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What about Ecoboost?

In my first answer to this http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2300828/buying-a-mini-suv-lincoln-vs-audi-acura-have-you-even-heard-of-the-lincoln-mkc#latest thread from early this morning, I asked if anyone has any experience with modern turbo chargers, one of which is Ford’s Ecoboost. So far there have been no answers, but it wasn’t my thread.

My experience with turbo cars goes back to a couple of 4-cylinder SVO Mustangs about 25 and 26 years ago. They seemed to me to be Ford’s attempt to get a quart of power out of a pint engine. It worked, and my turbos did not fail, but I know at least one of them was tired and noisy. A new turbo was about $1200 at the time. Then there was a Merkur XR4-Ti that I bought with a hole blown in the top of one piston. After replacing the piston, I found that the waste gate was not wasting properly, and 20 PSIg of boost was foisted on the poor little engine. No wonder it had a holey piston.

So, are the new ones better? Will they last as long as the cars and trucks they help to propel? What do you think?

Just my humble opinion, but I don’t think modern turbochargers are any better nor are they any worse than older ones.
My feeling is that any turbo problems back in the day were more related to the oil type than anything else with driving habits playing a part in some failures. It all came down to oil coking.

I tend to wonder more about the engines they’re attached to rather than the turbos. Smaller displacements moving a fair amount of weight around could likely mean that someone is going to be in the boost a lot more than normal.

@ok4450 I remember that the owner’s manual of the turbo-4 Chryco cars expressly forbid towing a trailer for that same reason.

I avoid turbochargers on my own vehicles for one reason…there are already enough components on vehicles today to cause you grief. I don’t need to add another one to the mix.

Charging works and lasts fine with motors built for them. It has been used for years in diesels and have no doubt it will with those that are engineered with that in mind. But, diesels have different applications in many vehicles that use them and space, cost and weight is not as limiting. I would look at manufacturers with a history of building reliable motors. Subaru has had some problems with some of their motors in the past but I have heard nothing about turbo charging exacerbating the problem and creating additional ones.

Honda has long ago reached the 100 hp per liter without turbo charging and has mid size cars that get 40 mpg with no “outside” help. Downsizing and using charging can be, IMHO, a short cut to better engineering. When car makers with a reputation for small motors going over 200 k start to use them, then it will be worthwhile. Being last in the game has it’s advantages. Bottom line though, if an owner was hard on a non charged motor and chooses to be equally hard on one that had one…expect earlier problems.

Toyota offers a factory optional charger kit for their 4.0L Tacoma. It does not affect the warranty. I would expect though, it’s Toyota’s way of field testing this motor with a Turbo which they may use in future trucks. Obviously, those that buy them are more prone to using them harder. Really, who needs a midsize truck with 300 plus hp and nearly 340 lbs ft of torque to take the trash to the dump. It doesn’t help towing in a vehicle not designed for that increase.

I agree with Missleman. I would never buy a car with a turbo. One reason: it’s just something more to go wrong. But more important, I’m a conservative driver and would rarely use the turbo, so I would be hauling around this 60 pound (at a guess) thing that I never use, with the resulting loss in MPG.

Of course the problem is that some cars are not available without one. But there are usually alternatives.

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I know two people with Ecoboost F-150’s. So far so good on the reliability front. One guy who tows a 7000 pound travel trailer about once every other month says than fuel economy when towing is just as bad as is old gas F-250 was. Unloaded he gets 17 MPG overall, which isn’t bad for a full sized 4WD, crewcab pickup.

My dad has a Taurus SHO with the ecoboost V6. He has about 80k on it so far and it’s been bulletproof.

My Mustang GT has a Kenne Bell supercharger on it. I had the supercharger installed when it had about 63k miles on it. It now has 133k miles on it and I haven’t had any problems at all so far. I only run seven pounds of boost though.

My wife’s car is a 100,000 mile Saab 2.3 liter turbo 4 with automatic built in 2001. It runs a 1/4 mile dragstrip in 15.15 seconds and gets 31 mpg at highway speeds. It also weighs 3600 lbs empty.

So to summarize, a 13 year old design, as fast as a strong V6 with the mileage of a 4, 100K durability with NO turbo problems at all.

Yeah, turbos are just fine with me. I’d like a new Mustang with the Ecoboost 4 cylinder, very much!

Soon most cars will have turbos or hybrid. Just about all the German 3 are turbos.


At least one foreign car survey found turbos were 2 1/2 times more likely to break down. That was a decision I just made. Buy a “new” but dated Tacoma now with a ten plus year old 4.0L motor with a proven record or wait for the 2016 with a more efficient direct injected four with a possible turbo option. Nah.

In the mid 1980s the delivery company I drove for had all Fords and would receive experimental vehicles. We got 2 Mercury station wagons around 1982 to test the 4 speed overdrive automatic transmission. A few years later we tested a 5.0L V8 Econoline 150 turbo and a 5.0L I6 Econoline 150 turbo. I really liked the 6 cylinder as it had a much more substantial power/torque gain. The V8 had substantial power/torque without the turbo.

At some point we may.have no choice. Manufactures have to take aggressive steps to meet new CAFE levels. Smaller, lighter engines will increase fuel mileage, and the turbocharger or supercharger will add power. Why not do both? Use a small supercharger to provide instant power and a larger turbo that kicks in later. Due to the expense, this solution would be for higher performance models.

jtsanders: And much higher priced all models. I don’t understand when potential customers make less or no money vehicles cost more money. Who are they planning to sell them to?

Everything is bought on time and more are leasing then ever before. It looks like few will ever really own the car. The title is held by the bank or the dealer. There are people who will get these cars with the old “sign and drive,” and continue living from one paycheck to another. The only people who pay cash for cars are we old geezers who are spending our kids inheritance.

@sgtrock21‌, high performance means high cost to me, too.

They’re clearly much better than they used to be, but they used to be really bad. In much of Western Europe over half the passenger cars are diesels and they are all turbocharged. They don’t seem to fail at unusual rates, but those are engines designed from scratch to be turbocharged, which seems to make a big difference. Comparatively, regularly aspirated engines still seem to be more reliable, but I wouldn’t have a problem buying a turbocharged engine that had proved itself decent. In a few years most engines are likely to be turbos.

turbochargers have come pretty far. Theres so many improvement i cant even think of all them. to better metals being used to mechanical advancement like variable vain, ball bearings, liquid cooling and many others. as far as how long there going to last it depends on the design and quality some are spinning upwards of 150,000 rpms even though these are usually smaller my point is they have to be perfectly balance and made out of better materials. this is why a cheap chinese knock off wont cut it. as far as the ecoboost i love the idea but i have heard from someone who works for them that the trucks have been having been burning them up hauling stuff around. but if you look in the diesel world its a standard and they prove it can be done it just has to be done rite.

To meet the ever-tightening fuel mileage standards, turbos will be used more and more…They allow a small engine to make a lot of power while delivering greatly improved mileage…Can they build them so they hold up for 200K miles? Time will tell…

I believe Mazda designed the 2.3L I4t to be turbo charged out of the gate. They’ve used it in their Mazdaspeed 3 for awhile. I’ve had my CX-7 over 4 years now and haven’t had any engine problems that I can tell. Then again, I’m almost to 17,000 miles in those 4 years, so the longevity will be measured in years and not miles for me. I’ve done oil changes every 4 months, per the owner’s manual, using full synthetic oil and nothing but premium fuel, despite Mazda “recommending” premium, and nothing of note about full syn oil, and waiting 30 seconds or more before I turn the engine off after I’ve parked the car(per manual).

The biggest problem with modern turbos will come down to the owners rather than the designs; you can only design something so much before human stupidity takes over. Someone that doesn’t read the manual might use 87 octane and regular cheapo oil and pull of into a rest stop off the interstate without letting the engine cool down a bit before they shut it off, leaving a nice glow coming from under their hood at night.

In the old days I would have worried about letting a turbo engine cool down before shutting off, but I doubt you’d find any now that don’t continue cooling the turbo as long as needed. There’s not much to it. Burned up bearings were the main failing of turbos of the eighties and nineties. They seem much tougher now.