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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Factory Built Off-Road Machines Battle for Your Love
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
Ford’s F-150 Raptor is an off-road tuned machine, meant to tackle dirt, rocks and mud, and Ford even wants us to believe that it is ready for Mars.
Ford is continuing to update its F-150 SVT Raptor model, announcing some new equipment for 2012 that is sure to please off-roading enthusiasts. While a series Baja buggy, with incredible suspension travel and tremendous jumping capability the Raptor was less ideally suited to low-speed rock-crawling. That, however, is no longer the case with a new Torsen front differential that can send power individually to each wheel, putting traction where it’s required.
Another fun add-on for 2012 is an optional front-facing camera. Designed to let the driver see what’s up front (again, ideal for rock crawling), it can be activated at speeds below 15 mph.
Other updated for 2012 include new Euroflange wheels, optional cooled seats, a matte anodized blue accent package and some new exterior graphics.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
With the allegations of bent frames, the Ford Raptor has had some wind taken out of its off-roading sails. The outcry from its owners has made SVT Chief Nameplate Engineer Jamal Hameedi come out of hiding to answer some questions.
Speaking to Autoblog, Hameedi believes that the frame bending isn’t a Ford issue, and one of owner treatment—but it’s not exactly abuse, either. “I think there’s a certain learning curve going out there,” he said. “The cool thing about the Raptor is that it’s something new that has never been done before. So it’s bringing a lot of new enthusiasts into this realm of high-speed off-roading.”
Judging by the video of the 10 trucks conducting high-speed runs, the owners were driving a 60 to 80mph in the desert, and anecdotally up to 120mph—too fast for the terrain, and forcing the truck to run out of suspension travel. According to Hameedi, the frame was designed to yield in such conditions, to avoid kicking the rear end into the air and causing an even worse accident.
“There’s a learning curve with these new enthusiasts and the organizers – of how to properly run an off-road, high-speed event like this. This is part of that learning curve. You can’t just find an off-road trail and barrel down it at 100 miles an hour.”
These owners, who are still negotiating their warranty claims, might not be happy to hear that the source of all their problems is that they don’t know how to drive. But that’s the story Hameedi is sticking with, along with what’s outlined in the owner’s manual: “you can get yourself into trouble very easily if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you’re driving above your ability or those of the vehicle. It’s not very different than a very capable, very fast sports car on a road course.
“You can break anything, you can even break a trophy truck,” said Hameedi, when asked about the ads and videos from Ford that show the Raptor’s high-speed off-road capabilities. “You have to be responsible and sensible about the way what you’re doing to the vehicle and the way you’re driving it.”
Hameedi advises that owners who may get their warranty claims denied can always get their frames restraightened for about $800, and that there are aftermarket solutions to prevent this sort of thing from happening to other Raptors. But this won’t sit well with the members of RaptorForumz.com, who publicized the issue in the beginning: they’ve argued that the event where 10 out of 14 trucks were damaged was well-organized with GPS tracking and marked obstacles, and that some of the trucks were damaged even before any off-roading.
Hameedi has explained that SVT will work on communicating with owners and event organizers, even focusing on instructional sessions. But for the 10 owners who see this as a manufacturing defect, and aren’t too keen on fixing the problem with their own money—hearing this from the head of SVT won’t end their situation.
The mighty Ford Raptor is indestructible, right? Sadly, it only looks that way: owners are reporting a drastic frame bending problem that threatens to destroy their trucks—and in one case, Ford refuses to honor its warranty.
One owner on the Ford Raptor forums is reporting that a Ford engineer is citing his truck as voiding its warranty, because of scratches underneath and around the truck that suggest ample off-road hoonage. Problem is, the owner claims that these scratches—on the skid plate, underneath the bumper, and around the worn shocks—occurred during a low-speed 4×4 safety course, something sanctioned by Ford.
The Raptor’s frame is weak around where the cab meets the bed, where it must make room for bump stops. Taking the sort of off-road bump at speed, as the Raptor is advertised to handle, has forced the frame to bend sharply on at least 4 other trucks.
Ford could do right and accept these problems as a limitation of their engineering, thankful that these consumers have essentially done the research on the Raptor’s faults, integrate them into the next model, and fix the handful of Raptors that have become unhinged. But of course, any semblance of abuse on a high-performance vehicle is tantamount to warranty revoking—no matter how much the company brags about its capabilities. And Ford did brag, with the following quote coming directly from a company press release: “Even if the typical Ford customer will not be putting their truck through the punishing paces of the Baja 1000, the point is, they could.”
Look like the less on here is; don’t try this at home, consumers.
[Source: Ford Raptor Forums]
After a wildly enthusiastic reception to the Ram Runner, the dune-bashing variant of the Ram pickup, Chrysler engineers have decided to go back to the drawing board and make the upgrade kit street legal, giving Ram loyalists a weapon against the Ford F-150 Raptor.
While any stock Ram 1500 can be used as a basis, the parts used will have more in common with Baja race trucks than anything seen on the street. The vehicle is so wide that special side markets have been mandated by the government. Track is widened by 3 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear, while special Fox shocks, new control arms and widened fenders are just some of the modifications made for the Ram Runner.
Buyers can purchase a complete package, or the individual bits to upgrade their truck over time. Chrysler is looking at making a factory version but stated that “If we did, we would use a [second stage] partner to build the trucks.”
What do you get when you take a Formula Drift champion, a video camera, and a website editor that has no fear? Apparently the video that’s available after the jump. Wrecked Magazine teamed up with Vaughn Gittin Jr. out in Las Vegas with a Ford F150 SVT Raptor to reach all new heights – recording it, of course, to share with the rest of the world.
Knowing just how bold of a driver Gittin is, handing him the keys of an F150 SVT Raptor and access to the CORR Truck Track at Las Vegas Speedway, most of us could conjure up the result in our minds. And absolutely nothing less than what’s expected is what’s seen on the video.
As far as Wrecked Magazine is considered, they may have filmed the highest jump an SVT Raptor has ever made in stock form. Despite all of the work and abuse the truck took at the track, they drove it home safely from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, a great testament to just how tough Ford tough is.
Check out the video after the break.
[Source: Wrecked Magazine]
GALLERY: Vaughn Gittin Jr Jumps Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
We’re probably missing something here, but clearly there’s a higher demand for armored vehicles than we ever thought. First was the Jaguar XJ Sentinel, that we just had to poke a little bit of fun at, and now Hennessey has gotten their hands dirty by armor-plating their modified Raptor and even adding the APV designation to the model name further reinforcing that this won’t be Hennessey’s only armor-plated vehicle.
The current render that we’re staring at (done by none other than Jon Sibal) is their Hennessey VelociRaptor APV which is based off of a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew. The rear has been modified to accommodate additional passengers in complete comfort and security.
This particular Raptor has been outfitted with Hennessey’s 6.2L supercharged V8 that puts out 575-hp. And while we have to question just who needs to have an armored SUV packing close to 600-hp, we’re glad Hennessey offers the non-armored version too.
We can’t wait to see the other variations of APV vehicles they’ll be working on. The future list looks to include vehicles from Nissan, Jeep, Land Rover and Land Cruiser.
GALLERY: Hennessey Armored Ford Raptor Supercharged SUV
Ford‘s SVT Raptor R, which competes in famous off-road races like the Baja 1000, is set to get an uprated version of the 3.5L Ecoboost twin-turbo V6. In its current form, the Raptor R puts down roughly 500 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2L V8, and the Ecoboost V6 will have to make at least that sort of power.
Fortunately, that task shouldn’t be a challenge for the Ecoboost. The turbochargers used are a pair of Garrett GT15s, which are tiny units each the size of a donut. Swapping them in for even a medium-size set of turbos should yield the magic 500 horsepower, with minimal stress on the engine and nearly-identical power delivery compared to the big V8. We know that the Ecoboost will be a top-of-the-line engine on the 2011 F150, pumping out around 400 horsepower, and what better way to prove to V8-loving truck buyers that a V6 can do the job than to put it through one of the most grueling races ever.