The Ultimate Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine Manual. Despite its brief lifespan, the Ford 5.2 Voodoo engine was formerly one of the best naturally aspirated V8s available on the American market. Ford only used it in the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R, but it was magnificent. The 5.2 Voodoo engine produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque from a naturally aspirated aluminum block. It has the sense of a 1960s big-block, yet with all the current conveniences.
The Voodoo is part of Ford’s modular V8 engine family, however it has a different block than the 5.0 Coyote. The adoption of a flat-plane crankshaft rather than a cross-plane, inspired by the Ferrari F136 IB V8, distinguished the 5.2 Voodoo from virtually every other Ford engine. It has a top speed of 8,250 rpm and a frightful and interesting sound thanks to the unusual crank.
History of the Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine
For the 2016 model year, Ford debuted the 5.2 Voodoo engine. The engine was only available for the 2016-2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R. Many people believe it is merely a bored and stroked version of the smaller 5.0 Coyote engine, but it actually uses a whole new block.
Throughout the voodoo’s five model years, power output stayed consistent at 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. Ward’s Auto recognized the Voodoo Engine of the Year in 2016, calling it “praiseworthy” and “remarkable.” According to Ward’s, Ford drew inspiration for the engine from the F136 IB V8 found inside the Ferrari California. The F136 had a flat-plane crank as well, and Ford used it as a “benchmark” to compare the Voodoo against.
The 5.2 Voodoo was created by Ford to be a track-ready monster that can also be used on the street. It features a massive powerband that can provide peak torque from 3,450 rpm to 7,000 rpm. The redline of 8,250 rpm allows the Voodoo to be really revved out in between shifts.
Predator Variant 5.2
Unfortunately, the 5.2 Voodoo engine was phased out in 2020, when the Shelby GT350/R was replaced by the Shelby GT500. The 5.2 Predator V8 engine powers the GT500. The Predator has the same bore, stroke, and displacement as the Voodoo, but it has an Eaton TVS R2650 (2.65 liter) supercharger. The power output is significantly higher, with 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque.
The Predator, unlike the 5.2 Voodoo, may be purchased as a crate engine from Ford Performance. Since the 2020 model year, the 5.2 Predator has been in production. It was the sole power plant for the Shelby GT500 from 2020 to 2022, and it will be inside the high-performance F-150 Raptor R starting with the 2023 model year. The Raptor R’s performance is marginally lower, with 700 horsepower and 640 lb-ft of torque.
5.2 Specifications of the Voodoo Engine
Vehicles with Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine
The 5.2 Voodoo engine was used in the following Ford models:
- Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 (2016-2020)
- Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R 2016-2020
Basics of Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine Design
The Ford Voodoo engine is a V8 engine with a 5.2 liter (315 cid) displacement and a cast aluminum head and block. The engine has a diameter and stroke of 3.70′′ x 3.66′′ (94mm × 93mm) and is naturally aspirated. It’s based on the Ford modular V8 engine family, however it’s built on a different block than the 5.0 Coyote. In comparison to the Coyote block, the Voodoo block features different bores, water jackets, and head bolts. In place of iron cylinder liners, Ford used its unique plasma transmitted wire arc cylinder-liner technology on the Voodoo to reinforce strength.
The pistons are made of forged aluminum, the connecting rods of forged micro-alloyed steel, and the crankshaft is made of forged steel. The crankshaft is also “gun drilled” to save weight and pumping force, and the pistons include oil-cooling jets. Compression is exceptionally high at 12.0:1, and volumetric efficiency is 110%.
The intake and exhaust valves each have 14 mm of lift and a lengthy duration, which contributes to the high VE. Beehive valve springs are used in the engine, and the intake valve stems are hollow, while the exhaust valves are filled with salt.
The engine has four cams and a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) configuration. The engine has four valves per cylinder for a total of 32 valves, and it uses Ford’s twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) for fuel economy and performance. Fuel is delivered via twin high-flow fuel pumps and sequential multi-point electronic port fuel injection.
The intake manifold is composed of composite plastic with a scroll design and, like the 5.0 Coyote, features charge motion control valves for fuel economy and low-end torque. The 5.2 Voodoo engine employs hand-tig-welded tubular stainless steel exhaust headers with a 4-3-1 configuration and a crossover pipe.
Ford’s 5.2L Flat-plane Crankshaft
As previously stated, the 5.2 Voodoo engine is unique in that it has a flat-plane crankshaft. According to Ward’s, the flat-plane crankshaft is extremely uncommon for V8 American production engines yet offers numerous advantages. Cross-plane crankshafts have traditionally been used in American V8 engines. The location of the connecting rods on the crankshaft distinguishes the two. The rods are at 90° intervals on cross-planes, but at 180° intervals on flat-planes.
It may not appear to be a significant change, but it enables for a distinct firing order that alternates between cylinder banks. This permits the engine to consume significantly more air between ignition occurrences, resulting in increased power and torque. It also provides the Voodoo a distinct exhaust noise, distinguishing it from cross-plane crank engines.
5.2 Common Voodoo Issues and Reliability
While there is no debate about the performance of the 5.2 Voodoo engine, there are some concerns regarding its dependability. We wouldn’t say the engine is unstable, but it has been the subject of two lawsuits and a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB). Nobody expected their track-focused 526 horsepower, 8,250 rpm Voodoo to go 100,000 miles without a rebuild, but even low-mileage Voodoos have experienced problems.
The Most Common Ford 5.2 Issues
- Overheating of the engine
- Excessive reliance on oil
- Recall of timing chain tensioner
Overheating was the first problem that many owners encountered with their 5.2 Voodoo. While Ford marketed and sold the GT350/R as track-ready monsters, several owners were skeptical when they first brought their Shelby to the track. Many owners stated that the car had substantial power loss after only a few drives, frequently putting itself into limp mode.
A large number of owners banded together and finally filed a class-action lawsuit against Ford over the issue. Ford reacted by claiming that the engines were operating normally and that the shutdowns were caused by the engine and/or transmission protecting themselves from harm after becoming overheated.
The problem was that the GT350 Track and R packages did not include oil or gearbox coolers. This was the primary cause of overheating and only affected 2016 models. Ford made the Track package standard for 2017 and includes oil and gearbox coolers, addressing any potential difficulties.
Ford’s Voodoo Oil Consumption Problem
The second issue that has prompted a lawsuit is what some consider to be excessive oil use. Ford specifically mentions in the owner’s manual that the Voodoo can consume up to 1 quart of gas for every 500 miles of hard driving, indicating that they were aware of the problem from the start.
The test GT350 that Car and Driver drove consumed an additional 21.5 quarts of fuel in just over 40,000 miles. However, reading the story, it is clear that they mistreated the hell out of the automobile, therefore their assertions are marked with an asterisk. Nonetheless, other owners have widely expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation.
It’s a known issue that any prospective GT350 owner should be aware of. However, as long as an eye is kept on it, it rarely causes severe engine damage. At your own risk, fail to check the oil in the 5.2 Voodoo.
The Recall of the Ford 5.2 Timing Chain and the Piston Slap Problem
The final two bugs with the 5.2 Voodoo engine are minor. The first issue is piston slap, which many owners complained about when they first bought the automobile. When the engine is cold and running at low load or idling, the problem is most obvious.
The noise, according to Ford, is perfectly normal and is caused by the forged aluminum pistons. When metal heats up, it expands slightly, including engine blocks and pistons. Because forged pistons have greater thermal expansion than non-forged pistons, tolerances must be slightly larger to allow for it.
This implies that when the engine is cold, the piston will have a wider space between it and the cylinder wall than usual, resulting in the piston-slap sound. It’s a perfectly normal sound that should go away once you’re warm, however it may always be present.
The final issue with the timing chain tensioner recall was limited to 2020 model year vehicles manufactured between December 2, 2019 and December 16, 2020. According to Ford, assembly technicians on some GT350/R cars may have forgotten to activate the secondary timing chain tensioner. This could result in timing loss, misfiring, harsh running, and perhaps catastrophic engine damage.
Ford resolved the issue through the New Customer Satisfaction Program 21B26. This initiative began in April 2021 and lasted a calendar year, allowing impacted owners to have the secondary chain activated at no additional expense by the dealership. This issue is not thought to affect any other year of the Voodoo engine.
Performance and Upgrades for the Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine
The Ford 5.2 Voodoo engine produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque out of the factory. Its outstanding performance stats include a 3.8-second zero-to-60-mph time, a top speed of 173 mph, and a 14-mile time of 12.0 seconds @ 120 mph. Fuel efficiency is obviously low, with most owners averaging around 7-10 mpg, but if you bought your 315 cid flat-plane crank with fuel economy in mind, you made an admittedly poor choice.
Even with the outstanding factory performance, there is always potential for improvement. We’ll go over the top three tweaks that will really put the 5.2 Voodoo inside the Shelby GT350/R to the test.
We purposefully left a supercharger off the list. While forced induction improves performance, it destroys the GT350’s spirit. This engine is a natural aspirated beast that deserves to stay that way.
Top Ford 5.2 Modifications
- E85 Fuel
- Long-tubular headers
ECU tuning is by far the most popular alteration for the 5.2 Voodoo engine. The 5.2 Voodoo may gain up to 50 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque on pump gas with only an ECU tune and no other hardware upgrades. Amazing results given all you have to do is load a tune and push install. Livernois Motorsports and Lund Racing are the top two tuning options for the Voodoo-equipped GT350. Both provide excellent tunes and support, as well as flex fuel tuning.
This brings us to our next modification: E85 and flex fuel. The GT350 gasoline system is E85 capable from the factory, thus no additional fuel lines or injectors are required. E85, sometimes known as ethanol, is a sort of alternative fuel that has gained popularity in racing circles in recent years. This is because it has a comparatively high 105 octane rating, which means it is more knock resistant.
Tuners can run leaner air-to-fuel ratios, as well as higher ignition and cam timing, with less chance of detonation. As you can expect, this allows tuners to extract significantly more power from ethanol than conventional pump gas. Ethanol is also significantly less expensive than gasoline, however its mileage is significantly lower.
The Ford 5.2 now runs on Flex-Fuel.
The only disadvantage of E85 is its limited availability and the possibility of shaky cold-weather starts. Many folks make a compromise by using a flex-fuel sensor. Flex-fuel combines the usage of E85 and/or gasoline. The higher the ethanol concentration, the more power the engine produces, but if you can’t get E85, you can still fill up on pump petrol. It provides the best of both worlds by allowing you to run just E85, only pump gas, or any combination of the two.
AUTO-BLiP with Ford 5.2 Long-Tube headers
Long-tube headers are our only bolt-on recommendation for the Shelby GT350 with the 5.2 Voodoo. While the factory tubular stainless steel exhaust is already quite beautiful, you can get even more horsepower by removing the stock catalytic converters. Replacing them with either catless (legal only on the track) or high-flow cats (legal on the street) can generate up to 20 wheel horsepower and torque – and even more with tuning.
The AUTO-BLiP clever downshift mechanism is the last recommended for minor modding of the 5.2 Voodoo. This does not increase the Voodoo’s horsepower, but it does allow for smoother downshifting on manual gearboxes.
When it detects a downshift, it blips the throttle, allowing for precisely synchronized downshifting at all times. It’s ideal for people who struggle with heel-toe downshifting but want to improve their track timings.
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Summary of the Ford 5.2 Voodoo Engine
The Ford 5.2 Voodoo engine, though not long for this world, was nevertheless something exceptional during its limited production run. The Voodoo engine was genuinely excellent, propelling the Shelby GT350/R to incredible levels of performance. It produced up to 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque out of the factory, but those are just pretend figures compared to what it is truly capable of with modifying.
The Voodoo’s dependability has long been questioned, since it has faced class-action lawsuits regarding overheating and oil usage. Nonetheless, it is a wonder of engineering and development, containing some of the most advanced technologies ever installed in a Ford engine. The unusual flat-plane crankshaft allowed for an extremely high redline of 8,250 rpm, giving the Voodoo an outstanding and unrivaled sound among American V8s.
Unfortunately, the Voodoo is no longer available from the factory, but hundreds of 5.2-powered Shelby GT350 and GT350Rs are still on the road today. Consider yourself lucky if you come across a 5.2 Voodoo in the wild, and make sure you take a good look because chances are it will be gone in a blink of an eye.