From Frank Mehaffey:
I have a 2012 F250, unboxed frame, 2WD, SRW, extended cab, 8′ bed with a 6.2, and the Ford camper package which included the 350 front coils, and an overload spring on top of the standard springs for a 250 and a 7 pin hookup and a normal rear anti sway bar. The frame of a 250 and 350 is EXACTLY the same, boxed or unboxed. The brakes on all 4 corners are the SAME for the 250 and 350. They were in 1999 with our first F250, with a 5 speed manual, which I wish Ford still made. No transmission cooler for that standard baby, so more weight to use. No electric windows of power seats, which the snowflakes forget add weight to the truck. Heck, the pretty carpets probably add weight. They have all been commercial use Fords, with no stinkin carpets. I had to fly to a dealer outside of DC to get a 2WD. NONE of the VT dealers even order them…hmmmmmm. If the dogs throw up, hose the mat out…..
I carry a 2013 Camplite 10, and when fully loaded with the camper, gas, propane, food, 2 adults, 3 dogs and associated junk for 2 weeks of camping, we weigh 10100.I put a Hellwig big ass sway bar on to replace the stock sway bar and 4 big ass camper shocks on, as well as an airlift 5000 set of airbags to bring up the rear height and give me a better ride. As long as I don’t drive like a Disney ride, we have had no problems. I change the transmission fluid and rear fluid every 100,000 and have only used synthetic oil in every engine.
The rear axle is the Sterling with 17″ tires, and since this is my 3d F250 since 1999, and all 3 have carried heavy tc’s with 17’s, I can say that from my experience that the additional rear leaf is pretty much the ONLY difference in the 3/4 to 1 ton F250-350. The Sterling is fine for heavy, pushing the boundaries of official loads, and as long as I am not driving like an idiot, or doing off road hijinks, it is FINE. Many of the 350 2WD come standard with the Sterling. They go to the Dana for the 4WD or higher gear ratios because it works better for more demanding needs. I have read in several places on line, and in speaking to anonymous people working for Ford, that the 350 designation is to give commericial owners an out for heavy loads, taxes, insurance, and God knows what else in litigation land.
All 3 of the F250s we have owned, total about 650,000 miles in 23 years, of which I would estimate we have driven over 175,000 with 8′ 0r 10′ truck campers on. If you are fully loaded and going off road, driving on a sand dune, or are getting a 4WD or duels, I would opt for the Dana and 18″s, but in my experience, the extra $$ for the 350 is pretty much unnecessary, if you put a Hellwig on, air bags, better shocks, and keep good condition Michelin’s or Coopers on. You will be fine. If you are REALLY worried, bring it to a spring shop and have them put on one more leaf. Case closed, problem solved, Ross Perot. Let me say it again, if you don’t drive like you have a shiney whiney 150 with a bag of dog food in the 6′ bed, you will be fine. DON”T PANIC. You will not die. Oh, sometimes I tow a 16′ boat to Florida, the Great Lakes, the Potomac, etc….
You betcha there is no straight answer from Ford or any of the truck companies. I am sure that they have their rea$ons for wanting owners to have more expen$ive and $afer truck$.