Towing Legends: Can a Ford F-250 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel Outwork a Legendary Dodge Ram 5.9L Cummins Common Rail?

Join us for lots of hay-hauling fun!

1997 ford obs f-250 heavy duty power stroke dodge ram cummins towing comparison review

What better way to test two legendary pickup trucks other than doing some heavy work at the ranch? We put our 1997 Ford F-250 7.3L Power Stroke turbo-diesel (aka. OBS Ford) up against a 2003 Dodge Ram HD 3500 with a 5.9L Cummins common rail turbo diesel. We are pulling a trailer that weighs just over 9,000 lbs. We must deliver two identical loads of hay 30 miles away to the Happy Yak Ranch, ensuring that the Jaks have something to eat when the snow falls.

1997 Ford F-250 HD

This Ford F-250 predates the current Ford Super Duty line of pickup trucks. This is the last year of the OBS Ford heavy-duty trucks, and it’s one of the most desirable 7.3L Power Stroke V8 diesels out there. It took us some time to find one in good shape. Our truck has an extended cab with a long 8-foot bed. It’s a top-of-the-line XLT model with a 4×4, 5-speed manual transmission, and a 4.10 rear axle.

2003 Dodge Ram HD 3500

It was not until 2009 that the Ram Truck brand became a stand-alone company. Before that, these pickup trucks were called Dodge Ram. A lot of people still call them that. This 2WD dually belongs to David. It has a 24-valve 5.9L common rail I6 turbo-diesel and a 6-speed manual transmission.

1997 Ford F-250 HD2003 Dodge Ram HD 3500
Engine7.3L turbo-diesel V85.9L turbo-diesel I6
Power225 hp305 hp
Torque450 lb-ft555 lb-ft
Transmission5-speed man. by ZF6-speed man.
Max Towing11,000 lbs15,850 lbs

We know that these two trucks are not of the same era. This 2003 Ram HD truck represents the next generation of the company’s heavy-duty pickup trucks. Still, this does not stop us from doing some work to get to know these legendary pickup trucks.

One thing is for sure, we must monitor the EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) Pyrometer gauge in each truck. We are pulling 9,000 lbs on a hot August day, and these trucks have a lot of miles on their odometers. The Ford has 153,000+ miles, and the Dodge Ram has 218,000+ miles. If the EGTs get too high (above 1,250-1,300F degrees) then we run into the danger of melting pistons and other serious trouble.

The 7.3L diesel V8 loves to rev between 2,000-3,000 rpm to deliver confident power and an enjoyable driving experience. The 5.9L Cummins I6 has a completely different character. It likes to stay below 2,000 rpm while delivering a confident towing experience.

Please join the video below for all the details and lots of hay-hauling fun!