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I like the wider portion up front to possibly add a bit more protection from any thrown rocks.
Also, in regard to the are they installed backwards by mistake question they are marked "L" and "R" on the bottom under the Raptor logo so wider in front seems to be how it's supposed to be. That said, if you like them reversed go for it.
What was the purpose of the grooves lining up one way but not the other?The purpose of the wider front is for people of average height to stand toward the front and be able to reach the center windshield to clean it down when needed. Theres no need to stand on the rear portion because you have access from the bed if you need to climb up there. Putting the narrow steps on the front prevent that extra foot step to reach then front end of the truck.
What was the purpose of the grooves lining up one way but not the other?
The intended purpose oem manufacrurer designed them for are different from what ford prioritized when placing them on the truck. Very few people under 6 feet tall would be able to reach the windshield without stepping on those fully extended rails to brush snow off the center windshield or clean the center. So my thoughts is ford considered that as more important when they placed them on the raptor.What was the purpose of the grooves lining up one way but not the other?