Ford F-150 Raptor: The Car Bible (First Gen)
There's nothing quite like a V-8-powered, factory-made Baja adventure vehicle.
Welcome to the first-generation 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 information. 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 explicitly state that you should work on your own car and follow our advice at your own risk.)
- The Short Story
- Fast Facts
- Spotter’s Guide
- Check This Car Out If …
- Important Trim Levels and Options
- Year-To-Year Changes
- General Reliability and Ownership Costs
- Obscure Details
- Red Flags and Known Issues
- Where To Buy Parts
- Aftermarket Support
- Popular Modifications
- Key Technical Details
- Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
- Factory Service Manuals
- Other References and Resources
- Professional Reviews
- Owner Reviews
- What They’re Worth Now
- Where To Find One for Sale
- What To Ask a Seller
- Competitors To Consider
- Photo Galleries
- Pop-Culture References
- Enthusiast Inquiries
- Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
- 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 four-by-fours 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 became an outrageous commercial success. It brought high-performance off-roading to the masses 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 the United States. With that legacy comes a healthy modification culture for both on-road and off. Ford has 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 such as the Ram TRX.
We’ll link to some bigger galleries below, but here’s a handful of photos in case you need a quick refresher.
Initially, the SVT Raptor was only offered in the extended-cab version. After the first year, Ford added a proper four-door crew-cab variant.
The Raptor’s demand and reviews have made it a popular gray-market 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.
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 notable is its exceptional width. The Raptor is a full seven inches wider than a regular F-150. Up front, you will not find the Ford blue oval; you’ll see FORD 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 because of the beefier tires and racier suspension.
The Raptor will be adorned with plenty of black rubberized plastic trim that gives it a rough-and-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 de-badge 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.
Ford’s F-150 has remained 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 a million F-150 trucks sold each year.
The F-150 Raptor is comparatively rarer, at around 75,000 trucks produced. Rare is 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, look cool, and 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 V-8, except for the very first year 2010 model, where it was an option. Some early cars made do with the smaller 5.4 V-8. Both engines are ubiquitous and OK to work on, but the 6.2 boasts about a 100-hp advantage making it much more desirable.
The Raptor came with a plethora of options, including the Luxury package (which added goodies such as Sync and heated seats) and the Navigation package.
2010 model year
- Model introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model-year car
2011 model year:
- Crew-cab model introduced
- 5.4-liter V-8 dropped; 6.2-liter V-8 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 package
- Slight exterior and interior changes, revised vinyl graphic designs
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-liter 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 6.2-liter engine is rated at a whopping 12 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Raptor owners tend to be a bit fun-seeking, so insurance costs might be a bit higher than a regular F-150, too.
The Raptor’s excess width bars it from many 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 even melting, resulting in a nonfunctioning 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. Some Raptor owners pretend like they’re in the Baja 1000 and take their truck regularly off big jumps, they fly over rocks and dirt, and they generally abuse the trucks. If you’re 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 because the previous owner went way too fast off-road.
If the shocks are leaking, that truck probably lived a well-hooned life.
As with every Ford of the 2010s, the Sync-equipped Raptor infotainment system might be a bit temperamental.
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 look 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 U.S. True, the Raptor is different from the base F-150, but a lot of parts are shared. OEM parts can easily be found at a local Ford dealer or parts stores such as AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts. Some of the trickier components, such as the specialty suspension or super-wide body panels, might have to be sourced from the Ford dealership.
The Raptor has a huge aftermarket community. No matter whether you’re looking for cosmetic mods such as bull bars or light bars or more substantial performance upgrades, there’s a vast population of tuners and parts makers to choose from.
You can’t mention Ford performance without the name Roush. Roush has made several serious upgrades for the Raptor. SVC Offroad has a wide selection of lights, bumpers, wheels, tires, and suspension upgrades for all Ford trucks, including the first-generation Raptor. 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 falls under Ford’s warranty. MPT Performance offers a lot of upgrades, including flash tunes and parts for the 6.2-liter and 5.4-liter.
These are only a few of the tuners and parts shops out there. The 5.4- and 6.2-liter are very common Ford engines, and loads of tuning shops know how to make them meaner. Once this Bible has been up for a bit, there might 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.
Partly for aesthetic reasons, lots of Raptor owners add accessories to the bed. Tonneau covers, gun racks, toolboxes, extra lights, a spare wheel holster are just some of the things people add to 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
5.4-liter, single-overhead-cam engine with three valves per cylinder, 310 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. The block and head are aluminum. This engine was only used in the 2010 model-year Raptor.
6.2-liter, single overhead cam engine with two valves per cylinder, 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque. The block is cast iron, the head is aluminum. This engine was an option for 2010, and standard from 2011 and newer.
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 in the back.
Wheelbase: 133.3 in (SuperCab), 145.2 in (SuperCrew)
Overall length: 220.6 in (SuperCab), 231.1 in (SuperCrew)
Curb Weight: 6,000 to 6,250 pounds, depending on trim and options.
Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
Fuel: Ford recommends minimum 91 octane 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 on conditions.
Cabin air filter: These trucks do not have cabin air filters.
Transmission oil: Ford recommends replacing the transmission fluid every 150,000 miles. These transmissions do not have dipsticks, so checking fluid levels can be trickier. Completely empty, these transmissions take nearly 10 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 is 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 DOT 3 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 6.2-liter, The Ford OEM plug is SP526. The standard gap is 0.044 inch. For the 5.4-liter, 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 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 an official guide is going to get.
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 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.
First Drive: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor (MotorTrend, August 2009)
Edward Loh couldn’t help but be smitten with the Raptor’s 100-plus-mph stability. Sure, maybe the 5.4-liter was down on power compared to the 6.2-liter, but it still impressed MotorTrend.
“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 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) May 2021
2010 Raptor 6.2-liter extended cab, mostly stock, owned about two years
“I bought my 2010 F-150 Raptor 6.2-liter from the original owner with 350,000 kilometers on it. It only needed upper control arms, one seized caliper replaced, and new brake pads/rotors to pass certification. Since then, I’ve kept up with 5,000-kilometer oil changes. The powertrain has been bulletproof and given me zero problems. The main issues that have come up are related to the climate-control system. I’ve had to replace the air-conditioner 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 80,000 kilometers. They last longer, just 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 a million kilometers.”
What They’re Worth Now
The Ford Raptor has held its value. An inexpensive example, a first-year 2010 model with the unloved 5.4-liter engine and more than 160,000 miles can still run you at least $20,000. It’ll probably be modified, too.
It is common to see gently used examples with no modifications and not many miles on dealer lots for more than $40,000. The least expensive Raptors worth buying, early ones with a 6.2-liter, 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 have one for sale. The best prices will probably be found with private parties, 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 be aimed at figuring 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 be held by third owners, so any information 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 V-6 powerplant is quick enough, but it’s not the same as the V-8 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 V-6 engine doesn’t pack the punch of the Raptor’s V-8.
If you simply want an on-road speed and a V-8 engine, a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Trackhawk will get you that. Just don’t expect to take it off-road.
There’s also the option of just buying a V-8 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.
Some images can be found buried on the Ford Media website, although it seems like most of the images there are from the second generation.
Almost everyone 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 shared enough to be considered pop culture (kind of):
The Raptor has 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? Leave it in the comment section.
Every car has a collection of common questions that pop up in forums and Facebook groups. 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 5.4-liters have 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. Most people don’t like the 5.4-liter’s relative lack of power. Go for the 6.2-liter, which never had that problem.
That means I can take this truck off some sweet jumps, right?
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 Car Bible pdf supplements soon, and when we do you’ll be able to print out a little accompanying reference guide to keep in your glovebox.
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. Random Raptor tips are also welcome.