Video: Can a Lifted New Ford F-350 Still Tow a Maximum Load on the World's Toughest Towing Test? Ike Gauntlet

It’s time to put a lifted new Ford F-350 Power Stroke turbo-diesel on the world’s toughest towing test – the Ike GauntletTM. This time it’s the newest truck from Elevation Off-Grid, it’s their F-350 Black Edition that is riding on the newest LiquidSpring Smart Suspension and 37-inch BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires. We are pulling about 20,500 lbs gooseneck trailer thanks to our friends at Denver East Machinery.

The Ike Gauntlet

The Ike is the world’s toughest towing test because it’s an 8-mile stretch of I-70 that reaches the Continental Divide at 11,158 feet above sea level via a maximum allowed 7-percent grade.

The Truck

This episode is all about a new Ford F-350 Lariat crew cab 4×4 with the latest high-output 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V8 engine. This is currently the most powerful factory diesel engine in any pickup truck. It’s rated at 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to Ford’s heavy-duty 10-speed automatic transmission. This particular truck was born with a 3.31 locking rear differential.

Elevation Off-Grid turned into a Black Edition by installing the latest state-of-the-art Liquid Spring haudralic suspension. This suspension system is fully active. It’s designed to keep the truck as level as possible during cornering, braking, or acceleration. It has approximately six inches of verdical height adjustment, and it has three drive-mode settings.

The other Black Edition components include the custom-designed front steel bumper that allows for adaptive cruise-control radar and parking sensors. It also houses a 16.5K-pounds WARN winch. 20-inch wheels 37-inch all-terrain tires round out the modifications. The Lariat H.O. diesel truck has a retail price of around $80,000. All of the modifications add $40,000 for a total of $120,000 for this truck.

In factory form this F-350 has up to 23,900 lbs of towing capacity, up to 3,910 lbs of payload, 12,000 lbs GVWR, and 31,800 lbs GCWR.

The Trailer

This time we are pulling a 35-foot Diamon C heavy-duty gooseneck trailer with a total weight rating of 30,000 lbs. We have two snow-plowing Denver East machines loaded up for a total trailer weight of 20,500 lbs. Since we are using a lifted truck today, we need to have an additional safety margin for truck’s GVWR and payload. We are maxed out on payload for this run, so it is a “Super Ike“!

The Downhill

The truck displayed top-notch performance on the 8-mile downhill. Since, we are loaded at over 26,000 lbs of GCWR – we need to maintain a 35 MPH speed on the way down to stay legal. We did that by using the brake pedal once, and letting the Automatic exhaust brake do most of the work. We did not use cruise control for this downhill run. The truck registred just 1 brake application (red line in the graph below).

2023 ford f-350 diesel elevation off grid downhill banks graphimage: via BANKS Data monster and

The Uphill

I had very high expectations for the uphill run as well, but the high-output diesel was taxed to the maximum. It had good acceleration to get up to speed (60 MPH speed limit), but the whole rig slowed down to about 55 MPH or so during the second half of the climb. I was using 100% throttle during the second half of the run and no cruise control the entire run.

2023 ford f-350 elevation off grid uphill banks graph

In the end, the truck registered a respectable 8:26.78 time and 2.7 MPG for this extreme 8-mile climb to the top of the world.

In the end, Mr.Truck and I are very impressed with how this lifted truck performed on the Ike. The ride was smooth and stable. The cabin is quiet. The suspension worked great to level out the truck and provided all the confidence. It would have been a perfect run if the truck was geared differently (3.55 rear axle?) and would have been closer to a perfect 8-minute uphill time.

Join us in the video below for all of the Ike Gauntlet fun.

Here is how it compares to the other new-generation Ford Super Duty trucks and other heavy-duty trucks we recently tested on the Ike GauntletTM

Trailer Downhill Uphill Time Uphill Fuel
2023+ Ford F-350 SRW H.O. Diesel EOG 20,500 lbs 1 brake 8 min 26 sec 2.7 MPG
2023+ Ford F-250 H.O. Diesel Tremor 11,000 lbs 0 brakes 8 min 5 sec 4.7 MPG
2023+ Ford F-250 7.3L gas V8 11,000 lbs 7 brakes 8 min 7 sec 3.3 MPG
2024+ GMC Sierra 2500 Diesel AEV 11,000 lbs 1 brake 7 min 59 sec 4.7 MPG
2023+ Ford F-550 Diesel EOG 27,000 lbs 4 brakes 13 min 01 sec 2.1 MPG
2023+ Ford F-350 DRW H.O. Diesel 27,000 lbs 3 brakes 10 min 06 sec 2.5 MPG
2024+ Chevy Silverado 3500 DRW Diesel 27,000 lbs 4 brakes 10 min 19 sec 2.6 MPG


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