Ford has been fixated on torture-testing its F-150 EcoBoost V-6 in an effort to furnish findings that the forced-induction powerplant can handle the towing and hauling rigors typically associated with the brand’s top-selling truck. After completing this year’s Baja 1000, we can safely say the six-cylinder mill can apparently take on more than its fair share of use and abuse.
Two EcoBoost-powered F-150 racers were allowed to compete within the Baja 1000’s specially created Stock Engine Truck Class. Although the other F-150 didn’t finish in time for an official classification, the successful truck completed the race in 38 hours, 29 minutes, and 58 seconds, which averages to about 27.57 mph over the entire 1061-mile endurance race.
The EcoBoost engine found within this particular truck is accustomed to a rigorous lifestyle. Earlier in the year, it was plucked straight off the Cleveland, Ohio, production line and installed in a stock F-150 to work as a log skidder in Oregon. Job done, it was then tasked with pulling 11,300-pound loads around a NASCAR track in Florida before towing and climbing high-grade mountain roads in Arizona.
This single, unmodified engine has not lived a pedestrian life, and reportedly has the equivalent of 10 years of operation under its belt. Nevertheless, the six-cylinder’s crankshaft, turbochargers, and direct injection are still working in unison after the challenge of the Baja 1000. The EcoBoost V-6 is now being torn down and analyzed by Ford’s powertrain lab to determine the exact amount of wear experienced.
“While racing is action-packed and exciting, it serves a very real purpose for our engineers to learn about vehicle and engine performance that directly benefits our customers,” said Cliff Irey, Ford Truck Motorsports manager. “Baja race is no different. In the last 30 hours we learned a tremendous amount about the durability of this new F-150 engine, the EcoBoost. And we’re delighted to report that the EcoBoost engine showed it was up to this test.”
Although the displacement and basic architecture are the same, the F-150 EcoBoost V-6 differs from the model used in the Taurus SHO and Flex in a number of ways. To start, the truck version develops 420 pound-feet of torque, a 70 pound-foot gain over the car/crossover engine that will certainly assist during hauling and towing.
The F-150’s EcoBoost mill uses variable camshaft timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, while the Taurus and Flex incorporates the technology only on the intake side. The truck V-6 also gains new cylinder heads with bowl-shaped pistons, revised fuel injection tuning, new accessory drive settings, a different oil pan, and a one-piece intake manifold. The cooling system was upgraded with a heavy-duty radiator to better feed the cooled coolant/water mixture to twin-turbo engine.