Follow-Up Test: 2003 Ford F-250 King Ranch Diesel

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,775
    Likes Received:
    1,655
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    They Should Have Called it the "King Diesel"

    [​IMG]

    By Ed Hellwig
    Date posted: 06-19-2003

    If you're a rancher or you live in south Texas, the name "King Ranch" is nothing new. As one of the oldest and biggest working ranches in the country, it's the kind of place where trucks are tools as much as they're toys.

    With that romantic notion in mind, Ford teamed up with the King Ranch to create a line of special-edition trucks that pay homage to the ranching lifestyle. Strangely enough, these leather-lined luxury pickups are about as far from a typical ranch hand vehicle as you can get, but no one was likely to pay extra for a rusted-out bed and Mexican blanket upholstery.

    The first model to get the King Ranch treatment was the '02 F-150 SuperCrew, but for 2003 the King Ranch package has been broadened to include the ultra-tough F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks as well.

    Along with the addition of the King Ranch package for '03, Ford also introduced a redesigned version of its Power Stroke Diesel and a new five-speed Torqshift transmission to go along with it. Nothing says "super duty" like a stump-pulling diesel V8, and with stiff competition from GM and Dodge in this arena, a new, more powerful oil-burner was a much needed upgrade.

    Our F-250 test truck gave us both the Western style of the King Ranch package and the awesome one-two punch of the Power Stroke engine/Torqshift transmission combo together in one truck. Add to that four-wheel drive, the FX4 off-road package and its crew cab body style, and it's easy to see why the sticker price skyrocketed to nearly $47,000. A lot of dough for sure, but for those who like the idea of having the ultimate in both luxury and capability, this is one truck that has just about everything.

    As you might expect, getting into a truck of this stature requires a big step up, but the King Ranch package does add well-placed, lighted step rails that make the climb a bit easier. The package also adds unique Castano leather that covers the four captain's chairs as well as the center consoles and interior grab handles. This rich material makes the seats look like high-dollar saddles, but trust us, they feel more like sofas when you're sitting in them.

    [​IMG]

    Like all Super Duties, ours presented a mix of simple controls, expansive cabin dimensions and a few cheap plastics here and there. Such low-grade materials are typical of many work trucks, but when they're butted up against a piece of glistening wood trim it's hard to ignore. Build quality was also noticeably poor, as a quick glance around from the driver seat yielded several instances of misaligned interior panels. This generally isn't something we make an issue out of on a work truck, but when said truck costs as much as many luxury cars, we expect a little more.

    We had no such disappointments with the Power Stroke diesel under the hood. Now displacing 6.0 liters and featuring an advanced electronically controlled turbocharger, this engine delivers class-leading power and fuel economy while significantly reducing noise. The figures are impressive: 325 horsepower at 3,300 rpm and 560 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. That's enough power to tow or haul just about anything short of a small home and only Dodge's high-output Cummins diesel even comes close.

    Upon startup, there's still the tell-tale cackle of a diesel, but those accustomed to the racket of older diesel engines will notice the Power Stroke's reduced overall noise level. Once underway, the Power Stroke falls incredibly silent, with the distinct hiss of the turbocharger the only noticeable sign of its diesel orientation. Acceleration is impressive for a three-ton vehicle and almost carlike in its feel and smoothness. Turbo lag has been reduced substantially, and with its 4,000-rpm redline, the Power Stroke features a wider range of power than most low-revving diesels.

    Knowing full well that driving our test truck around with an empty bed was doing little to prove the engine's true capability, we decided to add a little weight in back to see how it would handle it. Our specific truck's maximum payload capacity was listed at 2,525 pounds (total added weight, including driver), so we loaded up a palette stacked with 24 bags of cement totaling just over 2,300 pounds. Since this was still a far cry from the vehicle's maximum towing capacity of 12,500 pounds we tried to further tax the engine by taking a drive out to Death Valley National Park where late spring temperatures were hovering around 115 degrees at midday.

    [​IMG]

    Despite several trips up Towne's Pass, a steep grade that goes from sea level to over 5,000 feet in a matter of miles, the Power Stroke barely seemed to notice. The engine pulled nearly as hard at sea level as it did cresting the summit, and the temperature gauge never budged. Shifts on the uphill section were as smooth and positive as they were running around town, and the auxiliary temp gauge for the five-speed gearbox was as steady as its engine counterpart. We were particularly impressed with the predictable operation of the transmission while in "tow/haul" mode, as it brought about smooth, well-timed downshifts as the truck made its way back down to the valley floor.

    Our roughly 600-mile round trip yielded an average fuel mileage figure of 15.2 miles per gallon. An impressive number, especially when you consider that the trip included multiple hill climbs, a bed full of cement and a very heavy-footed driver. Comfort was exemplary throughout the drive, as the soft leather seats provided excellent support and the optional adjustable pedals allowed for a nearly perfect driving position. We also came to appreciate the extra large, power-adjustable side mirrors and an air conditioner that stayed cold despite the triple-digit temperatures outside.

    Our gripes were few. The steering was hopelessly vague on the highway, requiring constant attention just to keep the truck from drifting into other lanes. While we can appreciate the simplicity and toughness of manually locking wheel hubs, when you're paying this much, everything should be automatic.

    When a truck comes with as many bells and whistles as ours did, you kind of expect that you're going to like it. The King Ranch package seemed a bit corny at first, but after hundreds of miles "in the saddle," if you will, we came to appreciate the added comfort and style of the distinctive leather trim. If having a truck that is just a little bit different than all the rest is something you're after, the King Ranch package is something to consider.

    If, on the other hand, towing and hauling are your main priorities, a test-drive of a Power Stroke-equipped Super Duty is an absolute must. Between its smooth and quiet operation, incredible power and excellent mileage, it beats the competition hands down. Add in the option of the near perfectly tuned Torqshift transmission, and the Power Stroke gets even better.

    We won't go so far as to say that the Super Duty diesel is the absolute best all-around heavy-duty full-size you can buy, but we're guessing that if the guys at the King Ranch had their way, a Power Stroke diesel would be under the hood of every truck that bore their name.

    [​IMG]

    Ups: Most powerful diesel in its class, quiet operation, great mileage, smooth-shifting automatic transmission, unique leather that feels as good as it looks.

    Downs: Steep entry fee for diesel power, steering has a mind of its own, poor interior build quality.

    The Bottom Line: In the world of heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks, the Power Stroke is the new king of power and performance.

    MSRP of Test Vehicle: $46,865
     
  2. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    294,059
    Likes Received:
    3,042
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    That is one bad bitch
     
  3. Painkiller

    Painkiller The Synarchy of Molten Bones

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2001
    Messages:
    24,937
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    Earf
    ouchie thats a lot of money.
     
  4. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Messages:
    40,788
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    The Kansass/Oklahomo Border
    i want that truck.
     
  5. 93CivicEX

    93CivicEX Charming, Dashing, Rental car bashing

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    87,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nic's Check Cashing
    friend has an F250 super crew with a 7.3l Turbo Diesel.

    he uses it to go to his job in his cubicle :o
     
  6. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Messages:
    40,788
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    The Kansass/Oklahomo Border
    :ugh:
     
  7. 93CivicEX

    93CivicEX Charming, Dashing, Rental car bashing

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    87,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nic's Check Cashing
    I think its on 38x15.50 ground hogs with 10" of lift too... I hvaent seen it since he got it a few months back...
     
  8. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Messages:
    40,788
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    The Kansass/Oklahomo Border
    :slap: him the mext time you see him.
     
  9. 93CivicEX

    93CivicEX Charming, Dashing, Rental car bashing

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    87,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nic's Check Cashing
    sounds pretty bad ass to me.

    he has no need for it though except to distract people from the fact that hes a fat asshole.
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,775
    Likes Received:
    1,655
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    A friend of mine just purchased a '02 Supercrew King Ranch... and he's not a cowboy. :o

    It's a very nice truck though.
     
  11. Dos Equis4

    Dos Equis4 nebraska democrat (oxymoron?)

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Messages:
    13,968
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    lots of money..

    i have friends the have the old power stroke.. and they've had issues with theirs..

    everything from trannies, to steering boxes going out.. to high pressure oil lines blowing.
    granted they pull big boats, big lawn trailers and plow with them..

    but that stuff shouldn't be breaking on the frequency they've had problems.
     
  12. twistid

    twistid Banged By Super Models Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Messages:
    40,788
    Likes Received:
    101
    Location:
    The Kansass/Oklahomo Border
    i'll trade him my pacer for it.
     
  13. Dos Equis4

    Dos Equis4 nebraska democrat (oxymoron?)

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Messages:
    13,968
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebraska
    oh and diesel > *
     
  14. spooney

    spooney WTF Sony?

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,987
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Montana
    We use a F-350 power stroke to haul our backhoe and forklift's around. I would never want anything else for a work truck.
     
  15. Zee

    Zee New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    16,347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Becker, MN
    One thing Ive heard about the 6.0's is that they cant keep trannies in them
     
  16. spooney

    spooney WTF Sony?

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,987
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Montana
    I've asked around and I don't know anyone around here who has had tranny problems with their Ford's. The Allison in the Chevy on the other hand...
     
  17. Zee

    Zee New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    16,347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Becker, MN
    It must be a batch thing...these were all in susanville california

    Oh BTW

    Cummins > *

    Sorry I couldnt resist :big grin:
     

Share This Page