Reviews

F-150 Raptor R Mods from VMP Tuning | Exploring the Limits of the OEM Calibration at 5 Star Tuning
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There’re few things we love more than being on the cutting edge of performance innovation and development. There’s something about this (paraphrased) series of lines from Jeremy Irons’ character in the film Margin Call that resonates with us …. “There’s three ways to make a living in this business; be first, be smarter, or cheat… and it sure is a hell of a lot easier to just be first.” That’s the basic philosophy that has lead our in our Bronco Raptor build, and today we’re carrying it forward in the realm of the F-150 Raptor R.

The R-R is Ford Performance’s latest creation, which combines the body and running gear of a Raptor 37 with the power plant of an S550 GT500 Mustang. The addition of the 5.2L Supercharged V8 engine has propelled the Raptor R to the top of the list of Ford’s I’d love to own. However, that’s a story for another day in the very near future. Today we have an R strapped to 5 Star Tuning’s dyno for some cutting edge testing of VMP Performance Predator...
Do The ROAR!!! | SPD Performance Downpipes Install/Test on the Bronco Raptor
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You’ve been hearing it from us here on SVTP for years; the Holy Trinity of starter mods is Intake, Tune, and Exhaust. Tackling those three areas will typically show decent gains on any vehicle. When it comes to our project Bronco Raptor, besides our Whipple Intercooler and Turbosmart BOV, there’s not much on the market intake wise (yet). And you guys have seen us lay down massive gains with a Whipple Calibration. But just a few days ago we were able to snag an early set of SPD Performance Downpipes fitted with High-Flow GESI cats. The exhaust side of the more-power equation was now open for business.

It’s been no secret that the factory downpipes found on many EcoBoost engines can hamper performance. They are designed with packaging, NVH, and assembly constraints that the aftermarket can simply sidestep. As such, companies like SPD Performance have found great success developing higher-flowing replacement systems for many Ford platforms. Their latest venture into the Blue Oval...
Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Stock! | 5 Star Tuned Maverick Road Test
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It’s about time for use to circle back to this one. Back in the Spring we took a look at a fairly loaded Ford Maverick that was on the dyno being tuned by the guys over at 5 Star Tuning in Florence, SC. We covered what we could at the time, but that didn’t include getting it out on the street for a drive. What a difference a few months will make. This time around they just threw me the keys, #winning.

Your guys have probably seen some of my past Maverick coverage. It started off cold, but the more time I’ve spent with Ford’s latest little truck the more I’ve warmed to it. It definitely has its place in the line-up, and it’s hard to argue with its value. Still; as with any stock vehicle, there’s room for improvement. That’s where aftermarket tuners like 5 Star Tuning come in to the picture.


In stock form the Maverick is a little low on power and responsiveness compared to what we know the 2.0L Ecoboost is capable of in other...
Lisle In-Line Spark Plug Tester (P/N 20610) Review | SVTP Tool-Tech
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Anyone who works in industry or passed a 4th grade science class should be familiar with the Fire Triangle. In order to produce fire you need heat, fuel, and a source of oxygen. In a gasoline engine those roles are filled by your ignition spark, atomized gasoline, and intake air respectively. Testing for the presence of air and fuel in your engine is pretty simple, though making sure your spark plugs are firing can be a bit more challenging. Today I’m going to show you two simple ways determine whether or not you’re getting spark.

First, I recently picked up this Lisle Spark Plug Tester (P/N 20610) from Amazon for about $10. It’s a pretty simple in-line device that slips between the spark plug and coil or wire. If your coil is sending current to the plug the little bulb inside the tester will light up. It’s pretty simple. It does have a few limitations though. First, it’s not able to diagnose an issue with the spark plug itself. So if your plug is heavily fouled or damaged it may...
Motorcraft FL-2062-A Oil Filter Options Reviewed | 3.0L & 2.7L Nano EcoBoost Engines
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If you want to start a guaranteed 3-page flame war on most car forums, there’s no better question to ask than “What’s the best oil/oil filter?” Well this time around we’re going to take a look at every filter I could lay my hands on for the Bronco Raptor. This review is going to pull double duty because the FL-2062-A sized filters being inspected also fit other Ford engines, including the 2.7L EcoBoost V6. A derivative of this line of filters is even specified for some GT350 and GT500 Mustangs. So we have a lot to cover.

Below you’ll find a video and several detailed photos covering every filter we’ve managed to get our hands on. We also took very detailed measurements and observations of the materials and construction methods used for each filter. This is not the be-all-end-all of this story. As new filters become available we’ll add them to the list. If you find one you would like to send us, you can send it here:

SVTPerformance
4009 Highway 17 S - 1010
North Myrtle Beach, SC...
SVTP Tool-Tech | Lisle 20750 Remote Starter Switch | Reviewed
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Sometimes you need an extra set of hands when none are available. That’s when a tool like we’re reviewing today comes in handy. It’s a remote starter trigger. If you’ve spent any time at all on YouTube, you’ve likely seen a particular ‘Tuber use his (which he refers to as his “Lone Wolf 2000”. His continued use of a starter trigger, while reviving long forgotten rides, shows just how handy one of these things can be.

A remote start trigger isn’t a particularly sophisticated device. It’s essentially just a finger activated 12V switch. It works by connecting the circuit across your starter control solenoid, which is usually easily accessible under the hood on older Fords. This allows you to skip running around to the driver’s seat in order to turn the key. Yes; you could just jump the solenoid with a screw driver, but that may force you to stand in a particular position to crank the engine over. The remote trigger will allow you to move freely around the front of the vehicle in...
VMP Performance Apex Predator Lid & Race/Street Intercooler Cores | A Detailed Look
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I know you’ve heard the saying; “work smarter, not harder.” That’s exactly the mantra VMP Performance has been pursuing with their latest round of mods for 2020+ Shelby GT500 Mustangs. The 5.2L Predator V8 mills those cars are blessed with from the factory are potent, but there’s always room for improvement. Throwing more boost at it may be the simple solution, but what if I told you that you could get more power without increasing stress on the engine? What if it works even better when pulley down and add some boost? Do I have your attention now?

Justin Starkey and the crew at VMP have spent the better part of a year working on intercooler modifications for the Predator engine; and it looks like they have struck pay-dirt. VMP has finally released their long awaited Apex Predator intercooler lid, which features a host of benefits over the stock unit. To take advantage of the gains found in the lid they also have a couple intercooler core options to help keep the air charge at the...
Full Bronco Raptor Towing Review | Maxxed Out
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Since Ford released the specs for its insanely popular Bronco, one of the biggest sticking points for many has been the (to put it kindly) modest towing rating. 3,500 pounds for both the 2-Door and the 4-Door models (which is a bit odd considering the wheelbase differences) definitely left a bit to be desired for those who want to tow larger loads. Ford heard those concerns, and bestowed a 4,500 pound tow rating on the recently released Bronco Raptor. That higher rating is one of the main reasons we purchased one as a test vehicle for SVTP.

As soon as our order was confirmed we started shopping for an off-road capable camper that would fit with our goal of off-grid camping in relative comfort. We settled on a No-Boundaries 19.6. It had nearly all the features we were looking for (dual axles, decent shower, solar power, large bed, remote working stations, etc) and still came in under the BRaptors maximum tow rating. However, it would definitely be pushing the limits when loaded up...
Reviewed | 2022 Bronco Wildtrack Heads into the Wilderness
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Want to turn some heads? Try showing up to “The Final” Mustang Week in Wildtrack Bronco. Ford fans around the nation love their horse cars (even Pintos???) and the Bronco is definitely welcome in the club. We’ve been holding back on sharing this story for a few months, but the time seems right now. The Wildtrack trim level brings the equipment to the Bronco that will satisfy 98% of buyers. Style and performance, this truck has it all.

On the road, the Bronco is more comfortable and sure footed than most would give it credit. You can tell the chassis dynamics engineers put in overtime to make this platform perform well above expectations. The dash is logically laid out, and the interior is ruggedly built. You get the sense that this SUV was designed by enthusiasts, by those who get “it”. This video may explain what I mean a little more clearly:


No matter the trim level, or number of doors, I have thoroughly enjoyed very single...
Full Size Fun | 2022 Expedition XLT Review
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The 2022 Ford is all about maximization. You can maximize your capability, comfort, capacity, etc. Few new vehicles allow owners to haul more people and stuff, in more comfort, to more places than the Expedition. Ford recently loaned us fairly rare XLT model to test out. Though our time with it was short, we did manage to get a solid impression on this newly refreshed model.

As I mentioned, the first thing that stood out to me about this particular truck was the fact that it was an XLT. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen this once fairly ubiquitous working-man’s trim level applied to an Expy in the wild. However, this version of the XLT trim gives you much more than cloth seat and power windows & locks. This SUV had a very nicely appointed interior, that would have made an Eddie Bower interior of a decade earlier look downright pedestrian.

Power from the 3.5L Ecoboost (380HP & 470 lb-ft) is more than adequate to move this full-size full-frame SUV around. You...
2018 Focus ST Mods | MBRP Exhaust - Intercooler - Downpipe - Tune
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I’ve made my fair share of trips to the SVT/Ford Performance engineering offices over the years, and one thing I always pay attention is the employee parking lot (which used to be covered in burnout/drifting marks that were visible from space). The cars parked there will tell you a lot about guys who work there, and there is certainly a trend that’s easily spotted. Back in the early SVT days you were likely to see an inordinate number of Contour SVTs. That eventually gave way to the SVT Focus, and then the focus ST. At any point in time it seemed like a 3rd of the cars in that lot would fall into one of the model ranges.

There’s a good reason for that. Those engineers designed those cars to be extremely fun, capable, and sporty; while still being comfortable for daily driver duty. SVT/FP’s small cars have always been the automotive equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife for the performance enthusiast. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve known with a Cobra or GT500 home in the...
Mach E GT Performance Pack | More Fun Than You Think
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I’ve been waiting for this one. Several months back I got the chance to test out pre-production Mach-E First Edition. I found it impressive, but not something that I found terribly exciting. However, the 2021 Mach-E GT (outfitted with the optional Performance Package) is a different kind of animal. Everything that I liked about the standard Mach-E was there, but the performance edge of the GT has been sharpened significantly. If this car is a hint of future EV performance from Ford, ICE purists might want to take notice.

On the surface the Mach-E is the best car Ford produces, and this GT is a fine example of that. The interior material choices are excellent, and the exterior panel gaps are perfect. If only the S550 Mustang had been launched with this much attention given to initial perceived quality. On the road there’s not a squeak or rattle to be found. You can tell that Ford put their best engineers on the parts of the car that will have the most significant interaction with...
TopLift Pro Makes Pulling the BRaptor Roof a 1-Man Job | Full Review
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In the few short months we’ve owned our Bronco Raptor I’ve had the factory hard-top off and on more than a few times. While the BRaptor looks killer stripped down, it is a bit of a PITA to remove the bolted on rear section of top. That set us out searching for a better solution for the removal and reinstall process, which is where TopLift Pros came in.

As it stands, removal of the aft most section of Bronco top is best done with three sets of hands. It’s not that the roof section is heavy; rather it is just awkward to handle. Weight-wise, one person could easily lift it. However, finesse is needed more than brute force in order to not mar any of the finished surfaces. So not wanting to have to find a couple helpers every time I was going to R&R the top, I started searching for a little mechanical advantage. After a little research we settled on ordering a rolling lift system from TopLift Pros out of Melbourne, FL. It would make top removal a one-man job...
Slick | Ford Bronco Raptor Gets Cilajet Ceramic Coating at Gorno Ford
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Nearly two months ago I posted a thread looking for advice on ceramic coating for my then soon-to-be-purchased Ford Bronco Raptor. The detailing gurus on SVTP gave solid advice, and I appreciated their input. However, I wasn’t looking for the typical car show level of ceramic shine. I just wanted bug guts and dirt to come off the BRaptor more easily. Since time was of the essence (I needed to drive 800 miles the next two days) and the price was reasonable ($1500) I decided to give the detailing crew at Gorno Ford a shot. I was not disappointed.

They got the BRaptor in the wash bay early in the morning, and for the next few hours a crew of guys got to work on my new ride. They were super friendly and as you can see from above, invited me to film the process. They used ceramic products from the Cilajet line. This was not a quick process, and they took their time to make sure everything was properly applied. I was super happy to see the attention to detail they showed my new...
Wooosh!!! | Bronco Raptor Gets a TurboSmart Blow-Off Valve
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I've owned a handful of EcoBoost vehicles over the years. While they all had the benefits that come with high compression and boost, they also have the exhaust note you'd expect from a small displacement non-V8. Among performance enthusiasts, the sound is nearly universally derided. Ford has major strides in EcoBoost exhaust tone quality with the Gen 3 Raptor and BRaptor, but there's still a lot to be desired. In a search for a better driving experience you can play around with aftermarket exhaust systems, buy I've always preferred to just increase the natural turbo noises.

That's why every EcoBoost powered Ford I have ever own has been equipped with a TurboSmart Blow-Off Valve. They are an extremely high quality piece constructed of billet aluminum and stainless steel. The install is super simple on the BRaptor because Ford placed the factory BOV in a very easy to reach location. It's easier to install this TurboSmart unit on a BRaptor than it is to change its oil...
BRaptor Gets More BOOOOOOST!!!! | JB4 Device Install at 5 Star Tuning
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Let's face it, we all knew this day had to be coming soon. In the true SVTP fashion we had to add more boost. The BRaptor had driven from MI to SC and now had about 1,200 miles on the odo. Truth be known, we had been planning this install with the guys at 5 Star Tuning for months. However, we didn't know if this device was going to be compatible with the Bronco Raptor's 3.0L EcoBoost engine.

Like many new Fords, the Bronco's ECU is locked from the factory. That means outside of a few exceptions, custom tuning is not yet available. However, that hasn't stopped the aftermarket from finding ways to increase performance. The 5 Star Tuning Crew crew have been installing Burger Tuning JB4 Devices, with great success, for quite some time now. So naturally we had to try out the JB4 on the BRaptor, and it worked perfectly.

[ATTACH...​
Install/Review | Livernois Exhaust & Flex-Fuel Tune | 2021+ Coyote F-150
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The more things change, the more they stay the same. At its most basic an internal combustion engine is essentially an air pump, and reducing restrictions in that pump tends to increase efficiency. In our case, we’re looking for more horsepower from a 2021 5.0L Coyote Powered F-150 and we’re installing some tried and true mods to get there.

The subject vehicle of this install belongs to Andy at Livernois Motorsports, and is currently his daily driver. Being a regular-cab short-bed 4x4 makes it a pretty hot commodity these days. I know more than a handful of former S550 owners who have traded in there steeds for such a truck, typically with some boost added in for good measure. That has become a bit more difficult with the encryption of the ECU on the 2021+ F-150s, but Livernois has that covered. When it comes to locked-ECU tuning, Livernois has the keys to the castle.

Livernois_F-150_Exhaust_004.jpg


I'd say there's a noticeable difference between the stock piece...
Whipple Stage 1 Upgrade for the Gen 2 F-150 Raptor | Installed/Reviewed
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Boost makes everything better, and more boost = more better. Those are just facts. So when Ford added two turbos to the F-150 Raptor for its 2nd Generation you knew owners were inevitably start cranking up the dial. What the Raptor lost in V8 rumble with the introduction of the 3.5L HO EcoBoost it more than gained in low-end grunt and mod-ability. Easy power is just an ECU flash away.

That’s where Whipple, best known for their twin-screw superchargers kits, comes in. They recently released their Stage 1 Upgrade Kit of the Gen 2 Raptor, and we got work that our friends over at Pro-Dyno would be installing one the first kits. The stars aligned and we were on hand to cover the installation and report the results.


Check out our Install/Review video. Like/Subscribe/ect too.

The Whipple Stage 1 Kit for the Gen 2 Raptor consist of a freer flowing enclosed air-box with filter, a substantially upgraded intercooler, ILTR7N8 NGK...
2022 F-150 Lightning EV | Driving Impressions & First Look | Game Changer
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Ford is moving full steam ahead with its plans for vehicle electrification. The Blue Oval’s modern EV era kicked off last year with the launch of the Mach-E SUV. It was a ground up design that Ford poured untold millions of development dollars into. However; when it came time to pivot to Ford’s bread-and-butter market segment, full-size trucks, the crew in Dearborn took a different approach. They took the already stellar 2021+ F-150 cab, tweeked it a bit around the edges, and bolted it all to a unique EV chassis.

The result is the all-new 2022 F-150 Lightning. I know many of the SVTP faithful may not be thrilled with this latest application of the legendary Lightning nameplate, but I’m going to ask you to put those feelings aside and come at this one with an open mind. This Lightning packs a 131kWh battery pack, dual motors with a locking rear differential, 580HP & 775TQ, and 330 miles of available of range. Those specs barely scratch the surface...
2021 F-150 Raptor 37 | Full Review | Ford's Ever Improving Top-Tier Off-Roader
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Few modern trucks have had a greater impact on the market than the SVT F-150 Raptor. When Jamal and the crew were working to build the original, success was anything but guaranteed. Many inside Ford and in the enthusiast community believed it would be a flop. Yet here we are with the 3rd Generation of Full-Size Raptor and it represents the benchmark by which all others are measured. Just think to yourself, how many manufacturers have knocked-off the design of the grille? How are resale values holding? I’d say it’s been a success, and the Gen 3 adds to that lineage.

Raptor_37_009.jpg


It's a subtle difference, but the 37s make a bold statement. Their addition to the Raptor was a no-brainer.

For 2021, the F-150 Raptor gets some major underpinning modifications. The drivetrain is largely a carryover from the Gen 2 (a 3.5L EcoBoost HO making 450 hp @ 5,850 rpm and 510 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000), but the rear suspension is completely new...


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