TFLtruck has teamed up with AutoAnything.com to get our long-term tester 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor upgraded. The goal of the project is two-fold: make the truck even more off-road capable, and make it more usable as an expedition, road-trip, or chase vehicle. Expect to see popular and affordable additions and modifications on Project Raptor. It will not be an unlimited budget, show truck build. These are the modifications most owner can tackle and include: air compressor, upgraded brakes, tonneau cover, winch, and off-road LED lights.
Expect TFLtruck to put each part through a real-world test and watch it on video.
#1 – VIAIR Air Compressor
The most important part of off-roading (or any driving) is where the rubber meets the road or any surface. Traction is very important. The Raptor is rolling on BFG Goodrich All-Terrain tires, which have very good in all-around performance. They perform well on the snow, in the wet, and in most off-road situations. This tire’s tread is closely packed to also ensure a relatively quiet highway ride. Of course, this tire is not ideal for thick mud or more extreme rock crawling. However, you can improve off-road performance over sand, mud, or rocks by airing down the tires. When you air down, the tire contact patch is increased – thus increasing floatation over loose surfaces, improving traction, and making the off-road ride more smooth.
The first addition to the Project Raptor is the VIAIR 400 Series portable air compressor. You might think that you can squeak by getting a low cost air compressor that you plug in to your cigarette lighter. However, these cheap compressors will take forever to fill a large off-road tire and are prone to breakage. You need something with more power and better overall quality, like this VIAIR unit. This compressor hooks up directly to the battery and provides enough flexible line to reach the tires of a big truck like the Raptor. The end has a built-in pressure gauge and a clever valve to let air out. This way you know the exact pressure when you air down or fill them back up.
#2 – StopTech and Posi Quiet Performance Brake Parts
Being able to slow down and stop in a safe and predictable manner is the most important attribute of any vehicle. The second part of Project Raptor is all about improving the stopping performance. The OEM brake components are adequate for most uses, but we noticed considerable fade when coming back to town from high in the Rocky Mountains. The pedal gets more squishy and the truck takes a longer distance to stop.
The first task is to measure the performance of the stock system. We went to our test track (IMI Motorsports) and used the G-Tech Pro performance meter to get the 60-0 mph stopping distances. Air and track temperatures were right around 70F. Each run was separated by approximately one minute. The first distance was 169.9 feet; the second – 179.0 feet; and the third – 173.0 feet. The average stopping distance over the three runs was: 173.9 feet.
The upgrade includes:
#3 – StopTech and Posi Quiet parts Installation
Check out the installation procedure of the StopTech rotors, Posi Quiet pads, and StopTech performance brake fluid.
#4 – SmittyBilt Winch and Accessories
A winch is one of the critical components for serious off-roading or rock crawling. The Ford Raptor is not really meant for rock crawling, but it can handle some difficult terrain. The winch provides additional level of safety for your vehicle or other vehicles on the trail. You can help pull the Raptor out of a mud hole or a steep slope, or help recover another vehicle. The winch can also help with loading a stranded vehicle on to a trailer.
This upgrade includes:
#5 – Using the Winch
Project Raptor focuses on off-roadability. A winch is one of the critical components for serious off-roading or rock crawling. The Ford SVT Raptor is not really meant for crawling over huge rocks, but it can handle some difficult terrain. The winch provides additional level of safety for your vehicle or other vehicles on the trail. You can help pull the Raptor out of a mud hole or up a steep slope, or help recover another vehicle. The winch can also be useful for loading a stranded vehicle onto a trailer. It is a useful tool.
Our partners at AutoAnything.com have sent us a SmittyBilt X2O 12K winch, accessories, and an ICI Ford Raptor hidden winch mount to get the job done. The winch includes synthetic line, which is not as durable as steel cable, but is much safer to use and weighs less. It comes with a wireless remote, which can also be used in a wired configuration. The ICI hidden winch mount attaches to the frame rails with existing tow hook and some additional bolts and provides a solid mounting surface. It gets covered by the factory skid plate for a clean look. The installation appears as if it was done at the factory.
#6 – BAK Roll-X Tonneau Cover
On this episode of Project Raptor, we show the installation of a BAK Roll-X zero-profile roll-up tonneau cover. A high quality tonneau truck bed cover is a must for any pickup truck that wants a secure and safe bed for its cargo. There are many types of tonneau covers, so why select this one?
This Roll-X cover has many advantages: it protects your cargo from the weather, protects it from prying eyes, and make theft extremely difficult. If your tailgate locks, like on our 2014 Ford SVT Raptor, it makes for a fully secure bed area. This cover rolls up into a relatively compact size and does not take away any bed length. When rolled up, its height is actually below the rear seat head rests. The side rails do intrude a little on the sides, but the bed basically maintains all of its utility. The cover is also very easy to latch and un-latch.
The Roll-X is also a stylish “zero-profile” design. When deployed, it virtually does not stick up above the bed rails. The final installation looks very neat and clean.
You can get the BAK Roll-X tonneau cover for many different trucks and bed lengths from AutoAnything.com.