2021 Gen-3 Ford F-150 Raptor | Undercarriage Inspection | Weird Stuff Found

SID297

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2021 Gen-3 Ford F-150 Raptor | Undercarriage Inspection | Weird Stuff Found

5_Star_Dec_2021_058.jpg

There are few trucks that have made a bigger market impact over the past decade than the Ford SVT Raptor F-150. It was so hot from its drop in 2010 that basically ever other truck manufacturer has ripped it off in one way or another. Just look around, how many manufacturers now emboss brick-lettered versions of their company name in a truck grille? And Ford has wisely kept investing in their Premium-Level Cash-Cow Off-Roader over the years. That brings to the current 2021 F-150 Raptor from Ford Performance.

5_Star_Dec_2021_044.jpg


This is the big change for the Gen-3 Raptor is the new coil spring rear suspension which replaced the traditional leaf springs.


While out for a Friday evening cruise recently, I stopped in to harass the guys at 5 Star Tuning. That company is growing so quickly that they’re running out of places to put new employees, but they still find some space for a few new Fords ever couple months. This time around they had two new Ford trucks in for R&D work, a 2021 Ford Maverick (more on that in the future) and a 2021 F-150 Raptor.

5_Star_Dec_2021_042.jpg


The new rear control arms are fully boxed steel units that look extremely stout. Their length should translate to fairly long suspension travel.


The 2021 F-150 ECU encryption has thus far prevented 5 Star from working their typical magic, but they have been adding other mods as they become available. Currently, the truck has a JB4 boost enhancer installed. That resulted in 438.5 HP @ 4850 RPM and 516.7 lb-ft @ 4100 RPM, up from a 384.8 HP @ 4750 RPM and 448.3 lb-ft @ 4200 RPM baseline. There’s way more potential yet to be tapped in the 3.5L HO EcoBoost engine once HP Tuners finds a way to flash the factory computer, and I’m sure 5 Star will have this truck back on the rollers rounding up the stray ponies.

5_Star_Dec_2021_047.jpg


Is the Gen-3 Raptor's new rear suspension built heavily enough for severe off-road duty? I'll let this solid cast iron spring perch answer that question.


However, today we were just taking look at this new Raptor to check out the major changes from the Gen 2 trucks. While the styling updates are somewhat subtle, there are a couple big changes on the greasy side that jump out at you. First, there’s an entirely new coil-sprung rear suspension. The four control arms attaching the Sterling 9.75 axle to the fully-boxed frame are massive. The lower arms actually look somewhat similar to the trailing arm suspension on a NASCAR or trophy truck. The spring mounts are supremely tough cast iron pieces, and it’s all help in place by a track bar. This all combines to produce the best performing, and riding, Ford Raptor yet.

5_Star_Dec_2021_054.jpg


In case you were wondering, the upper rear spring mount is fully perimeter welded to Raptor's fully boxed frame.


The award for weirdest change hands-down has to go to the Gen 3 Raptor’s exhaust system. Not only do we have an O-Pipe than sends the exhaust on a 360 degree circular trip, there’s also a unique 2-In 3-Out muffler. The exhaust freak show doesn’t end there. The 3 pipes come out of the muffler, the two primary ones feature active exhaust valves, and enter what I can best describe as a 5-Limbed X-Pipe. I know, it’s all odd-ball and defies logic.

5_Star_Dec_2021_039.jpg


Here's a good look at the now infamous O-Pipe. Bask in its glory.


5_Star_Dec_2021_051.jpg

The Raptor's muffler is about the size of a VP Racing Fuel can, and is a 3-In-2-Out design. I don't even want to talk about the Post-Muffler X-Pipe.


However, I’m sure doubling the cost of the factory exhaust system was done for good reason. Perhaps to improve the sounds emanating from the V6 engine? Most Ford Performance fans would probably have preferred the engineers just add two more cylinders, but we may have to wait a few more years for that. On EcoBoost powered vehicles I’m personally a fan of keeping the exhaust quiet and making the turbos louder. That may not be the best solution for everyone though.

5_Star_Dec_2021_056.jpg


The frame section above the rear jounce bumper was a noted weak point on the Gen-1 Raptor, and it had been substantially beefed-up on the Gen-3 trucks. Note that it is now double layered.


5_Star_Dec_2021_034.jpg


There's just something about these aluminum front control arms that just scream "Performance and Durability."


Ultimately, the 2021 Raptor is a great looking truck that provides a step up in performance from its predecessor. While 5 Star, and the rest of the aftermarket, are still hampered by the lack of ECU access; that won’t last forever. The Gen 3 Raptor is the most capable one yet, and it’s only going to get better. Expect to see a full review from us in the future, but for now check out this under-hood/body inspection of 5 Star Tuning’s 2021 Raptor:


2021 Raptor STK VS JB4 (1).png


Even though the guys at 5 Star Tuning don't have access to program the 2021+ F-150 ECU, they still are trying various combinations of products to squeeze more power from their R&D trucks.

-SID297
 

Weather Man

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That exhaust is cray cray. I want an exhaust for my 3.5 eco, but everyone I have heard sounds like ass. Would rather it be quiet.
 

L8APEX

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Just wished they'd kept the supercab as an option. I know the supercrew are more popular, but if I'd get one I'd prefer the shorter truck, and lower entry price.
 

SID297

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That exhaust is cray cray. I want an exhaust for my 3.5 eco, but everyone I have heard sounds like ass. Would rather it be quiet.

Keep the exhaust quiet and make the turbos louder.

Just wished they'd kept the supercab as an option. I know the supercrew are more popular, but if I'd get one I'd prefer the shorter truck, and lower entry price.

I prefer the SCab trucks too.
 

TORQUERULES

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I'd ditch that exhaust ASAP. It has to weigh a ton. Make my own with strategically placed resonators to quiet it down and then open up the intake tract to hear those turbos.
 

DoneItDeliberate

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A couple years ago I was working for a company (I will not name them) here in Vegas that specialized in the Raptor platform. The number one complaint of Gen 2 owners was "but muh veeeee-ate!". Did it matter that the HO EB made way more torque down at low RPM than the old 6.2? Oh hell no. Did it matter that the lighter HO EB drastically improved handling offroad? Nope, not one bit. It looks and sounds to me like the new exhaust on the Gen 3 is specifically designed to end the complaints of the sound of the EB compared to the old 6.2.

Now that Ford added a 5 link I am still wondering why they stuck with rubber bump stops and haven't upgraded to Fox hydraulic bump stops. With all of the investment into a better performing rear suspension it seems counter intuitive to cheap out on the bump stops. You can reinforce the frame area around the factory bump stop all you want, but if you can't slow the rear axle/suspension down as it comes to full bump, stuff will bend/break. After market bump kits are easy money in the Raptor aftermarket and should probably be the first upgrade for any Raptor owner who plans on driving off road.

You can bet on companies like Camburg, RPG, and SDHQ will have upgraded upper and lower links, adjustable panhard bars with FK rod ends and bump stop kits in no time for the rear suspension. I wonder if King or Fox will offer an OEM replacement bypass coil over for the rear?

Overall the Gen 3 is easily the best Raptor yet and I can't wait to go on a run with one of the local Raptor groups to see how it performs firsthand.

Here's some pics from my time in the off road industry. The blue truck was a 2015 F150 with 18" of travel (2.5 coil over, 3.0 bypass, J-Arm) up front and 24" in rear with a 3 link (my old 2002 GT stealing some clout). The Super Duty was a 2017 and we were asked by SEMA to contribute to this build. We designed and built the bumpers, the chase rack in back and the leaf sprung cantilever suspension on that truck.
 

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SID297

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A couple years ago I was working for a company (I will not name them) here in Vegas that specialized in the Raptor platform. The number one complaint of Gen 2 owners was "but muh veeeee-ate!". Did it matter that the HO EB made way more torque down at low RPM than the old 6.2? Oh hell no. Did it matter that the lighter HO EB drastically improved handling offroad? Nope, not one bit. It looks and sounds to me like the new exhaust on the Gen 3 is specifically designed to end the complaints of the sound of the EB compared to the old 6.2.

Now that Ford added a 5 link I am still wondering why they stuck with rubber bump stops and haven't upgraded to Fox hydraulic bump stops. With all of the investment into a better performing rear suspension it seems counter intuitive to cheap out on the bump stops. You can reinforce the frame area around the factory bump stop all you want, but if you can't slow the rear axle/suspension down as it comes to full bump, stuff will bend/break. After market bump kits are easy money in the Raptor aftermarket and should probably be the first upgrade for any Raptor owner who plans on driving off road.

You can bet on companies like Camburg, RPG, and SDHQ will have upgraded upper and lower links, adjustable panhard bars with FK rod ends and bump stop kits in no time for the rear suspension. I wonder if King or Fox will offer an OEM replacement bypass coil over for the rear?

Overall the Gen 3 is easily the best Raptor yet and I can't wait to go on a run with one of the local Raptor groups to see how it performs firsthand.

Here's some pics from my time in the off road industry. The blue truck was a 2015 F150 with 18" of travel (2.5 coil over, 3.0 bypass, J-Arm) up front and 24" in rear with a 3 link (my old 2002 GT stealing some clout). The Super Duty was a 2017 and we were asked by SEMA to contribute to this build. We designed and built the bumpers, the chase rack in back and the leaf sprung cantilever suspension on that truck.

My guess is the bump stop upgrade will come on the Raptor R.
 

CobraBob

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Now that's an exhaust that will become a talking point time and again. It's definitely very different. If it doesn't rob performance and does create a better exhaust note, it's a winner.
 

DoneItDeliberate

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I will be disappointed if the Raptor R doesn't come with a hopped up 7.3 V8, instead of the rumored s/c 5.2
Trust me, you want to keep the weight over the front suspension as low as possible. The 7.3's iron block would make the truck nose heavy and would be worse than the Gen 1 as far as handling goes.
 

DSG2003Mach1

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I will be disappointed if the Raptor R doesn't come with a hopped up 7.3 V8, instead of the rumored s/c 5.2

I would be very surprised if they're going to spend money developing another engine for what's likely to be a very limited run when the already have the 5.2 ready to go... the only way that would make sense is if they have other plans for a HO 7.3
 

stang99x

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A couple years ago I was working for a company (I will not name them) here in Vegas that specialized in the Raptor platform. The number one complaint of Gen 2 owners was "but muh veeeee-ate!". Did it matter that the HO EB made way more torque down at low RPM than the old 6.2? Oh hell no. Did it matter that the lighter HO EB drastically improved handling offroad? Nope, not one bit. It looks and sounds to me like the new exhaust on the Gen 3 is specifically designed to end the complaints of the sound of the EB compared to the old 6.2.

Now that Ford added a 5 link I am still wondering why they stuck with rubber bump stops and haven't upgraded to Fox hydraulic bump stops. With all of the investment into a better performing rear suspension it seems counter intuitive to cheap out on the bump stops. You can reinforce the frame area around the factory bump stop all you want, but if you can't slow the rear axle/suspension down as it comes to full bump, stuff will bend/break. After market bump kits are easy money in the Raptor aftermarket and should probably be the first upgrade for any Raptor owner who plans on driving off road.

You can bet on companies like Camburg, RPG, and SDHQ will have upgraded upper and lower links, adjustable panhard bars with FK rod ends and bump stop kits in no time for the rear suspension. I wonder if King or Fox will offer an OEM replacement bypass coil over for the rear?

Overall the Gen 3 is easily the best Raptor yet and I can't wait to go on a run with one of the local Raptor groups to see how it performs firsthand.

Here's some pics from my time in the off road industry. The blue truck was a 2015 F150 with 18" of travel (2.5 coil over, 3.0 bypass, J-Arm) up front and 24" in rear with a 3 link (my old 2002 GT stealing some clout). The Super Duty was a 2017 and we were asked by SEMA to contribute to this build. We designed and built the bumpers, the chase rack in back and the leaf sprung cantilever suspension on that truck.
Why do so many act like a blown little motor is so great vs an NA V8? There is the old adage, there is no replacement for displacement. If you toss a twin turbo setup on the old 6.2 then who you gonna lay your money down on in a race? And no, there is no exhaust system that will make a V6 sound good.
 

DoneItDeliberate

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Why do so many act like a blown little motor is so great vs an NA V8? There is the old adage, there is no replacement for displacement. If you toss a twin turbo setup on the old 6.2 then who you gonna lay your money down on in a race? And no, there is no exhaust system that will make a V6 sound good.
It's not an act, the HO EB is superior to the 6.2 and 5.0, supercharged or not, in this application. I can't stress enough how much the lighter weight of the EB benefits the Raptor while hitting trails at speed. It is night and day difference.

The company I worked for had 2 development vehicles we built our suspension and bumpers on:

A 2015 F150 4x4, 5.0, SCREW, with a 2.9 Whipple and full exhaust including headers.

A 2017 Raptor, HO EB, SCAB, with a custom Borla exhaust routed through our cantilever system.

Both trucks got had a 16" mid travel system up front (2.5 King coil over with remote bypass [minimal valving to let the bypass shock do most the work], 3.0 King remote bypass shock, rear cantilever system with 20" of travel, 3.0 King bypass shocks, Deaver +2 springs, sprung under conversion, front and rear King 2.5 hydraulic bump stops, on 37" tires.

We weighed both trucks and the Raptor had better F/R weight balance.

Out on the trail and in the dunes the Raptor had better all around performance, it felt light and responsive through the rough and was easy to manage. The F150 wasn't as easy to manage in the rough stuff and required more skill to maintain speed. The only place the blown 5.0 was better was hills climbs/sand drags.
 

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