Behind The Wheel: aFe Power’s Tricked Out 2017 Ford Raptor

Ever since there was a hint about an all-new Raptor, the off-road community had its ears perked. For us, the time to get behind the wheel of the 2017 Ford Raptor came during King of the Hammers in 2017. We did enjoy driving the vehicle, it did have a few shortcomings.

Luckily, aFe Power tossed us the keys to their 2017 Raptor, packed with loads of add-ons. The public’s opinion on the new Raptor, as well as ours, is that it lacked the sound we were used to with the V8 and could use a little more power. aFe Power fixed these issues by adding a new intake, intercooler, exhaust, Scorcher GT module, Sway-A-Way shocks, and even differential covers.

Turning The Power Up

Regardless of knowing exactly how much power increase there was (we would dyno it later), driving the truck you could feel the difference between the factory power levels and aFe’s increased levels.

The one part that gave aFe’s Raptor an increase in power was their Scorcher GT module. The module alters pressure sensor signals to increase turbo boost to improve vehicle efficiency, power, and throttle response. The Scorcher GT has in-cabin buttons that allow the power level to be changed with just a button push. The module has four different levels – stock, sport, sport+, and race.

The Scorcher GT module allowed the power to be switched on the fly with a push button mounted in the cab.

“Since the last time you had a chance to drive the factory truck, aFe Power introduced the Scorcher Pro performance programmers,” Christian Landel of aFe said. “These allow customers to tune their aFe-equipped truck for performance and drivability.”

For cooling, aFe’s intercooler utilizes a three-inch bar and plate core design. The TIG-welded end tanks are constructed of 3/16-inch 5052 aluminum. aFe also added CNC-machined ports. These could be used for a condensation drain, sensors, or water-methanol injection.

The exhaust was one part that we were excited to hear. The stock sound of the 2017 Raptor lacked the traditional Raptor sound and  aFe’s exhaust gave the truck a much-needed auditory upgrade.

“The biggest challenge with developing the exhaust on the second-gen Raptor was getting more sound and style from the new V6 EcoBoost system,” John Gray of aFe explained. “Since it was not offered with the  6.2-liter V8 that the first-gen Raptor owners were used to hearing, it’s like comparing, well, a V8 versus a V6 exhaust.”

After installing and testing several exhaust configurations, aFe developed a series of exhaust systems for the second-gen Raptor that delivered more power and more appropriate sound.

“The EcoBoost did not convey the deep, throaty, muscle-car rumble similar to the first-gen Raptor, so it had all bite and no bark,” Gray said. “Ever since purchasing a second-gen Raptor, we have spent countless hours researching and developing a product to make sure we got it right.”

The MACH Force-Xp series was the result of all this R&D. It is made from 304 stainless steel features a Hi-Tuck design. This makes it functional for off-roading since it is raised and has four-inch, turned-down tips for better ground clearance. The MACH Force-Xp system has a dual straight back exit configuration finished with 4.5-inch diameter angle cut tips. Both systems are available with polished, raw or metallic black finished tips.

Improved Ride Quality And Durability

One of the biggest complaints with any off-road vehicle is the ride quality. Ford did a decent job with the suspension on the Raptor from the factory, but, as with anything else, it could be improved. aFe took their line of Sway-A-Way shocks and made a direct bolt-on version.

Up front was a three-inch coilover that is capable of 2-2.5 inches of lift, while in the rear was a set of three-inch triple bypasses. The combo helped improve the ride both on and off-road. For those that have not been around bypass shocks, there is a ticking that could take some getting used to. If anything, there is more of a “race truck” feel to the Raptor.

Sway-A-Way’s three-inch remote reservoir coilovers and three-inch external bypass shocks helped soften the ride of aFe's Raptor even more.

“I feel that Ford did a great job with the second generation Raptor, and it is probably ‘good enough’ for ‘most’ people,” Micheal Leighton of aFe said. “There is plenty of room for improving the suspension for those of us that want to use the truck for what it was designed for – going fast through rough terrain.”

“The factory Fox shocks are leaps and bounds better than what comes on the standard F-150, but upgrading to Sway-A-Way’s three-inch remote reservoir coilovers and three-inch external bypass shocks get the truck moving comfortably in the dirt,” Leighton explained. “We have a few projects in the works for the Ford Raptor, but we are not ready to let the cat out of the bag just yet.”

In addition to the suspension upgrades, aFe Power upgraded the rear differential cover (PN 46-70152‬). Not only does the cover look better than the factory one, but it increases the oil capacity by 32 fluid ounces. Extra oil means cooler temperatures, along with the finned aluminum design. There’s even a clear sight glass that allows for oil inspection and a magnetic drain plug.

Final Numbers

The truck drove great both on and off the road, but we wanted to see exactly how much more power the aFe Raptor was putting down compared to the factory Raptor. We strapped the truck down to our Dynojet dyno, and put the pedal down.

When we had our factory Raptor, it put out 330.5 horsepower and 363.3 lb-ft of torque. Conversely, aFe’s Raptor did 397.3 horsepower and 436.7 lb-ft of torque, for a total improvement of 66.8 horsepower and 73.4 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, the truck started to see more power sooner instead of the gradual rise in the curve.

The aFe Raptor dyno run can be seen in red. The truck put down 66.8 horsepower and 73.4 lb-ft of torque more than the factory Raptor.

The improved power numbers confirmed the seat-of-the-pants feeling we had while driving the truck around. Overall, the Raptor was even more fun to drive this time around having all the extra parts. With the added power, improved suspension, and better sound it had everything that we would have tweaked on the factory version. For more information on aFe Power and its products, be sure to visit their website.

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About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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