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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]