Heavy updates bring 30 pound-feet more torque from EcoBoost V-6

Ford has announced a major update to its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine and the introduction of its 10-speed automatic transmission. Both powertrain components will be available in the 2017 Ford F-150 pickup truck.

The updated 3.5-liter EcoBoost features a slew of improvements that result in an additional 30 pound-feet of torque and an expected increase in horsepower. Though Ford has not released the horsepower spec, torque is now listed at 450 pound-feet. That bests all the F-150’s competitor’s torque outputs, save for the 6.2-liter V-8 found the full-size GM trucks. That EcoTec3 small block V-8 makes 460 pound-feet of torque.

“The Ford truck team lives to serve our hardworking truck customers,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “The powertrain is the heart of every F-150, and together our all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 10-speed transmission will give our customers better power, efficiency and confidence.”

The EcoBoost moniker, which includes the 3.5-liter and 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost engines, has grown tremendously in popularity, and now power nearly 1 million F-150s. That works out to roughly 60 percent of F-150 sales since the 3.5-liter’s introduction.

Though the 3.5-liter EcoBoost is now more powerful, it’s likely the F-150 will be more fuel efficient thanks to the added Auto Start-Stop system and new 10-speed automatic. Ford says the transmission will improve acceleration and performance over the outgoing six-speed auto. It’s also Ford’s first transmission that doesn’t use cast-iron parts, resulting in a weight savings. The transmission includes sport and tow/haul modes for tailored shift patterns.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 10-speed auto will be sold as the F-150’s premium powertrain. The pair will also power the upcoming 2017 F-150 Raptor, though Ford has not released horsepower and torque specs for the Raptor.

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EcoBoost Update Details

Ford F-150 Getting Updated 3.5-liter EcoBoost, 10-Speed Auto for 2017
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The twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is perhaps the most complex truck engine ever built, and now it produces more power than ever before. The engine now features a dual fuel injection system with two injectors per cylinder. One injector feeds fuel within the intake port while the other is mounted inside the combustion chamber. This port and direct injection is said to improve power output, efficiency, and emissions.

The EcoBoost now has all-new turbochargers that deliver more boost. The turbos feature a lighter turbine wheel made from a high-temperature super alloy called Mar-M-247 developed by the aerospace industry. The turbos also feature Ford’s first electronically activated wastegates.

To help reduce the engine’s mass, new hollow camshafts and all-new roller-finger followers. This pulls a total of four pounds from the engine’s top end. Also new to the EcoBoost is a Auto Start-Stop system. Coming as standard equipment, the Start-Stop system automatically turns the engine off when sitting stopped. Once the brake is released, the engine quickly fires up. Ford says the Start-Stop system will not operate when Tow/Haul mode or 4WD are engaged.

Mated to the EcoBoost is the new 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed between General Motors and Ford. We’ve already seen GM announced the 10-speed’s inclusion in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Ford’s 2017 F-150 Raptor. Though the gearbox was co-developed, Ford is building its version in-house and has programmed its software for truck use. The gearbox also uses lightweight alloys to save weight while retaining strength. Helping to shave weight is the new integrated torque converter/turbine clutch. It cuts two pounds and decreased the packaging footprint.

Ford’s software, or shift logic, will help the transmission select the right gear for each circumstance. Real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms keep track of more than a dozen powertrain and driver-control signals to ensure the right gear is used.

The transmission features three overdrive gears to help with fuel efficiency. The added gears then allow for a higher rear-axle ratio, which further helps economy. The lower gears within the transmission are then numerically higher, allowing the F-150 to retain its towing and hauling abilities.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost will continue to be built at Ford’s Cleveland Engine Plant in Ohio, while the 10-speed automatic will be built at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant in Michigan. Ford has invested $145 million in updating the Cleveland plant, while the Livonia plant received a whopping $1.4 billion investment in upgrades.

Why It Matters

The F-150 is Ford’s bread and butter, selling better than any other Ford product and any of its full-size truck competition from GM, Ram, Toyota, and Nissan. With so much on the line, Ford has to keep innovating with the F-150, constantly improving and making waves in the segment. This update to the EcoBoost and the addition of the 10-speed automatic should help boost the F-150’s appeal.

Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Ford F-150 here.

Press Release

May 3, 2016 | DEARBORN, Mich.
More Torque and Better Boost: 2017 Ford F-150 to Debut with All-New 3.5-Liter EcoBoost Engine and 10-Speed Transmission

  • Continuously improving for customers, 2017 Ford F-150 doubles down on efficiency, capability and performance with debut of the second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine and all-new Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission
  • New 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine provides 30 lb.-ft. more peak torque compared with the first-generation EcoBoost engine, up to a best-in-class 450 lb.-ft. for a V6, beating gasoline- and diesel-powered competitors
  • The first volume-production 10-speed automatic transmission available to consumers from any automaker will deliver improved acceleration and performance

DEARBORN, Mich., May 3, 2016 – Ford, America’s truck leader, continues its relentless pace of innovation, delivering more torque and better acceleration to 2017 F-150 customers with the all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed transmission.

The new second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine will provide 30 lb.-ft. more peak torque compared with the first-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, up to a best-in-class 450 lb.-ft. for a V6. F-150 remains the only truck in its segment to offer a twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine.

The all-new Ford-built transmission – the first volume-production 10-speed automatic transmission available to consumers from any automaker – will deliver improved acceleration and performance compared with previous six-speed automatic transmissions.

“The Ford truck team lives to serve our hardworking truck customers,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “The powertrain is the heart of every F-150, and together our all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 10-speed transmission will give our customers better power, efficiency and confidence.”

More than 20 patents are approved or pending for the innovative powertrain combination.

Second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine
The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine builds on the success of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine and first-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine available for the 2016 F-150. Nearly 1 million F-150 EcoBoost engines have been sold to date, with the 2.7-liter and first-generation 3.5-liter accounting for approximately 60 percent of F-150 sales.

Ford engineers designed the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine to provide best-in-class torque for a V6 engine, beating gasoline- and diesel-powered competitors. The new engine provides better low-end and peak engine performance, ideal for hauling heavy payloads and towing heavy trailers.

The engine features an all-new, Ford-first dual-direct and port fuel-injection system. Two injectors per cylinder – one mounted in the intake port where air enters the cylinder and one positioned inside the cylinder – work together to improve power output, efficiency, and emissions.

All-new turbochargers deliver more boost thanks to improved twin turbos and a lighter turbine wheel. The new turbos work seamlessly with Ford-first electrically activated wastegates, enhancing operating efficiency. Light-weighting the turbine wheel – by making it out of high-temperature super alloy Mar-M-247 developed by the aerospace industry – improves responsiveness.

Ford’s commitment to continuous light-weighting to improve performance also is evident in the hollow camshafts in the all-new roller-finger follower valvetrain that help save up to 4 pounds of weight. The valvetrain also features more durable intake and exhaust valves, and hydraulic valve-lash adjusters that optimize engine durability over the life of the truck.

The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine provides Auto Start-Stop as a standard feature, helping customers save fuel, though actual fuel savings vary depending on driving patterns. The technology also contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions due to decreased idle times. Auto Start-Stop is specially tuned for truck customers, shutting off the engine when the vehicle is at a stop – except when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode.

All-new 10-speed transmission
The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine will be paired with an all-new 10-speed transmission for the 2017 F-150.

The transmission delivers improved acceleration and performance compared with previous six-speed automatic transmissions, thanks to optimized wide-span gear spacing, coupled with drag-reduction actions. Three overdrive gears and a wider ratio span enable lower-numerical rear-axle ratios to help improve fuel efficiency at highway speeds, while maintaining best-in-class towing.

Weight savings play a key role in improved shifting performance. The 10-speed transmission uses advanced materials and alloys to save weight, and it is the first Ford gearbox that does not use cast-iron components.

An integrated torque converter/turbine clutch also helps shave more than 2 pounds of weight, while also reducing the packaging footprint.

Smarter shift logic helps 2017 F-150 customers tow with improved confidence using tow/haul mode. All-new real-time-adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms monitor more than a dozen powertrain- and driver-control signals to ensure the right gear at the right time for an engaging driving experience, including in sport mode.

An integrated electric pump works with the standard Auto Start-Stop system for seamless restarts and improved driving efficiency.

Manufacturing investment
Ford announced earlier this year that it will invest $145 million to upgrade its Cleveland Engine Plant – creating or retaining 150 jobs to support production of the all-new second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine for the 2017 Ford F-150 lineup.

An additional $1.4 billion is being invested at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant to create or retain 500 hourly jobs to build the 10-speed transmission.

Both investments are part of the company’s commitment to invest $9 billion and create or retain 8,500 hourly jobs in its U.S. facilities during the next four years. In the past five years, Ford has invested $12 billion in its U.S. plants and created nearly 28,000 total U.S. jobs.

The 2017 Ford F-150 goes on sale this fall.

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