The Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost Performance Mods That Work. It was just a matter of time until the muscle car class transitioned to smaller, turbocharged engines. Ford did just that in 2015 with the 2.3L inline 4 turbo engine found in the S550 Mustang EcoBoost. The base models produce an amazing 310 horsepower right out of the box. The draw of turbo engines, on the other hand, is their ease of tuning and modification for increased power.
There’s no denying that the 2.3L EB has some untapped potential that can be unlocked with a few simple bolt-on performance upgrades. When pushing an engine beyond its intended design, hazards are always there. In this post, we look at basic bolt-on alterations and talk about the dangers of altering the 2.3L S550 Mustang EcoBoost.
Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L Bolt-On Modifications
The following 2.3L EcoBoost performance upgrades are discussed in this post:
- Charge conduits
These changes are known as full bolt-on or “FBO” for the Mustang. Some people consider a complete exhaust, improved turbo, and other changes to be genuinely FBO. We’ll write more about those changes later. However, in this article, we’ll look at the finest performance mods for the money. The five bolt-ons listed above can take your Mustang EcoBoost to the next level. Let’s start with some of the dangers. Then we’ll go over each of these bolt-on mods individually.
2.3L EcoBoost, often known as “EcoBoom”
Well. The 2.3L EcoBoost is known colloquially as the “EcoBoom” by some. However, we do not quite agree. Of course, the internet has a propensity to exaggerate things. Ford would not employ the 2.3 EcoBoost in so many flagship vehicles if it did not believe it was a reliable engine. Having said that, the engine performs admirably in its intended role. Throwing more power at it, like with any other engine, raises the risks. Every engine has a maximum power output, and the 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost engine is no exception.
The standard turbo is inefficient.
We’re sorry to start on a sour note, but the 2.3L EcoBoost engine isn’t very efficient. We’ve spent a lot of time writing about cars, and the dyno chart above is one of the worst we’ve ever seen. We’ll give it that the low-end torque is outstanding. Examine the torque curve, especially over 5,000 RPM. It’s dreadful. This is usually an indication that the turbo is being pushed beyond its efficiency limits. It’s simply not a big enough turbo.
This is in relation to our upcoming debate regarding the 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost constraints on the standard block and internals. A small, inefficient turbo produces huge quantities of backpressure, which can be detrimental to the engine. 350whp on the standard turbo is not the same as 350whp on a larger, more powerful turbo.
2.3L EcoBoost Stock Engine Capabilities
In this post, we’re ignoring an improved turbo as a bolt-on mod. However, the preceding part serves a purpose. It is impossible to place a restriction on an engine. If only it were as simple as, “Yeah, the motor is 100% fine at 350whp, but there’s a 90% chance you’ll blow it at 370whp.” There are numerous variables at work. Torque is also a better statistic to use when quoting an engine’s upper limits. Having said that, it appears that 420-450 lb-ft of torque is about the safe limit for the 2.3 Mustang EcoBoost.
Take any statistics with a grain of salt. However, there are several things that may be done to lessen the likelihood of engine failure. The importance of proper tuning is near the top of that list. Having the right supporting modifications also helps a lot. Intakes allow the engine to breathe. Downpipes help to relieve back pressure. Intercoolers keep the charge air cool. Finally, appropriate data logging and monitoring can be extremely beneficial. You don’t want to drive aggressively if your engine is leaning out or you’re getting a lot of engine knocks.
In conclusion, the 2.3L EcoBoost has a strong torque range of 420-450. Check for adequate supporting mods, decent tuning, and keep an eye on the engine parameters. Even so, keep in mind that things can go wrong. This is not intended to deter people from customising their EcoBoost Mustangs. It’s just something everyone should be aware of before proceeding. With that out of the way, we’ll go over each of the five bolt-on performance upgrades below.
1) 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang Tunes
A song would be our first pick if we were only seeking for one performance mod. On the 2.3L Mustang, a tune can provide power improvements of 30-50whp and 60-80wtq. Impressive results for a single tweak that normally costs approximately $500. Furthermore, 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost tunes allow you to reap the full benefits of additional upgrades. Without a proper tune, performance mods simply do not reach their full potential.
There are numerous options on the market, and most 2.3L EcoBoost tunes are difficult to go wrong with. Make certain that you are purchasing the tuning device from a reliable source. Otherwise, most of it is a matter of personal preference. It’s also a good idea to think about which tunes provide solid support for switching tunes later on. As you continue to modify your 2.3L EcoBoost, you’ll most likely require updated tunes to account for the new modifications.
Mustang EcoBoost Songs
Among the finest tracks for the 2.3L EcoBoost are:
- JB4 Burger Motorsports
- N-Gauge Lund Racing
- Cobb’s Access Point
- Tuner for SCT GTX
Again, there are other excellent options on the market, and the list above is not exhaustive. Regardless, they are some of the best tuning options for the 2.3L EcoBoost engine. They’re all respected firms with tried-and-true tracks.
In the BMW world, the JB4 piggyback tune is a popular option. However, piggyback tunes may be a foreign choice for many Mustang enthusiasts. We like the JB4, however if you’re interested in it, we recommend doing some extra study on flash vs piggyback tunes.
Cost of EcoBoost Tuning: $429-600
HP Gains from EcoBoost Tune: 30-50whp (tune alone)
2) Performance Intake Upgrade for the EcoBoost 2.3L
Intakes are another popular and inexpensive Mustang EcoBoost improvement. At stock power and boost, the factory intake is efficient. However, when boost and horsepower grow, the intake becomes less efficient. It’s an excellent mod to complement the tune, and there are other tune + intake bundles available. On the 2.3L EcoBoost, intakes typically contribute between 5 and 10 wheel horsepower. However, improvements with severe changes may be greater.
Finding the right intake can be difficult, to say the least. There are numerous names and terms to choose from. There are several names for S550 Mustang EcoBoost cold air intakes, performance intakes, performance cold air intakes, and intake systems. What’s the distinction?
Open vs. Closed EcoBoost Intakes
To keep things simple, we think of intakes as either open air intakes or closed air intakes. An open intake is visible from the engine compartment, whereas a closed system protects the filter and draws in cooler air. However, with a turbocharged, intercooled engine, the difference is negligible. The air goes through the filter and into the extremely hot turbo. The intercooler then cools it. It has been demonstrated that intake temperatures at the filter have no effect on the ability of the intercooler to cool the charge air. For numerous reasons, we choose open intakes:
- improved flow
- More noises
Because the filter is open to the surrounding air, an open intake has less limits. Also, by removing the restricting air boxes, more EcoBoost induction and turbo sounds are possible. Despite the fact that open intakes flow better, closed intake designs will still provide the same performance, especially with the factory turbo. It’s difficult to go wrong with either choice. It all comes down to personal preference and if you want greater induction and turbo noise.
Performance Intakes for the S550 EcoBoost
Among the top 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost intakes are:
- JLT Intake Performance
- Cold Air Intake Kit by Roush
- Air Intake System by K&N
These are just a few of the many good options available. Finally, if you prefer louder intake sounds, we recommend going with an open intake design. Otherwise, it boils down to personal preference in terms of appearance, design, and price. The majority of 2.3L EcoBoost intake improvements will provide about the same performance.
Price of 2.3 EcoBoost Intake: $250+
HP Gains with 2.3 EcoBoost Intake: 5-10whp
3) Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrade
Following a tune, an improved downpipe is undoubtedly the greatest 2.3L EcoBoost performance tweak. It’s probably between an intercooler and a downpipe. We strongly recommend downpipe upgrades because they provide numerous benefits in addition to increased horsepower. Among the advantages of Mustang EcoBoost downpipe improvements are:
- Gains of 10-20 watts
- quicker turbo spool
- Reduce back pressure
- Exhaust is slightly louder.
Power improvements from an improved downpipe are astounding. However, it’s crucial to remember that many of those increases aren’t due to the downpipe alone. Rather, the increased horsepower is due to the capacity to run a couple extra PSI. This is because they can help flow air out of the engine more efficiently due to lower back-pressure. The pressure drop from the manifold to the downpipe is critical to a turbo’s ability to spool and build boost. As a result, an improved downpipe will shorten the turbo spool time. Improved sound is another advantage. Mustang EcoBoost catless downpipes add a bit more bark but are hardly noticeable when driving on a regular basis.
Catless 2.3L EcoBoost vs High-Flow Catted DP’s
A downpipe renovation is intended to alleviate back pressure. A catless downpipe is the most effective since it results in the greatest pressure drop. Catless downpipes, on the other hand, raise worries about emissions testing. High-flow catted downpipes come into play here. They will provide the aforesaid performance gains, although to a lower extent. Catless are the way to go if performance is the ultimate goal. Catted downpipes, on the other hand, are an excellent alternative for EcoBoost Mustang owners concerned about emissions.
CVF 3′′ Catless Downpipe is the best 2.3L EcoBoost downpipe.
CVFab is one of our favourite EcoBoost modification companies. Their 2.3L Mustang catless downpipe is a direct bolt-on replacement and offers the best value, quality, and performance on the market. Furthermore, CVF has a high-flow catted version for $400, which is the greatest price you’ll find for a catted downpipe. They also sell resonator delete y-pipes if you want to add some extra noise to your exhaust system.
Downpipe for 2.3L EcoBoost costs $275 (catless) or $400 (catted).
Power Gains from the 2.3L EcoBoost Downpipe: 10-20whp (5-15whp catted)
CVF Catless Downpipe or CVF High-Flow Catted Available Here
4) 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost Intercooler Upgrade
FMIC intercoolers are among the best bolt-on upgrades for any tuned 2.3L EcoBoost. For stock boost, the OEM intercooler is adequate. Increasing boost, on the other hand, soon overwhelms the stock Mustang EcoBoost intercooler. This eventually leads to heat soak. The turbo and air become so hot in this circumstance that the intercooler is unable to adequately cool the charge air. A larger intercooler improvement is a straightforward remedy to this problem. Naturally, colder air means higher horsepower. However, there are some additional advantages:
- Gains of 10-20 watts
- Reduced possibility of knock
When it comes to intercoolers, consistency is everything. Heat-soak will be prevented by an enhanced EcoBoost Mustang FMIC during extended “aggressive” driving. Have you ever noticed that your Mustang creates more power the first couple of times you floor it, then gradually loses power? That’s heat soak in action. It might be time to think about an FMIC update. Furthermore, cooler air entering the cylinders reduces the possibility of engine knock.
CVF Race and CVF Street Intercoolers are the best 2.3L EcoBoost intercoolers.
CVF provides two 2.3L Mustang intercooler upgrade options: Street or Race. The street intercooler has roughly double the cooling capacity of the factory intercooler and can handle up to 550whp. It reduces charge air temperatures by roughly 40 degrees while driving on the street and is suited for the majority of Mustang owners. The Race intercooler is significantly larger, with a 200% increase in air capacity and 92 degree temperature savings on the street. It is a direct bolt-on replacement that can support up to 800whp.
To aid enhance airflow from the turbo to the intercooler, each intercooler can be further upgraded with a chargepipe/intercooler piping upgrade. It’s an excellent upgrade for both the Street and Race intercoolers and is highly recommended for anyone running aggressive tunes.
If you can afford it, we recommend the Race option. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the Street intercooler is a fantastic addition. Unless you have an improved turbo, the larger Race intercooler isn’t necessary, but it’s still our favourite option if you can afford the extra $170.
Price: $360 for the street and $530 for the race.
Upgrades to the 2.3L EcoBoost Charge Pipe
Charge pipes are the ultimate performance upgrade for the EcoBoost. A charge pipe is a catch-all name for any intake pipework that transports charge air. We’re specifically interested in the charge pipes that link to the intercooler. Most kits will include both the hot-side (after the turbo, before the FMIC) and cold-side (after the FMIC). These charge lines also house the factory diverter valve. Depending on the charge pipes you select, you can additionally add a blow-off valve. Charge pipes aren’t really a power upgrade. However, a few horses can be had.
The real advantage is that the flimsy rubber hot-side pipe is replaced with a higher grade metal pipe. The cold-side upgrade alleviates some flow constraints and provides the option to upgrade to a BOV.
CVF Chargepipes: The Best 2.3L Mustang EcoBoost Charge Pipes
CVF has three chargepipe upgrade options with prices ranging from $215 to $250. The only difference between the chargepipes is whether you want to use the standard diverter valves or upgrade to a HKS or TiAL blow-off valve.
CVF has the greatest value for money chargepipe kits on the market. They are of good quality and provide excellent bolt-on fitting. If you don’t want any “pshhhh” blow-off valve noises, use the factory diverter valve pipe. On one of our cars, we have a HKS SSQV and another has a TiAL Q. The HKS is the loudest of the two.
Price range: $215-$250
Summary of Mustang EcoBoost Bolt-Ons
The Ford Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost, like many turbocharged vehicles, leaves a lot of power on the table. A few simple bolt-on tweaks unlock the actual capability of the S550 Mustang. Increasing boost and power, on the other hand, comes with hazards. It’s widely assumed that the EcoBoost can produce between 420 and 450 horsepower. Make sure you’re running a good, conservative tune with the right adjustments and monitoring.
Most people will benefit from starting with a song. It not only provides the largest immediate improvements, but it also helps you to get the most out of additional bolt-on mods. In order to promote greater air flow, an intake is a perfect upgrade to pair with a tune. Downpipes and intercoolers provide numerous benefits for the Mustang EcoBoost, in addition to increased power. Finally, charge pipelines are an excellent technique to ensure dependability and an easy way to transition to a BOV. These five simple bolt-on tweaks can boost the Mustang EcoBoost well above 350 horsepower.