Ford SVT Raptor pickup owners obviously love their trucks. These are off-road enthusiasts who enjoy the status and performance from a truck that, from the factory showroom, can take on the Baja 500 or any number of off-road races. But, like all enthusiasts, they can’t leave well enough alone, and many want to gain more traction and ground clearance with larger diameter tires. While the truck comes with a set of BFG 315/70R17 tires, measuring 34.4 inches in diameter, Raptor owners want to install a set of 37-inch diameter tires because they think it would further enhance the truck’s off-road capabilities.
Any additional ground clearance can offer advantages, the problem however, is that there’s not enough fender clearance to install that large of a tire without raising the vehicle. Because Ford engineers nearly perfected the Raptor’s front and rear supsension system to provide optimum control in off-road and normal street-driving conditions, no-one really wants to change or try to modify it.
Instead, Raptor owners found that there’s a shock perch adjustment on the factory Fox racing shocks, that can raise the front higher. While some have found success in adding up to two inches, others have discovered that this method may cause warranty issues or improper alignment problems. For this reason, other Raptor owners have adapted an old off-road technique that raises the body off the frame to gain as much as three-inches of lift, without affecting the factory suspension at all. Body-lifts have been around for more than 30 years, and this method has proven to be an excellent solution for Raptor owners wanting to safely raise the ride height and add 37-inch diameter tires, without affecting the performance of the suspension, and keeping the vehicle level.
Raptor owners across a variety of community forums like using Performance Accessories’ Ford F-150 Body Lift kit PN-70093. The kit is manufactured for ’09-2011 Ford F-150 pickups with large V-8 engines and equipped with a receiver hitch. According to several SVT Raptor owners who have installed this kit, the truck uses the same chassis as the standard F-150 and the body kit works with some minor modifications to the front skid plate, to tuck it under the factory bumper. Performance Accessories claims the kit wasn’t originally designed for the Raptor application, but since many of the body and bumper components are the same, the minor modifications that Raptor owners are doing are merely for asthetic reasons, and won’t affect the integrity of the body-lift.
Another reason why these truck owners like this particular kit, is its construction and the fact that it comes with nylon reinforced body blocks that use high-grade hardware. Because the system raises the vehicle three inches off the frame, a CNC machined steering extension, and powder coated steel bumper brackets are used. Many also like to use the company’s Gap Guards (urethane wheel well extensions PN-6742), to cover up the space between the body and frame and make the installation look like it came that way from the factory.
The benefits of the body-lift include an extra one to 1.5-inches of added ground clearance with the use of 36 or 37-inch diameter tires on the truck. In addition, the factory suspension is not affected and the truck owner can maintain the original ride. Several Raptor owners have already made the modifications and have enjoyed the benefits of larger tires on their trucks. it’s a subject that has caused controversy among Raptor owners, but the fact is that Ford SVT Raptors that have been modified and used in racing applications all typicaly use 36-37 inch diameter tires wihtout any problems. And because the Raptor includes sophisticated stability controls, it’s unlikey that a slightly higher center of gravity will affect the truck’s overall performance or safety.