By now you’ve heard the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be offered from the factory with 37-inch tires — the largest available size of any pickup truck sold in the U.S. We think that’s pretty cool.
But we wanted to dig a little deeper and figure out what that actually means for the new (and used) pickup buyers. How did Ford make this happen, and are there any compromises potential buyers should worry about?
The 2021 Raptor will be offered in a single wheelbase, with the shorter SuperCab models being discontinued due to progressively sagging sales in the previous generation.
The SuperCrew models, then, will come standard with 35-inch tires (essentially the carryover size from the previous generation) and comfortably accommodate a full-size spare under the bed. However, if you order the (likely more expensive) 37-inch tire package — with the resulting better ground clearance and approach and departure angles — there are some things you should know.
According to Tony Greco, Ford program manager for the F-150 Raptor, you’ll get a uniquely modified frame. This will have an adjusted rear crossmember and support bracket, each relocated in order to hold the larger, fatter 37-inch tire within the same under-bed, spare-tire void as all other F-150s, located directly behind the last bumper crossmember.
In addition to the unique frame, the bigger tires — and resulting extra unsprung weight — require a modified chassis with unique coil suspension tuning as well as recalibrated, larger-rod shaft Fox Shocks and taller jounce bumpers in the rear in order to better prevent the 37s from rubbing fenders and wheelwells during planned (or unplanned) outdoor activities (read: jumps)
Conversely, this means 35-inch-equipped Raptors will have more overall wheel travel compared to the 37s as well as slightly smaller approach and departure angles.
Finally, you should know that all Raptors ordered from the factory with the larger tires will have a special “37” graphic on the tailgate. The Fox Shocks will also have special external graphic differences from the 35s.
Additionally, for those hoping to find a 2021 Raptor in the used marketplace in a few years, you will be able to check the Tread Act Labels on the driver’s side B-pillar to make sure your purchase is equipped properly.
In case you missed it, ordering the 37-inch tire package involves more than just slapping 37-inch tires on a truck built for 35s. There are actual from-the factory differences in the frame, and changing the tire size without those modifications could damage the truck. According to Ford, it will definitely void the warranty.
No doubt, there will be somebody out there looking to put larger tires on the Raptor when they didn’t come that way from the factory
So, our final piece of advice for discerning used vehicle buyers who don’t want to get duped by a clever (or unscrupulous) used Raptor seller somewhere down the road, we recommend checking all Ford VIN numbers at www.fordshowparts.com to look at a copy of the exact window sticker for that specific truck.