The F-150 Raptor is one of the most desirable pickup trucks out there. The off-roading focused Ford truck comes with a lot of stock components designed to make it trail-ready right off the lot.
But the Raptor also has a few less appealing features. The most obvious is the price. If you’re buying a pickup for work and plan to off-road on the weekends, you may not want to spend almost $60k on a Raptor. The Raptor also has a limited equipment selection. That means there’s no option for a Raptor with a V8 engine.
Creating your own Raptor is a great option for many. By adding just the Raptor modifications that you want, you can easily have an almost-Raptor with a V8. Or, get an F-150 with all the luxury features and then add Raptor parts for off-road prowess. It’s also a great budget option for people who are only interested in one or two of the Raptor’s many features. You can also space out purchases and build a Raptor bit-by-bit over time.
While it’s impossible to replicate all the Raptor’s design features, you can add many to the F-150 of your choice.
What Makes a Ford Raptor?
To convert your F-150 into a Raptor, first, you need to know which parts are different and which can remain the same. For in-depth differences, check out this article offering a blow-by-blow comparison. But here are the basics.
Most of the F-150 and Raptor interior options are nearly identical. Except for a few Raptor graphics here and there, the Raptor’s base interior is relatively spartan. You can actually get more luxury interior options in the F-150’s upper-tier trims.
The high-output 3.5L twin-turbo EcoBoost is only available on the Raptor and the Limited trim, but other engine options are very promising. You can improve the performance of the naturally aspirated Coyote V8 with just a few modifications.
Raptor Feature Highlights
- Running boards
- Heavy-duty skid plate
- Rear electronic-locking differential with a 4.10 gear ratio
- Fox Racing shocks with long-travel suspension (13” of suspension travel)
- Dual exhaust
- BFGoodrich KO2 Tires
- 20” Cast aluminum wheels with high-gloss machined face
- Air extracting hood
- Flared front fenders
- Special “Ford” grille
- Special “Ford” tailgate
Raptor-Like Suspension Upgrades
One of the Raptor’s most praised features is its suspension system. The suspension system has changed notably between 2018 and 2021. For example, the Raptor now uses four-wheel coil springs rather than rear leaf springs.
Also, while all Raptors have used Fox Racing shock absorbers, the exact features have improved over time. The result is a suspension that stiffens and softens in response to your driving. A special jump mode can detect when the front tires leave the ground and stiffen the shocks to prevent bottoming out.
It’s a great suspension.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to replicate this exact suspension. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dramatically improve your F-150’s ride.
Some Ford Performance Suspension Kits come with Fox Racing coilovers and will improve your approach angle for better off-roading. The coilovers will also improve your handling.
In general, better shocks will give you an improved ride, and there are a lot of options. Though you can’t get the same experience as a Raptor, you can select the perfect level of suspension stiffness for you.
If you’re mainly interested in improving your ground clearance and off-road angles, a lift kit might be the perfect upgrade. Many lift kits come packaged with better shocks, and they’ll also help give you the extra couple inches you need to rock crawl.
The Raptor’s twin-turbo EcoBoost engine produces impressive power. Even though it’s only a V6, it routinely outperforms V8s.
Regardless of which F-150 engine you have, there are modifications that can increase your horsepower to match, or exceed, the Raptor’s.
Forced Induction Systems
If you’re looking for a single modification to put you into the “performance” category, a supercharger would do it. Superchargers and turbochargers are both proven forced induction methods. With the right supercharger, you can bump your Coyote-powered F-150 to 650 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque. More than enough to put the Raptor in its place.
Cold Air Intake and Tune
If you’re intimidated by installing a supercharger but still want to increase horsepower, a cold air intake and tune is a great alternative. Though you won’t see the performance increases you would with a supercharger, you’ll still get a significant boost. Installing a cold air intake is an easy task, as is completing an ECU tune.
One more performance improvement you can make is to upgrade to a dual exhaust. This decreases backpressure, frees up engine power, and makes your F-150 look and sound more Raptor-like.
Raptor Style Add-Ons
Even if you’re not off-roading, it’s hard to deny how attractive the Raptor is. The mesh grille, the LED fog lights, and the total absence of chrome create a sharp looking vehicle.
Ford hasn’t made many of the Raptor’s exact parts available to the public. But there are a lot of “Raptor-inspired” options that can improve the look of your F-150.
One of the biggest changes you can make is swapping out your grille. While Ford hasn’t licensed anyone to produce an exact-likeness of the Raptor’s grille, many black mesh options have shown up. While these options lack the FORD letters, they often add light bars and other practical features.
Fog Lights and Side Steps
Putting LED fog lights on your front bumper can complete the look and add extra visibility. Another great part that adds style and function are side steps. The Raptor’s side steps feature a textured black finish. While the exact finish isn’t replicated off-market, finding matte black steps with a grippy texture is easy.
Wheels add style and height, both valuable for different reasons. You can easily add 20” Raptor wheels to your F-150. With wheel spacers, you can create a wider stance as well. Adding a set of black fender flares with side markers helps to draw attention to your wheels and tires.
An Authentic Raptor Steering Wheel
One authentic Raptor part you can purchase is the steering wheel. Not only is it a great steering wheel, but it’s designed for the rough driving that accompanies off-roading, and will hold up no matter what you throw at it.
Though you can’t really add the enlarged fenders or air extractor, you can still replicate most of the Raptor’s style.
Customizing Your F-150
Don’t feel like you need to exactly adhere to the Raptor’s build list. One of the best parts about building your own is that you get to keep what you like and throw out the rest.
If you love the Raptor’s grille but want more aggressive fender flares, you can do exactly that. Likewise if you love how off-road focused the Raptor is but want a V8, you can create a pseudo-Raptor that fits your needs exactly.