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Old May 25th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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Default Second Drive: 2010 F150 Raptor 6.2L

<p>Story courtesy of Mike Levine @ pickuptrucks.com</p>
<p>Yeah, we're a bit obsessed. We've never covered a specific truck as in-depth as we have the remarkable Ford F-150 SVT Raptor off-road pickup. It's unlike any rig that's come before it, and Ford continues a steady cadence of adding new features to the truck. We recently road and dyno tested the new 411-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 truck with 434 pounds-feet of torque, and Ford has (finally) confirmed a SuperCrew version is on the way for 2011.</p>
<p>Nearly all of our extreme excursions behind the Raptor's wheel have been in California's Mojave Desert, where it was born to excel on sandy trails at high speeds. We've never pushed the Raptor to its limits in wet, muddy terrain, which at first seemed more than a few ticks outside of the Raptor's comfort zone.</p>
<p>Ford invited us to its Michigan Proving Grounds, north of Detroit to thrash the Raptor 6.2 across MPG's secluded woodlands; we paid the cost of our travel and lodging. We expected a day of challenges at lower speeds than usual, but what wasn't anticipated was how nasty the weather conditions would be. Under a steady downpour most of the day, we hit some of the greasiest, snottiest and muddiest single tracks and fields that we've dared to drive on, but we were comfortable with the knowledge that if we got stuck help was only a few hundred yards away.</p>
<p>Our navigator and adviser for the day was Gene Martindale, Ford SVT lead test driver. Martindale has played a critical role developing and refining the Raptor's off-road driving dynamics and knows the truck's limits and capabilities about as well as anyone on the planet.</p>
<p>We drove the Raptor looking for its boundaries.</p>
<p>One of the only compromises that Ford had to make developing the Raptor was the tire choice. The Raptor ships wearing BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A 315/70R17 tires with massive sidewalls and deep tread for maximum traction on sand or rocks and ride comfort on the road, but they're not the optimal choice for rain-soaked trail conditions.</p>
<p>"We thought about mud tires for the Raptor," Martindale said. "They work awesome in mud, but they sucked at the trade-offs. They were horrible in grass. They were horrible in sand. They were horrible on the pavement. They were horrible in snow. They only worked in the mud, whereas the BFG All Terrain worked everywhere, though it's biggest weakness was mud. It's kind of a bummer but for those who use the Raptor in the mud, they'll put on MTs."</p>
<p>The 6.2 Raptor we drove was bone stock with the standard BFG ATs. They weren't the best choice for the drive but they didn't cripple the truck, and Martindale shared some driving tips that we can pass along if you ever decide to drive a Raptor in similar conditions.</p>
<p>Rule No. 1: Wheeling in thick muck seems counterintuitive at first, but it can mean the difference between crossing a challenge successfully and calling for help. The trick is to keep your foot in the throttle instead of trying to gingerly crawl through a sticky spot.</p>
<p>We were in the lead truck snaking up and down tight trails and water had pooled in almost every trough we crossed. The downhill portions of most troughs were slick from nonstop runoff, so the Raptor slid, even with the brakes clamped down. At the bottom, the mud tried to suck the truck down to its rims. Climbing out meant fighting gravity, suction and a distinct lack of friction. Our only hope was to modulate the throttle between 60 to 80 percent of max pedal travel, using wheel spin to clear slimy debris as quickly as possible from the AT's tightly packed treads and dig down into the mud to find clay or sand for grip below the soupy surface layers.</p>
<p>The 6.2-liter V-8 shines as the power engine for the Raptor. Where the base 5.4-liter V-8 tops out at only 310 hp (on regular unleaded) to move the Raptor's three-tons, we took full advantage of the 6.2's 411 hp (on premium unleaded and 401 hp on regular gas) and broad torque curve to variably grab as much assist as we needed to gain traction. What might have required wide-open throttle from the 5.4 in certain spots -- to ensure we wouldn't slide backward -- could be dialed in with variable application of the accelerator that provided a margin for extra power to keep momentum up and the ability to ramp down when it seemed we might mow down a tree or three. Still, there were instances where we'd fully roll our foot and could feel and hear the engine bear down, yet we'd only traveled inches forward in the mud as the Raptor clawed for traction.</p>
<p>In one nasty gully that I couldn't find an escape route through, Martindale showed me just how well he knew the Raptor as he rapidly modulated the throttle and shifted between forward and Reverse to gain traction with the barest availability of grip.</p>
<p>The Raptor?s second rule of mudding was to cut corners much earlier than usual on virgin trails, especially when entering turns at high speeds. Instead of using wheel spin to clean out the tires, we scrubbed speed from the truck by easing off the accelerator and allowing the mud to suck the truck down. Turning the wheel didn't immediately turn the truck, which proceeded along a straight path until the tires stopped hydroplaning and dug in. There were instances where it seemed to take up to 2 or 3 seconds before the Raptor would move along the path the front wheels were trying to steer it on.</p>
<p>But the second rule changed as we looped back and forth along the same trails with our large group of Raptors. As each truck followed the line of the truck in front of it, deep ruts were quickly carved into the soil. Soon enough, we weren't floating over the mud like ice skaters. Instead, we were locked into our path like a freight train and one wrong flick of the wheel at speeds up to 50 mph could have thrown us out of the ditch and onto our backs. Sometimes, you're just along for the ride.</p>
<p>The final rule was that wheeling the Raptor in mud was more fun that we thought it could be. In the second half of the day, we were able to run a high-speed loop over open ground at speeds up to 70 mph on trails etched in soggy fields, kicking up thick, brown rooster tails behind us and caking the truck in mud until we almost couldn't see any of its bright white paint.</p>
<p>After completing our turn steering the Raptor, we were treated to a hot lap with Martindale at the wheel in a Raptor equipped with Mud Terrain tires. The difference in performance was amazing with a race-experience driver in the left seat and rolling stock that shed mud like water at low speeds. If we owned a Raptor in the Midwest, we'd keep a set of MTs on hand to swap them out like summer and winter tires.</p>
<p>Of course, there were also unique technological helpers that made driving the Raptor in these tough conditions easier. The Raptor's unique off-road mode doesn't just change the six-speed automatic transmission's shift points so the truck performs like a desert racer; it also changes the antilock braking system's performance to allow the wheels to lock up at lower speeds and gain traction from the ground instead of firing the calipers until the truck stops, potentially allowing it to skate off a trail. In the stickiest spots, we called upon the rear electronic locking differential to provide extra traction assist. In another exercise, we simply steered the truck down a 45 percent concrete grade as the Raptor's hill descent control automatically braked the truck to hold its speed downhill.</p>
<p>Now that we've pushed the 6.2-liter Raptor hard in the desert and wet woodlands, what would we change? We've got a few minor nits to pick.</p>
<p>When the rain was at its worst and mud splashed up over the hood and onto the windshield, we'd have liked the windshield wipers to cycle faster than their fastest setting. There was more than one occasion where we were flying blind for a second of two longer than we felt comfortable until the front glass could be cleared.</p>
<p>As we took advantage of all of the Raptor's unique off-road settings, the same chime sounded to activate or deactivate hill descent control and off-road mode. We'd like unique chimes so you can tell by ear if you've accidentally enabled or disabled a mode. When you're adrenalin is going, visual cues can be overlooked.</p>
<p>We've said it once before, but we think the 6.2-liter Raptors need a badge of some type to differentiate them from the 5.4-liter trucks. At one point one of the 6.2 trucks had to be swapped for another and the only way we could locate a replacement truck from a mixed group of trucks was to pop the hoods and see which engines they had.</p>
<p>Just a bit further out, Ford has promised that the next evolution of its awesome Sync infotainment system, called MyFordTouch, will feature custom apps that you'll be able to download, which is similar to the apps for an Apple iPhone. We'd like someone to create a "booby trap" app, so when you're traveling with a pack of Raptors one press of a button on a lead truck can wirelessly tell those behind what to avoid -- just like the navigation systems used in the Baja 1000.</p>
<p>Overall, the 6.2 Raptor, which starts at $41,995, is just about as perfect as it can be for its job. It's well worth the $3,000 premium over the 5.4 Raptor. There is nothing that has changed our mind that this would be our next truck if we were shopping for the best cross between fun and capability in a full-size pickup.</p>
<p>And now we know that the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor isn't just a good desert racer, it's also one bad mudder of a pickup.</p>
<p>To discuss this blog entry click [HERE]&lt;/p&gt;</p>
Old May 25th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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theres a chance ill be the owner of a 6.2L Raptor not sure if i want to wait on the supercrew

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Old May 25th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DIXIE FIX View Post
theres a chance ill be the owner of a 6.2L Raptor not sure if i want to wait on the supercrew
Where you gettin the moneybags at cuz I'd love the crew raptor.

built and blueprinted Lightning powerplant with p&p heads, race built 4r70w by Darrin @ BC-Automotive
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Old May 26th, 2010, 08:40 AM
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I want one...


2007 F-150 FX4

I say try, if you never try you can never succeed.

Old May 26th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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I don't want one, I need one.

Last edited by herbz; February 15th, 2011 at 03:52 AM.

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