Well... MY F-150 got T-boned yestersday by a dump truck. It was not a pretty sight, but I am OK. I am thinking to get another F-series with better towing capacity. I found a F-250, but it has the same 4.9L engine. JUst wonder will this be OK for towing a Wrangler. TIA.
The F-150s have a twin traction bar set up(glorified IFS) utilizing a coil over set up (I beleive its called coil over), where as the 250 uses twin traction bars but with a leaf spring setup until 1999 when the went solid axle w/leafs. The F-350 has always used a solid axle as far as I know. The F-250 used a more solid rear end althought I'm not sure which one. The brakes were probaly a little bit better as well. Yes they both offered the 300 I6 as a base motor, very good motor, could tow a house with the right tranny and rear end ratio. The F-250 sits alot higher due to higher capacity leafs and larger tires.
The main difference between the 150 and the 250 (and in turn the 350) mostly is the suspension, and the frame. The higher up the "ranks" you go, the suspension is stronger, not just stiffer, and the frame is thicker as well, so you can carry more weight in the truck as well as in the bed.
In the older years the body panels were mostly the same, whereas new the 150 looks much different than the super duty F250/350 series.
BTW, the 250 frame is not vastly thicker than the 150, its noticable and obvious to the untrained eye, but a dumptruck will still bend it very easily, because all the F-series frames are essentially to rails down the length of the truck with a few crossmembers. Because of the shape of the c-channels they resisting bending loads vertically, but don't resist bending loads to the same degree if hit in the side.
Essentially the frame is a ladder with four rungs.
You are a 100% correct. When I took my 90 F-250 frame to get sandblasted, they chained the back of it to a forklift and picked it up, didn't bend at all even though it was supported only by about 2' of frame at the end.
Also, the F-250s use 10.25" Sterling rears (at least from '85 and upto '97). They are definatly beefier than the old 8.8". I'd get one with full floaters: it will keep your tires from coming off if you break an axle.
Also, expect to pay more for your tires and parts for an F-250. Bigger=Heavy Duty=More $$$
I learned that that hard way when I went to F-250.
BTW, the 8600lbs+ GVW F-250s (and F-350s) come with dual piston caliper in front as well and 3" wide drums in the rear.
I'd like to clear up a few things...The twin traction beam (not bar) is not a coil over setup. Coil over is when the shock is actually inbetween a coil spring (hense coil over shock). The F-250's frame is not only thicker but different at the front for accepting the leaf springs (vs coils). There's a light duty and heavy duty F-250. It can have either a d44 or d50 front end and a sterling 10.25 semi or full float rear end. Also, the TTB era ended in F-250s ended in 97. That was the last year for that body style and design. 98 came the current body style/design. The main differences between an F-150 and F-250 are...axles, tires, brakes, suspension, radiators, engine options, transmission options, frames, etc etc...theres a big difference.
There is nothing wrong the I-6 motor, its usually rated just about the same as the 302 motor, so whatever you can pull with a 302 you can pull with an I-6. The difference is the 302 generally makes its torque higher up in the rpm band, because the pistons are smaller, whereas the I-6 pistons (and bores) are larger, and the peak torque is lower down the RPM band.
Gearing and when you shift makes all the difference... same for any powertrain combination.
The advantage of the 302 over the I-6 is the massive, intense aftermarket support since the 302 is more or a less the same as whats in mustangs. So if you want to build a cheap stroker motor, a 302 is much better supported over the I-6. If you just want to drive the truck and not thinking about strokers and blowers and whatever else you can dream up, the I-6 is a good, reliable motor.