The Guide to the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine. Since its introduction in 2015, Ford’s 2.3 L EcoBoost engine has been one of the company’s most popular powertrain alternatives. The EcoBoost engine is found in several of Ford’s most popular models, including the EcoBoost Mustang, Focus RS/ST hatchback, Ranger trucks, and the new U725 Bronco SUV. Depending on the model, the EcoBoost produces between 270 and 350 horsepower and 305 to 350 pound-feet of torque.
Despite its youth, the Ford EcoBoost engine family has already carved out a respectable position among modern turbo engines. The 2.3 EcoBoost is a robust power plant that combines fuel-efficient technology with humbling performance. It is also dependable and performs admirably when combined with aftermarket performance upgrades.
This manual will teach you all there is to know about Ford’s 2.3 EcoBoost engine. We’ll go over the history of the EcoBoost engine, the fundamentals of the 2.3 L inline-four, and lastly its dependability and performance potential. Let’s get started.
History of the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine
The EcoBoost engine family was first introduced by Ford in 2009, with the inline-four 1.6 L and 2.0 L EcoBoosts, as well as the V6 3.5 L EcoBoost. The EcoBoost family’s purpose was straightforward: less displacement. Ford sought to replace their normally aspirated small block V8s with smaller displacement I4 and V6 turbocharged engines due to increased emissions restrictions and environmental concerns. The reduced proportions would reduce fuel consumption and pollution, while the turbochargers would maintain performance comparable to the current V8s.
Ford introduced the 2.3 EcoBoost in 2015, which was a stroked version of the 2.0 EcoBoost, which was based on the 2.0 normally aspirated Duratec engine. Inside the Mustang, it has a twin-scroll turbocharger, gasoline direct injection (GDI), and produces 310-330 horsepower. Ford also installed the engine in the well-known Focus RS, where it produced 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
The 2.3 EcoBoost has seen several minor tweaks over its eight-year lifespan but has remained largely unchanged. Ford unveiled the 2.7 EcoBoost with two turbos at the same time as the single-turbo 2.3 EcoBoost. We already evaluated the 2.3 vs 2.7 EcoBoost engines, so check that out if you’re interested in the 2.7 EcoBoost as well, such as when comparing the Ranger against the F-150.
Ford is still producing multiple EcoBoost engines for the 2023 model year, including the 2.3. The EcoBoost shows no indications of slowing down in the foreseeable future due to its popularity, efficiency, dependability, and performance.
Technical Engine Specifications for the 2.3 EcoBoost
Applications for Ford 2.3L EcoBoost Vehicles
Applications for the 2.3 L EcoBoost
- Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2015-Present
- Ford Explorer from 2016 to the present
- Ford Focus RS from 2016 to 2018.
- Ford Focus ST (2019-Present)
- Ford Ranger from 2019 till the present
- Ford Everest from 2020 till the present
- Ford Bronco (from 2021 to the present)
- MKC 2015-2019 Lincoln
- Lincoln Corsair from 2020 till the present
Fundamentals of Ford 2.3 L EcoBoost Engine Design
The Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine is a 2.3 L inline four with an aluminium block and head. The turbo is positioned on the integrated exhaust manifold of the 2.3 EcoBoost high-flow cylinder head. It has an 87.5mm x 94mm bore and stroke, with a compression ratio of 9.5:1. The compression ratio is boost-friendly, and the EcoBoost has a twin-scroll turbo, which we’ll discuss further below.
The valve train consists of two camshafts in a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) system. It features four valves per cylinder, for a total of sixteen valves. The duration of the intake camshaft is 236°, and the lift is 7.9mm. The exhaust camshaft has 224° of duration and 7.4mm of lift. Ford’s Twin independent Variable Cam Timing system (Ti-VCT) is used for both the intake and exhaust cams.
Forged connecting rods, high-strength and lightweight pistons with fully floating wrist pins, and a fully forged 4340 steel crankshaft round out the 2.3 EcoBoost’s features. Oil cooling jets are installed in the pistons to help with increased heat and durability. It also boasts a chain-driven high pressure oil pump and a deep sump oil pan developed expressly to minimise oil starvation while on the track.
The 2.3 EcoBoost cylinder head features bigger valves (32.5mm intake, 30mm exhaust – sodium filled) and high strength, high performance valve seats, in addition to a lightweight intake manifold with a large throttle body.
The 2.3 EcoBoost is Ford’s largest and most powerful four-cylinder engine, producing up to 350 horsepower. The EcoBoost engine in the Mustang produces 330 horsepower, which equates to more than 140 horsepower per litre. That’s about 50 horsepower per litre more than the Coyote V8 found in the Mustang GT.
Explained: 2.3 EcoBoost Direct Injection Fueling
The 2.3 EcoBoost’s Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) fueling technology is one of its most critical features. DI, also known simply as direct injection, is a relatively new technology that has only just begun to see widespread use. The technology was developed in Germany in the 1950s during WWII, but Ford did not begin employing it until the mid-2000s.
The location of the injector distinguishes a DI-system from a standard electronic fuel injection system. The injector in normal systems sits above the valve and squirts fuel in when the valve opens. The injector in a DI-system sits on top of the combustion chamber and squirts fuel directly into the chamber, hence the term direct injection, also known as direct-port injection.
DI-systems use high-pressure fuel pumps that pressurise the fuel to 3,000 PSI, which is nearly 50 times more than a regular fuel injection system. As the fuel is squirted into the combustion chamber, the high pressure atomizes it, reducing pollutants and improving fuel economy. The DI also enables for more exact fuel injection timing, which improves fuel economy, emissions, and performance.
Downsides of EcoBoost Direct Injection
You may be wondering what the disadvantages of DI systems are, and the answer is complexity and cost. Every component of a DI-system, from the injectors to the high-pressure fuel pump, is exorbitantly priced. DI-technology is substantially more sophisticated than normal fuel injection, increasing the overall cost.
Aside from the additional cost and complexity, DI-systems are not the most reliable in the business because they are so new. High pressure gasoline pumps are a common source of failure, especially when experimenting with ethanol mixtures. Injectors have also been known to cause issues for certain people, which can be pricey.
The most significant disadvantage and disadvantage of employing DI is the accumulation of carbon on the intake valves. The injectors in normal fuel injection systems spray fuel over the intake valves, cleaning away oil before it forms carbon deposits. DI injectors, on the other hand, do not wash over the intake valves since they are situated directly in the combustion chamber.
This allows carbon deposits to form over time. Exhaust valves burn off extra carbon caused by the heat of leaving exhaust gases. However, because the intake valves are significantly cooler, the oil is never burned off and leaves behind carbon.
Walnut Blasting with EcoBoost
For most people, carbon buildup is negligible and will not influence engine performance for far over 100,000 miles. However, in some situations, carbon deposits can accumulate to the point where they cause misfiring, starting, and engine stalling. The only way to remove the carbon is by a procedure called as walnut blasting, which is both expensive and difficult to find.
However, the vast majority of people will have no problems with carbon accumulation, at least not for at least 100,000 miles. Some people will try to clean their valves with seafoam, but we would not recommend wasting money on that. Unless you are experiencing misfiring, stalling, and/or starting issues, you should leave your valves alone.
Explaining the 2.3L EcoBoost Twin-Scroll Turbo
Let’s talk about one of the best features of the 2.3 EcoBoost engine: the twin-scroll turbo. The internal wastegated turbo generates 17-20 PSI of boost and is extremely efficient. A twin-scroll turbo is designed to improve efficiency and power over a single-scroll turbo.
When exhaust gas pulses enter the turbo from the integrated exhaust manifold, twin-scroll turbos split them into two distinct ports known as scrolls. Because the pulses are separated, the flow is considerably smoother and faster, allowing more pulse energy to be transferred from the exhaust to the turbo. This enables a faster and more sustained boost response.
Ford’s tuning takes advantage of this, in conjunction with DI, to significantly boost power output and efficiency on the EcoBoosts. It produces earlier peak torque and a flatter overall curve, while increasing horsepower across the board. DI and the twin-scroll turbo work together to allow the 2.3 EcoBoost engine to produce 330 horsepower while still achieving 30+ mpg on the interstate (in the Mustang).
Ford 2.3L EcoBoost Reliability and Common Issues
Objectively, the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine, like the rest of the EcoBoost engine line, is quite reliable. Since their debut in 2009, the series has proven to be capable of handling a large amount of mileage without any issues. The 2.3 L EcoBoost continues the trend and has performed admirably over its first eight model years.
You should have no reservations about a stock 2.3 EcoBoost engine lasting 100,000 miles. Most folks will be able to reach 200,000+ miles without a major rebuild if all maintenance is performed and the engine is stock. There haven’t been many 200,000 mile 2.3 EcoBoosts yet, as the technology is still relatively new (requiring 25,000 miles per year), but there have already been a few that have crossed the finish line without incident.
Carbon Buildup in the 2.3 EcoBoost Engine
However, the 2.3 L EcoBoost is not without flaws. Carbon buildup on the intake valves was previously discussed. As previously stated, most individuals will not be affected by this, but it is still worth discussing.
According to one idea, intake valves become relatively saturated after roughly 10,000 miles, with little difference between a 10,000 and a 100,000 mile intake valve. Another idea holds that performing a “Italian tune-up,” or raising the engine temperature through vigorous driving, may efficiently burn off excess carbon accumulation on the valves before it becomes a problem. Neither of these theories is completely verified, but they are quite popular among the EcoBoost community.
As previously stated, walnut blasting is the only true way to clean your intake valves. The only other options are to install a port injection system, which sets the injectors upstream of the valve and utilises fuel to wash away the carbon, or to install a direct injection system. Alternatively, you may install a methanol injection system and use methanol to clean the intake valves.
Keep in mind that both of these alternatives are costly and will necessitate custom tuning, making them only suitable for high horsepower builds. Furthermore, additional fueling and methanol injection only function to avoid carbon accumulation and are ineffective at eliminating it once it has formed. If you intend to use methanol or port fuelling, you must first clean your valves before installing them to ensure they are clean.
Overheating 2.3 EcoBoost Engine and Head Gasket Problems
The next two issues with the 2.3 EcoBoost engine that are frequently noted are head gasket failure on early Focus RS engines and general overheating issues. Both of these issues are not widespread or catastrophic, but they are worth addressing. We already addressed these concerns in depth in our 2.3 EcoBoost common difficulties guide. We’ll just go over the fundamentals here; for a more in-depth explanation, see our tutorial above.
The head gasket issue was most likely caused by a manufacturing error in which the Focus RS received the Mustang head gasket rather than the right RS head gasket. Although both the RS and Mustang share the 2.3 EcoBoost engine, the RS block differs in that it has enhanced coolant passageways. Some of these channels from the head to the block are blocked by the Mustang head gasket, resulting in overheating. This only affected a small number of early 2016 RS models and was resolved once the correct head gasket was obtained.
Overheating issues were again confined to early 2.3 EcoBoosts and were caused by a lack of heat shields. The overheating issue was mainly resolved after they were installed. However, in general, turbos run hotter than naturally aspirated engines, which may have confused some new turbo owners who saw higher oil temperatures than typical.
Performance Enhancements for the Ford 2.3L EcoBoost Engine
The 2.3 L EcoBoost engine may be found in the 2015+ Ford Mustang EcoBoost, 2016-2018 Focus RS, and 2019+ Ford Ranger. While the Mustang produces 310-330 horsepower and the RS produces 350 horsepower, the Ranger produces 270 horsepower.
However, with a few bolt-ons, you can easily match your Ranger to the Mustang or RS, or your Mustang or RS to the Coyote V8. Here is a list of the best Mustang, RS, and Ranger mods. To see our in-depth suggestion guides for each mod, click the links.
Top Ford Mustang EcoBoost performance upgrades for 2015+:
- Pipe Chargers
Top Performance Mods for the 2016-2018 Ford Focus RS:
- Top 2019+ Ford Ranger performance mods:.
- Intake for cold air
- Downpipe with a High Flow Rate
Mods for the 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang and Ranger
The tune, intake, and exhaust are the first optimal mods for any 2.3 EcoBoost powered car. When it comes to modifying, tuning easily adds 10-20% in power without requiring any hardware modifications and is by far the best bang for your dollars.
After tweaking, you should consider updating the stock intake. While the OEM intake is adequate, upgrading to a performance cold air intake will offer you an additional 10-20 horsepower.
After enhancing airflow with an intake, you’ll want to reduce back pressure with a downpipe. Most of the time, adding turbo headers does not result in significant power gains. As a result, the preferred turbo exhaust improvement is to replace the downpipe. The catalytic converter is located in the downpipe, and replacing it with a high flow one will significantly improve exhaust restriction.
Finally, you should improve the cooling of your turbo system. The most effective way to accomplish this is to install less restrictive charge pipes and a larger intercooler. The charge pipes also aid to dissipate heat, and larger intercoolers can reduce charge air temperatures by up to 40° over stock. This implies that not only will you have higher sustained power after multiple pulls, but your tuner will be able to boost feeding and timing to produce far more power.
Full bolt-ons (FBO) combine all of these mods to easily push the Mustang past 350 wheel-horsepower and 375 wheel-torque, and the Ranger past 325 wheel-horsepower and 350 wheel-torque.
Guides for 2.3L EcoBoost Upgrades
Fortunately, we’ve previously prepared a number of upgrade instructions for the EcoBoost Mustang, Ranger, and RS. Check out our Mustang EcoBoost Tuning Guide, Mustang EcoBoost Intake Upgrade Guide, Mustang EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrade Guide, and Mustang EcoBoost Intercooler Upgrade Guide for more information on the Mustang. We also offer a Top 5 Mustang EcoBoost Mod Guide with information on all of them and more.
Related : The Guide to Upgrading the Downpipe on a Ford Ranger 2.3L EcoBoost
Conclusion of the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Guide
Overall, the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine is a dependable engine and an excellent power plant for projects. Despite its relatively short history, everything in the first eight years has been encouraging. With the exception of a few early difficulties with the head gasket and heat shields, the 2.3 EcoBoost has proven to be a pretty dependable machine.
Furthermore, the EcoBoost enjoys generating power with bolt-on modifications. Simply increasing the tune, intake, exhaust, and intercooler will put the Mustang EcoBoost on par with the Coyote V8-powered Mustang GT. It can also make the Ranger compete with the more expensive F-150, which comes with either the larger 2.7 or 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engines. We strongly recommend the 2.3 EcoBoost to anyone searching for a dependable turbo-four with limitless potential.