Top 7 EcoBoost Engine Problems
Chris is Head of Content for FindTheBestCarPrice and is based out of Philadelphia, PA. As a seasoned automotive industry analyst and car enthusiast, he ensures the highest level of quality across all our content and curates our picks for the best deals each month.
Chris studied information systems and marketing at Drexel University and writes about a wide range of topics ranging from car buying tips to troubleshooting common mechanical issues.
When he’s not thinking about cars, he likes to stay in with his dog and make an “attempt” to finish a crossword puzzle (he’s not quite at the Saturday/Sunday level…yet). As a former cheesemonger, Chris still has a “sharp” passion for all things cheese, and his fridge is always loaded with it!
Ford’s EcoBoost engine is one of the finest engines from the company you can have on your truck or sedan. It is not the best fuel-efficient Ford engine, but it delivers much better performance compared to other engines in its class. However, the EcoBoost engine has a couple of problems you should know about.
Different generations of Ford EcoBoost engines have different “common” problems linked to them. But then, some general common EcoBoost engine problems include overheating, timing chain problems, and ignition coil failure.
This article clearly explains the various problems you may face with an EcoBoost engine – it’s going to be pretty interesting.
Table of Contents
What Is An EcoBoost Engine?
If you stay around Ford vehicle enthusiasts, you’d often hear them mention the “EcoBoost” engine – what does it really mean? Well, the name EcoBoost is Ford’s “codename” for its line of direct-injection turbocharged engines.
EcoBoost engines are designed and developed by the joint effort of Ford Motor Company and FEV North America Inc.
EcoBoost engines are fine-tuned to deliver more power and consistent torque with larger displacements. According to Ford, the EcoBoost engine offers about “30% better fuel efficiency and 15% fewer greenhouse emissions.”
The EcoBoost sits between an advanced regular gasoline/diesel engine and a hybrid engine.
EcoBoost Engine Problems
1. Timing Chain Wear
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 3.5L Models
- Symptoms: Engine unable to start, overheating, check engine light, low fuel economy
- Cost of Repair: $1,000 upwards
A number of Ford 3.5L EcoBoost drivers reported excessive timing chain wear even though they were keeping up with the maintenance. The wear is allegedly caused due to high oil stress and pressure exerted by the turbo engine.
Also, the timing chain on 3.5L EcoBoost allegedly goes bad with the tensioner and pulleys. Fixing this problem costs from $1,000 to $2,000 or higher, depending on the number of affected components that need to be replaced.
2. Ignition and Spark Plug Problems
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 3.5L and 1.5L
- Symptoms: Rough idle, misfires, and check engine light.
- Cost of Repair: $400
Practically, it is recommended to change the spark plugs and ignition components of your EcoBoost engine every 80,000 miles at most. But then, spark plugs and ignition components are designed to last long – even up to 100,000 miles.
A reasonable number of the EcoBoost 3.5L and 1.5 engine owners complained of ignition and spark plug issues, which were typically caused due to excessive carbon buildup – leading to the malfunctioning of the spark plugs or burning out of the ignition coil.
The average cost of fixing this EcoBoost engine problem is $400, which covers spark plugs, ignition coil replacement costs, and labor costs. Symptoms of problematic spark plugs and ignition coil include misfiring and rough idling.
3. Head Gasket Failure
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 1.0L
- Symptoms: Oil leaks, overheating, very poor engine performance, thick whitish or very dark exhaust emissions.
- Cost of Repair: $1,500 to $2,500
The 1.0L EcoBoost is one of the most problematic models of the EcoBoost series. It is linked with constant head gasket failure, which leads to oil leaks, overheating, and other engine problems.
Head gasket repair is one of the most expensive fixes to do on a Ford vehicle; it could cost up to $2,000 in most scenarios. It’s difficult – and impossible in some cases – to drive with a cracked or blown head gasket.
4. Carbon Buildup
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 1.5L and 3.5L
- Symptoms: Misfiring, rough idle, check engine light, overheating, and poor engine performance.
- Cost of Repair: From $500
The EcoBoost engines are direct-injection engines, and this fuel injection method has a higher possibility of forming buildups easily. Carbon buildup is one of the most common problems of the 1st-gen EcoBoost engines that use only direct injection techniques.
The direct injection causes carbon deposits to build up inside the intake valve(s), which restricts the combustion process and causes the engine to run abnormally. Newer generations of EcoBoost engines were built in a way that corrects this problem by using both direct and port injection techniques.
But, if you drive the first-gen models, the only way to fix this is to clean out the buildup inside the intake valves, which may cost you around $400.
5. Intercooler Condensation
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 3.5L
- Symptoms: Misfiring, intermittent vibrations, hesitation, and check engine light.
- Cost of Repair: From $250
Another common problem with 3.5L EcoBoost engines is intercooler condensation issues. This is a situation whereby condensation builds up inside the intercooler and gets trapped there. Intercooler condensation problems were mostly reported on Ford F-150 models with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.
Well, condensation typically occurs when driving in cool/humid temperatures—fixing this problem from $200 to $350 on average. However, some 3.5L drivers that had the issue simply installed a catch can or oil separator to stop the issue from reoccurring.
The EcoBoost intercooler is important because it cools down the air coming into the intake valve from the turbocharger so that the EcoBoost engine gets denser air to run optimally.
6. Turbo Failure
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 3.5L, 2.0L, and 1.5L
- Symptoms: Poor performance, car not starting, misfiring, and check engine light.
- Cost of Repair: $1,000
Although this doesn’t happen inconsequentially, but it’s worth talking about if you’re going to get an EcoBoost engine on your Ford vehicle.
The turbocharger in the Ford EcoBoost engine can fail prematurely due to a lack of sufficient oil supply or too much contamination in the oil being sent into the engine (a good oil filter can prevent this anyway).
- Affected Models: EcoBoost 1.0L, 1.5L, 2.0L, and 3.5L
- Symptoms: Temp gauge always on the red zone, check engine light
- Cost of Repair: From $1,500
Well, most EcoBoost engine problems point down to engine overheating. The commonest reason why most Ford EcoBoost engines overheat is a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head, which causes coolant/oil to leak out; hence, there won’t be sufficient fluids to keep the engine cool.
These are the most common EcoBoost engine problems linked with different models of the engine lineup – mostly the first-gen 3.5L models.
Sticking to a good maintenance plan can help mitigate most of these problems and make your EcoBoost engine last long without requiring serious repairs.
Best Car Deals by Category
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Ford EcoBoost Engines Reliable?
Although they may be linked with quite a lot of problems, EcoBoost engines are the best to have on your Ford vehicle. They offer more power, torque, and better fuel efficiency than other Ford engine lineups. You can’t go wrong with an EcoBoost engine on your Ford truck!
How Long Do EcoBoost Engines Last?
Ford EcoBoost engines can last for over 200,000 miles if maintained properly and driven cautiously. They are built strong with sturdy components; however, you may need to replace some of the parts around 80,000 – 100,000 miles to ensure the efficiency and performance don’t drop due to high mileage.
How Can I Make My EcoBoost Last With Fewer Problems?
Apparently, the key factor to making any engine – not just EcoBoost engines – last long is regular maintenance; changing the oil when due, replacing worn-out components earlier, changing relevant fluids when due, and being proactive with unusual symptoms/signs. If you do all these, your EcoBoost engine will serve you for as long as you own that Ford car!