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2013 Ford F-150 Raptor Project

Updates on the project and parts after a year of use and abuse!

Apr 13, 2020
More on this 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor Project!
ICON Vehicle Dynamics Ford Raptor Hydraulic Bumpstops
Overland Storage Solutions for Modern Trucks
Outfitting a Raptor for Overlanding
Ford's desert-bashing F-150 Raptor has been a huge hit among off-road enthusiasts and the general public alike ever since its introduction in 2009. From the factory it's a stout off-roader, with 35-inch tires, a rear locking differential, front limited slip, long-travel suspension, and massive Fox shocks. As an aspirational halo vehicle for Ford, Raptors can be found both in the wilds of Baja and corporate business parking lots.
Photo 2/23   |   001 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project
Ford built just 5,000 the first year, ramping up to about 25,000 by the end of the first generation in 2014 (second generation, 2017-2020, numbers aren't public). This limited supply, compared to the 700,000+ F-150s built each year, has kept interest and demand extremely high. Not wanting to be left out, we picked up a used first-generation 2013 F-150 Raptor. Since these trucks are getting a little older now, many owners are finally starting to modify them.
The plan for our build was to make it into a mild overland vehicle. What does this mean, exactly? Well, we wanted to retain as much of what makes a Raptor special while adding agility and functionality. Over the course of the past year we've made many of what we feel are the best upgrades to reach this goal, and we figured it might be time to recap how some of them have been working for us thus far.
Photo 3/23   |   007 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project New Truck
Buying a Used Raptor
When we bought our 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor used in late 2018 with almost 90,000 miles on the odometer, the Ford dealer wanted nearly $40,000 for a truck that was only $58,000 new. While that may seem high, it was, and still is, the going rate for a first-gen Raptor.
 
Photo 4/23   |   008 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Bfg Ko2 Tires
BFGoodrich KO2 Tires
The very first thing we did after we bought the truck was to ditch the worn-out tires it came with and install a set of 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s. We've loved these tires since they were introduced and love them even more now that we have almost 6,000 miles on them (most of which has been dirt). Traction has been great in every condition, and we've had no issues with flats. With preload increased on the factory Fox shocks (by moving the spring seat circlip up), 37-inch tires fit as long as they are on the factory wheels. We've had zero rubbing issues, either, at full compression or full steering lock.
 
Photo 5/23   |   009 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Weather Tech Mats
WeatherTech Floor Liners
It seemed like a trivial upgrade at the time, as the truck came with floormats from the factory, but these WeatherTech floor liners have been a lifesaver. After a year of use they have not moved at all or shown any sign of wear.
 
Photo 6/23   |   010 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Volant Intake
Volant Air Intake
There are a lot of air intake and filter companies around these days, and most make a pretty solid product. For our Raptor project we decided to use Volant for one main reason: the availability of a Donaldson filter element. Donaldson filters are among the best when it comes to filtering out fine dust particles. These filters were original equipment on Power Stroke engines for a long time and are used most often in heavy equipment and over-the-road trucks. While the filter doesn't improve air flow, it does greatly improve filtration. We love that Volant uses a closed air box, as well, instead of an open-element "filter on a stick." The only change we made was removing the Volant intake tube in favor of retaining the factory resonator assembly, which kept the intake volume to almost factory levels.
 
Photo 7/23   |   011 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Hellwig Swaybar
Hellwig Rear Sway Bar - Mag-Hytec Differential Cover
One of the most impressive upgrades we made to the Raptor was the addition of a rear anti-sway bar from Hellwig. Hellwig makes this bar specifically for the Raptor (thinner than their normal F-150 bar), and the results after installing it were astonishing. The factory Raptor has a fair bit of body roll thanks to its soft suspension. It's not enough to be concerning, but with the addition of a sway bar the truck tracks much flatter and we're able to push it harder into corners both on- and off-road. When doing a bit of rockcrawling, we did hit the sway bar on a rock, and it rotated out of position. It's also currently touching the differential cover as the clamps tend to move on the axle during extra hard use.
The Mag-Hytec differential cover is just that, a diff cover. We still love how it looks and like that we know it's full of high-quality Amsoil lube. Thus far we've had zero issues with and no leaks from the cover's gasket.
 
Photo 8/23   |   012 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Dometic Fridge
Dometic CFX35 Fridge/Freezer
The crowd favorite addition and total lifesaver is the Dometic fridge/freezer. We mounted the Dometic CFX35 on the company's slides in our custom-built bed rack. The fridge holds enough food and drink for a weekend away and keeps things as cold as you desire (we've taken ice cream to the desert during a 110-degree weekend). With built-in Wi-Fi and the Dometic app you can easily monitor the fridge from any smartphone (within a reasonable distance of the fridge, anyway). The only issue we've had with the fridge is that if we leave it plugged in for an extended period of time it will drain the truck's battery to flat, even when turned off. The fridge has an ever so slight draw, likely related to the Wi-Fi function, and we sometimes park the Raptor for weeks at a time.
 
Photo 9/23   |   013 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Odyseey Battery
Odyssey Battery
Speaking of dead batteries, to help prevent that from ever being a problem, we swapped out the factory battery for the largest Odyssey AGM battery that would fit in the spot. We opted to go for a PC-1500T Extreme series battery. The battery features 1,500 hot cranking amps, 850 cold cranking amps, and 135 minutes of reserve capacity. We've had zero issues since installing the Odyssey battery, even when we leave the Dometic fridge plugged in.
 
Photo 10/23   |   014 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Icon Suspension
ICON Vehicle Dynamics Billet Delta Joint Upper Control Arms / 3.0-Inch CDCV Coilovers
The biggest upgrade we've made to our 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor has been upgrading the suspension with parts from ICON Vehicle Dynamics. In 2009 the factory Fox internal bypass shocks were revolutionary; however, we've come a long way since then. We replaced the factory steel upper control arms with these billet aluminum arms from ICON. And it wasn't for naught since the factory ball joints were shot anyway (and not replaceable). We run the coilovers with the compression adjusters cranked all the way to 10, and they handle big whoops with relative ease. The only issue we've noted is that with our factory wheels the tires sometimes rub on the upper control arm when aired down (we run at about 18 psi off-road). It's a very light contact, though, so it doesn't concern us. A wider offset wheel would fix this, but then we'd run into clearance issues elsewhere from the 37-inch tires.
 
Photo 11/23   |   015 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Icon Bumpstops
ICON Vehicle Dynamics RXT Rear Suspension System

ICON Vehicle Dynamics Ford Raptor Hydraulic Bumpstops

In conjunction with the front, the rear suspension was part of the largest upgrade. The ICON RXT rear suspension system consists of 3.0-inch external bypass shocks, leaf springs, and a hydraulic bumpstop kit. These make the truck ride better, everywhere, and haul more stuff (like our 600 pounds of junk in and on the bed). We're extremely happy with everything about the suspension system. If there were one thing of note, it's that the passenger side leaf spring hits the exhaust and full droop. Both the factory exhaust and the Magnaflow system that's on it now. It's really not a big deal, as it barely touches, and we don't notice it while driving. Moving exhaust hangers could fix the issue, but we haven't felt the need to mess with it.
 
Photo 12/23   |   016 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Are Bed Cap
Photo 13/23   |   017 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Are Bed Cap
ARE CX-Series Bed Cap
Ford's Raptor put this author in a very odd position. In general, we don't care for the look of truck bed caps. However, the Raptor is the exception to this we love caps on Raptors. Since we were building an overland vehicle, we knew we'd need to carry a lot of gear in the bed. Because we didn't want everything exposed to the elements, or sticky fingers, we opted to cover it all with a CX-Series bed cap from ARE. We've been running the truck very hard and have had no issues with the cap itself. It has stayed perfectly in place (thanks to adding a third set of clamps) and is showing no signs of advanced wear. However, we have noticed that the cap touches the cab when the frame flexes, and it has caused little dimples at the cab corners. It's not bad, and not unexpected, but if you want to prevent this the cap will need to be installed slightly more rearward.
 
Photo 14/23   |   018 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Mishimoto Trans Cooler
Mishimoto Transmission Cooler & Radiator
Heat is a killer, there's no two ways around that. So, in an effort to keep everything running at just the right temperature we installed Mishimoto's new transmission cooler and aluminum radiator. Since these were the most recent additions to the project, there's not a whole to tell at this time, other than they work pretty darn well.
 
Photo 15/23   |   019 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Kc Mrack
Photo 16/23   |   020 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Kc Lights
KC M-Rack & Pro6 Lightbar
No, it doesn't whistle, and no, it doesn't leak. Those are the two most frequent questions we get asked about the KC M-Rack, followed closely by how much did it cost. They aren't unwarranted questions, either. If you've ever had a buddy that has bought a cheap lightbar off of Amazon, you're aware of the whistle that we speak of. All we've noticed since installing the KC M-Rack is a slight bit of wind noise, which is really barely noticeable over all the other noises the Raptor makes. Light output is phenomenal, and we love the overall look. If there's one negative, it's that we did notice a pretty substantial 1 to 2 mpg decrease in economy from the drag. The truck went from getting about 12 mpg to about 10.5 but really, what were we expecting of it?
 
Photo 17/23   |   021 2013 Ford F150 Raptor Project Builtright Bed Rack
BuiltRight Industries Bed Racks
These racks are stout! On one rack we have a 20-pound PowerTank (bottle size, actual weight full is closer to 30 pounds), a fire extinguisher, and ProEagle jack handle. It may not seem like much, but it's quite a bit of weight to be throwing around in the whoops. We're glad to report we've had no issues with the rack at all. The only thing of note is that because of our bed cap, the optional attachment clamps that BuiltRight offers are a touch on the small side, but they still work fine.

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