Ford F-150 Raptor: The Car Bible (First Gen)

There's nothing quite like a V8-powered factory-made Baja adventure vehicle.

Welcome to the first-gen Ford Raptor Car Bible. As you scroll down you’ll learn all about this vehicle’s qualities, features, finer points, and shortcomings. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, want some help maintaining or modifying one, or just want to deepen your knowledge for the next round of car trivia, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a living document that’s updated as we learn (and confirm) new valuable info. Got something to add? Drop a comment! Don’t be shy; the more dialogue we have the better this Car Bible will get.
–Andrew P. Collins, Car Bibles Editor-In-Chief

(Disclaimers; Disclosures: Some Car Bibles will have links to specific forums, groups, brands, shops, or vendors for parts shopping and such. We have no sponsorship deals or official affiliation with any of them unless explicitly stated. We also have to explicitly state that you should work on your own car and follow our advice at your own risk!)

Contents

  1. The Short Story
  2. Pictures
  3. Fast Facts
  4. Spotter’s Guide
  5. Rarity
  6. Check This Car Out If…
  7. Important Trim Levels and Options
  8. Year-To-Year Changes
  9. General Reliability and Ownership Costs
  10. Obscure Details
  11. Red Flags and Known Issues
  12. Recalls
  13. Where To Buy Parts
  14. Aftermarket Support
  15. Popular Modifications
  16. Key Technical Details
  17. Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
  18. Factory Service Manuals
  19. Other References and Resources
  20. Professional Reviews
  21. Owner Reviews
  22. What They’re Worth Now
  23. Where To Find One For Sale
  24. What To Ask A Seller
  25. Competitors To Consider
  26. Photo Galleries
  27. Pop Culture References
  28. Enthusiast Inquiries
  29. Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
  30. Comments Disclaimer

The Short Story

People have been throwing tall shocks and big tires under pickup trucks and going on off-road adventures for decades, and most automakers selling 4x4s have touted off-road abilities as a marketing point for just as long. But the Raptor was the first factory-made Baja-style off-roader that really became an outrageous commercial success. It brought high-performance off-roading to the masses (with money) and doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

The Ford F-series has historically been one of the best-selling vehicle nameplates in America. With that legacy, comes the generation of a healthy modification culture both on-road and off behind it. Ford’s had a couple of fast on-road F-150s in the form of the Ford SVT Lightning trucks, but in 2010 the company pivoted to off-road performance and hasn’t really looked back. Why would it – the Raptor is wildly popular and sells for a huge premium, new or used, over many other trucks.

Today we’ve even got a spin-off (Ranger Raptor) for markets where the F-150 is too big or expensive, a second-generation with an EcoBoost engine, and bona fide competitors like the Ram TRX.

Pictures

We’ll link to some bigger galleries down below (Section 26, “Photo Galleries”) but here’s a handful in case you needed a quick reference for what these look like.

Fast Facts

Initially, the SVT Raptor was only offered in the extended-cab version. Yet, after the first year, Ford added the proper four-door crew cab variant.

The Raptor’s demand and reviews have made it a popular grey import into Europe when it was first released. The demand was so great, that it prompted Ford to eventually create a “Ranger Raptor” specifically for the rest of the world (the Ranger Raptor is not sold in the U.S.)

This is the first Ford-branded vehicle to offer hill descent control.

Spotter’s Guide

The Ford Raptor is technically a trim level of the F-150, although it’s kind of marketed like its own separate model.

The Raptor looks a lot like the regular F-150 to the untrained eye, but most notably, is its exceptional width. The Raptor is a full seven inches wider than a regular F-150. Upfront, you will not find a Ford blue oval, instead, you’ll see F-O-R-D spelled out in very large letters on the grille. You should be able to tell 5.4-powered ones by the lack of a big “6.2L” emblem near the front of the front doors.

The truck itself will sit taller than your average F-150, from the beefier tires and racier suspension.

The Raptor will be adorned with plenty of black rubberized plastic trim that add a rough n’ tumble, ready-to-race appearance. The most visible would be the large fender flares. On the back, there should be a “Raptor SVT” badge in a stylized font, but some owners have been known to debadge their trucks.

First-year 2010 Raptors were extended cab (SuperCab, in Ford vernacular) only, but later models did gain the four-door (SuperCrew).

The Raptor came in a few fun colors that the regular F-150 didn’t, like a loud shouty orange and blue. However, Molten Orange was dropped for 2012, and Race Red was only available for the 2014 Special Edition models.

Some F-150 owners have been known to try and fool an unsuspecting buyer by insisting their F-150 is a Raptor. The biggest giveaway is the width; the Raptor is a very wide truck, and although its front fascia looks similar to the regular F-150, very few body panels are shared. The front fenders surround the front fascia that’s now inset. There should be very little tire poke (at least stock); fake Raptors sometimes have more than half of the wheel sitting outside the fender, in an attempt to match the real thing’s super wide track.

Rarity

Ford’s F-150 has stayed at the top of the sales charts for decades now, even claiming the title as the most sold vehicle in the United States. Over the years, Ford has averaged close to 1 million F-150 trucks sold each year.

The F-150 Raptor is comparatively rarer, at around 75,000 trucks produced. Rare being a relative term though – 75,000 trucks sold means there’s a healthy selection of trucks for you to choose from. 

Check This Car Out If…

You’re looking for a truck that can do it all – haul your junk, but also haul ass both on-road and off-road.

Important Trim Levels and Options

The Ford F-150 Raptor itself is a trim of the Ford F-150. Still, there are several option packs that can be equipped on the Raptor.

All Raptors came standard with a 6.2-liter V8, except for the very first year 2010 model, where it was an option. Some early cars made do with the smaller 5.4 V8. Both engines are ubiquitous and OK to work on, but the 6.2 boasts about a 100 horsepower advantage making it much more desirable.

The Raptor came with a plethora of options, but both the Luxury Package (which added goodies like Sync and heated seats), or the Navigation Package.

Year-To-Year Changes

2010 Model Year

  • Model introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model year car.

2011 Model Year:

  • Crew cab model introduced.
  • 5.4L V8 dropped; 6.2L V8 made standard.
  • Ingot Silver added to color palette

2012 Model Year:

  • Molten orange dropped from color palette
  • Torsen front differential added to options list
  • Front camera added to options list
  • Cooled seats made standard on Luxury equipment package
  • Slight exterior and interior changes, revised vinyl graphic designs (optional)

2013 Model Year:

  • HID headlights added as option
  • Forged aluminum wheels added as option

2014 Model Year:

  • Torsen front differential added as standard equipment.
  • Race Red added to color palette (Special edition only)

General Reliability and Ownership Costs

The Ford Raptor shares a lot in common with the regular F-150, including its generally stellar reliability track record. Both the 6.2 and 5.4 engines are known for being solid units.

However, the Raptor is obviously a very large truck, so consumables will definitely be a lot higher than your typical hatchback. There are more points of service than a typical crossover or hatchback too, and the 6.2L engine is rated at a whopping 12 mpg in combined driving. Raptor owners tend to be a bit, um, maybe fun-seeking, so insurance costs might be a bit pricier than a regular F-150 too. 

Obscure Details

The Raptor’s excess width bars it from a not-insignificant amount of automatic car washes. It might not be welcome in too many garages for the same reason.

The decorative amber lights you’ll see in the grille and on the fenders are actually there to indicate this width – when trucks get this fat, they need these markers for legal compliance.

Red Flags and Known Issues

Occasionally, some Raptors have had issues with the fuel pump fuse burning out or melting even, resulting in a non-functioning fuel pump and no start condition. Some owners have opted to relocate the fuel pump fuse and head off the problem.

Raptor owners are arguably the worst enemy of the Raptor itself. The Raptor does have significant frame and suspension upgrades over the regular F-150, but that does not mean these trucks are completely invincible off-road. It’s not uncommon for Raptor owners to pretend like they’re in the Baja 1000, and take their truck regularly off too big jumps, fly over rocks and dirt, and overall just general abuse. If considering a used one, check for frame and suspension fatigue, like signs of cracking and twisting. 

If the back of the cab has dents, it is likely from the bed hitting the back of the cab, as the previous owner went way too fast off-road.

If the shocks are leaking, that truck probably lived a well-hooned life.

Like every Ford of the 2010s, the Sync-equipped Raptor infotainment might be a bit temperamental sometimes.

Recalls

Because the F-150 Raptor shares a lot of parts with the regular F-150, many F-150 recalls apply to the Raptor. Ford’s VIN check app should give an accurate portrayal as to which recalls, if any, would apply to your Raptor. 

Some F-150 Raptors were recalled for a faulty transmission speed sensor, which could cause the transmission to unexpectedly shift into first gear.

Where To Buy Parts

The F-150 is one of the most popular nameplates in the United States. True, the Raptor has a lot of differences compared to the base F-150, but still, a lot of things are shared. OEM parts can easily be found at a local Ford dealer or parts stores like AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts. Some of the trickier, like the specialty suspension or super-wide body panels, might have to be sourced from the Ford dealership.

Aftermarket Support

The Raptor has a huge aftermarket support community. No matter whether you’re looking for cosmetic mods, like bull bars, or light bars, or more substantial performance upgrades, there’s a vast population of tuners and companies to choose from for parts.

You can’t mention “Ford Performance” without the name Roush. Roush has made numerous serious upgrades of all sorts for the Raptor.

SVC Offroad has a wide selection of lights, bumpers, wheels, tires, and suspension upgrades out there for all Ford Trucks, including the first-generation Raptor.

OEM-adjacent tuner Steeda has been making performance upgrades for Ford vehicles for a long time too. Steeda sells upgrades and modifications of all sorts for the Raptor, and some of that stuff still fell under Ford’s warranty, under certain conditions.

MPT Performance offers a lot of upgrades, including flash tunes and parts for the 6.2L and 5.4L. 

These are only a few of the tuners and parts shops out there. The 5.4 and 6.2 are very common Ford engines, and loads of local tuning shops know how to mess around with ’em and make them soar. Hopefully, by the time this Bible has been up for a bit, there will be even more suggestions from owners in the comments!

The Raptor’s a truck that begs for mods, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an unmodified Raptor in my life.

It might be for styling and attitude, but loads of owners swap out wheels and tires. For some, that means a different wheel with a more aggressive tire. For others, that means upgrading to 32-inch or 35-inch (or even bigger) tires.

Partially for aesthetic reasons, lots of Raptor owners add accessories to the bed. Tonneau covers, gun racks, toolboxes, extra lights, a spare wheel holster, are all some of the things people put in the back of these trucks.

If you’re truly interested in racing the truck off-road, some opt for complete suspension overhauls, and frame reinforcements, so the truck can cope with the demands of Baja-style driving.

Key Technical Details

Engines:
5.4 liters, single-overhead-cam (SOHC) engine, with three valves per cylinder, claiming 310 horsepower, and 365  ft/lbs of torque. The block and head are both aluminum. This engine was only used in the 2010 model year Raptor; dropped for 2011.

6.2 liter, Single overhead cam (SOHC) engine, with two valves per cylinder, claming 411 horsepower and 434 ft/lbs of torque. The block is cast iron, the head is aluminum. This engine was an option for 2010, and standard from 2011 and up.

Transmission: A six-speed torque-converter automatic.

Drivetrain: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive.

Suspension: In the front, all Raptors use a double-wishbone, Coilover design with upgraded Fox racing shocks. In the rear, a dependent solid axle with leaf springs, with Fox shocks are in the back.

Wheelbase: 133.3 in; 3390 mm (Supercab), 145.2 in; 3690mm (Supercrew)

Overall length: 220.6 in; 5600mm (Supercab), 231.1 in; 5900mm (Supercrew)

Curb Weight: 6,000 to 6,250 lbs, depending on trim and options.

Fluids, Filters, and Capacities

Fuel: Ford recommends 91 octane minimum for all iterations for the Ford Raptor.

Battery Size: 65.

Engine Oil: 5w-30, full synthetic. Ford insists on oil changes every 5,000 miles. 

Oil Filter: Both engines use a spin-on style filter, OEM part number FL820S. 

Air Filter: The part number is FA1883 for the OEM air filter. Ford recommends replacement “as needed”, based upon conditions.

Cabin Air Filter: These trucks do not have cabin air filters.

Transmission Oil: Ford recommends the transmission fluid is replaced every 150,000 miles. These transmissions do not have dipsticks, so checking fluid levels can be trickier. Completely empty, these transmissions take nearly ten quarts of fluid.

Transmission Filter: Ford does not have a transmission filter service interval, but some owners opt to change the filter when they perform the transmission fluid flush. The part number is FT161.

Differential Oil: Ford recommends the differential and transfer case be checked and flushed every 60,000 miles with “heavy use” or towing. If the vehicle has forded water or driven through mud, there’s a possibility that water could have seeped into the case, and the fluid would need to be changed. In front, the differential uses 80w-90 gear oil, and the rear differential uses 75w-140 gear oil.

Transfer Case Fluid: Ford recommends the differential and transfer case be checked and flushed every 60,000 miles with “heavy use” or towing. Ford uses Motorcraft XL-12 fluid.

Coolant: Ford recommends changing the coolant every 105,000 miles, or six years, whichever comes first. These trucks use the Gold Motorcraft coolant.

Power Steering Fluid: Ford does not give a specified fluid change interval for power steering. These power steering systems use Automatic Transmission Fluid, however.

Brake Fluid: The OEM rating is DOT3 spec. For 2014, Ford switched to DOT 4 spec. Ford does not have a change interval, but many owners recommend flushing the fluid every two years.

Spark Plugs: For the 6.2L, The Ford OEM plug is SP526. The standard gap is 0.044”. For the 5.4L, the Ford OEM plug part number is SP509. Ford recommends changing the plugs every 100,000 miles.

Factory Service Manuals

It looks like Helm Inc. has a full raft of manuals, including both owner’s docs and factory service docs, available for sale but they’re not super cheap. Its “2011 F150 Service Information Manual,” for example, is $186 and delivered via CD-ROM. If you’ve got the coin and a disc drive, that’s probably as comprehensive as an official guide is going to get though.

Factory-Manuals.com is not as well organized but at least one forum user vouched for its viability regarding Raptor docs.

If you’ve got a link for a true factory service manual that’s available online for free, send it our way!

Other References and Resources

The Ford Raptor Forum is probably the biggest gathering of Raptor owners and enthusiasts. Those folks have a lot of information about the nuances of all generations of Ford Raptors. Raptor Forumz is similar.

Reviews

First Drive: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor” (Motor Trend, August 24, 2009)

Edward Loh couldn’t help but be smitten with the Raptor’s 100MPH+ stability. Sure, maybe the 5.4L was down on power compared to the 6.2L, but it still impressed Motor Trend.

We’re doing 100 mph. At half this rate, any regular truck would explosively dismantle as fast, hard, and repeated hits induce massive and comprehensive suspension or tire failure. Our truck simply strides over them, with some turbulence for us in the cabin, but without any gut wrenching, bolt stripping, metal-on-metal indications of imminent disaster.”

“Review: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2 Liter (Automobile Magazine, May 18, 2010)

The Raptor has good on-road manners, too. Mike Ofiara noticed that back in 2010.

Perhaps the best part about the SVT Raptor is not its off-road prowess, but its surprising capability as an everyday work truck on the road. As aggressive as it may look, the Raptor is actually a really comfortable highway cruiser. The tires don’t buzz, the engine is quieter than most passenger cars’, and the steering feedback is near perfect.”

Real Owner Impressions

Jakub Wrobel (from TheStraightPipes) 5/20/2021
2010 Raptor 6.2 Extended Cab; mostly stock; owned about two years

“I bought my 2010 F150 Raptor 6.2L from the original owner with 350,000 km on it. It only needed upper control arms, 1 seized caliper replaced, and new pads/rotors to pass certification. Since then, I’ve kept up with 5000km oil changes. The powertrain has been bulletproof and has given me zero problems. The main issues that have come up are related to the climate control system. I’ve had to replace the a/c compressor, blend door actuator, and blower motor resistor. Parts are all relatively cheap since most parts are shared with any F150. The Fox shocks need to be rebuilt every 80,000km but realistically they last longer not at optimal jumping performance. OE Fox replacements have dropped in price to the point that a rebuild almost doesn’t make sense unless you want some upgrades in the process. You can also go aftermarket or upgrade even from Fox. Overall, I’d highly recommend buying this truck and I hope to keep it until it rolls over 1 Million Kilometers.”

What They’re Worth Now

The Ford Raptor has held its value very strongly. A cheap example, a first-year 2010 model, with the kind of unloved 5.4 engine and more than 160,000 miles, can still run you at least $20,000. It’ll probably be modified, too.

It is not uncommon to see gently used examples with no modifications, with not many miles on dealer lots for more than $40,000. The “cheapest” Raptors worth buying, early ones with a 6.2, still tend to list in the low $30,000 range.

Where To Find One For Sale

The Raptor is still popular enough to where it can easily be bought and sold at any traditional dealership. CarMax, Carvana, or even your local Ford Dealership will likely eventually have one to buy. The best prices will probably be found if you can buy one off a private party, but of course, that can be a little more logistically difficult than working with an established auto trader.

What To Ask A Seller

These trucks were designed to appeal to a person who wants to hoon, and have fun. Your questions should try and figure out how the truck was treated. Was the vehicle taken off any jumps? Has this truck traversed through deep water or mud? Did you tow with this truck? When was the last time the differential or transmission fluids were serviced?

Early Raptors are also old enough to now be held by third owners, so any info you can get from a seller about who they bought the truck from could also inform what kind of life the rig you’re looking at has led.

Competitors To Consider

On introduction, the F-150 Raptor sat alone in its class of Baja-inspired trucks. It took a little while for other automakers to follow suit with fast and fun trucks of their own.

The Colorado ZR2 is much newer and smaller, but real-world used pricing places it up against the Raptor’s pricing. The V6 powerplant is quick enough, but it’s not the same as the V8 roar of a Raptor.

A Jeep Wrangler is nearly unbeatable off-road and has a super robust aftermarket scene, but it can’t do the Baja-1000 style high-speed off-roading without significant modification. Also, its V6 engine doesn’t pack the punch of the Raptor’s V8. 

If you simply want an on-road speed and a V8 engine, a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Trackhawk will get you that, but just don’t expect to take it off-road.

There’s also the option of just buying a V8 F-150 and putting some sweet suspension on it. This will cost you a lot less money, but you won’t get the cache of rocking a real Raptor, if that matters to you. You’ll miss out on the truck’s decorative features, interior treatments, and OEM-off-roader coolness, too.

Photo Galleries

Favcars.com and Netcarshow have a lot of pics of all body styles of the first-generation Raptor. 

Some images can be found buried on the Ford Media website, although it seems like most of the images left there are from the second generation.

Pop Culture References

Almost everybody has seen “that video” of an early Raptor flying, falling, and crashing after going off a jump it had no business being near. I don’t think this is the original upload, but it’s been meme’d enough to be considered pop culture (kind of):

The Raptor’s made a handful of TV and movie cameos (Entourage, CSI, American Dad!, Ray Donovan, Supernatural, and others) but we haven’t found any starring roles yet. Anybody got one for us in the comment section yet?

Enthusiast Inquiries

Every car has a collection of common questions that pop up in forums and Facebook groups whenever new blood joins in. We hope a lot of those have been answered above, but here are some Ford F-150 Raptor FAQs we wanted to dig into. 

Didn’t those 5.4s have really weird issues with spark plugs? Yes, older F-150s from the early and mid-2000s did have issues with stripping and breaking out spark plugs. Ford revised the design in 2009, and most owners have not reported any spark plug removal issues. Besides, most people don’t like the 5.4’s relative lack of power. Go for the 6.2-liter, which never had that problem.

Oh dope, that means I can take this truck off some sweet jumps, right? Listen, the Raptor has some chassis and suspension upgrades to help it cope with maybe a small bunny hop and fast driving, but don’t go out there thinking you’re the next Evel Knievel, OK? All cars have their limits. 

Downloadable Paperback Car Bible (Coming Soon)

We’re going to bring back our .PDF Car Bible supplements soon, and when we do you’ll be able to print out a little accompanying reference guide to keep in your glovebox!

Comments Below

You’ve reached the end of the Ford F-150 Raptor car bible and are about to scroll into the comment section. If any questions were left unanswered in the text above, try posing it in the space below! And random Raptor tips are also welcome.

Kevin Williams

Kevin WilliamsKevin's been into cars his entire life, anything from the tiny kei cars in Japan, to the maybe not-so-good American barges of the 1980s. He's flipped more than 25 cars, only lost money twice, and has known how to make his dollar stretch as far as it can. If he ain't talking about cars, he's probably snacking on something sweet and cakey. Contact the author here.