What do you think about Ford's EcoBoost problem?

Ford’s EcoBoost runs rough, stalls, and doesn’t get close to the mileage claimed. F-150 buyers paid $2400 more to “upgrade” to the EcoBoost, yet got those unpleasant surprises. And it’s all EcoBoost engines, not just the 3.5L. Here’s a story from USA Today:

Well for one thing they use low friction timing chains, which to me is just another word for cheap junk. They probably dont have enough strenghth and cause the cams to go wonky. Give me a good ol pushrod motor anyday, never had those problems with the old 351 windsor in my old ltd.

We seem to be going through the same driveability probelems as in the 70s when the manufacturers could not come up in time with reliable emission controls and meeting fuel mileage standards. The current fleet average for the EPA has put the companies on a fast track and as is typical of US firms they are turning out half-baked products. Eventually these problems will all be solved. The Japanese and Koreans seem to be leading at this time.

I would not buy any turbo powered car fron an American manufacturer, especially Ford.

My dad has a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. It has the 3.5L Ecoboost He drives quite a bit and it has 50k miles on it. Per the onboard MPG readout it gets 23.5 MPG overall, which is a little better than the EPA estimates. It runs smoothly, has more than enough power, and has had zero problems. Just routine maintence. A guy at work has a 2012 F-150 with the Ecoboost engine has zero issues as well, though he’s had it less than a year.

So, a motor the customer buys doesn’t run quite as well as the manufacturer claims. Well golly gee, who would have thunk a car maker might exaggerate a little. I think car buyers who complain need to get a life, do a little more research them selves and not depend upon hemis, ecoboost, north star or another hyped technology with fancy names. Ford overall makes solid products but don’t be drawn in by any claims of v8 performance and 6 economy without sacrifice some where. Ford will back any bad performance problems, but don’t expect anything special. It reminds me of the Caddy owners who were upset because their car had Chevy motors. I would have been happy it did for parts availability. Stop whining and enjoy what Ford products do well but don’t expect any car company to not exaggerate claims to make a sale.

IMHO. Turbo charging, whether it be Subaru or Ford, unless it’s a Catapilla, is a short cut engineering ploy to get something for nothing. Ramming more air into an existing motor is like trying to make an already existing gas motor block into a diesel which didn’t work either. The entire motor needs to be engineered with that in mind and car makers just don’t want to spend that kind of money on basic consumer price point vehicles.

“Turbo charging…is a short cut engineering ploy to get something for nothing”

I disagree. Manfacturers have to do many things to achieve the new CAFE levels. If they can cut the weight of the engine by turbocharging, that will save fuel. At one point during design, the Volt was supposed to have a much lighter turbocharged 3-cyl gas engine to recharge the battery. Since they had trouble keeping the cost down, it ended up as a more conventional 1.4L 4-cyl cast iron block with aluminum heads - and without the turbocharger. But as costs come down, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 1L turbocharged 3-cyl engine end up in the Volt some day soon.

Also note that Ford has already provided a TSB to help dealers fix the random stumbling and stalling. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon.

"Well for one thing they use low friction timing chains, which to me is just another word for cheap junk. They probably dont have enough strenghth and cause the cams to go wonky "

Nonsense. I know you’d rather have '60’s tech, but accurate cam timing is critical for engines today, nothing going ‘wonky’.

It could be engine or transmission computer programming causing it.

Or, the likely scenario, to me anyways, is that people buy these turbo cars and don’t want to feed them properly. Most turbo vehicles require/recommend high octane fuel, and I could see several owners filling up with regular to save a few bucks, or are just totally clueless about the fuel needed.

You make my point exactly. Reading the rest of my post, including the last two statements, a manufacture who wants to make a motor from the ground up for turbo charging, will spend more money on engineering and engine components. “since they had trouble keeping the cost down” was exactly my point taking my entire post in context. Turbo charging is a shortcut if the motor is not designed properly and proper design is often too costly. It then becomes a shortcut. Theoretically, turbo charge motors designed properly should have just as long a lifespan; they often don’t. We’ll see a few years from now when the black marks or not start rolling in…
In addition, turbo charging itself adds an element of complexity to the motor ,increasing the chance for failure or poor performance. Buyers not should look for short cuts that are done at expense of reliability an d erfrmance. Poor design because of financial constraints IMHO, are to be factored in.
How would you look at realibility of turbo vs non turbo ? It’s a red flag for me…

Turbos require some thought and careful care like not letting the oil pressure fall when doing an oil change by priming the oil filter and system prior to actual startup. Follow the manual and do the service properly and they are better than the “good old days” engineering. Think of the turbo as a “German engineered” improvement: Follow the Rules!

Well when I consider the Cruze,I for one would go with the 1.8 engine vs the 1.4 ,especially on a car that does short trips.Now on the other hand if I had her for coast to coast trips,I’ll go out on a limb and say-the turbo engine would be astounding,especially when you hit the Rocky mtns.No more then I know about the Eco Boost engine,I would venture to say somebodys been cheating and slipping a tank of witches brew in there ever so often.Please take the alcohol out of our motor fuels guys.If I want to burn alcohol,I would like a “ground up” engine that consumes 190-200 proof Ethyl alcohol
And by the way.I love pushrod engines.The Chevy smallblock is a case in point-if its not broke,dont fix it-Kevin

Turbos in crease pressure which, over time, compromise the head gasket and pistons. It also increases the heat generated under the hood. It should not be used in motors with high oppression ratios to begin with. When used in a larger motor for increased power only on occasion, the stresses can be spread out over time. When used in smaller motors, just to give you power equal to a normally larger motor so that it has to function more often, you either need to build a much stronger motor, or accept a decrease in reliability. It’s really that simple IMHO. Honda, noted for arguably, some of the most reliable moors ever built, won’t use them as a matter of fact. They compromise the reliability of all motors when compared to the same motor without.

I agree with Doc on this one. It does sound like they’re having trouble going to smaller CID and using turbochargers and direct injection to compensate. I’m willing to bet that in this engine they’re also usng delayed exhaust valve timing in place of the EGR system. Combined new technologies like this need far more than the usual qualification tests.

Turbos are a proven technology, and while a turbo engine may not last quite as long as the same engine without one, it’s more along the lines of getting 200K miles out of a motor instead of 300K. And I agree with everyone that’s said that people don’t feed them right–you need the right octane fuel and synthetic oil to get the correct performance and longevity from these. A lot of people never open the manual and put the cheapest gas and oil they can find into their cars.

It’s always going to be somewhat of a tradeoff between longevity, cost, power, and mileage. The best “freebies” we’ve gotten recently are computer controls and direct injection.

The first turbo charged car I rode in was a 1962 Oldsmobile Cutlass. It was the top of the line F-85. It had an aluminum block V-8 engine that was introduced to both the Buick Special and the Oldsmobile F-85 in 1961. The turbo charged equipped Oldsmobile had a water injection system (a water/alcohol mix was actually used) to compensate for the fact that the octane wasn’t high enough for the boost of the turbocharger at the time. I think there were problems with this car and it disappeared a couple of years later. The aluminum engine was replaced in both the Oldsmobile and Buick with a cast iron block. I really wanted to see GM develop this technology, but new technology apparently does not sell cars.

Turbos indroduce more moving parts and they require safeguards to keep pressures to manageable levels. It isn’t just that they increase the load, but failure of some these safety measures can result in a broken piston or blown head gasket. This can happen regardless of how strong the motor is. No thanks. @Triedaq, the problem with GM and their so called development of this technology was that the consumer was the test lab. GM didn’t get that the technology should already be developed, tested and test marketed to a point t was fully mature, functional and reliable by the time it hit the consumers hands. Though Honda, Toyota and others has had there share of failures, a new motor is usually fully mature and reliable as far as the consumer is concerned. Neither is a big user of turbocharging except as after market or dealer options.

@dagosa: I’d also say that the oils of the time really weren’t up to it, and that the fledgling tech along with consumers not understanding how to maintain them caused problems. My friend has a turbo VW with over 100K on it. No problems with the power train and on the original turbo. I do cringe every time I see her take off quick with the car ice-cold in winter, but she at least knows to use full-synthetic oil. Probably Mobil-1 is what keeps it alive.

Turbochargers themselves are a well established technology, and thankfully oils have caught up with the needs of turbochargers, but I wonder if enough reliability engineering was done pursuant to the combination of turbochargers, delayed exhaust valve closing, and direct injection. I know I’m going out on a long limb with this speculation, but time will tell weather my suspicion becomes validated or is just overactive neural synapses.

Friend has an Ecoboost F-150. So far he’s getting 12-13 mpg in town, 17-18 hwy. Not what he hoped, they tell him ‘give it 5,000 miles to break in’. We’ll see.

And regular is recommended for them, it’s not because people are ignoring the octane requirements. I do wonder how well it would do with premium, though.

“GM didn’t get that the technology should already be developed, tested and test marketed to a point t was fully mature, functional and reliable by the time it hit the consumers hands.”

I think that GM understood it, but didn’t have any choice since their development cycle was not as short as Honda and Toyota. That continued until GM established a development cycle that was comparable to the industry leaders.