DALLAS -- With its new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, the 2011 Ford F-150 will deliver best-in-class towing capability and torque with outstanding fuel economy.
“Customers have embraced the EcoBoost solution of delivering the power they desire with the fuel economy they demand in a no-compromise package,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “From the start, we have pledged that this solution applies to any engine and any customer. The EcoBoost truck engine for the 2011 F-150 will deliver those attributes and has been specially tuned and tested to deliver the best-in-class towing and capability our truck customers demand.”
The key technology built into every EcoBoost engine, including turbocharging and direct fuel injection, is particularly relevant to customers of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine.
This combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection delivers a wealth of low-end torque and maintains it across a broad rpm range, which is key in towing applications. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine delivers 420 lb.-ft. of torque and 365 horsepower to enable best-in-class towing of 11,300 pounds – more than enough to tow a fully loaded three-horse trailer or 30-foot boat, for example. Plus the EcoBoost truck engine does it all on regular fuel and with outstanding fuel economy.
“Truck customers should think of the EcoBoost truck engine as a gas-powered engine with diesel-type capability and characteristics,” said Jim Mazuchowski, V6 engines program manager. “The twin turbochargers and direct injection give it the broad, flat torque curve that makes towing with a diesel so effortless – and hard acceleration so much fun.”
Up to 90 percent of the EcoBoost truck engine’s peak torque is available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm. A typical comparable V8 competitor reaches peak torque at higher engine speeds – around 4,000 rpm – and holds it for a much smaller range.
“This is good news for customers because the combination of reaching peak torque at a lower engine speed, and maintaining that torque for a longer period, brings new levels of fuel efficiency with maximum towing capability other competitors can’t match,” said Mazuchowski.
This EcoBoost truck engine also features twin independent variable camshaft timing, or Ti-VCT, to help save fuel. Ti-VCT provides extremely precise variable – yet independent – control of timing for intake and exhaust valves. Ti-VCT also reduces emissions, especially in situations when the throttle is partially open.
Independent adjustment of intake and exhaust valve timing allows maximum fuel economy at part-throttle, while delivering optimized power in full-throttle situations. An added benefit is improved driveability and responsiveness across the torque curve.
An all-new engine
Every Ford truck engine undergoes a tortuous testing program, and the EcoBoost truck engine was no exception.
“We’re testing this EcoBoost truck engine just as we would all of our other F-150 truck engines – we have exactly the same expectations and it has to pass all our truck durability and reliability tests,” said Kris Norman, powertrain operations manager. “From our standpoint, this is an all-new engine specifically designed and engineered for the F-150. Everything is validated to the higher stress levels and higher customer usage levels found in any F-150 engine.”
Three avenues that test and validate engines are computer analysis, laboratory testing and in-vehicle validation. For the 3.5-liter EcoBoost application in the 2011 F-150, that includes:
More than 1.5 million hours of analytical time
More than 13,000 hours of dynamometer testing, including more than 5,000 hours at full boost and more than 2,500 hours at or above 5,000 rpm; the dyno testing helps ensure durability in excess of 150,000 miles
More than 100,000 hours of vehicle test time encompassing the full range of potential customer operating conditions
All the tests together replicate more than 1.6 million miles of customer usage – the harshest-use customer. A customer profile reflecting extreme-use driving style, road types and vehicle usage, including maximum towing and payload situations, was developed to underpin the testing program.
The computer modeling and system analysis especially have been key.
“Instead of constantly building and testing parts, we want to be smarter and use our computer skills and our ability to model things to do the upfront work,” Norman said. “We want to get everything right at the start, then validate with extensive testing.”
Turning up the heat
Engineers put the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine on an extreme, accelerated pace. The thermal cycling test, for example, replicated conditions from the Arctic Circle to Death Valley to simulate 10 years of use in the harshest environments.
“On a thermal cycling test, for example, we want the engine to get hot as fast as possible, so the best way to do that is to go full boost at high speed,” Norman said. “To test the structure of the engine, we run it at full boost with maximum load. We run thousands of hours at full boost – conditions not attainable in a real-drive situation but important for proving this F-150 is ready to go the distance.”
The 2011 F-150 with EcoBoost will be available in early 2011.