2008 Ford F-450 – One Mighty, Hungry Beast

Disclaimer:

Every comment from this point forward is strictly my opinion. I own this vehicle, and have used it extensively for everything from hauling my son to school in the mornings, to pulling a 45′ gooseneck loaded with cars. Your experience with this vehicle will probably have varied at some point, so please refrain from brand bashing, etc.

Interior:

The interior of the Ford F450 Lariat is very well appointed. Ford has done a wonderful job of putting everything within reach, and if you don’t want to reach, you literally do not have to remove your hands from the steering wheel to adjust your speed, change the radio station, change radio band, radio volume, cabin temperature, or fan speed. You will have to reach to pick up your own drink from one of the 4 cup holders in the front seat compartment.

My truck is equipped with Navigation, MP3 jack, AM/FM/Sirius XM satellite, the works. The cab is very quiet. At highway speeds, with the radio and air on, you will be hard pressed to even hear the engine running.

Exterior:

Sometimes I want to lick it just to see if it’s sweet. Hands down, the best looking truck that Ford has put on the road in, well, since the 2006 F-150 King Ranch I traded for this one.

Handling:

The F-450 is a very large vehicle, which does not seem large from the driver’s seat. This is due to characteristics that are very carlike. Turning radius for example is ridiculously tight for such a large vehicle. Also, as with any diesel powered pickup, that extra horsepower/torque when not under a load just tends to put a smile on your face. Stopping power is also very impressive for such a large vehicle, due to the very capable disc brakes mounted at each wheel.

Reflections:

My truck has the 4.88 rear end, which means the engine puts in a little extra work (but it will pull down your house in that configuration). Because of this, I quickly gained the habit of driving the truck based on the tachometer reading, (about 2500 rpm will give you a steady 67 ‘” 68 mph, which is this truck’s sweet spot). Because of the high rpm, you won’t have much downshifting AT ALL. I’ve pulled over the Sabine, the Calcasieu and the Mississippi and the truck never misses a beat (or downshifts a gear).

One oddity I’ve noticed about the F-450, is that under a load, the truck responds better to the cruise control, as opposed to the right foot. If you have to get around someone, and you’re loaded, 5 taps on the cruise control will instantly produce an extra 5 mph. The F-450 doesn’t seem to care how heavy the load is, it pulls the same, regardless.

I mentioned the high revs. I’ve gotten about 8.5 ‘” 10 mpg out of the truck when it’s working. 12 ‘” 14 mpg when I use it to just run around town.

What I don’t like:

The F-450 is equipped with a Diesel Particulate Filter. This filter is automatically cleaned from time to time while driving. This process has come to be known as “regeneration”, or simply “regen”. You can tell you’re in this process by a little different note from the engine compartment, as well as a notice on the display between the tachometer and the speedometer. I’ve noticed a little extra smoke from the exhaust during this process, and it also seems to happen most often when I’m pulling a hill. Regeneration was a bit startling the first time it occurred, but I got used to it and the accompanying drop in MPG during the process.

In conclusion:

I’ve read many horror stories from F-450 owners, and while I sympathize with being broken down on the side of the road, I’ve never been put in that position with my truck. It’s been steady, with only minor issues addressed by the dealership when they did occur. I don’t drive my truck over 70 mph, and I don’t otherwise abuse it in any way (so it’s probably not a good idea to turn a teenager loose in it). I keep the oil changed, and other fluids topped.

I would not recommend the F-450 to anyone as a daily driver. Nor to anyone who is concerned about fuel economy. It’s just not made for those purposes. It’s built to work, and that’s what it does very handily.

Specifications:

6,362 cc 6.4 liters V 8 front engine with 98.2 mm bore, 105.0 mm stroke, 17.2 compression ratio, overhead valve and four valves per cylinder 99R
38.0 gallon fuel tank
325 HP SAE @ 3,000 rpm; 600 ft lb , 813 Nm @ 2,000 rpm
gross vehicle weight rating (lbs) 14,500
GCWR ‘” 33,000 LBS (with 4.88:1 ratio rear)
172″ Wheelbase