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Camburg Ford Raptor Control Arm Options

Posted in How To on May 1, 2013
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Photographers: Camburg

Ford's SVT Raptor made a big splash when it debuted during the 2010 model year. With a wider track width, increased suspension travel, and a body to match, the Raptor offers out-of-the-box off-road performance that's beyond the reach of the standard-issue F-150. The Raptor's popularity continues right on through 2013.

The Raptor is an exceptional truck, but it's not perfect. The front suspension's control arms are longer than a standard F-150's, but their strength is limited by balance sheets and economies of scale. Building the ultimate control arms at the Ford factory would ultimately induce extra sticker shock at the dealer.

Here’s a view from underneath. Camburg’s Raptor lower control arms are labor- and material-intensive to manufacture. Cutting, bending, machining, fitting, and welding are all part of the process. Look closely and you can see the longitudinal plug welds where internal ribs join the arm’s lower face. The shock pocket has a drain hole to let water and debris out. The protruding knob is a jacking point for secure lifting.

With a long history of building F-150 performance suspensions, Camburg decided to pick up where the Ford factory left off. Camburg offers upper and lower control arms for the Raptor that put the factory arms to shame. How so? Camburg's Raptor lower control arms are made from internally gusseted, boxed steel plate while the upper arms are built using high-grade chromoly tubing. Contrast this with flexy factory uppers and cast-aluminum factory lowers, which can crack and fail after a hard rock impact, and it's clear that Camburg's control arms have strength worthy of the rest of the Raptor.

There's more. The factory Raptor arms pivot on vulcanized rubber bushings. Rubber bushings run silently and are maintenance-free, but those are the only benefits. There are some big drawbacks to rubber bushings. First, the bushings aren't replaceable by themselves. When they wear out, you have to replace the entire control arm. Next, factory rubber bushings don't truly pivot. Instead, the rubber distorts between the inner and outer sleeves. This limits suspension travel as well as introduces its own spring rate that fights against the coilover shocks. Finally, rubber bushings deflect under hard loads such as braking and cornering loads, compromising handling.

There’s not a rubber bushing in sight! The lower control arms pivot on 1-inch uniballs at the frame: replaceable, durable, precise, non-binding. Camburg uses thick-walled uniball cups to create uber control arm strength.

The solution to rubber bushings is to get rid of them. Camburg's Raptor lower control arms pivot on 1-inch uniballs at the frame, while the upper arms use 3/4-inch rod ends (aka Heims) at the frame. Where the control arms connect with the steering knuckle, both upper and lower control arms use burly 1.5-inch uniballs in place of the stock ball joints-much stronger. Uniballs and rod ends act as true pivots and do not fight against the shocks. They allow for more suspension travel. They're replaceable. They're stronger than rubber bushings and ball joints. They don't deflect under loads. How's that for a handful of advantages?

While the case for upgrading your stock Raptor control arms with Camburg arms should be open and shut by now, we want to let you in on a poorly kept secret:You can use Camburg's Raptor control arms on any standard-issue F-150 all the way back to 2004. Combine Camburg's Raptor arms with an upgraded Raptor-style coilover shock and a pair of flared fiberglass fenders and you've got a long-travel Raptor-ized F-150 without Raptor-izing your bank account.

Here’s a “Raptor-ized” ’06 F-150. If you go this route, you’ll need all the control arms at once. Owners of ’04-’08 4x4 models can retain four-wheel drive via a pair of extented 4340 chromoly Camburg axleshafts, which are used with the stock CV joints. Owners of ’09-and-newer F-150s can either purchase complete Raptor CV shaft assemblies or extended Camburg axleshafts.

If buying upper and lower control arms all at once seems a bit steep, Raptor owners can buy the uppers first or the lowers first, as you see fit. They're the same length as the stock Raptor control arms and bolt into place without cutting, welding, or drilling out any of the adjacent factory parts. Since Raptor arms are longer than standard F-150 control arms, you'll need the uppers and lowers all at once if you've got a standard F-150.

Camburg's Raptor control arms: Armor-ize your Raptor, or Raptor-ize your F-150.

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Camburg Engineering
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

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