Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2008 Ford F-series Super Duty

Look up. Look waaaaaaaaay up. As of right now, my belt buckle feels small, and insignificant. This is probably the most common of reactions faced by those who first lay eyes on Ford’s F-450, unless your idea of fun is ranching, or pulling a fifth-wheel trailer bigger than your house. Not only is there a market for these beasts, there’s even enough of a customer base to offer the dress boots version; the King Ranch. The capability of the Super Duty line is not in question. This reporter was fortunate enough to attend the launch event in (where else?) Texas. The F-450 handled a 24,000 pound trailer like it was a U-Haul rental hitched to a Top-Fuel dragster. It didn’t even break a sweat.

When your truck budget starts creeping North of 70 large, it’s high time to ensure that the ease-of-use factor steers clear of chafing your chaps. Let’s find out how the F-450 Super Duty stacks up.


Engine compartment

I know there’s a 6.4-litre PowerStroke Diesel in there somewhere. For now, it just appears to be the classic rat’s nest, saturated with plenty of plumbing. Before you have a psychotic reaction looking for the hood release,

Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge

move to the passenger side, and note the position of a Day-Glo yellow lever. Twin oversized gas struts hold the hood aloft. To access the fluid levels, you can rent a cherry picker, or jump up onto the front bumper, which has a ridged finish intent on steadying your boots. From this vantage point, fluid levels and fill points are easy to access in a funnel-free fashion. Just remember that you have to drag said fluids up there with you. Bring a helper for your top-ups. Major servicing, which is usually a seldom-thing on diesel mills, has plenty of labour-adding obstacles in store for the future. Budget yourself accordingly.


Spare tire

A full-size spare is located at the rear, with the classic cable/tire iron wind-down mechanism. You would think that a truck of this calibre would have some form of spare tire lock in place. No such luck.

Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Roadside assistance for tire changes is good for five years, but there is a mileage limit of 100,000 kilometres. While we’re on our hands and knees, it should be noted that the trailer receiver and wiring plug-ins are first rate. There are the expected skid plates for the 4×4 components. The weakest link appears to be the running boards. They are constructed of some form of plastic, with simple L-style brackets holding them to the lower body seam. The boards have plenty of spring to them. They seem to be more decorative than actually offering any sort of long-term strength. Dual heavy-duty tow hooks are found up front, integrated into the bumper.


The box


Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge

At this level, most pick-up boxes are simply an eight-foot platform for the fifth-wheel receptacle. There are bolt-on tie-down points, placed low inside the box corners. The top of the box has knock-outs for additional tie-down points. The inside of the tailgate is finished in a hard ABS plastic covering. One of the slickest features yet is the integrated ‘staircase’: the step pops out of the top of the tailgate, and a spring-loaded assist bar lifts up from the tailgate wall, acting as the ‘railing’. Short of backing up to a loading dock, this is the most graceful way to get into a pickup truck bed yet.


Interior

Sure, the smell of all that pub chair-style leather seating can be as intoxicating as the wares a pub sells. Let’s focus. There are multiple storage cubbies, including door pockets, overhead bins, and the console of the Gods. It’s ultra-deep, with a 12-volt DC powerpoint. Ford loves to talk about stowing laptops. This thing could stow three. The inner panel of the console top has additional organizational gaps. All of this makes up nicely for a rather skinny glove-box. The driver and front passenger seats possess massive, thick leather pockets on the seat backs.

The console has two large cupholders with removable rubber inserts to effect a good fit. If the java or Mondo Slurp drink needs more cinch, there is a flip-down unit directly in front of the console,

Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge

with C-shaped spring-loaded cinchers. One would think that the door pockets could have received a formed bottle receptacle; it didn’t happen. The dash is purpose-driven. If it’s traction, towing, or axle-spun, the controls are placed in the same easy-to-reach portion. The electric trailer brake centre has four upfitter switches, ready to be wired for your needs. The rear bench can flip forward for a platform load, or the seat bottom can flip up, exposing a fold-out steel tray. I think it’s for your saddle. The rear window in this configuration is a power sliding unit.

Inside Story: 2008 Ford F 450 Super Duty King Ranch 4x4  trucks inside story ford
2008 Ford F-450 Super Duty King Ranch 4×4. Click image to enlarge

The best part about the steering wheel-mounted function keys is the ability to effect HVAC changes on the go. The mondo mirrors have hope, with PowerScope: the units can be folded inward, or extended outward to enhance vision during tow sessions. There are also convex portions on the bottom portion of the mirrors, to provide that extra peace of what’s-behind mind. The rest of the dash is corporate Ford controls, with no out-of-place surprises. The dashtop stuff tray really has no skid ability. Its large size, plus lack of pop-top door, makes it a glare fest for whatever hits it. A rear seat DVD system actually has the DVD slot in the rear, instead of mounting it in the front-mount audio system.


Clarkey rating

Assuming that this is truly what you need, the F-450 has plenty of creature comforts to please. Chincy running boards and non-existent engine servicing aside, the F-450 grabs a four-star haul.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).