It is somewhat insane even to consider a tug-of-war between a pickup and a semi truck cab. It is a good thing that people are crazy because the outcome was not expected. What do you say when you finally close your gaping jaw after a pickup out-pulls a semi truck?
Semi Truck Diesel Power
According to Popular Mechanics a mega power plant for a semi truck produces 560 HP and 1850 lb-ft of torque. Since it is torque that actually moves a vehicle, the semi should have won hands down.
Chevy Duramax Diesel Power
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD with a 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 produces 397 HP and only 765 lb-ft of torque, according to the Chevrolet site.
What’s the Deal?
Given the difference in horsepower and torque between the two vehicles, it seems odd that the pickup won. The less obvious clue in the video is the surface. The soft, dirt surface lends itself to the pickup rather than the semi.
Building an Awesome Truck
It is not clear if the Duramax pickup has a 2WD or 4WD drivetrain and it likely does not matter because its front wheels are mostly off the ground. What does come into play is the superior technology behind the Chevy’s drivetrain. A semi truck is not meant to leave the pavement. They are designed for one purpose, and that is to transport goods along interstate highways, roads, and streets. It seems logical then to assume that the great difference in torque was overcome simply by the terrain in which the tug-o-war took place. It is much more likely that if the battle occurred on dry pavement that the semi truck would still be towing the Duramax pickup.
Technology Over Brute Force
What is it about the Duramax suspension that allows it to overcome such more than twice the amount of torque? It starts with the trucks brain. The suspension itself is an independent front suspension and a multi-leaf suspension for the rear. The interesting stuff begins with the StabilitTrak Electonic Stability Control System that is paired with a Tracktion control system that come standard on all of the Duramax trucks. However, that is not all. The Chevy Duramax Super Trucks have an electronic Trailer Sway Control that changes the performance of the truck based on road conditions and the grade of the road. When the tires come up, the computer kicks into play. When the tires start to spin, the computer kicks into play. When the semi pulls against the truck, the computer kicks into play. It is a truck that is made to take most of the work of hauling heavy loads away from the driver. That technology, combined with the conditions of the battle are what allowed the chevy pickup truck to win.
It would be nice if we could see the same race performed on dry pavement. It is a risk, but it is likely the semi would win that contest. It is possible that the new pickup trucks technology might also tip the scale to the truck for victory. Either way, its an awesome video. Check it out below (jump to 5:01 for the main battle) and let us know your thoughts in the comments!