• Silverado 2500 HD refuses to twist with the Ford F-250 [News]


    Silverado 2500HD vs. Ford F-250 Frame Twist
    2015 Silverado 2500 HD vs. Ford F-250 Super Duty – Frame Twist

    The competition in the world of full size trucks is arguably the fiercest in the automotive industry. Add to the fact that these are heavy duty trucks built to move enormous loads; trucks that bring in large percentages of the manufacturer’s revenue; and you get very little room for error in a heated rivalry. The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD just added fuel to the fire by revealing a weakness of one of its top rivals – the Ford F-250. The “frame twist” test pushes the strength of the trucks ladder frame to the maximum. This test is achieved when the truck is driven slowly onto uneven ramps, much like a jeep or off-road rig testing its suspension flex.

    TFLtruck's ditch twist
    TFLtruck’s ditch twist

    AMCI, an independent third party research agency conducted the test and measured that the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD allowed just 0.26 inches of frame twist when driven and parked on the ramps. On the other hand, the Ford F-250 Super Duty allowed over 250% more frame movement with a measured differential of 0.94 inches. This may not sound like giant numbers and does this really matter? Well, the 0.94 inches of twist on the F-250 is enough to make the tailgate inoperable while on the ramps. The Silverado however, had full functionality of its tailgate including the easy down and easy lift features. The rigidity of the Silverado HD’s frame can likely be accredited to the fact that it now uses fully boxed rails made of high strength steel and even ultra high strength steel.

    ram, hd, ditch, frame, twistWill you ever drive over ramps and need to open your tailgate? You may go off-roading to camp, and this may become an issue. This test is also a simple and measurable test to get a detailed look at how strong the frames are in just about any situation. Good results on a test like this means that the frame and the truck are up to the task of hauling whatever you put behind it.

    Watch as the new 2015 Silverado 2500HD takes on the the unforgiving Ike Gauntlet in the steep Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

     

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    31 thoughts on “Silverado 2500 HD refuses to twist with the Ford F-250 [News]

    1. Wasn’t this done years ago? The Super Duty frame has not changed. Basically, the Ford has a hydroformed / fully boxed front frame section from the bumper to the front of the cab, and the rest is a c-channel steel frame with reinforcing cross members. The GM HD trucks have a fully-boxed frame from end to end, with the front section also hydroformed. The box is certainly more resistant to flex, but Ford argues the open c-channel frame has a couple of advantages not available to a box frame: easier and more friendly to vocational upfits, and potentially more resistant to rust. The steel thickness of the c-channel is decidedly thicker than the steel in GM’s box, and proponents of this style frame claim that helps prevent rust from a couple of standpoints: moisture and dirt cannot be trapped inside the frame and therefore cause internal rusting to start, plus the overall thickness of the steel means there is more steel to rust through before frame weakness begins. Ford’s primary argument is that the thick, open c-channel is much more upfit friendly. Bolts for frame attachment can be shorter, and are set in much beefier steel. Box frame attachment, due to the thinner steel walls, require reinforcing gussets around mounting points for attachments, and require longer bolts through the frame. Judging by the sheer number of Super Duty’s used with up fitments (including utility / communication bucket trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, mechanic body trucks, railroad trucks, DOT plow / sand trucks, tree trim trucks, etc) it would seem most commercial users and upfitters prefer the Super Duty’s. While I do believe any frame can be reasonably rustproofed, and upfitters will adapt to boxed frame mounts, the current Ford frame is fine for virtually every user. Who is going to park their truck off-road camping with the suspension articulated to the max? GM has found a way to make themselves look good but the sales numbers don’t lie.

      1. The Super Duty is a good truck, but the sales numbers don’t alone explain why companies prefer the Super Duty. Most heavy duty applications such as ambulances, mechanic body trucks, etc prefer the Super Duty not because of the ease of installing upfitter equipment but because if the solid front axle as compared to GM’s independent front suspension. The GM front end has been known to need more alignments, maintenance, etc when compared to Ford’s solid Monobeam front axle.

        Also, Ford goes heavy after this market with what is known as fleet concessions (GM calls it Competitive Assistance). We consistently see Ford providing an extra $2-4000 in concessions when compared to GM and their C.A. When companies are buying 15-100 vehicles, that adds up very quickly.

        No doubt the upfitters prefer the C-channel for ease of installation but the end user’s are not the ones installing the equipment, so it really doesn’t matter to them if it is a C-channel or fully boxed frame.

        There’s nothing wrong with a C-channel if thick/strong enough. I don’t buy the “boxed frames will rust from the inside out” that many Super Duty enthusiasts state as boxed frames have plenty of holes for air to go through to dry moisture out. If rusting on a boxed frame was an issue, why does Ford use a boxed frame on the F150?

        Ford has stated the new 2016 Super Duty will have a “beefier” frame due to using aluminum bodies, but hasn’t stated if it is a beefier C-channel or if they went with a boxed frame. Time will tell.

        C-channel versus fully boxed; just two different ways of reaching the same goal. Each has merits and demerits.

        1. NOW an observation: I don”t know if anyone else noticed, but the trucks being compared were actually not comparable. You see Chevrolet chose to use a short bed full crew cab truck for their test, while they sourced an extended cab short bed Ford for the comparison. So I’m no mechanical engineer, but in my thinking the Chevy being longer would logically have a longer frame which would increase the area over which this “torsional” test was conducted. The Ford logicaly having a shorter frame would have less, thus increasing the amount of twist experienced overall. I don’t know, I could be wrong but it seems to me if Chevy wanted to prove a point on a side by side comparison, they would have sourced an F250 short bed SuperCrew.

          1. Actually Chris the longer the frame, the more likely it is to have torsional pressure and more twist. The fact that the GM had a longer frame AND had less twist proves their strength point even more. Plus the longer the distance between supporting points (wheel contact with ground/ramp), the less frame support (more torsional twist). Take a 8 foot 2×4 piece of lumber and a 16 foot 2×4 and put support under each board 1 foot from each end. Now sit in the middle. Which one bows more: the 16 foot because there is 14 feet between supports versus 6 feet on the 8 foot piece.

            1. Not the way it is set up. The Chevy left rear tire was planted nicely on the ramp. The Ford left tire was pushed farther back. I’d like to see TFL truck replicate this experiment and see if the tailgate cannot open.

          2. Ford was driven up on the ramp on angle and the Chevy straight. I’d like to see TFL truck redo this test to see if it is true or not. Can the tailgate not open?

            1. Go to youtube and look up Chevy versus Ford HD – bed bend video. This was done by an independent company who does testing for all three major truck brands. Yes, Howie Long and a GM rep are there and this video series was put out by GM, but only because GM had done the testing first and new what the results would be. This independent company is a major testor for all three major brands and wouldn’t sever their ties with either of the three companies by ‘faking’ GM results.

              GM also did this same test all summer at their Product Plus training events for GM dealerships. The results were the same. Only they had an extended cab long box F350 and a crew short box GM so the frame lengths were exactly the same. Again, same results.

      2. I’m tired of hearing that it’s hard to outfit a GM truck due to boxed frame! GM still offers C channel frame with their cab and chassis models! Please educate yourself before posting!

        The reason why their are more companies buying super duties compared to GM HD’s is
        1. SD’s are cheaper
        2. You can get 450 and 550 with SD and not with GM
        3. Ford sells 650 and 750, so when a company places an order for these big trucks, they also they also include 350-550 to their package for better prices.
        Solid axle vs IFS doesn’t play a role for companies. New IFS on GM HD’s are just as tough or even tougher then any SA.

        1. Also, you’ll probably won’t park your truck at this position that they test, but sometimes you’ll have to drive though this type of frame twist, and when you have payload, you don’t want your tailgate to buckle like fords do!

        2. Not sure where you are from Fred but here on the Canadian Prairies we get a lot of people asking why GM doesn’t use a solid axle front end. People who work in the oil and gas industry do a lot of rough terrain driving and the GM trucks do require more wheel alignments, etc. (I work at a GM dealership). Pipeline welders usually drive either Super Duties or Ram HDs for same reason.

          Now I am with you that the front ends on GM’s have been good since the major update to the front end in 2011 and we see less maintenance all the time but it is customer perception especially those who had a previous GM HD truck before the 2011 update. We are selling more and more GM HD’s to these industries every year as people get experience with them.

          I know the cab/chassis is still c-channel and that is for ease of up fitting. But I was speaking of the much more common boxed trucks (the ones used by riggers, pipeline welders, and even just everyday camper haulers). Sorry, I guess I should have been more specific.

        3. You are correct about the F450 and higher. I didn’t talk about them because GM doesn’t offer them. I was talking more about a F250/350 buyer who is shopping GM2500/3500. We do have a lot of service body industry companies asking about 4500 and heavier series and why GM doesn’t play in that market. We have asked that a few times at the fleet manager meetings and still get the same old answer: GM doesn’t want to play in that market or develop that heavy of truck at this time.

          As for front ends, as I stated above, since the updates in 2011 (high strength steel added to frame, larger engine/transmission mounts, thicker cross-members welded instead of riveted, new upper shock mounts with dual fasteners, taller and heavier steering knuckles, forged upper control arms and machined cast iron lower control arms), these trucks perform just as well as a solid axle and have less maintenance than the previous design (but again, customer perception is a stumbling block especially if they owned a 2010 or older GM HD). Plus a Short/Long arm with torsion suspension allows the torsion bars to be adjusted for various loads (front end plow, etc) that you can’t do on solid front axle trucks.

          You are also correct about pricing being lower on the Fords, as I stated in my first post. GM’s Competitive Assistance just doesn’t match up to the concessions Ford has on their HD trucks. We can apply for more to GM on an individual basis, but they rarely match Ford’s concessions (and it can take a day or two to get a response from GM regional fleet managers).

    2. Also just noticed this: look at the photo…your eyes are drawn to the Ford bed which indeed has flexed downward far more than the GM truck…but look at the right rear wheel compared to the ramp. Notice the Super Duty appears to have *a lot* more wheel travel than the GM truck…quite possibly due to the frame contributing by twisting…but nevertheless the Super Duty should be better off-road due to superior articulation. The Mercedes Unimog intentionally uses frame twist as part of its articulation strategy. I don’t think the Ford does, but it does help.

    3. On YouTube, type in, frame twist test. There are a number of test videos. Ford is by far the most disappointing. Ram and GM know how to build a durable truck.

    4. Just because everyone thought the world was round dont make it true..high sale numbers for ford can mean alot of people are clueless about the ford truck they bought.

      1. Then I guess a lot of people are clueless about GM’s. GM sells more half tons than Ford. GM sold sold more trucks these past couple months than Ford.

        1. Actually Dave, year to date the F150 is still ahead of the two GM trucks combined by quite a bit (and I am a GM dealer employee who loves GM). Part of that has been due to the first 5 months of the year where GM refused to have rebates/incentives that came close to Ford’s. The other part is that many people felt GM didn’t change the truck enough (from the outside). But as more people are riding in them (their buddy’s truck, etc), they are realizing they are a totally different truck than the previous generation and now we are seeing sales climb.

    5. Wow GM!I don’t even know what to say, talk about a fail for GM trying to show their trucks are superior! Really they are shooting themselves in the foot on this one and further making their own grave to lay down into , it’s actually rather funny! Just one look at the picture obviously shows the Ford is way better by a rather huge margin than the GM. The amount of flex on the gm is the amount I would expect out of a midsized suv or crossover, not a truck. I just can’t stop laughing at this test!! What a way to drawn attention to themselves, they are practically calling themselves out on their own gunfight!

      1. Maybe you didn’t see the result well, GM flex just a little bit more than the quarter of the Ford’s results. In HD trucks, you want a strong frame and strong frame doesn’t flex.

    6. I am by no means a Ford fan so I’m certainly not trying to defend Ford (although I got a good giggle out of the fact their tailgate wouldn’t open thanks to their paper thin sheet metal pick up box) but I have to say, the whole “who has the most rigid frame” contest is BS. Anybody ever notice medium duty and class 8 trucks have frames that flex like mad when they launch from a stop light or twist through a deep dip? They are made to flex because when they flex, they are not breaking. The downside to these super rigid frames is the fact they become brittle and don’t just bend, they snap and break just like a thick piece of glass…..especially when frozen.

      Have you seen one of these late model trucks in a severe accident or pulled out of a frozen lake? The frames just snap like a crispy carrot stick. Sure, the super rigid frames may ride a bit nicer than trucks of 10 to 15 years ago that were often accused of having too much “beam shake” or “frame beaming”. A ’97 era F150 or GMT400 extended cab short bed truck come to mind with “beam shake”. The reality is there are way too many people driving pickups and especially heavy duty pickups these days that really should be driving cars or little Tacoma trucks. Everything is a compromise and having a super rigid frame cost something somewhere else. Body shops these days are replacing more frame rails than ever before in history and many trucks are totaled because of the frame becomes broken so easily whereas years ago the frame would tolerate an impact or at least be repairable. I am not sold on super rigid frames by any means but I could see how the frame flex would be so dramatic in the eye of someone that doesn’t know any better, which is why it is fun thing to throw into marketing. “Oh!…Look how much the Stupid Duty frame flexes!”…it must be a terrible truck. Well it is less than sterling, but not because of the frame flex.

    7. As an owner of a 95 S-10 4×4 ZR2, which may have been GM’s first attempt at a 85% Boxed Frame on a US truck, I’m convinced that GM, as well as Ford and Chrysler understand fully the benefits of a boxed chassis over that of the open C Channel type design. Better ride, less chassis flex, better crash protection etc….. The Ford Global Ranger has a fully boxed frame as does the F-150, therefore, the only logical reason Ford continues with the open C channel has to be for cost and ease of assembly reasons.

    8. I don’t think the buyers of these Ford trucks are clueless about what they are buying because they are everywhere. Just look around. They buy the best for a reason. Ford makes the best trucks, period.

      1. Alrighty then- there’s no need for further discussion, gentlemen. Keith’s pronouncement ends all debate, thanks for waking us all up and clueing us in <>.

    9. I find it hard to believe commercial users are buying super dutys over GM due to the ford solid axle. Aside from plowing, most all other upfits don’t add any additional weight over the front end. While it is true the early (2009 and earlier) GM HDs had a weak front end, later models are fine and provide a better ride and handling vs the ford. I do agree the box frame has many advantages over the c channel but I stand by the internal rust possibility. Even with drain or vent holes inevitably stuff collects and rust starts. The f150 uses the box frame to remain competitive with ride quality in what has now become essentially a consumer, rather than commercial, market.

      1. “Most all other upfits don’t add any additional weight over the front end”; really? So exactly why can trucks have a higher 5th wheel tow rating than a conventional trailer? Because a fifth wheel hitch over the rear axle moves some of the pin weight to the front suspension instead of all the weight being on the rear suspension with a conventional trailer where the hitch is behind the rear axle. Ever been across a weight scale with a load on a truck? They weight both axles my friend because a load in the box (or trailer pin weight of a 5th wheel) adds weight over the front end of the truck too. That is why trucks have a GAWR for front suspensions as well as rear suspensions (just not in case the owner throws a plow on the front).

        As for front end weakness, that all changed in 2011 (read my above post in response to Fred). But it is a very hard sell to a customer who had a 2010 or older GM who had to do front end work every 40,000 kms if they used the truck off-road or had heavy payloads (such as oil/gas field workers, pipeline welders with heavy welders in the box, etc). We are selling more and more of the new trucks into those markets as people are realizing the new GM front suspension holds up as good as a solid front axle.

        Fred does have a very solid point that when you see a super duty with a service body, it tends to now be a 450 or heavier. We have companies with service bodies asking why GM doesn’t have a 4500 HD or heavier all the time. Even Ram has their 4500 HD now.

        As for rusting frames, it would just be superficial surface rust. With the high strength steels used in today’s frames, the truck would rarely last long enough for a frame to rust to the point of having issues. Perhaps on the east coast or around the Great lakes if it lived in a salt mine, but 90% of the continent would have no issues. Besides, how many truck owners actually get underneath their Super Duties and wash the mud and crap out of their frame? Very few.

    10. We have a f350 superduty(srw)use it to haul water etc around the farm , it’s become a habit to open the tailgate before you park on a side hill, that twisting can’t be good, never mind all the groaning she does now over the twisty old roads and it’s only 3 years old.
      I guess it’s time I take the box off and change the to a flat deck. It’ll save the wear and tear on the door hinges anyway I won’ t mind getting out and back in only once per unload, hope they address the binding tailgate issue.
      Hey kieth W. open your eyes and look around,Ford is good,the best no the others are just as good, and even better in some areas, don’t fool yourself don’t you have friends with a 6.0 l powerstoke

    11. From my understanding Ford engineers wants the frame to twist. Twist is supposed to reduce stress that is occurring in other places on the other trucks (I imagine absorbing some shock). So twisting isn’t bad, and can be very good. I don’t how much twist is bad, or how much stiffness is bad. I’m guessing there’s also a difference between quick temporary twisting from acceleration, verses parking a truck on a ramp or hill side. But my main concern is driving over uneven ground.

      What Chevy, Dodge, and Ford haven’t convinced me of is explaining the real benefits to me. What does it mean to me if I’m driving over ruts, bumps, and uneven terrain?

      1. Hi Jake! You are right. Pros and Cons have not been explained. Great questions!

        In general, the stiffer the frame/chassis of a truck – the better the engineers can tune the suspension. It helps when you are working from a solid foundation. However, going too far with it may not be good. Race cars are very rigid and stiff, but they are very uncomfortable to drive on rough roads.

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