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How Did Ford’s “Hero Engine” Stand Up?

Posted in Detroit Auto Show, Engines, Ford by Kurt Ernst | January 17th, 2011 | 7 Responses |

Ford's Chris Rahill and Chris Brown get dirty in Detroit. Image: Ford Motor Company

As promised, Ford did the tear-down on their EcoBoost “Hero Engine” live at the Detroit Auto Show, and Pickup Trucks has the full run-down and lots of accompanying pictures. To refresh your memory, the “Hero Engine” was a production EcoBoost V6, pulled at random from the assembly line. First, it was strapped to a dyno and run to simulate the equivalent of 150,000 customer miles, with repeated temperature shock testing that took it from -20 F to 235 F as quickly as possible. Next, it was installed in a production F-150 and used to skid 110,000 pounds of logs in the Pacific Northwest. From there, the same truck was used to tow a load of 11,300 pounds around Miami’s Homestead Speedway, for 24 hours, at an average speed of 82 miles per hour. Not done yet, Ford sent the same truck to Davis Dam in Arizona, to go head-to-head against Dodge and Chevy in an uphill towing contest, hauling 9,000 pounds up a 6 percent grade. Finally, the engine was pulled and installed in Mike McCarthy’s Baja 1000 race truck. Following the race, the engine was pulled for a live tear-down at the Detroit Auto Show on Saturday, January 15.

The results are impressive, but not perfect. When dyno tested, Ford found that the motor still produced 364 horsepower and 420 ft lb of torque, just one horsepower shy of its factory rating. A leakdown test showed that one cylinder had 13% air loss, while the remaining five had leakage less than 9%. Oil pressure, valve lash, timing chain stretch, crankshaft end play and main bearing wear were all within acceptable limits. The loss of pressure in one cylinder, along with heavy carbon buildup, prove that this was more than a publicity stunt: run an engine hard for the equivalent of 163,000 miles, and parts are going to wear out. Ford didn’t even use synthetic oil in the engine, which may have prevented some of the wear shown.

If you’re in the market for an F-150, but had some doubts about the durability of the EcoBoost engine, this should address your concerns. Ford didn’t provide detail on turbo wear, but if the engine was within 1 hp of the factory rating, I’d say the turbos still had life in them. Chances are good that most owners won’t abuse their trucks in quite the same manner, which really does bode well for the EcoBoost V6s longevity.

Source: Pickup Trucks

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7 Responses

  1. turbosrt says:

    Im a Dodge man but I have to say I am impressed. The future looks bright for Ford. Now if they just change how frickin ugly the F150 is so I can get one. You hear that Ford? Make it look a little more like the Raptor please.

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    turbo, you could just stuff an EcoBoost V6 into a Ram. I promise not to let your secret out.

  3. Sounds like that engine has been used and abused and then some. I guess Ford trucks are really built “Ford tough” as they say.

  4. BigRuss says:

    i want to see the insides of a new 5.0 thats done that same test…

  5. Kurt Ernst says:

    I keep asking Ford to give me a 5.0 Mustang, with the promise that I’ll flog the snot out of it for 163,000 miles. No luck yet…

    • BigRuss says:

      had an interview at one of 2 local ford dealers and they cant keep the new 5.0 mustangs on the lot… yet they have 0 Ecoboost/5.0 F150s…

  6. Kurt Ernst says:

    Russ, I’m not sure Ford has shipped many of the EcoBoost F-150s yet. I know there aren’t any in the press fleet down here.