The Ford Raptor has not only proved a success in the truck market, but has also provided new marketing avenues for aftermarket companies. While a few of these companies may be new, many have been in the game for many years. One such company is Icon Vehicle Dynamics.
Icon is a performance suspension manufacturer based in Riverside California specializing in trucks and SUVs. Led by their head engineer SCORE champion Dylan Evans they continue to develop and innovate new products.
While everyone has different performance necessities, my needs were for improved performance while maintaining daily ride comfort and full use of the factory bed. A great improvement to the Ford Raptor first gen 2010-2014 is the upgrading from 2.5” to 3.0 shocks. Ford realized this when they outfitted the second gen Raptor with 3.0” internal bypass shocks. The major shock companies for high performance 3.0” are Fox, Icon and King. As with anything used by the masses, there are vast opinions of preference based on past experience, brand loyalty and word of mouth. All three of these companies have great followings, support the racing communities and provide great products. The Fox and Icon had the best on road comfort for a daily driver and the Kings, while great off-road shocks were much louder clicking in the bypass tubes and not as smooth. Through research and evaluating options at off road events I found the Icon RXT setup to have the best travel option without the need to hack holes through the pickup bed.
While I had a previous suspension components upgraded, I decided on the full Icon suspension front and rear after experiencing reviews and videos from others such as Expedition X Offroad and Aftermarket HQ. Installation can be done at once or in stages by a professional shop or skilled backyard mechanic with the right tools with an assistant to save time and frustration. I enlisted the assistance of a mechanic/fabricator friend Robert Placencia to aid in the installation.
Excited to experience the upgrades, we installed parts as they arrived in stages. The Icon RXT springs were installed first and quite easy to replace standard duty National springs I had upgraded over stock. When going from stock Ford Raptor springs the bolt next to gas tank must be cut and replaced with one from kit unless you feel the need to drop the entire gas tank. Icon RXT springs have three spring rates with use of add-a-leaf options and I found it easy to make changes before installation.
The RXT rear bypass reservoir shocks were installed next and required some minor trimming under bed and again installation proceeded well. Floor jacks help with suspension drop to get shocks fitted into mounting locations. The reservoir brackets fit perfect and mount in a viewable location to showcase your suspension upgrades. To get full travel of the RXT shocks, the Icon hydraulic bumpstop has a removable spacer ring to increase up travel not available with other kits. I retained a bumpstop kit from another vendor for a short period and later installed the Icon kit.
While waiting for bumpstop kit, we proceeded to install the Icon 3.0 coil over shocks and billet upper control arms. Rob being a fabricator and also a machinist for many years expressed the nice work on the upper control arms ball-milled pockets to reduce weight while leaving a gusseted/truss type pattern for strength.
When installing yourself the first side will always take longer to assuring proper fit and instruction verification as most of us skim instruction as we see fit. The biggest part to remember is support the spindle and brake assembly to avoid stretching or breaking the brake lines as damage can manifest later while driving without warning.
We found it a great time while in the midst of disassembly to clean desert debris from shock towers and frame previously blocked and paint.
We decided to leave the rod ends at the factory setting which happened to be at max suggested setting to help align the wheels as would increase ride height with coil-over adjustment.
We set the coil retaining ring for 26.5” center of hub to stock fender lip, this is equivalent to mid perch and suggest max height for a 2012-2014 Ford Raptor with Torsen differential. After installation was completed we stopped by our local alignment shop and found our caster and camber were good and only needed a slight toe adjustment.
A week later I ordered and received the Icon bumpstop system. We removed the old bumpstop system, cleaned up frame and began installation. There are many parts in this kit, but with a well-designed system with tension rods to stabilize prevent twisting it was well worth it. One thing greatly impressed us was a nut plate with a tab to hold when inserting into the frame rail. The old kit we had required taping a nut to a wrench before inserting into frame rail and later was difficult to retrieve. The instructions on this kit should be followed closely due to the many components but overall the install was fairly easy and looks great.
The initial ride on road is slightly stiffer but still fantastic, infrequent passengers still comment for plush the ride is unaware of the changes. Stay tuned for Off-road testing review.