Jeep Gladiator, Chevy Silverado Trail Boss, Ford F-250 vs. Tincup Pass (No Pavement Needed, Ep.3)

A 3.6L V6, 5.3L V8, & 7.3L V8 tackle a rocky 12,000 foot mountain pass.

Ford F-350 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Chevy Silverado Trail Boss

The latest installment of our No Pavement Needed series has the crew taking on Tincup Pass in Colorado. This time our “Super Tremor” 2020 Ford F-350 4×4 joins the caravan over the 12,000-foot pass. Our mapping sponsor onX Offroad rates the pass a 5 out of 10 for difficulty. But we weren’t sure what that meant for the 9,000-pound F-350 carrying a Four Wheel Camper Hawk in the bed or the bone-stock 2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss with its G80 automatic locking differential and the smallest tires of the bunch. Here’s what we did find out: André got to break out his chainsaw and attack fallen timber with a disturbing amount of glee.

Tincup Pass

Tincup Pass Colorado
High altitude hijinx on Tincup Pass, Colorado. (image:TFL)

Located high in the Rockies on the Continental Divide, Tincup pass connects the remote former mining towns of St. Elmo on the east side of the pass with Tincup on the west side. It’s also the crux pass of the TransAm Trail, which was our original route for the No Pavement Needed series. As such, we were pleased to be on the route, finally. The pass tops out at 12,154 feet in elevation. At this elevation the thin air truly sapps the Jeep’s 3.6L V6, the Chevy’s 5.3L V8, and the massive 7.3L V8 in the Ford F-350, none of which have a turbo or supercharger on them to force more oxygen into the piston chambers. The Ford’s engine does have one secret weapon, a custom off-road tune from 5-Star that remapped the transmission to accommodate the giant 37-inch Falken WildPeak AT tires and excess heft of the Four Wheel Camper.

Trail Winner, Mid-size Gladiator, Full-Size Trail Boss, or Heavy Duty F-350?

In terms of maneuverability, the Gladiator Rubicon with an additional Mopar 2-inch lift and 35-inch BF Goodrich KO2s and front and rear lockers had zero issue on the trail. No surprise there. The Ford had, as André called it, “One tiny brown moment,” traversing a washed out rock garden. But thanks to the Carli Suspension and aired-down 37s, the monster 7.3 Godzilla V8 muscled through everything. The truck that continues to impress, however, was the Chevy Trail Boss. Despite the small 32-inch Goodyear Wranglers, the Chevy just did it. The worst we could say about it was that the sight lines over the high hood are absolutely terrible for off roading.

In the end, they all won the day. Check it out for yourself by clicking on the video below and see if you disagree.