Ford Maverick Welcomes DIY Spirit

We’ve featured a lot of car hacks on these pages, most would void the warranty and none of it with explicit factory support. Against that background, Ford’s upcoming Maverick is unique: a major manufacturer has invited owners to unleash their do-it-yourself spirit. It is one of several aspects that led [Jason Torchinsky] of Jalopnik to proclaim The 2022 Ford Maverick Is An Honest, Cheap, Multitool Of A Vehicle And I’m All For It.

There are two primary parts to Ford’s DIY invitation. Inside the cabin are several locations for a dovetail mount called “Ford Integrated Tether System” (FITS). Naturally Ford will be selling their own FITS accessories, but they also expect people to create and 3D-print designs addressing needs unmet by factory kits. CAD files for FITS dimensions are promised, but any maker experienced with a caliper should have little trouble.

Another part of Ford’s DIY invitation is in the cargo area, whose sides were stamped with slots for lumber beams supporting projects like a ~$45 bike rack. There are also threaded bolt holes already in the bed, no drilling or tapping into sheet metal necessary. Behind a few small plastic doors are wires to supply 12 V DC power without the risk of splicing into factory harnesses.

There will always be wild car hacks like turning a sedan into a pickup truck. But it’s great to lower the barrier of entry for milder hacks with these small and very welcome features. QR codes on a sticker takes us to Ford’s collection of video instructions to get things started. Naturally if this idea takes off other people will post many more on their own YouTube channels. We like where Ford wants to go with this, and we would love to see such DIY-friendliness spread across the auto industry. A few Ford videos explaining design intent in this area after the break.

[Title image: Ford Motor Company]

43 thoughts on “Ford Maverick Welcomes DIY Spirit

        1. +1 LOL my 1973 Maverick (bought in ~1982 for $90 ) lost a couple pounds of rust on the roads every day of driving, though the 302 cu in v8 and man transmission continued life as the power source for a 48″ circular saw mill into the early 90’s long after the body returned to the place it came from …

      1. Perhaps it’s just that the name reminds many of us that were around back then of the absolutely terrible car of that name from the 1970’s. Ford could have chosen a better name.
        It would be kinda like Chevy naming their latest new truck the “Vega”.

    1. Needs to have the same trunk style as the Ridgeline. My wife loves her Ridgeline for that reason. I wouldn’t mind seeing it in other manufacturers offerings. Honda needs some competition and I like Ford products.

      1. I currently dolly tow a Prius behind my RV. I expect it will rain in the middle one day. 7.6 MPG RV on one side, 50 MPG Prius on the other.

        If they made a decent hybrid RV, I’d think about it.

        1. With the amount of pranged Tesla’s couldn’t you make one in an existing RV really easily?

          The things are huge, so I’d assume finding spaces to put battery would be rather easy, not like the things need huge speed either – so the rather impressive torque of most EV motors could probably be used in direct drive set up making it simpler – no need to change gear so simpler/no gearbox etc.. Maybe I’m too ignorant how how they are built (I really couldn’t know less) and there is a good reason its not done, but it doesn’t seem to be hugely difficult.

          1. The issue with big heavy vehicles as EV’s is you have to add so much battery capacity (by weight) that it becomes a problem, you run out of payload capacity for anything else – this is why it’s taking a while to see any actual working electric semi trucks.

            Source: friends in the industry.

    1. I had a Focus, and was pretty excited when Ford was partnering with some maker-types to open up the comms busses inside; that effort got killed of course. Nothing was ever open about the Sync system either. I expect a similar thing to happen here. Some initial furtive motions then they’ll lose interest.

      My tranny also took a dump on me several times, good old PowerShift DPS6 slipping clutches and munching actuators. I had to fix the wiring harness once too, it was pulled too tight and the central nervous system got sliced on a sharp edge on the engine block. It took at least 7 splices, I can’t remember anymore.

  1. True that some people have always customized their vehicles. That’s not new.

    What’s new is Ford’s attitude towards this fraction of the market. Most manufacturers ignore it as “an inconsequential niche”. If customization is a thought at all, it has been “sell them lucrative licensed accessories”. Here they’ve decided “we have more to gain by helping them make their own things, even though we make zero direct profit” and that is a HUGE shift in attitude in line with Hackaday interests.

    Some of our readership would also love a CAN bus port, open source ECU, etc. But let’s celebrate the small baby steps too.

    1. Yeah this is pretty neat! Now, they do have to compete with the usual source for vehicles to hack: the used market – but I’m sure there’s plenty of folks who prefer new but appreciate these user friendly touches. (One does not need to be a maker of any particular sort to want to add stuff to a vehicle they own: my Saturn’s dash has a nasty mark left on it where the elderly previous owner had glued a clock to it. Fortunately it must have been battery powered, the wiring was un-mangled)

  2. Ford’s trying to get the Sport Trac owners back, but they’re missing the mark by not making it a short bed, crew cab Ranger, like the Sport Trac was. Instead of that, they’re making this with an integrated bed like a Honda Ridgeline and some other 4 door utes of similar size.

    One thing to note is that after discontinuing the Sport Trac in the USA, Ford continued selling a crew cab Ranger in Mexico, but only with a 4 cylinder engine.

    Now they’ve brought back the Sport Trac in all but name. It’s just a crew cab Ranger with a stubby bed. I assume the reason Ford doesn’t make it with a longer bed is they (wrongly) assume it would take sales from the F-150. Same brain dead error companies in all categories keep making with a product version that’s aimed at a “lower” market segment – then they cripple it in some way, like a Macintosh IIsi, that hurts sales of the “lesser” version far more than a non-crippled version would “cannibalize” sales of the higher end version.

    Everyone who is going to buy an F-150 is going to buy an F-150. They won’t instead buy a long bed crew-cab Ranger that can’t handle the towing or bed load an F-150 can. But Ford is the company that only took 71 years to field a *direct competitor* to the Chevy Suburban. The Expedition EL, not the bigger Excursion that came before. That one overshot the mark while having barely any more interior space than a Suburban. Oh, and don’t forget how Ford hasn’t had a *direct competitor* to the Corvette other than the 1955-1957 Thunderbird. The GT was their Excursion of sports cars. No idea why Ford has had this historic aversion to going toe to toe with GM when it comes to some vehicle types.

    1. It’s the C2 body, the revised C body. It’s the platform for a Focus. It’s also an Escape, a CMax, a Transit Connect, a Jaguar S Type (I’m dead serious), a Bronco Sport (not a regular Bronco, which is causing some confused and ticked off buyers), and one of the Land Rovers. This thing is not a truck as much as it is a compact El Camino. Remember the Dodge Rampage and the VW Rabbit-based Truck?

      It doesn’t compete with the F150. It competes with minivans, which Ford doesn’t sell in the US anymore. I don’t know how many will be sold for personal use, but I imagine this thing is going to be very popular with the butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers – 40 mpg in a delivery vehicle and it’s slow enough to keep your insurance rates down. And as a truck, it qualifies as a Section 179 expense. This makes a difference if you do less than $6M a year in sales.

      1. The first tank of gas ran 540 miles and filled up with 13.05 Gallons. The zero to sixty is 7.6 Sec. which is 1/2 sec. slower than the 2.0 Turbo. It can get run just fine with the fast-lane traffic.

  3. What’s special about this?

    My 2018 Toyota Tacoma has almost all the features listed there. It’s slightly higher on my model (although 2wd model will have a similar height bed), and I’m not sure if my Taco has an adjustable tailgate (although that’s probably the easiest thing to DIY – on any truck).

    Also, the unibody design (nice if you want a “car” feel) will limit the amount of customization that can be done, compared to being able remove the bed and replace it with something truly custom.

    As far as I can tell this is just an Ad for a Ford’s up coming new pickup truck. If not why weren’t other trucks that have had these features for ages also on HaD?

    The most innovative thing I heard in the ads was designing for the 5th percentile of women. Although that’s not “a hack”, I’m glad to see that a company is recognizing that all it’s customers aren’t represented by the people in it’s super bowl ads…

      1. The standard Ford Maverick Pickup doesn’t really do that either, 23 city, 30 hwy – and even if it did, is that HaD news. Of course manufacture claims and real world findings tend to be a lot different.

        Besides, plenty of other differences you could point out that (tow capacity, cargo capacity, passenger space, transmission and drive train options) which don’t really seem general “hacker” specific as well…

    1. Toyota Tacoma capabilities along these lines are factory (or factory-licensed) accessories, which Toyota has a profit motive for promoting. Toyota spent no effort supporting hacks they make no direct money on.

      So what’s special here is promotion of personalization both with AND WITHOUT the highly lucrative accessories. A major company has decided it’s worth the effort to support, even though there’s no direct profit motive? That’s a notable shift in attitude.

      1. Roger, I’m not sure you’re familiar with Tacoma.

        The Taco has:
        – slotted bed rails, like the Mav.
        – lights in the back, like the Mav.
        – power at the rear, like the Mav.
        – lots of tie down, like the Mav.
        – lots of bolt anchor points to bolt your own stuff to without drilling new holes, like the Mav.

        Sure, just like the Mav, you can buy very pricey items from the dealer, but you can also make your own.

        The 110v AC is standard, the 12v is standard, D-rings don’t need factory-licensed accessories to hook onto, slotted rails take standard T-slot bolts, screw/bolt holes are all standard and don’t require factory-licensed accessories to work.

        What was it that stopped you for doing some custom on your Tacoma’s bed, or made using the rear power outlet impossible without purchasing something special from Toyota?

        I’m not seeing anything new with the Mav. And Toyota’s use of these pre-dates my 2018 Taco.

        I even have a custom roof rack that fits in the factory bolt holes (and I didn’t pay Toyota a cent for accessories to do that)…

        1. The Maverick is tiny compared to a modern Tacoma. It’s similar to the original ones in size but geared toward city dwellers. It’s the truck most people need, but who knows if they want it. If the interior was nicer I would. It’s a perfect step btwn now and future EV only trucks and I hope it sells like crazy.

          1. It’s 12″ shorter than the Taco, and 1″ narrower, which isn’t much (not “tiny” in comparision) but would help with parking in Cities. But then again, the Mav has a 2000lbs tow capacity compared to 6000lbs+ for the Taco, so you do lose a lot of capacity for those extra 12 inches.

            While there are tons of features you can compare and pick at as differences – and I’m not claiming or implying the Taco and Mav are the same truck – my point is the “makerspace”/DIY claims (what this HaD article is about) have been done before by other car companies, and this is basically just marketing/advertising being relayed on HaD because it includes the “makerspace” buzz word.

          2. @Rodger

            Hey, yeah, you’ve got me thinking about sharing some things/projects for that (it didn’t really occur to me that this was something worth sharing or out of the ordinary).

            On the sadder side of things, I need more towing capacity and have to let my Taco go to make room from a bigger truck…. :(

            “Point us towards Toyota’s invitation and support (where is Toyota’s video how-to library?)”
            Ah, well that feels like a troll or something…

            While the 3 little videos (or “library” as you like) are a nice start for ford, note with Toyota you don’t need Toyota accessory or an invitation to make your own gear, you can just go out and do it! For a long time people have been customizing Toyotas there are many websites and forums dedicated to it….. Do a google search for “Toyota Tacoma DIY how-to ” + the thing you need such as “bed bike rack” and you’ll find the instructions.

          1. I paid around $3000 more than the closest Maverick that I could create on the ford “build it” website (both before tax). The Mav came in at $31,529 and was still missing features/options I was able to get on the Taco. Like no manual transmission for the Mav, which was a big factor in going with the Taco over others[1] , funny, but opting for the rare manual transmission lower the price a lot. Things like a better engine, 4 wheel drive, a full sized spare, nice interior, add up quickly on the Mav, but there is another $2140 ford tax for the privilege of buying a ford[2] (not including dealer markup).

            If you’re trying to bring up that the Mav is not comparable because of price difference, I don’t think this article is about vehicle costs, but the ease of modification and accessorizing without getting gouged by the dealers/manufacturers, or having to suffer factory of aftermarket solutions that don’t quite meet all your needs.

            That said, I had very specific needs and requirements in my truck, the Mav (although I like it for what it is) doesn’t meet those needs and requirements. More than wanting a nice vehicle with a manual transmission, I needed a much higher towing capacity than the Mav can give. To get these higher requirements, I need to spend more.

            [1] Especially when Toyota release some trucks with manual transmissions and a nice/premium interior. Previously manual transmission where only available on low-end/most-basic-trim, and almost no sound proofing, models.

            [2] I got my Taco below MSRP, possibly Mav buyers can get their’s below MSRP as well.

  4. I may buy one. I ‘ve had F250s, F150s, a Ranger and even Toyota 22R in the 80s. I worked on all my friends’ Mavericks (3 sisters) in the 80s. This seems exactly what I need. If it has the durability of my 07 Focus (206K miles) in engine and drivetrain – I don’t care if it’s gas.

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