The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R stands as a testament that well-heeled customers continue to seek an ever-bolder, rowdier, louder, and more capable pickup truck, and with the desire to bring the V8 back to the Raptor, Ford has answered.
The Ford Performance engineers have calibrated the Predator V8 to make it more oriented for a truck, delivering higher low-end torque instead of all-out horsepower (700 hp in the truck vs. 760 hp in the S550 Mustang Shelby GT500). Of course, the F-150 Raptor R is speed-limited to 112 mph anyways, so it’s not like the truck will be winning many trophies at the drag strip. But off the road, that’s a different story. Our friend Andre Smirnov of TFL recently spoke with Ford F-150 Raptor R Chief Engineer Carl Widmann to discuss the engine and chassis of the kingpin off-road truck.
Ford F-150 Raptor R Engine And Chassis: Details
Starting with the heart of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, the 5.2L Predator V8. The engine for the Raptor R can trace some of its lineage back to the old Voodoo engine from Ford, which predates Predator by a few years and was only found in the Mustang Shelby GT350. But this isn’t a flat-plane V8 like the Voodoo, instead, the two engine share the same intake valve. In addition, Widmann revealed that the 5.2L was purpose-built by Ford Performance for durability over the Predator engine found inside the S550 GT500. As a truck, the F-150 Raptor R had to go through a more intense duty cycle that Ford engineers adhere to for all of their trucks, even the little Maverick. For example, the sumped oil pan is different on this engine version, designed to take on steep angles and ensure that the sump is catching oil.
Ford Performance also redesigned the exhaust manifold, making it cast stainless steel rather than tubulars which is found in the GT500 application. The change was made to ensure the manifold fits the truck durability requirements Ford has in place for their vehicles. Additionally, the pulley system for the supercharger features a smaller pulley that spins faster and gives the engine even more power. The cooling system has also been redone for the Raptor R. Widmann also revealed that since the truck is larger (than the Mustang), there’s more airflow through the exhaust, which also contributes to the overall power output of the engine.
Speaking of power output, the 5.2L Supercharged V8 produces 700 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. Given the power under the hood of the GT500, it was entirely possible that Ford could have outdone the Ram TRX, which produces 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Widmann revealed that Ford wanted to balance the power that goes to the wheels and the weight at the front of the vehicle. The Raptor R was designed to fly, so by making the front end heavier with added power, there’s the risk of damage to the vehicle when it’s time to place the wheels back on the ground. On the other hand, the Raptor R weighs quite a bit less than the Ram TRX, which means it’s still highly competitive against that truck.
The video provides a great look at the chassis of the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, complete with a look at the new suspension at the back of the truck, which helps manage the immense power getting sent to the wheels with the all-wheel drive system. In addition, Ford replaced the leaf springs with arms that are almost a meter long, which improves the truck’s stability and provides a more comfortable ride experience, especially when driving over washboards.
We can also see how wide the drive shaft is for the Raptor R to help send all that power to the rear wheels. Since 37-inch tires come standard on the truck, some modifications have been made to some of the components around the spare tire to ensure it fits, despite how tight all the pieces appear to be, even without the addition of the massive tire. Ford has also developed their own algorithm for the truck, which pairs to sensors on all four corners to determine what terrain the car is under. It then adjusts the suspension accordingly to dampen the wheel and ensure the truck has traction at all times and landings are a bit smoother when jumping.