Boss 5.4 Specsby Christopher Jackson
Thanks to the seemingly endless number of variations of Ford's F-Series pickup trucks and the brand's propensity for "special edition" and "limited edition" vehicles sporting unique paint schemes, it's almost impossible to keep up with every possible permutation and custom trim level. The confusion surrounding the mysterious Ford F-150 Boss 5.4 is a result of this.
The Boss 5.4 may look like a hot-rod F-150 similar to the SVT F-150 Lightning, but it's actually not a performance package. In fact, it's not even a Ford trim option at all. The Boss 5.4 was produced in limited numbers by L.A. West, an Indiana-based conversion company, in 2002 and 2003. This modified F-150 was sold through Ford dealers. Each Boss 5.4 had a numbered interior plate and a certificate of authenticity.
The Boss 5.4 is an appearance package that includes body cladding, louvered fenders, a simulated carbon-fiber "cowl induction" hood, a unique grille and 20-inch wheels. It was available on regular-cab and crew-cab F-150s. The most common color is a bright yellow which was not a part of Ford's color palette at the time.
The Boss 5.4 kit was installed on trucks equipped with Ford's 5.4-liter SOHC V8. This engine is a two-valve per cylinder powerplant that produces 260 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque. A cat-back dual exhaust is the only upgrade to the running gear, though some Boss 5.4 trucks reportedly have superchargers. Ford did produce a supercharged version of the 5.4-liter V8 in 2003, with 340 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 425 lb-ft of torque.
Unlike the Lightning, the Boss' suspension underpinnings are shared with the standard F-150, so the Boss 5.4 is equipped with an unequal-length control arm suspension in the front and a live axle at the rear. Power-recirculating ball steering is used, and the F-150 had four-wheel disc brakes in 2002 and 2003.
- Ford press materials, "2002 F-150 specifications," Ford Motor Company
- L.A. West promotional materials, "Boss 5.4," LA West, 2002.
Christopher "Emmy" Jackson has been an automotive writer since 1999. His self-syndicated auto column appears weekly in print and online, and his work has appeared in "Grassroots Motorsports," "AutoWeek" and "African-Americans on Wheels." He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with degrees in English and creative writing, and spends most of his free time reviewing new cars and working on new automotive projects.