Ford has long dominated the pickup market, with the iconic Ford F-150 reigning as America’s best-selling truck for over 45 years. Ford has learned a thing or two over that timespan, delivering some of the most exciting, groundbreaking, and capable models on the market. In fact, 2022 marks a milestone for the bowtie brand, with Ford’s 40 millionth F-150/Super Duty truck rolling off its Ford Dearborn Truck Plant earlier in the year. The recording-setting pickup, a silver 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor, goes a long way in showcasing Ford’s ability to respond to emerging market trends, with the off-road model providing the ideal synthesis of off-road capability and everyday comfort.
Introduced in 2014, The Ford F-150 Tremor provides the ideal alternative for drivers seeking a more practical alternative to the brand’s undisputed off-road king, the F-150 Raptor. Initially conceived as a high-performance sport truck aimed at the street truck market, Ford has morphed the trim into an off-road package in recent years as drivers continue to demand more off-road capability from their pickups. While many brands have expanded their off-road offerings as of late, some have taken the task more seriously than others, leading to a new generation of “soft-roaders” that, while they look the part, offer little in the way of actual off-road capability. Ford has bucked this trend, preserving the F-150’s stellar reputation in the pickup market and rolling out high-end trims like the Tremor and Raptor that can be described as anything but soft.
Of course, the top-tier beast of an off-road trim might be ideal for those looking to set land speed records in punishing desert terrain, but it’s a little much for everyday applications. The Tremor is the ideal middle ground for drivers seeking something shy of the full Mad Max experience. Ford’s pickup is built with many of the same heavy-duty off-road accessories as its big brother but presented in a package that they’ll be able to navigate through smaller streets or squeeze into a parking space without scraping the paint off every vehicle in a 10-foot radius. That’s not to say the Raptor doesn’t have its place, but for a vast majority of drivers, the Tremor is the more practical option.
Ready To Rumble
Before we get into some of the customization options that make the 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor such an adaptable off-road companion, let’s take a closer look at what we’re working with. First, the Tremor comes standard with Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, providing drivers with enough horsepower and torque to hold their own across a range of demanding off-road pursuits. The engine, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, outputs 400 hp along with an impressive 500 lb-ft of torque: a particularly impressive figure given the importance of low-end torque in the off-roading world.
The Tremor comes with those hardware upgrades one would expect in the off-road class, including a standard locking rear differential, available Torsen front limited slip differential, and of course, all-wheel drive as a standard option. Ford has also retuned the F-150’s front and rear springs for the off-road model, adding monotube shocks at the front and twin-tube shocks in the rear to make for an impressively smooth ride. This design increases wheel contact when navigating uneven or slippery surfaces, giving drivers the improved safety and control that can make all the difference when navigating remote off-road locales.
Throw in some generous approach angles and redesigned front knuckle hubs and upper control arms that add 1 and 1.5-inches of travel to the front and rear, respectively, and you’ve got a great platform on which to pursue your filthiest off-road dreams. The pickup looks the part, too, with Ford adding a few aggressive, striking design flourishes that allow the Tremor to separate itself from the increasingly crowded off-road lineup. The Tremor features distinctive orange badging with a matching grille insert, 18-inch wheels in a matte silver hue unique to the model, 33-inch all-terrain tires, and a bash plate ripped straight from the Raptor.
The Tremor was designed to be a well-rounded off-road pickup, but as any driver familiar with the pastime will know, “off-road” can be a fairly broad term. Different types of off-roading can require very specific build-outs. Luckily Ford engineers are one step ahead, designing the F-150 Tremor to include some flexible features that go a long way in allowing drivers to kit out the pickup with whatever aftermarket accessories they need to build the off-road rig of their dreams. Chief among these are the pickup’s upfitter switches, which allow drivers to activate a number of aftermarket accessories from a handy panel located just behind the pickup’s rearview mirror. The Tremor includes a half-dozen of these upfitter switches, giving drivers the opportunity to add a considerable number of handy off-road gadgets that can be controlled from the comfort of the driver’s seat. From winches and flood lights to horns and automatic running boards, let’s look at a few of these accessories and see how they can expand the Tremor’s already stellar off-road credentials.
When it comes to off-roading, a winch can be the most valuable accessory in your arsenal. Invaluable when it comes to getting out of sticky situations, a winch can spell the difference between a successful outing and one that ends in a particularly embarrassing call to AAA. True, most 4×4-equipped vehicles are built with recovery points, and a simple snatch strap will allow you to free yourself in many situations, but for those tackling more challenging terrain, or those traveling solo, a winch is worth its weight in gold. Unlike tow straps, winches allow for slow, steady movement, allowing drivers to free themselves from tough spots without causing even more damage in the process.
This is especially true in tough, unforgiving terrain like rocks or stump-laden forests, where one wrong move can lead to some serious knocks. Sometimes a winch is the only way to overcome certain obstacles like steep ledges which can’t, or at least probably shouldn’t, be surmounted using normal off-road techniques. A winch can also be handy for correcting a vehicle in case of a rollover and is almost mandatory for those setting out for the trail without another 4×4 in the pack. If you are going the lone wolf route, make sure to invest in an anchor point and inspect your winch cable regularly. Some drivers opt for both front and rear winches, which, given the Tremor’s six available upfitter switches, is easy enough to accomplish.
Traction is the name of the game when it comes to off-roading, and slightly deflating your vehicle’s tires is often the easiest way to improve said traction. Of course, this can present some issues down the road because once you’ve navigated a tricky stretch that required higher traction, you’ll probably want to bring your PSI back up to the recommended level. This is as easy as finding the closest gas station when you’re on the grid but can be trickier in remote off-road locales.
Installing an onboard source of compressed air can be a real game changer when it comes to off-road success. These portable compressors ensure you’ll never be without an air source when you need it and can be pressed into service to help complete a number of additional tasks. First and foremost, these compressors are used to inflate tires, giving you the proper PSI to tackle any obstacles, but can also be used to inflate recreation accessories like floats and air mattresses, clean the vehicle’s air filters, reseat a tire, and even run some pneumatic air tools. Vehicles equipped with air-locker differentials can even use these onboard pumps to engage the air-activated differential, allowing drivers to engage both axles and surmount most common off-road obstacles.
Lights are one of the most popular aftermarket accessories for off-road use, and the Tremor’s upfitter switches provide the perfect excuse to up your lighting game. The stock headlights that come on most of today’s vehicles are fine for everyday driving but aren’t exactly designed with off-roading in mind. Those looking to upgrade their lighting situation should first consider what type of off-roading they’ll be doing, as different types may require different types of lights. From fog and cornering lamps to rock lights, floodlights, vibration-resistant LEDs, pencil beams, and spotlights, there are plenty of options to choose from.
For example, low-speed off-road activities like rock crawling and narrow, technical trails might call for a more diffused lighting source that illuminates a broader area in front of the vehicle. Higher speed travel calls for a tighter, narrower beam of light which does a better job of penetrating further into the distance. Bulb type and color temperature are also important considerations, with different pros and cons depending on weather, usage, and other factors. The reason you’ll often see yellow or amber lights on off-road rigs is that these colors do a better job at cutting through rainy or foggy conditions, penetrating the water rather than bouncing off of it.
While illuminating the area in front of the vehicle can be important when safely navigating off-road terrain after dark, rear lighting is often an afterthought when outfitting off-road rigs. That’s a shame because reverse lights can be a particularly handy feature for those who do a lot of towing, giving drivers all the light they need to make those tricky trailer connections before the sun comes up. Reverse lights can be rigged up to turn on when the vehicle is put in reverse or manually activated through the use of upfitter switches. These reverse lights can also double as a way to let chronic tailgaters know that you’re tired of them riding your bumper for the last 4 miles.
High Idle Mode Switch
The main purpose of a high idle switch is to give your vehicle’s engine more power when idling. There are a number of reasons a driver might want to do this, including reducing engine warm-up time in cold weather or vehicles with diesel engines, but when it comes to off-road, the primary purpose of a high idle switch is its ability to deliver extra electricity for power-hungry accessories like winches or on-board air systems. These accessories can be taxing on a vehicle’s stock electrical system, but the extra power created by using a high idle switch ensures consistent performance when you need it most. These systems can even come in handy away from the trail, allowing you to give your AC system a little extra juice during a particularly brutal heat wave. Be careful, though: a high idle switch should be used mindfully, as operating at a high idle can cause accelerated wear and tear on an engine.
An Endless Array Of Customizable Options
The 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor might be a ready-made off-roader, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own personal touches on the reliable pickup. From safety-minded accessories like winches and lights to more utility-minded tools like onboard air compressors and high idle mode, the Tremor’s upfitter switches provide a blank canvas onto which every driver can paint their own off-road masterpiece. These accessories go a long way in expanding the functionality of an already capable 4×4, allowing drivers to transform the popular pickup into whatever type of off-road rig they can imagine. From nimble rock-crawlers and brawny dune bashers to lifted mudding rigs and overland setups that include everything but the kitchen sink, the Tremor is a jack-of-all-trades. It’s no wonder this trim has proved so popular over the years, holding its own in an increasingly crowded off-road market and providing a less bulky, more affordable alternative to its big brother, the F-150 Raptor.