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Ford 3.5L EcoBoost Engine Problems-Here’s What You Need To Know 

Ford 3.5L EcoBoost Engine Problems

The 3.5L EcoBoost offers drivers a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline direct-injected as well as turbocharged engine. Arriving on the automotive scene back in 2007, it used the name TwinForce. The general concept behind this unit was to provide a solid alternative to a large-displacement V8 engine. The new turbocharged 3.5L V6 engine provides equal torque and power, to the 6.0L V8 engine. It is also propelled with less fuel consumption and emissions of dangerous substances to air. 

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Is the Ford 3.5 EcoBoost A Good Engine?

Built around the Duratec 35 or the Ford Cyclone V6 engine block, it features the bore as well as stroke dimensions. Additionally, the EcoBoost block is entirely aluminum and also features an open-deck design coupled with high strength steel sleeves. The 3.5L EcoBoost has forged steel I-beam connecting rods accompanied by a forged steel crankshaft aligned with six-bolt bearing caps.  

The cylinder heads for the 3.5L EcoBoost are aluminum alongside four valves with each cylinder. The engine also has Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing with an intake camshaft from the driver's side that has an additional lobe driving. You can also find a high-pressure fuel pump from the direct fuel injection system. 

The 2017 Second Generation 3.5 EcoBoost Engine

Back in 20177, Ford introduced a second generation of the 3.5L EcoBoost engine, that offered more power and was also available on the 2018 Navigator, Ford’s luxury brand- as well as the 2017 F-150 and the 2018 Expedition. With this upgraded engine came a number of chances, with the most notable of them being the addition of multi-port fuel injection coupled with new turbochargers.  

The new Ne 3.5 EcoBoost has a two-primary chain system alongside a cam chain drive sprocket on the crankshaft- that offers a double gear arrangement. Now only are the chains new, but more durable than their earlier counterparts. This makes them less prone to stretching.  

Common Issues with the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost Engine 

With automotive ingenuity and technology, comes issues; such is true for the 3.5L EcoBoost. With approximately 400,000 3.5L EcoBoost engines on highways and byways, the engines have proven to be a solid power component. But many of the engines are out of warranty and headed to a shop near you.  Here are some common issues to look out for- with the 3.5L EcoBoost: 

Timing Chain Wear

Due to the 3.5L EcoBoost being turbocharged, the oil in the engine endures lots of stress. So should the driver push the engine past the recommended oil change interval, there will be visible abuse shown in the timing chain. Additionally, oil that has not been replaced and/or changed can result in damage with the guides, chain and tensioner. Once you have a chain that is stretched and worn, the PCM will detect such and will set a code of P0016 for crankshaft/camshaft correlation. 

Transmission Shifting and Related Issues 

Within the past updates to the 3.5 L engine, there have been various changes and calibrations and operation software for the 2011 3.5 engine models- in an effort to address problems with the ignition, vacuum and transmission shifting. Engine owners may experience stalling, loss of power or something else dangerous. 

Problems with Ignition 

If your 3.5L EcoBoost has a misfire code or codes of P0300-0306, you may opt to pull the plugs and coil boots. Then you can begin to look for carbon tracks on the insulator of the plugs. 

Issues with Induction Cleaners 

Although the 3.5L has not had many noted problems with carbon build-up on the intake valves. Some owners buy and use induction cleaners and inject them into the intake. Some of these cleaners can damage the turbochargers’ seals, turbines and bearings, seals and turbines. You may just want to stick to using a high-quality fuel.  


Ford 3.5L EcoBoost Engine Complaints – What Do Owners Say? 

Although the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost engine is a highly efficient machine, it manages to give some engine owners problems. Check out some complaints logged against the popular Ford engine. 

Owner Number One- F-150

“I have 22,500 miles on this 2017 Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost. It has started throwing a code of po4db crankcase disconnect. I have been researching and there are a lot of Ford products having the same issue. This code made engine light come on and stay on. It appears it's in the computer system, is my understanding. Sitting still, driving it doesn't matter engine light stays on.” 

Owner Number Two- F-150

“[This truck will] rattle on start up. This truck sat for a couple of hours to overnight and the engine sounded like a diesel for between 15 and 30 seconds. This seems to be a common issue with the truck engine the 3.5L EcoBoost. A Google search shows this is a very common issue and requires the engine to be torn down. The common problem seems to be the timing chain and timing chain tensioners. Ford Corp was absolutely worthless in supporting this repair. The dealer was absolutely wonderful. My truck was taken to the dealer on May 13 and I might get it August 16 or 17. Parts were ordered on May 15 and estimated delivery was July 31. That's unsatisfactory! Ford did not have any parts as there are so many engines being repaired for this issue.”


Owner Number Three- F-150

“I bought 2017 F-150 platinum from Levittown Ford I own it less than 1 year and have now 15,000 miles on it. My problem first started around may of 2018 it was random happening off and on I was getting a grinding noise when I started the truck. [The grinding noise would only happen when] I stared [the truck] usually first thing in the morning or if it sat for more than 6 or more hours. The problem got worse as the summer progressed. So, I made my first appointment with Stevens Ford on 07/10/2018 after being told they had a back log of several weeks and this was the earliest appointment I could get. Well I picked up the car at night and the claim they did not hear the noise yet on the receipt it says due shop over load. So, I made an appointment with the dealership I bought it from and the earliest date I could get was 07/25/2018 and they were finally able to diagnose the problem being the timing chain and cams as per attached paper work. I was without my vehicle for almost one month and now after picking it up I still feel a slippage in the engine as I drive it. Now after doing extensive research I have found that the 3.5 6-cylinder EcoBoost engine has had this problem dating back to 2004 and have really never fixed the problem. It usually effects the engine after the 60,000 warranty expires and I have rarely seen this occur in a truck as new as mine. I am fighting with Ford on all avenues to get my truck bought back by them because I have lost all confidence in this product.” 


Owner Number Four- F-150 Limited 3.5L V6 EcoBoost

“I was driving down the highway on my way to work. [I] Hit about 1800rpm in 6th gear when my engine light started flashing, trick went into limp mode and starting shaking like crazy, as if i were off-roading. This proceeded to happen about 10+ on my 25 min drive [and] gradually [was] getting worse and worse. My truck cannot go over 80km/HR with this happening, nor can I rev the engine at all past 1800 rpm. Getting diagnostics done at Ford on Monday. The next morning engine light was steadily on with an engine code p0302 (cylinder 2 misfire). What’s scary was, this happened to my friends EcoBoost engine exactly. Problem=coolant leaked into cylinder chamber. It's a Ford problem [and] they know about[it]. It’s a design flaw. [My friend] had his entire engine rebuilt with a whole new long block installed. Don't let Ford trick you. They know what the problem is. It’s an EcoBoost design flaw.” 


Owner Number Five- F-150 FX4 3.5L Eco Boost

“I have had this problem a lot. [I] Go to get on the gas and the engine shutter and check engine light comes on. I have replaced all plugs and coil packs which helped a lot at first. Then the problem happened again. The check engine light goes off for a period of time but always comes back on. Took it to check what codes were coming up with the check engine light but it has to be on. Took my truck out on the road and got on the gas hard to make light come on. Once back to part store they hooked up CPU to the truck and the O2 sensor was throwing a code as well as the turbo wasn’t charging enough. I haven’t got the 2 things fixed yet but hoping they will fix the problem. The O2 can really cause misfires and shutters. It’s getting fixed soon so hopefully I can let you all know. If you want them to hook up the CPU but the check engine light is off [so, it will not] show anything. So, take your truck and get on the gas to force it on and then take it back.” 

Owner Number Six- F-150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost

“During a “hard” acceleration, the engine shudders, the check engine light starts to flash and the truck goes into a “limp mode” for about 30 to 40 seconds. By the way, this is the fourth time this problem has happened with my F150. The first time it happened I took it to the Ford dealer and they said the #1 cylinder misfired and it was due to the spark plugs. They changed all six spark plugs and they performed a software update to the system. At this point my F150 had 45,000 miles (approximately). A week later during a hard acceleration, the engine shuddered, the check engine light started to flash and the truck went into a limp mode. I took it back to the Ford dealer and this time they told me it was the MAF sensor. The first two visits cost me about $500. A week or two later, the same problem happened again, but I opted not to take back to the dealer. I had to learn to not accelerate so hard and to provide ample room when merging onto the highway. I love this truck, but I hate the engine.” 


How Much Does It Cost to Replace Turbos On 3.5 EcoBoost?

Generally, the cost for a Ford F-150 turbocharger assembly replacement can run you a little under $1000 But don’t forget about labor and parts. Depending on where you go, the labor will be about $500- while parts may run you about $650 to just under $700. Be sure to include taxes and fees into your repair costs too. 

How Do I Get More Horsepower Out of My 3.5 EcoBoost?

Here are the top five modifications that should be done to your 3.5 EcoBoost, according to the CJ Off-Road YouTube Channel

Modification Number One- Oil Separator 

Since you have a direct injection engine, the fuel injectors don’t spray oil into the intake valves. Then you are talking about carbon buildup that can create lots of issues. 

Modification Number Two- A Cat Back Exhaust 

You have to get rid of all of that air! 

Modification Number Three- A Cold Air Intake 

A good cold air intake will be a great replacement for a factory one, providing better flow. 

Modification Number Four-Upgrade your Intercooler 

With an upgraded intercooler, you’ll get better air flow as well as reduce intake temperatures. 

Modification Number Five-Flash Programmer 

The programmer will help you get more horsepower. 

Click here to learn more! 

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