The Engines for Ford F-150: 5.0 Coyote vs. 3.5 EcoBoost. The 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L Coyote engines debuted on the 12th generation F-150. They were retained in the 13th generation F-150 and will be carried over to the next 14th generation. From the factory, both engines produce comparable power, torque, and performance. The engines, however, do so in quite different ways. In this article, we will examine the performance, tuning, reliability, towing, and fuel efficiency of two engines.
Engine: 3.5L V6 EcoBoost F-150
The 3.5L EcoBoost engine from Ford is also known as the 3.5 EB. The EcoBoost V6 engine employs twin turbos and direct injection, allowing it to punch well above its weight class while boosting fuel efficiency. BorgWarner turbochargers deliver up to 15 pounds of boost in the F-150 EB. It’s also worth noting that the 3.5L EcoBoost has two generations.
The 3.5 EB engine produced 365 horsepower and 420 torque in its first iteration (2011-2016). Those are already outstanding figures for a relatively tiny 3.5L V6 engine. The second generation 3.5 EcoBoost (2017+) gains a modest boost in horsepower to 375hp while torque increases to 470.
First Generation 3.5L EcoBoost vs. Second Generation
In addition to greater power and torque, the second generation 3.5 EB receives the following updates:
- 10-speed automatic
- Fuel injection at the point of use
- Wastegates made of electronic components
- Redesigned turbos
- 10.5:1 compression ratio
- The timing chain has been updated.
This is not an all-inclusive list of all the updates. However, the upgrades listed above are just a handful of the most critical. 2017 and later F-150s with the second-generation 3.5 EcoBoost engine get a 10-speed automatic transmission. Along with direct injection, port fuel injection is used. This aids in the prevention of carbon buildup on intake valves. Electronically actuated wastegates improve boost precision. The turbos are also updated. This incorporates lighter turbine wheels that respond faster. Higher compression ratios help the second-generation EcoBoost engine produce more torque. Finally, the timing chain upgrade fixes a widespread issue on first-generation engines.
Engine: 5.0L Coyote V8 Ford F-150
The 5.0L Coyote engine is the same fundamental engine design utilized in Mustang GTs from 2011 onwards. The engine is a 5.0L NA V8. The F-150, on the other hand, gets a distinct Coyote variation. The F-150’s design prioritizes low-end torque. It does, however, give up some power when compared to the Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote model.
The 5.0 Coyote, like the EcoBoost, undergoes some upgrades over the course of its life. The 5.0L engine found in the F-150 presently comes in three generations. The end result is as follows:
- First Generation 5.0 (2011-2014): 360hp / 380tq
- Second Generation 5.0 (2015-2017): 385hp / 387tq
- Third Generation 5.0 (2018+): 395hp / 400tq
We’ll save you the hassle of authoring a lengthy section on the updates. In this essay, we discussed the Coyote 5.0 generations. While the Mustang GT and F-150 5.0 models differ slightly, many of the improvements are the same. We’ll also elaborate on this in a future post and include a link to it. For the time being, let’s compare the 3.5 EcoBoost and 5.0 Coyote.
3.5L EcoBoost vs. 5.0L Coyote Performance
There’s a lot to cover here, so we’ll keep things brief in order not to bore everyone. To begin, we want to limit performance to the engines themselves. However, a few words should be added. The 3.5L and 5.0L engines have survived the 12th, 13th, and 14th generation Ford F-150s. Non-engine adjustments have an impact on performance over generations. For example, the 10-speed automatic transmission outperforms the earlier 6-speed automatic by a wide margin.
The 3.5L EcoBoost engine is a superior performing engine for daily driving and towing right out of the box. The 3.5 EcoBoost dual turbos provide low- and mid-range torque that the NA 5.0 just cannot match. However, because of the nature of smaller turbos, they struggle to breathe well at the top end. Above 5,500 RPM, the 5.0 Coyote F-150 engine becomes more powerful. It may appeal to some people. However, most people aren’t continually revving their F-150s to 5,500+ RPMs. Even if you are, the 3.5L EcoBoost is a close match on the top end and completely smashes the 5.0 Coyote in the middle.
The 5.0 Coyote engine isn’t awful at all. That is not what we are getting at. Both engines produce very similar power, which should be more than enough for the great majority of F-150 customers. The 3.5 EcoBoost, on the other hand, is our pick for performance, daily driving, and towing. It will perform equally well, if not better, than the 5.0L engine.
F-150 3.5 EcoBoost Tuning Possibilities
If you want to get even more power out of your F-150, the 3.5L EcoBoost engine with its remarkable tuning options is a must-consider. The 3.5 EB particularly excels with aftermarket modifications. A excellent example is the dyno chart below:
Dyno 3.5L EcoBoost
Remember that dynos read numbers to the wheels, not the crank. The dyno above depicts a 2017 F-150 with a tune-only. With 93 octane, this truck produces 390whp and 497wtq. Assuming a usual 15% drive-train loss, that translates to around 460hp and 585tq. You can also notice how quickly the 3.5L EcoBoost delivers torque.
That is, once again, a tune-only 3.5L EcoBoost engine. It is capable of exceeding 600 horsepower with additional improvements and better fuel. Mods to obtain that level of power are likewise rather inexpensive. It’s cool even if not everyone wants to spend $3,000 on an F-150 with 600+ horsepower. It’s also relatively inexpensive to produce that much power when compared to NA engines like the 5.0 Coyote.
5.0L Coyote Tuning Possibilities
If you prioritize tuning potential, power, and torque, we strongly suggest staying with the 3.5L EcoBoost. Despite being a naturally aspirated engine, the 5.0L nevertheless responds well to modifications. However, to exceed 500 horsepower, forced induction will be required. This can quickly build up to a significant sum of money.
F-150 3.5 EB versus 5.0L Coyote Reliability
Before we go into reliability, both of these engines, encompassing all of their generations, are overall reliable. The F-150 is built to withstand whatever you throw at it. They are really good at their jobs. Of course, no engine is flawless, so we’ll go over some of the most prevalent issues and dependability issues below.
3.5L EcoBoost Reliability and Common Issues
Turbocharged engines used to get a lot of flak for having maintenance and dependability issues. Even today, some people equate turbos with a plethora of typical issues and headaches. However, turbocharging technology has advanced significantly in the recent two decades. Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost is an excellent illustration of this, as it is a dependable engine with minimal typical faults. Among the most prevalent issues are:
- Chain of events
- Carbon accumulation on intake valves
These faults are mostly limited to the first generation EcoBoost engine seen in models from 2011 to 2016. The timing chain is prone to problems and premature failure. Ford did recall certain F-150s due to a timing chain problem. Furthermore, we don’t consider the 3.5 EcoBoost carbon buildup to be a major issue. Because fuel is sprayed directly into the cylinders, this is simply the nature of directed injected engines. There is no gasoline washing over the intake valves to remove naturally occurring oil blow-by. That oil clogs the 3.5 liter EcoBoost’s intake valves and inhibits air flow over time. To remove carbon deposits from the 3.5 EcoBoost valves, walnut blasting is a preferred approach.
These two issues were rectified with the second generation of the 3.5L EcoBoost, which debuted in 2017. To boost reliability, the timing chain was redesigned. In addition to direct injection, it has port fuel injection. This assists the 3.5 EB in avoiding carbon buildup issues. Ultimately, this resolves the engine’s primary flaws. However, the notions discussed below remain valid. Check out this article for more details on 3.5 EcoBoost reliability and problems.
Reliability of the 5.0L Coyote and Common Issues
We don’t really have anything to say about the F-150 5.0 troubles. That’s fantastic. However, this is also an excellent occasion to stray into generic reliability principles. Again, no engine is perfect, and the 5.0 Coyote is no different. We won’t go into detail about any specific issues with the 5.0 Coyote in this post. Check check this article about Ford 5.0 Coyote dependability and difficulties.
However, difficulties do occur, and chances are you’ll encounter at least one or two during your ownership of a 5.0 F150. This is especially true for the early 5.0 engines, which are already nearly a decade old. The engine internals should be able to go 200,000 miles or more. However, age and heavy miles place a significant strain on wear and tear components. This includes things like gaskets, belts, and hoses. It’s not accurate to say that’s a widespread issue with the 5.0 Coyote. It’s just the way engines work as they age. Of course, adequate maintenance is also essential for dependability.
All of these ideas may be applied to the 3.5L EcoBoost as well. The point is, the 5.0 Coyote in the F-150 has no severe common flaws. Problems can and do occur. The reliability of the F-150 5.0 is determined in part by luck of the draw and maintenance history. Nonetheless, most users should have a relatively trouble-free experience with this engine.
Overall Thoughts on the Reliability of the Ford F-150
There is no apparent winner when it comes to 3.5L EcoBoost vs 5.0L Coyote reliability. Overall, both engines are dependable. Ford solved a few well-documented issues with the previous 2011-2016 EcoBoost engines in the 2017+ engine. They’re still minor drawbacks for an engine that’s otherwise extremely dependable. The 2017+ 3.5 and all 5.0s are in the same ballpark. There are no prevalent issues that point to design errors. Rather, most failures are the result of random chance, bad maintenance, and so on.
One additional point to highlight is that Fords in general seem to have a lot of transmission issues. Many, in fact, more than many other firms. It’s not an engine issue, but it’s worth noting. Transmissions may not be available on a large percentage of F-150s, but they are a very real possibility. This is true for both the 3.5 EcoBoost and the 5.0 Coyote.
Towing capacity: 3.5 EcoBoost compared. 5.0 Coyote
Towing capacity is affected by the truck’s specific arrangement. For instance, 2WD vs 4WD versions. It will also differ based on the truck’s particular generation. The point is, rather of providing a comprehensive list of towing capacity, we’ll focus on the big picture. We’ll also keep this portion brief.
The 3.5L EcoBoost engine is superior for towing. If everything else is equal, the EcoBoost has a higher towing capacity. It’s also a better engine in general for towing, regardless of weight. This relates to what we mentioned earlier about performance and torque. The 3.5 EcoBoost is simply a better engine in the low and mid-rev ranges. That is frequently where towing performance is determined, and the twin turbo arrangement offers it an advantage.
Of course, the 5.0L engine is still capable of towing a significant amount of weight. Both F-150 engines, when properly configured, should be able to haul most boats, campers, and other vehicles. Anyone searching for heavy duty towing capacity is probably looking at an F-250 or F-350. Most people who aren’t trying to haul anything too heavy should be fine with the 3.5L and 5.0L F-150s.
F-150 3.5L vs. 5.0L Fuel Economy
To the above, we’ll adopt a similar strategy. Exact fuel efficiency is determined by transmission, generation, driving style, towing or not towing, and other factors. While you can simply look up the stats online, we’ll focus on the most fascinating section. It’s the information you’d have to look for otherwise.
The 3.5 EB has a higher fuel economy rating. It’s certainly true for individuals who have a relatively soft foot. Here’s the issue with turbo engine fuel economy ratings. They are usually classified for light driving. When you start using the turbocharger’s power and torque, things soon degrade. Quite quickly. One of our older 335i dual turbo 6 cylinder BMWs gets 20 mpg in the city. We have heavy feet around here, thus our city mileage is closer to 14mpg. They’re probably not driving their EcoBoost F-150 like we do our BMW. Nonetheless, the principle lives on. When called upon, turbo engines can devour gas.
In conclusion, the 3.5L EcoBoost outperforms the 5.0L Coyote in terms of fuel efficiency. A lead foot, on the other hand, will make the 3.5L EcoBoost look more like a Coyote. They’re not the most fuel-efficient trucks, but they’re still trucks with quite strong engines. All things considered, their fuel efficiency is quite respectable.
Summary of the F-150 3.5 EcoBoost vs. 5.0 Coyote
The 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L Coyote-powered F-150s are both fantastic trucks in every way. The performance of the engines is comparable from the factory. The EcoBoost, on the other hand, has significantly higher torque. The 3.5 EB dual turbos’ design also allows for a lot of potential with simple mods. With a tune and some basic bolt-on modifications, 600+ horsepower is achievable. Ford’s F-150 5.0 Coyote responds well to basic tweaks as well, but lacks the same potential without forced induction.
Importantly, both the 3.5 and 5.0 engines are overall dependable. The early 3.5 EcoBoost has a handful of common issues, although they’re minor in the great scheme of things. Otherwise, 2017+ 3.5s and all 5.0s are about as dependable as it gets. Problems can and will arise, especially as the vehicle ages and mileage increases. Aside from that, the 3.5L EB engine has a modest advantage in terms of fuel economy and towing capacity.
We hate to say it since the F-150 5.0L Coyote engine is fantastic in every way. However, we must state the obvious. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine outperforms the 5.0 Coyote in every way. It outperforms in terms of torque, tuning potential, fuel efficiency, and towing capability. We believe that the power band and low-end torque make it a better daily driver. In terms of dependability, the two engines are likewise fairly close. Again, both engines are fantastic, but we prefer the 3.5L EcoBoost.