RGMotorsport hikes power in the Ford Ranger Raptor from 157kW to 180kW. Picture: SUPPLIED
RGMotorsport hikes power in the Ford Ranger Raptor from 157kW to 180kW. Picture: SUPPLIED

Ford has turned the Ranger bakkie into a rally special with the creation of the Raptor version, with its raised ground clearance and fancy Fox suspension turning it into a dirt-taming superstar.

Trouble is, all the extra paraphernalia makes the Raptor about 150kg heavier than a Ranger Wildtrak, which takes some bite out of its 2.0l turbo diesel engine.

Specialist tuner RGMotorsport (RGM) has come up with a performance upgrade to liberate some extra muscle. The stage one conversion involves an intercooler that improves air flow and controls turbo temperature increase more effectively; a Unichip X piggyback computer from Dastek; and an RGM-Techniflow exhaust.

The catalytic converter is replaced with a 76mm downpipe from the turbos. The remainder of the stainless steel system is of the same diameter all the way to the tailgate, significantly reducing back pressure.

The performance improvements, as measured on RGM’s dyno, are dramatic. Peak power measured at the Raptor’s wheels is increased from 157kW to 180kW, while torque is hiked from 500Nm to 590Nm at 1,500rpm. The modified Raptor’s torque is also said to taper off more progressively than the standard version, making for a more user-friendly power curve.

Steven Green, RGM’s master tuner, says the Raptor has increased power without sacrificing refinement and retains similar fuel consumption.

No wires have to be cut as part of the Unichip installation, making it both easy to install and completely reversible. With the harness removed and the various plugs connected as per factory spec, the vehicle is back to standard and a piggyback once being fitted would be undetectable, says RGM founder Rob Green.

Randburg-based RGM has, over the course of almost three decades, earned a reputation for well-engineered conversions. This status has been built on motorsport success.

The upgrade is priced at R33,000 and comes with a six-month, 20,000km warranty.