Hey Off-Roaders, Don’t Jump Your Raptors

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R by SVT and Ford Racing

Owning a Porsche doesn’t make you an expert on the track. You can buy the top-end 911, take it the Nurburgring or Laguna Seca, step on the gas, and end up with one very expensive repair bill.

Driving a performance vehicle at its full potential requires a level of skill that the average driver doesn’t possess. It shouldn’t need to be said, but making the purchase doesn’t make you an expert.

The same applies to performance trucks. Drivers are learning the hard way that the advertised off-road sprints and dramatic jumps aren’t for trying at home.

A video is making the rounds of a Ford F-150 Raptor speeding toward a jump then launching into the air before coming to a carnage-filled stop. If you choose to watch it, be aware of some language.

Raptors can indeed jump, but they need to jump when piloted by a professional driver at prescribed speeds on known jumps. When amateurs drive these trucks at high speeds over rough terrain, even without jumping, they sometimes wind up with bent frames. When they jump one of these trucks, a bent frame is the least of their worries.

It’s pretty clear from the video that the driver hit the jump way too fast and overshot the landing by a mile and a half. There’s not a stock $50,000 truck in the world that could handle a jump like that.

The bent frame problems on these trucks were caused by simple physics: When a combination of speed and terrain push a Raptor’s suspension past its travel capability, the frame will bend to prevent the rear of the truck from bouncing into the air in a dangerous “donkey kick” situation.

Most of those problems happened in 2011, when the Raptor was still relatively new on the market. In 2013 Ford doubled the thickness of the Raptor’s rear frame and drivers have, mostly, mastered the learning curve of how to operate the truck and know what speeds it can safely handle off-road.

Occasionally, though, there will be a driver like the one in the video who thinks Raptors can defy the laws of physics.

They can’t.

Have you ever pushed a car past its limits? What happened?


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