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AT THE WHEEL REVIEWS: TRUCKS

2007 FORD SUPER DUTY F250 KING RANCH:

Tough on the Outside, Soft and Supple on the Inside.

By Frederick Staab   Cruise Control Radio.com

 

Ask any celebrity and they will tell you it pays to stand out in a crowd. Perhaps that’s the reason so many of them dress, act and style or err, even shave their hair the way they do. Standing out can get you noticed and that just might the motivation behind Ford restyle of the complete 2008 Super Duty pickup line up that is so important to Ford’s future.

While the last few years has seen the 8500 plus lb. Super Duty break away from the styling mold of its Lighter duty F 150 contemporaries, the 2008 model permanently breaks any visual connection to the Ford half ton world.

Ford offers plenty of choice for Super Duty drivers, right up to the “Rotate the world off
its axis” F450 with an unheard of 24,000 lbs tow capacity, perfect in case you have a backhoe or two to tote around.

But we figured we would scope out a Super Duty that might be equally at home tugging you loaded toy hauler or playing nice with Soccer Mom Minivans and Crossovers during the weekly car pool duties. Our Test Subject is the 2008 F 250 Super Duty Crew Cab powered by the proven Triton V-10 gas engine. Oh Yeah, we didn’t skimp on the luxuries either since we speced the ultra upscale “King Ranch” edition fitted with some rich hides on the inside. More about those in a bit.

FACE OF A TOUGH GUY

Squared off chin, steely eyes and bulging muscles are great attributes for a Hollywood tough guy and perhaps a heavy duty pickup as well. Ford wanted the build the toughest look truck they could so they started by raising the grill four inches over last year’s model. Two vertical bars support the centered blue oval logo, while two horizontal “Nostrils” help the V-10 ingest air. And lest you or anyone forget that you are behind the wheel of a Super Duty, designers have seen fit to boldly emboss SUPER DUTY across the top of the grills frame.

The hood gets the power dome treatment, while the fenders are at the same time muscular and crisp in design. Stylists have also mounted side fender air vents which seem to be all the rage in Detroit, appearing on everything from the new Taurus to Cadillac Escalades.

Up front, lighting is stacked with headlights on the bottom to match up height wise with lower vehicles. While this set up is functional, it also serves to add a very modern look to this truck.

The Super Duty also retains the “Semi Tractor” style stepped down belt line detail that was first introduced on the F-350 TONKA concept truck. And you thought those concepts were just for show!

The tailgate, perhaps the most abused and often removed part of any pickup gets a lot of attention to detail on the 2008 Ford Super Duty. First there is a new Lift-Assist System
that prevents the old “Slam down on the chains syndrome.” Our test vehicle was also equipped with the optional Tailgate Step that stows invisibly in the gate when not in use but extends to 16.7 by 4.5 inch step pad when deployed. That’s another reason to leave that tail gate in place.

Another new feature we really liked was the Power Scope mirrors. In the past extended mirrors have usually detracted from a trucks style having more function than looks. The Power Scopes that electrically fold and telescope worked well with the tractor trailer styling of the cab and featured an integrated turn signal.

  

FRAMED AND SUSPENDED

You would have to flip your Super Duty over to check out all of the hidden” Tweaks” Dearborn engineers have performed for 2008. Since that might be a bit dangerous and expensive, I’ll just tell you about some of the key developments. First, all frames get an Electrostatic or E-Coating for improved corrosion protection. A new fully boxed front section also features a blocker bar so the Super Duty will not override smaller vehicles in a collision. Remember, I told you this heavy duty truck can place nice with the smaller set.

Upsized 6.7mm outer rails have cross members fastened with both welds and rivets,
a fact Ford takes pride in as a segment exclusive.

Our F-250 test vehicle along with the rest of the Super Duty line up had a revised leaf
spring system dialed in for better road feel. Engineers employed 8 inch longer springs
with new attachments points to put a stop to wheel and acceleration hop. Those changes resulted in a lower rear ride height, a big benefit to fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer owners.

Since our test rig was a 4x4 the front suspension was coil spring sprung. Two wheelers get the venerable twin I-beam system that has been around for decades. We appreciated the fact that the curb to curb turning radius came in at 56.6 ft for the as tested 4x4 Crew Cab with an 8 foot bed. By the way that’s two feet less than a similarly equipped 4X2.

 

PROVEN POWER

Super Duty F-250 buyers get their choice of the 5.4L V-8 or 6.8L V-10 gas engines or the brand new twin turboed 6.4L Power stroke Diesel. Our test truck came with the V-10 that is a carry over from the previous year. With 415 cubic inches on tap the Triton Ten gets a horsepower rating of 362 @ 4,750 rpm and stout torque numbers totaling 457 lb-ft @3,250 rpm the “Five on each side” offers a powerful alternative to the Diesel.

A five speed TorqShift automatic handled the shifting duties while power was spooled to the rear tires by 4:10:1 rear gears. 3:73’s and stump puller 4:30’s are also available with this engine and trans setup.

Our 4X4 Crew Cab Long Bed F-250 had a towing capacity of 10,000lbs with a Maximum GCWR of 21,500 lbs.

 

SADDLE UP COWPOKES AND HEAD FOR THE RANCH

Oh so tough on the outside and oh so soft on the inside. Our tester was loaded on the inside with the King Ranch package. It was almost like being transported to an old west tack room filled with saddles emitting the aromatic smell of high end leather. Our seats
were covered in luxurious dark brown Chaparral leather with tooled King Ranch logos.
In addition to the four captain’s chairs the two thick console lids, steering wheel and door armrests got the luxo leather coating. The package also included heated front seats, power sliding rear window and special badging plus other power and appearance amenities.

All 2008 Super Duty’s enjoy lowered cab noise levels due to the use of Quiet Steel,
a brand of laminated sound deading steel sheets. Also employed are a new rear bulk head panel and thicker side glass.

Dashboard buttons and controls as well as door pulls were redesigned with glove wearing ergonomics in mind. Ford has also integrated the trailer brake controller into the center dashboard stack. The result looks cleaner and avoids skinned knees.

With a bulged up power dome in the middle, the new dash board is immense. Vertical ribs appear on everything from the glove box door to the driver side airbag cover.

 

The ribs are supposed simulate a tool box or the side of a dump truck, yes that’s what the designers had in mind. Some how the rib detail reminded me more of a Star Wars movie set. They seemed out of place and in my opinion cheapened the look of an other wise stunning  cabin.

All ribbing aside, with tough chiseled features, proven power, great tow ratings and tons of engine and wheelbase choices the 2008 Ford Super Duty’s will be a big players in the land of ultra heavy duty pickups.

 

Specifications for 2008 FORD F-250 Super Duty 4X4 Crew Cab 8 Foot Bed

Length: 262.4

Wheelbase: 172.4

Cargo Bed Length: 98.0

Cargo Width between wheelhouse: 50.9

Curb Weight: 6685 LBS.

Engine: 6.8L 3V Triton V-10 Iron Block, Aluminum heads 415 Cubic Inch.

Horsepower: 362hp@ 4,750rpm

Torque: 457 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm

Transmission: 5 Speed TorqShift Automatic Over Drive

Brakes: Front 13.66-inch Disc/ Rear 13.39- inch Disc

Suspension: Front Twin-Coil Mono Beam/ Rear Non Independent Live Axle with leaf springs.

Towing Capacity: 10,000 LBS.

Max GCWR: with 6.8L and 4:10:1 axle 21,500 LBS.

Key Options: King Ranch Package, Triton V-10, 4:10:1 Rear Gear, Tail Gate Step,
Rear Seat DVD,

Price as tested: $42,353

 

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