The Guide to Upgrading the Intercooler on a Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost. The 2.7 EcoBoost engine in the F-150 is an excellent engine that reacts nicely to performance improvements. We already published a guide on the top five 2.7L EcoBoost mods. For good reason, an intercooler (FMIC) was named one of the top bolt-on mods in that article. Intercoolers not only provide significant horsepower gains, but they also ensure constant performance and provide numerous additional advantages. We examine the finest Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades, benefits, power improvements, and more in this article.
F-150 2.7 EcoBoost Intercooler Specifications
FMIC improvements appear to be quite simple on the surface. The basic idea is to provide more effective and efficient cooling in order to maintain as low intake air temperatures as possible. However, there is a lot that goes into upgrading the 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC. Before we get into the meat of this post, let’s talk about intercooler design and sizing.
To begin, the Ford F-150 2.7L engine has an air-to-air intercooler system. The intercooler is located in the engine bay’s front, hence the name front-mount intercooler (FMIC). Turbochargers generate a lot of heat, which is why an FMIC is essential for turbo engines like the 2.7 EcoBoost. An intercooler cools the charge air (the pressurized air that exits the turbos) using fins that ambient (outside) air passes through.
The charge air is sent through the intercooler core, which is lined with small metal fins. Meanwhile, the external fins, which are connected to the internal fins, are cooled by ambient air. As a result, the charge air is cooled as it passes through the heart of the intercooler. This brings us to a few key FMIC topics: bar/fin design, surface area, and volume.
Bar & Plate vs Tube & Fin Intercooler Design
On performance FMIC upgrades, there are two main intercooler designs: bar & plate and tube & fin. We don’t want to dive too deep into the technical issues, so we’ll keep it brief. Manufacturers frequently use tube and fin intercooler designs. Curved edges are used on the air galleries, which improves efficiency by reducing air resistance. Tube and fin 2.7 EcoBoost intercoolers are often lighter as well.
However, the overall capacity of a tube and fin design is reduced due to the curved edges. Enter the intercoolers for the bar and plate. This design employs rectangular air galleries, which allow for more air volume. They are also often stronger and more robust, which allows them to withstand higher boost pressures.
Finally, for more strength and volume, the majority of 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades have a bar and plate construction. Some companies, such as Mishimoto, employ the more efficient tube and fin design. There isn’t always a clear answer as to which is preferable. However, we prefer bar and plate designs and have used them successfully on many of our turbo engines.
Volume and Surface Area of the EcoBoost FMIC
Okay, we pledge to move on to more intriguing stuff as soon as possible. Anyway, the two most important factors to consider while looking for F-150 FMIC enhancements are volume and surface area. A greater surface area captures more ambient air, increasing overall cooling capacity. A larger 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler surface area is often preferable.
Then there’s core volume. A larger core, once again, will boost cooling capacity and assist avoid heat soaking. The core volume of most 2.7 EcoBoost FMICs is 50-100% greater than the stock intercooler. A larger core generates a larger pressure drop (it allows more room for the charge air to expand and lose pressure after being crushed by the turbos). More capacity to fill can also impair throttle response and make turbos appear to spool more slowly.
Simply said, you CAN go too big with an intercooler design. The goal is to optimize cooling capacity without creating unwanted pressure decreases. For stock turbo 2.7 EcoBoost engines, a core volume increase of 40-75% is a good number. If you intend to update the turbos, you should consider a larger, more competent FMIC.
Advantages of the F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Upgrade
Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way and move on to the fun stuff. What are the advantages of upgrading the F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC? Of course, many people want to improve their performance by upgrading their intercooler. However, there are numerous more advantages to using 2.7L twin turbo intercoolers, including:
- 5-10whp (equivalent torque)
- Performance that is consistent
- Lower IATs (intake temperatures)
- enhanced ignition timing
- Reduced possibility of knock/pre-detonation
Let’s talk about power improvements with an aftermarket performance FMIC. On a cool day, if you only do one brief WOT pull, an intercooler will not provide significant power or performance increases. On the top end, you could gain 5-10whp. And warm days or after multiple multi-gear pulls, an F-150 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler really shines.
The stock intercooler quickly heats up, resulting in a high intake air temperature (IAT). Because hot air is less dense, you lose some power there. Furthermore, hotter air increases the likelihood of knocking, and the PCM will reduce performance to keep the engine safe and healthy.
An FMIC maintains constant performance by keeping input temperatures low. It may not gain much peak horsepower for glory runs. However, in some cases, it can keep the engine from losing 10-20whp or more.
Temperatures of the FMIC’s Intake Air
The graphic above provides a nice comparison between the OEM intercooler and the CVF Titan FMIC upgrade. A customer gave this data-log to CV Fabrication. The stock intercooler results in a +42°F increase in intake temperatures. The 2.7L dual turbo engine was likely drawing some timing and boost at the conclusion of that pull to keep the engine safe.
The intercooler modification raises intake temperatures by only 2°F, which is a significant improvement. Because the runs were done many hours apart, the starting temperature was greater (and the surrounding air was warmer during the second draw with the CVF FMIC). Anyway, this demonstrates how an intercooler may help keep IATs cool while also assuring constant, safe performance.
Best 2.7L F-150 Intercooler Upgrades
We now understand the fundamentals of FMICs, as well as their design and benefits. Which Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC modifications are the best? Is there anything else to check for while shopping for intercooler mods? The following sections go through some of our favorite F-150 intercooler upgrades, as well as pricing and other details.
Please keep in mind that this is far from an exhaustive list. There are numerous amazing 2.7L twin turbo FMIC improvements available, and we don’t have time to cover them all. Instead, we’ll look at various 2.7 EcoBoost intercoolers that we believe offer the best value for money in terms of pricing, quality, and performance.
1) Intercooler Mod for Ford 2.7 EcoBoost CVF Titan
$599.99 (5% off with code TUNINGPRO)
The CVF Titan intercooler was already mentioned in the preceding charts. Based on that, it’s clear that this intercooler performs admirably. CVF is one of our favorite manufacturers for 2.7 EcoBoost bolt-on performance improvements, and this intercooler is no exception. It employs a bar-and-plate construction with a core volume that is around 50% larger than the OEM intercooler.
What’s truly impressive are the cast end tanks, which provide outstanding airflow efficiency. TIG welding is also used on the CVF Titan 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC. It was even featured on a 1/4 mile record-breaking F-150 2.7 EcoBoost. The CVF intercooler is clearly of good quality and produces excellent real-world performance results.
When those facts are combined with a very competitive $599.99 price tag, this could be the best bang-for-your-buck FMIC on the market. Did we mention this intercooler is backed by a CVF lifetime warranty? Finally, if you’re looking for a Ford F-150 intercooler, go no further than this CVF Titan. It fits all 2.7 EcoBoost F-150 vehicles from 2015 to 2020, and will fit 2021+ versions with a simple change to the cold side hose.
2) F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Livernois
Livernois Motorsports has been producing high-quality items for Ford, Mopar, and GM since 1949. All of their goods are designed, tested, and manufactured in the United States. The Livernois 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC is about 1.5′′ thicker than OEM, has a greater surface area and an 80% increase in cooling area, and can handle 800+whp.
Peak power improvements of 5-10whp are probable, like with the other FMICs on this list. The Livernois intercooler, on the other hand, is extremely effective at maintaining stable temperatures and performance. Even on an otherwise stock F-150, Livernois demonstrated that the intercooler was highly successful in preventing power loss of 50+ horsepower after back-to-back pulls.
The Livernois FMIC is also quite reasonably priced given that it was designed and manufactured in the United States. It’s an excellent value at $699 when compared to goods like the Whipple or Mishimoto intercoolers, which cost $900 or more. In any case, Livernois is an excellent alternative if you’re searching for a high-quality, reasonably priced F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC from a trustworthy company.
3) Intercooler F-150 2.7L Turbo Whipple Mega Cooler
Whipple is perhaps well-known among American car lovers. They’re well-known for offering high-quality upgrades, particularly forced induction systems such as Mustang superchargers. In any case, they also have this fantastic Whipple Mega Cooler intercooler for the Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost engine.
The core has 54% more volume than the OEM intercooler and an 8% increase in surface area. It’s a bar and plate design, just like CVF, that’s sure to give exceptional strength and performance. Again, the $900 price tag undoubtedly includes a premium for Whipple’s brand name and proven track record in the American performance arena. For a high-quality FMIC update, $900 is still a very reasonable price.
Summary of the F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC
For a long time, we’ve admired and respected Ford’s 2.7L twin turbo EcoBoost engine. With a few simple bolt-on upgrades, it’s a very mod-friendly engine capable of tremendous performance. A 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC is one of the best performance upgrades. The modest stock intercooler quickly becomes overloaded, resulting in heat soak.
Intercooler modifications may not provide enormous peak power gains, but they are an excellent tweak for steady, dependable performance. Because the F-150 is a popular platform, intercooler upgrades are abundant. Having said that, the CVF Titan is the finest F-150 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler upgrade on our list. It provides an excellent blend of performance, price, and quality, and it has even been included on a record-breaking F-150.
Otherwise, Mishimoto and Whipple are two well-known brands that offer high-quality goods at reasonable prices. Regardless of the brand, an FMIC upgrade goes a long way toward taking the Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost to the next level.