“Built Ford Tough” means something to the employees of Lima Engine Plant. Apparently, it also means something to the editors of WardsAuto magazine, who recently placed the Lima-built 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 engine on their 10 Best Engines for 2018 list. The 2.7L joins Lima’s 3.5L Duratec V-6, which made the list in 2007.
The 2.7L is evidence that good things really do come in small packages. The magazine’s editors noted that the 2.7L “plays much bigger than it is,” adding it “produces more torque than General Motors’ venerable 5.3L V-8 – an engine nearly twice the size – in the Chevrolet Silverado.”
Aside from the impressive specs, editors were “slack-jawed by its vibration-free idle and its nearly imperceptible tomb-like quiet – perhaps one of the engineering benefits of placing a small V-6 in a massive engine compartment. We’ve been in luxury cars that aren’t as quiet.”
Lima Engine Plant Manager Shawn Stewart said the recognition from WardsAuto is well-deserved for the Lima workforce. “I’m proud of our employees for bringing this recognition home for the 2.7-liter,” Stewart said. “Having both families of engines now being named Ward’s winners really speaks volumes about our workforce here in Lima.”
UAW 1219 Chairman Roger Maag added that making the annual list of best engines is a huge credit to all LEP employees. “It’s always an honor to be recognized at being one of the best at what you do,” Maag said. “It’s a great achievement for LEP and the UAW 1219 as a whole. Achievements such as these solidify LEP as the primary choice for new work. Well done team!”
Long-time Lima Engine employee Keith Bicknell, a team leader on the 2.7L assembly line, has a hand in building the 2.7L every day. It’s no surprise to him that the engine was recognized as one of the best, and he thinks the engine speaks for itself.
Equipped with a strong, lightweight compacted-graphite iron block, and utilizing both direct and port fuel injection, the 2.7L is a workhorse amongst engines, with 325 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. “It’s easy to see why customers have made the 2.7L one of the most popular engines in America’s best-selling truck,” editors remarked.
“I think the words which best describe the reasons why our 2.7 engine won ’10 Best’ came from the judges themselves,” Bicknell said. “They said this engine is quieter than most luxury sedans and quicker than some sports cars, all while delivering outstanding fuel economy. Most impressive to say the least.”
Bicknell was one of the first hourly employees to raise his hand when bids went out to work on the new engine line. In 2006, Bicknell joined the D35 launch midway through the process, and he was looking forward to getting in on the 2.7 launch from the beginning. “To be involved every day with local management, Dearborn management, union officials, our engineering group and the many vendors was an experience that I will never forget,” Bicknell said, adding that employees had the opportunity to be involved in the entire launch process, including the design of break areas and workstations. “We had a hand in every aspect of the new engine,” he said.
WardsAuto’s Best Engines competition sets the bar high amongst auto manufacturers. The list, which began in 1995, recognizes outstanding engines based on horsepower, fuel economy, new technology, specs, torque, etc.
The 2.7L EcoBoost Twin Turbo DOHC V-6 has all that -- and then some. This engine is about much more than specs, editors noted in the magazine. “It’s not just the numbers that leave us smitten with the 2.7L EcoBoost. Our staff was slack-jawed by its vibration-free idle and its nearly imperceptible stop-start system,” editors wrote. To test the engine, editors evaluated the 2018 4x2 F-150 SuperCrew, driving it nearly 500 miles around Detroit in late November. “Along the way, some of our staff topped 22mpg – outstanding for a pickup.”
“Outstanding” is a perfect way to describe this engine, said Tammy Jones, a team leader on the V-6 assembly line who will observe 19 years with Ford in May. “We work hard every day to make sure every engine that goes out of LEP is top notch and the kind of quality our customers expect from us,” Jones said. “When people are judging your engines against all other engines, and you make it to the top of the list, that’s just pretty special.”
Bicknell agreed, and added that it was nice to see collaboration and teamwork throughout the entire launch process. “Everyone worked together as a group with one common goal, as ‘One Ford’ to produce a truly world-class engine,” Bicknell said.
LEP’s Resident Engineer Gavin Pearson is quite proud of the work that has gone into the years-long process of getting the engine launched, and then upgraded. That work, he said, actually began when the plant launched the Duratec engine many years ago. “The way I look at it is Lima did a fantastic job with the Duratec engine and earned the right to have the 2.7L on this side of the plant,” Pearson said. “With this engine, we were trying to improve fuel economy, but doing it in a way that the perception of the people driving the truck wasn’t that it had a small economy engine, but that it drove like a traditional big engine truck always has, in terms of its relentless pulling power.”
Dave Farley, area manager, said getting the engine the recognition it deserves has required extensive effort from the entire LEP team, from engineers to assembly techs. “Every single employee had a role and played a part in this,” Farley said. “It’s been a tremendous amount of work, and we’ve all worked together as a team to get this done and build an engine that truly is one of the best. Making the list is an achievement our entire Lima workforce can be proud of.”