Introduced for the 2011 model year, the Ecoboost family of engines comes in a variety of four- and six-cylinder sizes (and even three-cylinder) and is available on everything from the compact Focus to the workhorse F-150. Popular sizes include the 3.5L V6, 2.7L V6, 1.6L I4, and even a 2.3L which will be offered in the 2015 Mustang. Each one of these engines incorporates a common set of characteristics: turbocharging and direct injection.
The combination of turbocharging and direct injection results in more airflow and pin-point fuel delivery. Using the greater air volume from the turbocharger and increased fuel efficiency from direct injection, the Ecoboost engine creates power on par with larger, naturally aspirated engines while achieving much better fuel economy. Plus, the pin-point fuel delivery of the direct injection design fosters a reduced amount of “greenhouse emissions.”
Still, as motorheads and performance enthusiasts, we’re always wanting more. Building on the technology outlined above, here are some popular upgrades that will help you maximize the performance of your 3.5L Ecoboost engine:
As with any engine, you can make room for an even bigger intake charge by getting rid of the exhaust gases within the engine more quickly. We recommend swapping out your stock exhaust system with a larger diameter, mandrel-bent exhaust system to reduce exhaust restriction. Both Diamond Eye Performance and aFe Power make high-quality stainless steel systems to get the job done right—and add a more aggressive performance sound, too. Each system comes with a free-flowing muffler to keep the exhaust gases moving, so the Ecoboost’s turbo can cram more power-building air into the engine.
The next step in your Ecoboost exhaust upgrade, aFe Atlas Y-pipes use a true 2-into-1 mitered merge collector to eliminate turbulence and improve flow compared to other Y-pipes. Like the cat-back systems, these Y-pipes use a mandrel-bent design to improve exhaust flow and have high-flow catalytic converters to keep your vehicle street-legal. aFe offers the Y-pipes in long-lasting stainless steel or more budget-friendly aluminized steel.
It’s no secret that aftermarket intakes can increase power over stock intakes. aFe claims its Magnum Force Pro 5R Stage-2 intake system will boost power by 25 horsepower and 30 ft.-lbs. of torque. To do so, the intake features a 3-angle filter adapter, which aFe says increases air velocity for increased throttle response. It also uses a 16-gauge heat shield and heat-insulating black powdercoated intake tube to keep the air as cold and dense as possible.
aFe’s Classic Stage 2 Pro GUARD 7 air intake systemtakes things to a whole new level with a dual tube design and H-pipe balance tube—a feature usually reserved for exhaust systems. aFe promotes this balance tube as a way to increase turbo response. The Pro Guard 7 also comes with a heat shield to keep intake temperatures down.
By swapping out your stock intercooler, you can enhance the efficiency of the Ecoboost’s turbocharger. For example, the aFe Blade Runner intercooler is more efficient than the stock unit and outflows the OE tube-and-fin core by 20 percent. In field testing, the Blade Runner cooled outlet flow temperature to 77 degrees while the stock intercooler brought the outlet flow temperature to 91 degrees.
The bottom line is a greater volume or cooler, denser air reaches your engine from the turbocharger.
If you’re not up for swapping the intercooler, aFe also makes an intercooler charge pipe, which features a 3 to 3.5-inch mandrel-bent tube. This increased diameter creates a greater exhaust gas flow into the intercooler, increasing horsepower and torque in the process.
The Ecoboost is a modern engine so why not do a little modern tuning? Programmer and chips allow you to custom tune your engine for increased power, better fuel economy, and more by adjusting the fuel curve, timing and other parameters. Summit Racing offers an array of tuners just for the Ford Ecoboost engine. You can tune your engine, diagnose and clear trouble codes, monitor and log data, and more.
Another way to increase airflow—and ultimately, power—is to replace the stock throttle body with a higher-flowing unit. BBK‘s Power-Plus Series throttle body, for example, is reported to increase power by up to 12 horsepower in some cases. And it’s an easy upgrade—it installs in just minutes!