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A Great Truck Made Even Better: What You Need to Know About Modifying the Ford Raptor

More than a decade ago, Ford brought us a beefed-up, off-road ready version of its F-150 pickup called the Raptor. In the years since, the Raptor has gone on to become one of the most capable, most in-demand and just plain coolest trucks ever offered in America.

Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grappler

And while the whole purpose of the Raptor project was to create a pickup that was extremely capable out of the box, that doesn't mean it can't be made even better.

Whether you own a Raptor and are considering some upgrades or are possibly in the market to buy one as a project, we've rounded up some of our best information and inspiration for what a modified Raptor can be.

The Mild Approach

The great thing about the Raptor being such a beast right off the showroom floor is that there's often no reason to to change much. Sometimes very mild upgrades can have a big effect.

King of the Hammers Ford Raptor

Dave Cole's 2020 Raptor exemplifies this approach, with simple and effective upgrades allowing his truck to do even better off-road while still working as comfy daily driver. You can learn more about his build right here.

First Gen Fun

Even as its aged, the first generation Raptor has remained incredibly popular, mainly because up to this point it's been the only Raptor powered by a V8 engine.

First Gen Ford Raptor in Sand

And in the case of this first build, the owner has left the 6.2 liter V8 as is, while focusing on other upgrades like suspension, chassis and a set of up-sized Ridge Grappler tires. Find more info about this tough first gen right here.

EcoBoost Power

That's not to say that the twin turbocharged V6 that powers the newer Raptors is lacking in power or potential. In fact, the switch to a smaller turbo engine actually means theres more room to find extra power. 

Second Gen Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grappler

With just a new tune and some other mild, bolt-on upgrades, this EcoBoost-powered Raptor saw a 24% gain in peak horsepower. Sometimes you just gotta love modern turbo engines. You can find out more about those power upgrades and other modifications done to this truck right here.

Balance is Everything

Whether its a Ford Raptor, another off-road vehicle, or any kind of project for that matter—balance is often the key to getting your desired results. 

Project Avalanche Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grappler Tires

For example, take Project Avalanche, a second generation Raptor that's seen simple but effective upgrades everywhere. The engine, suspension, wheels and tires—and even some additional creature comforts and audio upgrades inside for the daily grind. Check out this build here.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road (or Dirt)

As with all serious enthusiast machines, tire selection is important on a vehicle like the Ford Raptor. And it's natural that a hybrid terrain tire like the Nitto Ridge Grappler is a perfect match for a truck like the Raptor, which many owners use as dual purpose off-roaders and daily drivers.

Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grapplers

Here we have a 2017 Raptor lightly modified on sitting on a set of 35" Ridge Grapplers, which amplify the truck's already great off-road capability without losing its highway-friendly manners. Learn more about this combination here.

  • How about the new third gen Raptor? We've got all the details on the next gen truck right here. 
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