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Pre-Fun Runner: A Raptor Built to School You in the Desert

Out of the box, the Ford F-150 Raptor is an incredible truck. While the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon may rule the rocks, there’s no other factory 4x4 that works as well in the desert out of the box than the Ford Raptor. For this reason, it’s become a go-to build platform for competitive and recreational enthusiasts. For Ron Stobaugh, his 2012 Raptor was built to use as a pre-runner to plot out serious long-distance races such as the Baja 1000.

Since Stobaugh also owns a desert racing school, the truck often acts as a support vehicle, learning tool, and even serves as a daily driver. While we’ve seen the truck in action in the NORRA Mexican 1000, we wanted to know more about what components help keep this Raptor a reliable machine.


For wheels, the Raptor is running a KMC XD127. The 17x9 cast-aluminum Bully series wheels has seen plenty of abuse over the years, but has never been a point of failure.


Since this truck is often blazing rough terrain hundreds of miles from civilization, it hauls an assortment of tools and spare parts to keep going. Speaking of spares, there are two 37x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers secured in the bed thanks to an Alpha 1 tire rack. Despite thousands of miles of pre-running and race chasing, Stobaugh hasn’t had to use either of his spare tires.


The Raptor’s front suspension is pretty good from the factory, but everything can be improved. To ensure the truck can handle hours of rough terrain, an SCV Offroad dual-shock suspension was installed. This kit uses a 3.0 Fox coilover and 3.5 triple-bypass shock, along with new upper and lower control arms. To upgrade the steering, a Baja Tested tie-rod kit was installed.


Out back, the frame was boxed and upgraded with more durable shock mounts and adjustable Fox bumpstops from SVC Offroad. Controlling the suspension cycle are a set of 3.0 Fox bypass shocks.


Inside, most of the Raptor’s creature comforts are still intact. To help find his way, a HDS-7 Lowrance GPS was installed along with a long-reaching race radio.


Clearing out more room in front of the Grappler treads is a SVC Baja series front bumper. When the sun goes down, this truck doesn’t stop. Ensuring the Raptor has plenty of forward vision are 30- and 40-inch Baja Designs lightbars along with two six-inch Baja LED fog lights.


Powering the Raptor is the stock 6.2L V8, which packs just north of 400 horsepower. Given reliability is the name of the game when doing long-distance pre-running, Stobaugh choose to keep the majority of the powertrain stock. With the truck fit with a selectable rear locker and off-road friendly calibration from the factory, the Raptor doesn’t need much help powering through the open desert.


Hard Facts

VEHICLE: 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor
FRONT AXLE: 8.8-in IFS w/limited-slip
REAR AXLE: 9.75-in w/stock E-locker
SUSPENSION: SVC Offroad control arms w/Fox 3.0 coilover and 3.5 bypass front/SVC Offroad 3.0 Fox bypass and 2.0 Fox air bump rear
TIRES: 37x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grappler
WHEELS: 17x9 KMC XD 127 Bully
MISC: Boxed rear framerails, SVC Baja front bumper, Baja Designs LED lights, Lowrance GPS, ARB Fridge/Freeze, Alpha 1 in-bed tire rack

Check out this Ford Raptor that's pure Truck Candy.

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