The Guide to F150 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Upgrade. The Ford F150 is one of the most adaptable and well-known American pickup trucks on the market today. The 3.5 L twin-turbo EcoBoost engine, which was introduced in 2011, is one of the best F150 engines. While the engine provides an excellent blend of fuel economy, emissions, performance, and dependability, it might benefit from some improvements. An F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust upgrade is one of the most popular mods.
The F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust upgrade delivers a significantly deeper and louder exhaust tone. If you’ve ever heard a stock F150, you know how quiet and understated it is out of the box. The decibel level is hardly comparable to an inexpensive car and does not do the F150 justice. Hearing a twin-turbo engine spool up through the exhaust is part of the fun of having one, but the original F150 is far too quiet for that.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about modifying the exhaust on a Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost. We’ll start with the fundamentals of the various types and sizes of exhausts before delving into the advantages of installing them. Finally, we’ll provide our picks for the top five F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhausts on the market.
F150 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Fundamentals
One of the most crucial things to consider when shopping for F150 exhausts is the type of exhaust you want. In general, the F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust consists of two major components: the downpipe and the cat-back. The downpipe is installed first and links directly to the turbos, feeding the exhaust to the back of the truck. The cat-back connects to the downpipe’s termination. The cat-back is the final section of the exhaust that houses the muffler.
The cat-back derives its name from the catalytic converter. The term cat-back refers to the remainder of the exhaust after the cat. It’s a touch misleading on the F-150 because the cats are both quite close to the front of the downpipe. Nonetheless, that is the common moniker for the second portion of the F-150 exhaust.
A turbo-back exhaust is a complete aftermarket exhaust that includes both a downpipe and a cat-back. Most aftermarket downpipes and cat-backs will work together, but not all. If you’re thinking of adding a cat-back exhaust to an existing downpipe, or vice versa, double-check fitting with the manufacturer first.
This post will only cover cat-back exhausts, though we will mention downpipes as appropriate. Previously, we published a guide for the F150 3.5 EcoBoost Downpipes, which includes useful downpipe information as well as our recommendations for the best downpipes.
Types of F150 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Cat-back
As previously stated, the term “cat-back” on the F150s is somewhat deceptive. When you look at aftermarket downpipes, you’ll notice that the cats are located quite far upstream and close to the turbo. However, the downpipe goes much further back before coming to a halt. The whole front pipe, including the section that extends past the cats, is designated the downpipe on the F150.
The F150 cat-back is the exhaust system’s second half, connecting to the downpipe. When evaluating the design of a cat-back, there are several factors to consider. The first question is if it has a single or dual exit. The second decision will be whether you want a back or side exit. There isn’t much of a performance difference between single vs dual or rear vs side; it’s all about visual preference.
Dual exits will be slightly heavier due to the installation of a second muffler, however the difference is minimal. Because of the single muffler, single exits are normally a little louder. The same is true for side vs. back exit. Because they are usually single exits and do not have mufflers, side exits are usually louder. Side exits also weigh slightly less, although the difference isn’t significant.
Sizing of Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust
When choosing an F150 cat-back exhaust, keep exhaust sizing in mind. In general, the optimal F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust sizing for projects under 500 horsepower is 3 in. The factory exhaust is largely 2.5 in, with 3″ mufflers, which is a little small for an engine as strong as the 3.5 EcoBoost. Increasing the capacity of your exhaust system to a full 3″ system will make it significantly louder than stock, while also providing some minor performance advantages.
Larger exhaust size reduces backpressure, allowing the engine to perform better. Many performance systems use 3″ piping with 2.5″ mufflers, which is better than stock but not nearly as good as a full 3″ system. In terms of performance, the cat-back is less crucial to update than the downpipe, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. Furthermore, if you want a full turbo-back, a 3″ cat-back to match the 3″ downpipe is required.
Going much higher than 3″ on builds with less than 500 horsepower is not recommended because it reduces back pressure too much. A twin-turbo engine need some back pressure to function properly, and an exhaust that is overly wide can actually lose low-end torque while struggling to compensate on the top end.
Design of the Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Muffler
Choosing the correct mufflers is also important for performance and exhaust tone/volume. The purpose of performance mufflers is to dissipate the energy of exhaust gases without interfering with flow.
There are two types of performance mufflers: baffled and straight pipes, which are also known as reflecting and absorptive. Baffled/reflective mufflers function by forcing exhaust gases through a number of bends and chambers before exiting the tips. Absorptive/straight pipes function instead by having exhaust holes enclosed by packing/absorptive material. Exhaust gas energy is wasted through bends and chambers in a baffled exhaust. The exhaust energy is dispersed into the packing material in a straight pipe exhaust.
Straight pipe exhausts may appear to perform significantly better than baffled exhausts, but real-world testing has revealed that there isn’t a significant difference. Modern baffled mufflers are so finely built that the flow restriction is so small that they perform just as well as straight pipes.
Straight piped mufflers are noisier than baffled mufflers for the F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust. Straight piped mufflers – or no mufflers at all – are the way to go if you want something as loud as possible. A baffled exhaust may be a better option if you don’t want anything as throaty and noisy.
Advantages of F150 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Upgrade
The following are the primary advantages of upgrading your F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust:
- enhanced exhaust tone
- Boosted exhaust volume
- more visually appealing appearance
- Weight loss in comparison to stock
- increased exhaust flow
As you can see, while replacing the cat-back on the F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust may appear straightforward, it actually provides a number of advantages. The most noticeable changes will be greater volume and enhanced exhaust tone. The bigger diameter pipe is mostly responsible for the increase in sound, and the tone is normally determined by the muffler design. Every cat-back sounds different, so listen to sample clips before purchasing one to ensure you enjoy it.
Another advantage of an F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust improvement is how much it improves the truck’s appearance. When compared to the T304 SS of most aftermarket cat-backs, the cast iron factory exhaust appears cheap and pathetic. Aftermarket cat-backs improve the appearance of your truck by making it more aggressive and clean. They will also lose weight over stock because cast iron is extremely heavy everywhere.
Finally, an aftermarket cat-back F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust will provide additional power. It will typically be 5-10 horsepower at most, with the majority of the advantage coming if you already have a downpipe fitted. Without a downpipe, you might notice a slightly more sensitive throttle, but not by much.
If you prefer to digest this content through video, watch our Best 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Systems video below:
Top 5 Exhaust Upgrades for the Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost
The following are the top 5 F150 3.5 EcoBoost cat-back exhausts:
- Motorsports at Livernois
- Corsa Efficiency
- Solo Showcase
- Borla Exhaust Systems
Here are the top 5 F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust improvements on the market right now. This list was prioritized based on performance, design, dependability, and durability – everything a performance exhaust should excel at. Remember that not every exhaust is available for every year/trim of the F150, so check fitment before making any purchases.
1) Livernois Motorsports 3.5 Cat-back F150
Price: $1,000.00 – $1,099.00
Livernois Motorsports is our first pick for an improved F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust. Livernois is a top performance exhaust manufacturer that has been producing products for Fords since the 1940s. Livernois, which is just minutes away from the Ford plant in Dearborn, is well-known in the exhaust sector.
The Livernois Motorsports F150 3.5 EcoBoost cat-back performs and looks fantastic. They have several different catback possibilities. There are two color options: polished silver or black. The cat-backs from Livernois are specifically engineered to reduce drone and incorporate mandrel bends for improved flow. They also claim that adding their cat-back results in boosts of up to 10-15 horsepower.
Livernois is priced in the center of our list, providing high-performance material at a reasonable price. Their exhausts are 100% T304 Stainless Steel and cover the complete F150 model range, from 2011 to 2022. Their exhausts are likewise 100% made in the United States and fit most F150 trims.
2) Corsa Performance 3.5 Cat-back F150
Price: $1,092.99 – $1,345.99
Corsa is our second choice for an F150 3.5 EcoBoost cat-back. Anyone familiar with performance exhaust systems has definitely heard of Corsa, one of the industry’s behemoths. They have been producing automobile and truck exhausts for many years and are regarded as one of the greatest businesses in the industry.
We have a variety of distinct Corsa F150 cat-back alternatives, one for each year. All of the options from 2011 to 2020 are dual-tipped single exit exhausts, however the 2021-2022 alternative is a dual exit, single-tip exhaust. They all perform admirably, with Corsa claiming 10-15 horsepower improvements from each. Weight savings range from 7 to 15 pounds when switching from stock to Corsa cat-backs, depending on the system.
Corsa cat-backs, like Livernois cat-backs, have mandrel bends and Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC®) Technology to eliminate drone. It is likewise made in the United States in Ohio and is a direct bolt-on fit. The Corsa cat-back is a full 3″ system with 4″ tips, making it an ideal size for the majority of F150 projects.
3) Solo Performance 3.5 Cat-back F150
Price: $855.00 – $978.27
Solo Performance is another excellent F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust cat-back alternative. Solo performance hasn’t been around as long as the other companies on our list, but they’ve swiftly built a good reputation among F150 enthusiasts. They have received positive feedback for fitment and, in particular, exhaust tone. The Mach X and Mach 44 XV, which we recommend, aren’t the loudest F150 cat-backs on the market, but they have fantastic tone.
Both the Mach X and Mach 44 XV cat-backs are 3″ in length and feature mandrel bends, dual exits, and dual tips. The Mach X features an MR300 resonator, making it the quieter variant; if you want the louder version, acquire the non-resonated version. Solo Performance also sells 4″ F150 cat-backs, but as previously stated, we recommend sticking with the 3″ unless you have a very high horsepower build (>500 whp).
Both the Mach X and Mach XV cat-backs have 3″ tubing with 2.5″ outlets past the muffler, which isn’t ideal for a high-performance exhaust system. It still outperforms factory, but not as well as a full 3-inch system like the Corsas.
4) Cat-back Flowmaster 3.5 F150
Price: $440.96 – $691.16
Flowmaster is our next pick for an F150 3.5 EcoBoost cat-back. If you’ve spent any time investigating exhaust systems, you’ve almost certainly heard of Flowmaster. Flowmaster, a branch of the well-known Holley Performance Products, has been producing high-quality exhaust parts since the early 1980s. They have an excellent reputation for both quality and performance.
Flowmaster presently offers various exhaust designs, and we recommend the Outlaw Extreme series for 3.5 F150s. Unlike other manufacturers, the FlowFX range is made of 409 Stainless Steel rather than 304 SS. For lifespan and aesthetics, 304 SS is preferable than 409, which is often less expensive and does not last as long.
The Flowmaster Outlaw Extreme series is noisy; in fact, it is their loudest system, which is why we recommended it. Because the muffler is so small, it is extremely near to a straight piped design, and it is a full 3″ system with 4″ tips. It has flow-enhancing mandrel bends but little noise-cancelling technology. If volume is your aim, this is absolutely a system to explore.
5) Borla Exhausts’ Cat-back 3.5 F150
Price: $1,491.99 – $1,518.99
Borla Exhausts is our ultimate recommendation for an F150 cat-back. Borla is another well-known brand in the exhaust sector and in the F150 community. Borla’s Atak cat-back series, which is their loudest, comes highly recommended.
Borla’s exhausts are all constructed of T304 stainless steel and are polished steel with black chrome tips. The Borla system is primarily 2.5″, which is not as ideal as a full 3″, but it still sounds great. It has mandrel bends and reduces drone effectively thanks to the unique muffler system. It’s a straight-through muffler that lets you hear the 3.5 EcoBoost roar.
The Borla system will fit most trims, however crew cabs and extended cabs with longer wheelbases will require extra adaptors. Overall, due to its smaller diameter, the Borla will not perform as well as the others, but it sounds amazing and is still a worthy contender.
Related : The Three Most Common Ford 3.0 EcoBoost Engine Issues
Summary of Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Exhaust Upgrades
One of the best F150 upgrades is to upgrade the Ford F150 3.5 EcoBoost exhaust. You will enhance the volume of the exhaust, polish the tone, save weight, and somewhat boost performance. There aren’t many disadvantages to installing a cat-back because they are all emissions legal and aren’t prohibitively expensive. Your neighbors may not love the increased exhaust volume, but it will sound fantastic…
We made numerous recommendations for F150 exhausts, all of which are excellent. The Livernois Motorsports system is a wonderful value for the money and performs admirably. Another high performer is the Corsa Performance exhaust, as are the tried and tested Flowmaster and Borla choices. Solo Performance is very new to the game, but their reputation is already well-established.
Overall, we prefer Livernois Motorsports exhausts because they offer the best combination of performance, quality, pricing, and durability. However, any of the options will put a smile on your face.