The Upgrade Instructions for the Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Twin Turbo. This blog is heavily focused on Ford 3.5 EcoBoost engines. For good reason, we love the twin turbo V6 EcoBoost engine. In most models, they produce 355-450 horsepower. Of course, there’s the Ford GT, which produces 660hp with its 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine, but that’s a topic for another day. With simple bolt-ons, the 3.5 twin turbo engine is capable of 500-550+whp on stock turbos. These are impressive figures. Some owners, however, are always looking for more, which is where twin turbo upgrades come into play. This article goes over F-150 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades, power gains, supporting mods, reliability, and other topics.
Ford 3.5 EcoBoost Turbo Upgrades – F-150 Twin Turbo Upgrades *
Many of the turbo upgrades we discuss in this article are designed specifically for F-150 models. In essence, the F-150 is the focus of this article. Many of the concepts, power gains, supporting mods, and so on, however, also apply to other 3.5 EcoBoost engines. The Ford Expedition, Taurus SHO, and other Ford models with the 3.5 V6 engine are included. This is also true for the Lincoln MKS, MKT, and Navigator. However, turbo setups and fitment vary, so always double-check fitment and other pertinent details.
Can the 3.5 EcoBoost Take Turbocharger Upgrades?
There are numerous reasons to choose upgraded turbos for the F-150 and 3.5 EcoBoost. Sometimes the stock turbos fail, and upgrading the turbos is a good idea at that point. Others do it to produce 450-550whp with greater reliability than stock turbos. Then there are those who want to push the envelope and create 600-700whp setups.
This section is mostly for people who want to push the Ford 3.5 V6 to 550+whp. Under 550whp, it’s a strong engine that’s generally very safe and reliable. However, pushing above that power for the long term raises many concerns. How long can the engine run? What are the chances of the F-150 EcoBoost engine blowing up? There is no perfect answer to this question because it depends on supporting mods, tuning, luck of the draw, and a variety of other factors.
Anyway, we’ll go much deeper into this subject throughout the article. We mainly wanted to cover a few broad topics here. For starters, while the 3.5L twin turbo V6 engine is powerful, it is not invincible. All else being equal, the higher the risk, the further you push the engine. With a good setup, most people shouldn’t have any major concerns in the 500whp range. However, once you start pushing into 550-700whp territory, there are a lot of unknowns.
Torque at the Low End
Before we get into the specifics of the 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades, there is one more important general topic to cover. The engine’s design and small turbos allow it to produce a lot of low-end torque. If you’re pushing the boundaries, this is the place to be cautious. F-150 By 3,000 or 3,500 RPMs, 3.5 EcoBoost engines can easily produce 600+wtq (with the right setup, tuning, etc).
Excessive low-end torque can be taxing on the engine. The pistons move more slowly at lower engine speeds. This means that the engine is subjected to higher boost and cylinder pressures for a longer period of time. Because of the high heat and pressures combined with the low engine speeds, it increases the risk of the 3.5L V6 engine pre-detonating. A method for bending rods, breaking pistons, and so on.
Once again, there is no ideal number for longevity or dependability. However, if you want big numbers, we recommend tuning out some low-end torque. Upgraded turbos on the 3.5 EcoBoost will allow the engine to maintain power and torque further up the curve. Allow the turbos to do their work in the mid and upper RPM ranges. Work with an experienced, knowledgeable tuner to keep torque at a reasonable level below 3,500 or 4,000 RPM.
Changes by F-150 Model and Year
The 3.5 EcoBoost engine debuted in the 2011 F-150 and will continue to be available in these trucks through model year 2022. For the 2017 model year, Ford made several engine updates. These later engines are commonly referred to as the 2nd generation EcoBoost and include the following updates:
- Turbo enhancements
- Electronic garbage cans (EWG)
- Turbine wheels that are lighter
- Port injection has been added.
- The compression ratio has risen from 10.0:1 to 10.5:1*.
- Camshaft modifications
In 2017, the 2nd generation 3.5 EcoBoost received a number of other updates. The above list, however, covers the majority of the performance and turbo upgrades over older EcoBoost engines. All of the updates improve the capabilities of the newer 2nd generation engines. The addition of port injection improves the fuel system’s capability. With a higher compression ratio, the engine can produce more power and torque. Cams were optimized for weight savings.
*The Ford Raptor’s engines did not receive the compression boost. The Raptor’s 3.5 EcoBoost engine has an older compression ratio of 10.0:1.
Other 3.5 EcoBoost Distinctions
Aside from the aforementioned differences, the F-150 EcoBoost turbos differ even more. There have been some changes over the years. Turbo upgrades are generally different for the following years:
The main topic, however, is the distinction between first and second generations. The 3.5 EcoBoost turbos from 2011 to 2016 are NOT interchangeable with the turbos from 2017 and later. This is due to waste-gate differences. There are some conversion kits and do-it-yourself options available to make it work. It is generally difficult to convert the more capable 2nd generation turbos to a 1st generation engine. As a result, rather than performing a full conversion, simply upgrading makes sense.
Upgrades for the Ford F-150 3.5 EcoBoost Turbo
Alright. With the background information out of the way, it’s time to get into the meat of this article. Which turbo upgrades are the best for the 3.5 V6 EcoBoost engine? Which twin turbos are the best for your needs and budget? In the following sections, we’ll go over all of this and more.
Anyway, we’ll divide the data into the following categories based on the goals:
- 450-500whp “modest” builds
- Turbochargers with 500-650whp output
- “Full send” 650+whp configurations
It’s critical to understand your objectives before upgrading your 3.5 EcoBoost turbos. Are you looking for a more reliable turbo setup with modest power? Or are you one of the owners seeking enormous power? Of course, the budget and expenses to obtain the F-150 are important considerations. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with all of this information.
F-150 3.5 V6 Turbo Upgrade 450-500whp
The turbos we’ll be talking about in this section will primarily be OEM-style turbos. Yes, the stock 3.5 EcoBoost twin turbo setup can handle this amount of power. Even if you aren’t looking for massive power gains, there are still advantages to upgrading. Among the advantages of these “modest” F-150 EcoBoost turbos are:
- Increased top-end power
- Flow more air at lower PSI levels.
- Longevity booster
- Less heat, back-pressure, and so on.
The majority of these turbo setups will be stock frame turbos with internal upgrades. To put it another way, the stock turbo housing has been bored to accommodate larger, higher-flowing internals. These 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades will improve top-end power by retaining more power at the top. When you look at stock turbo dynos, you’ll notice that they lose a lot of power and torque at higher RPMs.
Larger internals, on the other hand, allow the turbo to flow more air at lower boost levels. Simply put, 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades are more efficient. They’ll generate less heat and have lower back-pressures. All of this is good news for turbo and engine longevity and dependability.
Modifications to Support 450-500whp
A few supporting mods for 450-500whp turbo setups are as follows:
- Fueling modifications (2011-2016 gen 1 engines)
The links for tunes, intakes, and downpipes above lead to more detailed articles on these modifications. We’ll have an intercooler, fueling mods, and a slew of other guides for the 3.5 EcoBoost soon. In any case, these basic bolt-on mods are a good place to start if you want to make 450-500whp. Keep in mind that upgraded turbos will necessitate a custom tune.
To generate this kind of power, we recommend using E85 mixtures. It is not strictly necessary for modest goals such as 450whp. However, as you approach 500whp, E85 is an excellent choice. To run that much power on heavy E85 mixes, older gen 1 F-150 EcoBoost engines will require some fueling upgrades. If you need more fuel flow, the Livernois Motorsports HPFP upgrade is a great option. Most fueling systems from 2017 and later should be able to handle this level of power. After that, let’s get into the actual 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades for 450-500whp.
Supporting Modification Costs: $2,000-3,500
1. CR Performance 42mm Stage 3 Turbos (450-525+whp)
Price: $1,250 – 4,025
Options from 2011 to 2017
Dyno F-150 3.5 V6 EcoBoost Upgraded Turbos
This article will make several more references to CR Performance (CRP). They’re a popular option for F-150 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades. They also have a large selection of options for ALL 2011-2020+ trucks. This is limited to their 42mm stage 3 turbos, which are intended for 2011-2017 models. Stage 3 kits for 2018+ EcoBoost engines are larger and provide significantly more power, so they do not fit in this category.
In any case, these turbos have two options. The first employs brand new Ford turbochargers that have been upgraded by CR. These cost between $3,000 and $4000, but they are a good option if you want something brand new. Otherwise, you can find used turbos or remove them from your F-150 and send them to CR Performance for upgrading. This option has a starting price of $1,650. A super core set is available for $1,275 on 2013-2016 models.
The turbos on the 3.5 EcoBoost can support north of 500whp with a good setup on E85 or methanol injection. Pump gas, such as 93 octane, will most likely be limited to 440-460whp. 2017 models, on the other hand, will produce around 500whp on pump gas and even more on E85. Overall, these 42mm upgraded turbos are a good option for 2011-2017 models seeking 450-500whp.
Garrett PowerMax 3.5 EcoBoost Turbochargers (450-500whp)
Fits: 2011-2016 F-150
Garrett is a significant player in the automotive turbocharging industry. They are the original equipment manufacturer for some brands, and Garrett produces some excellent products. For just over $1,700, you can get brand new OE-style twin turbos. It’s a hard price to beat for new turbos that can use OE seals, gaskets, adapters, downpipes, and other components.
Garrett claims that these turbos flow 22% more than stock turbos for EcoBoost engines from 2011 to 2016. They should easily flow enough to meet 500whp targets, but they’ll need E85 to get there. Otherwise, getting much more than 425-450whp on pump gas like 91 or 93 octane will be difficult.
We really like the CR Performance turbos mentioned above. However, if you want new turbos, they’re expensive, and even rebuilding used stock turbos costs more than these Garrett PowerMax 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades. As such, this is an excellent option for anyone looking for brand new turbos capable of 500whp at a reasonable price.
What are your thoughts on 450-500WHP 3.5 EcoBoost Turbos?
We usually include at least three options for each power goal. However, the above two options are excellent for producing up to 500whp on the 3.5 EcoBoost. For the more capable 2017 EcoBoost, 42mm turbos from CP are available, producing 525-550whp. Otherwise, their 2011-2016 options produce approximately 450whp on pump gas and 500whp with E85/methanol injection.
Overall, 450-500whp is a fairly modest target for most F-150 EcoBoost trucks. It doesn’t take much in terms of mod support to make the power. A few bolt-ons will cost around $2,000, but fueling modifications can cost another $1,000 to $2,000. These modifications will be required for E85 in order to maximize the potential of turbo upgrades. When you factor in the cost of turbos, you’re looking at around $4,000 to $7,000 all in. Not bad for what should be a dependable 500whp setup.
*There was no mention of 2018+ 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrades above. This is due to the fact that most upgrades can easily exceed 500whp, if not 550whp. In the following two sections, we’ll look at some 2018 turbo upgrades. Of course, these turbos are more capable, but they are also excellent options if you only need 450-500whp.
Upgrades for the 3.5 EcoBoost 500-650whp Turbo
Those seeking even more power will find a variety of options to meet 500-650whp targets. The majority of these turbos retain OEM housing sizes and fitment, but with larger compressor and turbine wheels. Of course, this is beginning to test the capabilities of the F-150 3.5 EcoBoost. You should have a good setup with a quality custom tune and supporting mods.
These twin turbos are typically only $300-500 more expensive than the turbos in the preceding section. However, depending on how far you want to go, the cost of supporting mods can quickly add up. More on that in the following section. Simply understand that 500-650whp can become quite costly. It’s also possible that things will start to give way, especially as you approach 600whp.
Modifications for the 500-650whp Ford F-150 EcoBoost
We could go on and on about the modifications needed to safely make 500-650whp and actually put the power to the ground. As a result, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all 3.5 EcoBoost upgrades for high-performance F-150s. But here are some fundamentals:
- Basic bolt-on modifications from the previous section
- Inlets for turbochargers
- Fueling modifications
- There are numerous other options.
To begin, we recommend all of the fundamental bolt-ons such as a custom tune, intake, downpipes, and intercooler. Fueling mods may still be unnecessary on some pump gas setups. However, if you stick with pump gas, don’t expect to get the most out of these setups. Turbo inlets are a significant restriction, so upgrading them is a good idea.
Otherwise, 2WD F-150s will struggle to handle all of this power. To get the power to the ground, you’ll need to consider some wheel and tire modifications. Even with 4WD models, you’ll probably need some good rubber. You can also go a lot further with supporting mods, especially for 600+whp EcoBoost builds. Suspension and brakes are two examples of good mods. The list could go on and on if you want a really well setup truck at this kind of power.
Supporting Modification Costs: $2,000 – $5,000+
1. 2018+ CR Performance Stage 3 & 4 (550-600+whp)
Price: $1,650 – 4,225
Fits: 2018+ Ford F-150 and Raptor
The 42mm stage 3 turbos for older EcoBoost engines were discussed in the previous section. The stage 3 option for 2018+ is a 46mm twin turbo setup capable of 550+whp with proper fueling. On full E85 and pushing the turbos, they’re good for 600+whp. However, if you intend to make 550-600+whp in the long run, we recommend spending the extra $400 on their stage 4 turbo setup.
The CRP 3.5 EcoBoost stage 4 turbo upgrade also uses a 46mm compressor, but gets a larger 45mm 8 blade turbine wheel. 600whp on E85 is easily achievable and these turbos will likely make 650+whp. Again, CR Performance is a proven company in the space and they’ll make another couple appearances on this list. Hard to go wrong with their 2018+ F-150 stage 3 or 4 twin turbos if you’re looking for a consistent 550-600+whp.
2. 2011-2017 CRP 3.5 EcoBoost Stage 4 & 5 (500-600+whp)
Price: $1,675 – 4,225
Fits all 2011-2017 models; stage 5 is only available for 2013-2017 models.
First up are the CR Performance Stage 4 twin turbos with a 42mm compressor and 45mm 8 blade turbine. On 1st gen 3.5 EcoBoost engines these turbo upgrades will support 525+whp with a proper setup. F-150’s may even see north of 550-575whp if you have the right tune, fueling, and really want to lean on the turbos. Solid numbers for 1st gen engines. 2017 2nd gen engines will see upwards of 525-550whp on pump gas alone. Add in E85 and 600+whp is possible.
Stage 5 turbos are not available from CRP for 2011 & 2012 F-150 3.5 EcoBoost models. However, 2013-2017 does have the stage 5 option. These use a 46mm compressor and 50mm 8 blade turbine. This all adds up to 550-600+ horsepower to the wheels on 1st gen EcoBoost engines. The 2017 F-150 3.5 EcoBoost will see ~560whp on pump gas with 600-650+whp possible on E85.
Stage 5 – 46mm compressor 50mm 8 blade turbine
3. F-150 3.5 EcoBoost Ford Performance Turbo Upgrade Kit (450-525whp) (450-525whp)
Price: $2,500 – 2,900
Fits: 2013-2016 F-150 (some options for 2011-2012) (some options for 2011-2012)
We’ll be a bit speedier on these turbos since we don’t know as much about them. We do know Ford Performance offers these brand new Borg Warner twin turbos. Borg Warner is the OEM manufacturer for 3.5 EcoBoost twin turbos. These simply use a larger compressor wheel. They might have been best in the previous section for sub 500whp builds. However, with proper fueling and tuning they should make upwards of 525whp if not a bit more.
Here’s a link to the Ford Performance 3.5 EcoBoost turbo upgrade kit. It can be a bit hard to track down on their website. Anyways, this certainly isn’t our favorite option since there isn’t much data, info, or proven results that we could find. Still, not a bad price for new turbos from the OE supplier of EcoBoost turbos.
Final Thoughts on 550-650whp Turbos
This section was mostly dominated by CR Performance turbos. Their stage 3 option for 2018+ F-150 and Raptor models can easily make 550+whp and 600+whp is possible with a good setup. Those wanting more should spend the extra $400 for the stage 4 turbo upgrade. Both great setups for the newer 3.5 V6 EcoBoost engines.
For 1st gen engines and 2017 trucks we really like the stage 4 and 5 turbos. Depending on year, model, setup, etc they’ll meet your 500-600+whp goals for a reasonable price. Last is the Ford Performance turbo upgrade kit for older engines. We don’t know much about them, but new turbos from Borg Warner is a nice proposition.
Anyways, if you’re shooting for the lower end of the power goals then all in costs will be about $5,000 to $8,000. This should cover the basic bolt-ons, turbo inlets, turbo upgrade, and fueling mods. Those wanting more should consider wheels and tires, suspension, brakes, and tons of other options. This can quickly drive all in costs north of $10,000.
“Full Send” 650+WHP F-150 EcoBoost
To be frank, we’ll likely end up short handing a lot of info here. If you’re really looking to build a 650+whp 3.5 EcoBoost then it’s going to be expensive. Sure, you could do budget builds. Yes, you can keep a stock block and internals and hope the engine doesn’t blow up. However, at this power we highly recommend doing things right.
It gets very expensive. Most people with these goals should also have a deep knowledge about the 3.5 EcoBoost, tuning, turbos, etc. Or at least have access to the right people and resources to help along the way. As such, we won’t dive into all of the specific details in this article.
3.5 EcoBoost 650+whp Twin Turbo Mods
Building a useable, reliable 3.5 EcoBoost with this kind of power can take some serious mods:
- All previous mods
- Built engine
- Lots of tuning work
- Cooling mods
- All sorts of other options depending on goals, budget, etc
You’ll want all the previous mods to make this kind of power. We also think building the 3.5 EcoBoost is a good idea to ensure a reliable engine for the long-term. This would include rods, pistons, bearings, studs, etc at the least. You could go further with additional work depending on how much power you want to make.
Anyways, it will take a lot of time and effort with tuning to dial in a quality setup. You may need other engine cooling mods like oil coolers, radiator, and more. Again, the list could really go on forever. It all just depends on how far you want to go, how the F-150 will be used, so on so forth.
Supporting Mod Cost: $6,000 – $10,000+
1. 2018+ F-150 & Raptor CRP Stage 5 Turbos (650-700+whp)
Price: $2,450 – 4,225
Fits: 2018+ F-150 & Raptor
Once again CR Performance is on the list with their stage 5 turbos for 2018+ F-150 and Raptor models. The 3.5 EcoBoost stage 5 turbo upgrade uses a 46mm compressor with a 50mm 8 blade turbine. CRP turbos will support north of 560whp on pump gas and 700+whp on E85. It’s massive power that’s not for the faint of heart.
2. 3.5 EcoBoost Garrett PowerMax Stage 2 Turbo Upgrade (650-700+whp) \sPrice: $3,000
Fits: 2017+ F-150 models
Garrett is making another appearance here, too. Their stage 2 PowerMax turbos are for 2017+ 2nd gen EcoBoost engines in the F-150. The price starts right around $3,000 for these brand new turbos. Again, Garrett is a big company in the turbo space and they make some awesome stuff. PowerMax stage 2 turbos use a massive 60mm compressor wheel and 50mm turbine wheel with a .45 A/R housing.
They produce 52% more flow than OEM turbos. Garrett claims they have 700+ horsepower at the crank. With a good setup, they should be able to support more than 700 pounds to the wheels. Excellent turbo upgrade option for those looking to make massive power with the 3.5 EcoBoost F-150.
Thoughts on Full Send Turbo Upgrades
Continuing the trend, these more capable turbos aren’t much more expensive than the first 450-500whp range. They are only $500 to $1,000 more expensive. However, supporting mods are where the costs begin to mount. In the long run, we recommend a built engine to push to 650+whp. Depending on how far you go, that alone can cost $5,000 or more.
Add in all of the other necessities for another $3,000 to $5,000+, turbos for around $3,000, and other possible mods that can add up to thousands more. When all is said and done, you could easily find yourself $15,000 or more in debt. That’s why the title “full send” was added. These builds are not for the faint of heart. They’re for die-hard fans with deep pockets, a lot of knowledge and time, or access to those resources.
3.5 EcoBoost Turbo Upgrade Summary
We went much deeper than expected in this article, and there are still many details we could go over. We’ll address plenty more details and information for the Ford 3.5L V6 in the future to tie everything together. On the 3.5 EcoBoost engine, turbo upgrades serve a variety of purposes. Some are simply replacing old turbos, while others have modest goals and a few who want to push the limits.
All 3.5 EcoBoost owners have turbo upgrade options. Whether you want 450whp or 700+whp, there’s a twin turbo setup for you. We like Garrett and CP Performance turbos and have covered many of their options. They both make excellent twin turbo upgrades for all-year 3.5 EcoBoost engines. Proper setups can support anywhere from 500whp to 650whp and beyond.
Of course, the 3.5 EcoBoost isn’t invincible, so it’s critical to understand your objectives and budget accordingly. Lower power setups can be had for around $4,000 all in. However, if you want to push into the 600+whp range, costs can quickly exceed $10,000. The possibilities are limitless, but the costs can quickly become out of hand. Regardless, a set of 3.5 EcoBoost F-150 upgraded turbos can take the trucks to truly incredible levels.