2020 Mil-Spec Automotive Ford F-150 First Test: A Better-Than-Factory Raptor?

Some of us simply don’t need one like all people else has. If your folks all drive a mass-produced Ford F-150 Raptor or 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, a boutique-built Baja-ready Mil-Spec Automotive Ford F-150 is likely to be simply the ticket. Mil-Spec Automotive (MSA) is a plucky Michigan startup based by a trio of twentysomethings to revive and resto-mod Hummer H1s, however as the provision of those navy monsters dwindles, the agency is seeking to broaden its attain with extra attainable choices.

How A lot Energy & Torque Does Mil-Spec’s F-150 Make?

MSA’s founders are designers, not engineers, so that they haven’t got down to reinvent the Baja-bashing wheel, and its prospects really feel extra snug with a manufacturing unit guarantee, so the Mil-Spec Automotive Ford F-150 is predicated on the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8, which additionally helps distinguish it from the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 Ford Raptor. The primary state of tune as examined right here includes a choice of Ford Efficiency Elements that protect the manufacturing unit guarantee, together with a high-flow, larger-diameter throttle physique inhaling by means of a equally enlarged and freer flowing AEM Induction Methods cold-air consumption and high-performance air filter. The engine exhales by means of a Borla S-Kind exhaust from the catalyst to the rear axle, which terminates in customized MSA pipes which might be routed up excessive, exiting by means of black powder-coated 4-inch diameter exhaust suggestions built-in into the tubular metal rear bumper to maximise departure angle. This, plus customized engine tuning optimized for 91-octane gasoline, yields 500 hp at 5,750 rpm and 500 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm.

To avoid wasting you Googling, that’s 50 extra horses and 10 fewer lb-ft than the Ford Raptor makes, with no snails to spool up. And for these hell-bent on chasing down Ram TRXs, MSA is difficult at work adapting a Ford Efficiency Supercharger equipment co-developed by Roush for the 5.0-liter. This $14,000 Intrepid Efficiency Bundle ought to make 675 hp and 620 lb-ft. Positive, that’s down 27 hp and 30 lb-ft from the Ram TRX, however the Mil-Spec Ford will get two extra transmission gears and may simply undercut the TRX’s 6,350-lb curb weight.

So, How Quick is the Mil-Spec Ford F-150?

Regardless of the added horsepower, this one’s slower than the Raptor. Stand on each pedals in RWD mode, launch the brake on the 2,700-rpm stall pace, and with miniscule wheel spin it squats and goes, hitting 60 mph in 6.Three seconds on its strategy to a 14.8-seconds 96.4-mph quarter mile. The Raptor’s comparable stats are 6.Zero and 14.7 at 91.Four mph. The Mil-Spec truck’s trap-speed benefit speaks to its severe energy, whereas the elapsed time factors out its two gearing disadvantages. First, its tires are 2.Four inches taller than the Raptor’s, which accounts for a few of its ground-clearance benefit however drastically will increase the leverage required for the engine to get these tires turning. Second, the starter truck was constructed early and outfitted with the F-150’s second tallest axle ratio (3.31:1). Mil-Spec usually recommends the shortest one accessible, which is 3.73:1, however this selection was not accessible when Mil-Spec acquired this truck. The general gearing in our check truck finally ends up 32 p.c taller than a Raptor’s. Switching in a 3.73:1 gear set would virtually halve that distinction to 17 p.c (and in case you might match the Raptor’s 4.10:1 ratio, the tire drawback would shrink to only 7 p.c). Mil-Spec claims that with the three.73:1 axle, the 0–60 mph time ought to drop to five.7 seconds, and this appears cheap given the maths above. However clearly these intent on battling the Ram TRX (efficiency claims: 4.5 seconds to 60 mph and 12.9 at 108 mph within the quarter) ought to take into account smaller tires, shorter gearing, and aggressive light-weighting.

What Are the Mil-Spec Suspension Upgrades?

Right here once more, in growing the non-obligatory ($6,000) Baja suspension equipment featured on our check truck relatively than reinventing something, MSA leans on the experience of Brenthel Industries, which builds, maintains, and helps Championship Baja race groups and sells components below the Baja Kits model. In entrance, longer new higher and decrease management arms (plus the axle half-shafts used on the Raptor) are fitted that enhance the observe by 13.5 inches and supply 11.Zero inches of wheel journey. A Raptor has 13.9 inches of wheel journey. The management arms use uniball spherical bushings with zerk fittings for lubrication. Heavy-duty totally adjustable Fox 3.Zero coil-over models function distant reservoirs, Eibach springs, and adjustable entrance trip peak (as much as 2.Zero inches). To account for the added journey, longer stainless-steel braided brake hoses are fitted. Lastly, the anti-roll bar is eliminated to enhance suspension articulation and high-speed desert efficiency.

Eibach leaf springs are fitted on the rear, however the greater information is the revised geometry for the Fox remote-reservoir shocks: They’re relocated forward of the rear axle, with inventory mounts eliminated and rewelded to the body and axle. Whole rear suspension journey is 12.Zero inches. The entire setup is capped off with a set of 5 9.5 x 20-inch Black Rhino Arsenal aluminum wheels with a Hummer H1 look, wrapped in 37×13.50R20LT Nitto Ridge Grappler tires. As outfitted, floor clearance is 13.Zero inches, up from 11.5 on the Raptor.

Round City, It Feels Army Spec

Two issues leap out proper off the bat: That Borla exhaust will draw consideration on automobile startup and everytime you stand on the (now actually) “loud” pedal, although it recedes behind an affordable stereo quantity when cruising. And completely eradicating the entrance anti-roll bar ends in actually nautical physique roll on freeway cloverleafs. Have been it my truck, I’d choose to manually disconnect or take away the inventory bar for desert racing/mountaineering, after which bolt it again up for highway driving. (The drastically widened observe retains the truck from ever feeling prefer it may really tip over.) The trip appears a bit flintier than the Raptors I’ve been uncovered to. The massive 20-inch Nittos are most likely firmer than the Raptor’s 315/70 R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s, and the adjustable Fox Shox had been set full-firm. These corners should weigh greater than a Raptor’s, which might clarify the sense I obtained of unsprung weight amplifying highway impacts.

The suspension simply felt awfully busy on small amplitude stuff jiggling my intestine so much on the small-amplitude highway imperfections. This can be a kind of circumstances that large-scale OEMs handle to engineer out however small specialty outlets battle to grasp. Oh, and produce your gas-card: This Mil-Spec F-150 was self-reporting round 12 mpg throughout my days in it. The Raptor’s EPA mixed score is 16 mpg; then once more, a Mil-Spec Hummer H1 is sort of definitely even thirstier.

Raptor-Goes-Tactical Styling Upgrades

Design is the MSA founders’ ardour, and to ship the genuine Mil-Spec look, the truck will get distinctive flared fenders and rear quarter panels to clear the monster tires and widened observe, extending the inventory physique width by 7.Zero inches. The entrance fenders incorporate Raptor-esque vents, however they’re not inventory Ford components. Then there are powder coated heavy responsibility facet steps by Addictive Desert Designs and the aforementioned tubular entrance and rear bumpers with skid plates. These bumpers assist ship 35.Zero levels of strategy angle and 27.Zero levels of departure angle (the breakover-angle is 23.Zero levels). These are up from 30.2/ 23.0/21.Eight on the Raptor SuperCrew. A brand new Mil-Spec grille incorporates clearance lights (required by the expanded width) and is flanked by high-intensity LED headlights to enhance visibility on the highway. Naturally, the look is accomplished by a complete graphics package deal and Mil-Spec badging in a selection of brushed metallic or black anodized finishes. Not Baja sufficient for you? Then tick the $8,600 Baja Exterior Look Bundle field to get a “chase rack” bed-mounted spare tire, a low-profile roof rack with storage and eight highway lights, plus a entrance bumper mild pod.

Interior Power—What Modifications Inside?

Mil-Spec changed our XLT-grade check automobile’s inventory material seat upholstery with tan Katzkin leather-based (black and gray can be found) and added brushed metallic badges together with a quantity plate with our particular VIN. And maybe better of all, there are actual machine-knurled knobs to switch the plastic originals for audio, local weather controls, four-wheel-drive deciding on, and so forth. Mil-Spec Ford F-150s might be constructed from practically any grade of F-150, however beginning with an XL or XLT heightens the navy really feel—real wooden, a sewn leather-based sprint protecting, and ventilated massaging seats would appear misplaced.

What Does a Mil-Spec Ford F-150 Value?

The essential Mil-Spec package deal provides $34,950 to the value of a 5.0-liter 4×Four F-150 SuperCrew short-box pickup, which in XL trim at present begins at $42,485. The Baja suspension package deal is $6,000. The check automobile right here rings in at $93,750. Tick each field, and add it to a loaded Platinum F-150 (the fanciest grade accessible with the 5.0) and you’ll high $130,000. That sounds fairly wealthy by comparability with a Raptor, which begins at $58,135 and tops out just below $80Ok, or a 2021 Ram TRX ($71,690-$90,445). Or you may take a look at it as getting a number of the cachet of a $269,500 Mil-Spec Hummer H1 for a 3rd or half the value. And also you definitely received’t see your self coming and going.

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2020 Ford Mil-Spec F-150  (Baja)
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Entrance-engine, 4WD
ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, Four valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 307.2 cu in/5,038 cc
POWER (SAE NET) 500 hp @ 5,750 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 500 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
REDLINE 6,800 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 11.Zero lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automated
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.31:half.11:half.64:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Management arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; stay axle, leaf springs, adj shocks
BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 13.2-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS 9.5 x 20-in, solid aluminum
TIRES 37 x 13.50R20LT 127Q Nitto Ridge Grappler
WHEELBASE 146.Zero in
TRACK, F/R 81.1/81.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 93.Four x 79.Three in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 35.0/27.Zero deg
CURB WEIGHT 5,500 lb
HEADROOM, F/R 40.8/40.Four in
LEGROOM, F/R 43.9/43.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 66.7/66.Zero in
PICKUP BOX L x W x H 67.1 x 65.Zero x 21.Four in
CARGO VOLUME 52.Eight cu ft
0-30 2.5 sec
0-40 3.6
0-50 4.8
0-60 6.3
0-70 8.0
0-80 10.2
0-90 12.8
0-100 16.1
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.0
QUARTER MILE 14.Eight sec @ 96.Four mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 133 ft
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,200 rpm
BASE PRICE $83,435
AIRBAGS Twin entrance, entrance facet, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY Three yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/21/18 mpg (est, earlier than modification)
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.13 lb/mile (est)
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium


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