when released removed chunks of shin, not having grab handles on both sides, tons of slop in the drivetrain, a utilitarian interior, and that good, but very familiar, body style.

Bottom line
It'll be a rough ride getting there, but it's a competent slow-go 'wheeler.


Manufacturer Ford
Model F-350 Super Duty SuperCab Styleside
Base Price $26,640
Price as Tested $30,545
Options as Tested Preferred Equipment Package
(manual locking hubs; front tow hooks; speed-control/tilt steering; passenger-side SRS; air conditioning; AM/FM/cassette/ clock; forged aluminum wheels; mid-ship fuel tank; and power convenience package); 6.8L V-10 engine; five-speed manual transmission; LT265/75R16 tires; 4.30:1 limited-slip axle ratio; front license plate bracket; spare tire and wheel; power mirror; Off Road Package; aero headlamps; power-takeoff; chrome rear step bumper; trailer hitch receiver; 40/20/40 cloth bench seat; remote keyless entry; Trailer Towing Package; and heavy-duty battery.

Type SOHC V-10
Displacement (liters/cubic inches) 6.8/415
Bore & Stroke (inches) 3.55x4.16
Compression Ratio 9.0:1
Induction Type Sequential, multiport fuel injection
Fuel Requirement/Capacity (gallons) 87 Octane
Unleaded regular/29
SAE Peak Horsepower 275 @ 4,250 rpm
SAE Peak Torque (lb-ft) 410 @ 2,750 rpm

Type Five-speed manual
Model M5HD
Ratios First: 5.72:1; Second: 2.93:1; Third: 1.60:1;
Fourth: 1.00:1; Fifth: 0.76:1; Reverse: 5.23:1

Transfer Case
Type Two-speed part-time
Model NV731
Low-Range Ratio 2.72:1

Front Type Solid
Rear Type Solid
Hubs Manual
Ratio 4.30:1

Front Single-stage, constant-rate leaf springs
Rear Two-stage, variable-rate leaf springs

Type Power recirculating ball
Turns Lock-to-Lock/Ratio 3.8/17.0:1
Turning Radius (feet) 54.2

Size (inches) 16x7
Material Cast-aluminum

Size P265/75R16
Brand Firestone Steeltex

Brake System
Front 13-inch discs
Rear 12-inch discs

Advertised GVWR (pounds) 9,900

As Tested (mpg) 10.72

Standing 1/4-mile (seconds @ mph) 18.37 @ 73.97

60-0 mph (feet) 162.98

Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase 142
Overall Length 230.5
Overall Width 99.5
Overall Height 79
Front/Rear Track 68.5/68
Front/Rear Overhang 21.75/35.25
Minimum Front Ground Clearance 8 .25

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