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Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Engine Problems & Reliability

Summary

Ford 3.5 L EcoBoost engine can be a reliable engine and last over 100,000 as long as the scheduled maintenance such as oil change is performed on time. The EcoBoost engine can deliver up to 400 horsepower.

This article will discuss some of the most common problems that can impact Ford's 3.5L engine

Common Problems

Direct injection increased MPG; however, this design resulted in several issues with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine, such as carbon deposits building up in the combustion chamber and valves and reduced power output. 

Engine Misfire

Ford EcoBoost Engine Misfire Check Engine Light On Common Problmes

The most common problem with Ford 3.5 EcoBoost engine is hesitations, engine misfires, and poor fuel economy, all of which lead to the check engine lightengine light coming on.

Ford has published several updates for the PCM to help minimize the P0300-P0306 codes. 

If you own a Ford with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine, and the check engine light is onengine light is on, call your nearest Ford dealership, provide them your VIN, and ask if any PCM updates and TSB are available. 

Intercooler 

Ford Intercooler problem

Another issue with Ford 3.5 EcoBoost engine is the failure of the turbo intercooler. This problem is caused because the intercooler collects moisture in high humidity climates. 

Turbos on the Ford 3.5L engine generate an excessive amount of heat. 

Moisture condenses and causes engine misfire and check engine light to come on. Ford issues a TSB that relocated an air shield. The repair redirected air to help vaporize it instead of turning it engine light to come on. Ford issues a TSB that relocated an air shield. The repair redirected air to help vaporize it instead of turning it into liquid.

A DIY solution is to drill a small hole to let the water out! This is not a recommend modification for obvious reasons as it can lead to unwanted results. 

PCV System

The PCV system caused oil burning issues that required replacing the valve cover to correct it.

Worn Timing Chains

The timing chains, guides and tensioner, and the VCTs have their share of problems.

These problems are mostly due to lack of maintenance, such as missing recommend oil and filter changes. 

To avoid timing chain issues, change oil and filter at or before 5000 miles.

Otherwise, the timing components will be rattling, and that dreaded Check Engine light wEngine light will come on,

Check engine may come on with P0340 timing codes and VCT Failure!  

Reliability 

Ford's pre-2017 3.5L EcoBoost engine had a fair number of issues ranging from engine misfires to timing chain issues. 

The second generation of the ECO Boost came in 2017, and the improvements came along for the timing components. Chains, guides, and tensioners were beefed up.

The other improvement was adding a secondary fuel injector at the intake port on each runner to help keep carbon deposits from accumulating.

Ford 3.5 EcoBoost engines can still have issues if quality fuel is not used. 

Misfires and coil-on-plug failures can be avoided by not waiting for the 100,000-mile bar to pass. It is recommended to replace spark plugs at 60,000-mile intervals regardless of what the owner's manual recommends.

It is recommended to use only quality or OEM filters and full synthetic oil.

Ford 3.5L EcoBoost engine can last over 100,000 miles with regular maintenance as long as quality parts are used. 

Oil Capacity

The oil capacity for the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost engine is 6 quarters (includes filter). 

Applications

The Ford 3.5L EcoBoost engine powers several models, including:

  • Ford Explorer Sport (2013 - 2019)
  • Ford Explorer Platinum (2016 - 2019)
  • Ford Expedition / Expedition EL (2015 - 2017)
  • Ford Expedition (2018 +)
  • Ford Expedition Platinum (2018+)
  • Ford Flex (2010 - 2012)
  • Ford Flex (2013-2020)
  • Ford F-150 (2011 - 2016)
  • Ford F-150 (2017 +)
  • Ford F-150 Limited (2019 +)
  • Ford F-150 Raptor (2017 +)
  • Ford GT
  • Ford Police Interceptor Utility (2014 - 2019)
  • Ford Police Interceptor Sedan (2013 - 2019)
  • Ford Taurus SHO (2010 - 2019)
  • Ford Transit (2015 - 2019)
  • Ford Transit (2020 +)
  • Lincoln MKS (2010 - 2012)
  • Lincoln MKS (2013 - 2016)
  • Lincoln MKT (2010 - 2012)
  • Lincoln MKT (2013 +)
  • Lincoln Navigator / Navigator L (2015 - 2017)
  • Lincoln Navigator (2018 +)

Ford 3.5 EcoBoost  Specs

Engine:

Ford 3.5L EcoBoost V-6

Engine Family:

Ford EcoBoost

Applications:

2011 - current Ford F-150

Configuration:

60° V-6

Displacement:

213 CID, 3.5 liters

Firing Order:

1-4-2-5-3-6

Engine Block Material:

Aluminum

Cylinder Head Material:

Aluminum

Cylinder Bore:

3.64" (92.5 mm)

Cylinder Stroke:

3.41" (86.6 mm)

Compression Ratio:

10.0: 1 (2011 - 2016 MY) 10.0: 1 (2011 - 2019 H.O.) 10.5: 1 (2017+ MY)

Aspiration:

Twin parallel mounted turbochargers (Borg Warner K03 for truck version, Garrett GT15 for other applications)

Valvetrain:

Dual overhead cam (DOHC), Direct Acting Mechanical Buckets (DAMB)

Ignition:

Coil-on-plug

Fuel System:

High-pressure direct injection, fuel pressures ranging from 200 - 2150 psi. Sequential multi-port and direct fuel injection utilized for 2017 MY engine. Requires minimum 87 octane fuel.

Engine Oil Capacity:

6 qts w/ filter

Peak Horsepower:

365 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2011 - 2016 MY F-150) 375 hp @ 5,000 rpm (2017+ MY F-150) 450 hp @ 5,000 rpm (H.O. 2nd Gen Raptor only, 2017+)

Peak Torque:

420 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (2011 - 2016 MY F-150) 470 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (2017+ MY F-150) 510 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm (H.O. 2nd Gen Raptor only, 2017+)

Rated Fuel Economy:

4x2 F-150 models

up to 18 city, 25 highway, 21 combined mpg (2019)

4x4 F-150 models

up to 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined mpg (2019)

 

Several changes were made in 2017 and newer models. 

  • Start-stop technology becomes standard on all 3.5L EcoBoost engines. The start-stop system deactivates when Tow/Haul function or 4 wheel drive is in use.
  • New turbocharger with low mass, turbine wheel constructed from MAR-M-247 super alloy designed to significantly reduce turbocharger lag. Turbochargers use an electrically actuated wastegate.
  • 4 cores were removed from each camshaft, reducing rotating assembly weight.
  • 10R80 ten-speed automatic transmission introduced exclusively to 3.5L EcoBoost powered F-150transmission introduced exclusively to 3.5L EcoBoost powered F-150 and Raptor.
  • High output 3.5L EcoBoost standard for F-150 Raptor model line.
  • Sound-deadening engine cover introduced.
  • Direct and multi-port fuel injection utilized the previous engine featured direct injection only.
  • The compression ratio increased from 10.0: 1 to 10.5: 1.