Ford Revamps 2011 F-150 Powertrain Lineup; New EcoBoost 3.5L V6 20% More Fuel Efficient Than 2010 Model Year 5.4L V8

2011 Ford F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost Engine. Click to enlarge.

The 2011 Ford F-150 is receiving an extensive powertrain overhaul, featuring four new truck engines, all coupled to a revised six-speed automatic transmission. Each engine delivers improved fuel economy. When the direct-injection twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine joins the lineup early in 2011 (earlier post), the 2011 F-150 will have up to 20% better fuel economy compared with the outgoing 2010 F-150.

The F-Series is Ford’s top-seller. In July, the F-Series posted 50,449 units—the first time since March 2008 that F-Series sales eclipsed 50,000—up 38.9% year-on-year. For the first seventh months of the year, F-Series sales reached 290,794 units, up 34.7% year-on-year. Through July, the F-Series accounted for 26% of all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles sold, and 28.7% of all Ford brand vehicles sold.

Available at launch of the 2011 F-150 are a 3.7-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8, each with fuel-saving and performance-enhancing twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) technology (earlier post), and a version of the 6.2-liter V8 that is the base engine in the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty.

Ford engineers studied the warranty history of the outgoing engines and developed testing procedures based on the real-world driving experiences from current F-150 drivers. Prototype engines underwent a wide range of tests to ensure complete compatibility with truck application and truck durability, with all components and systems passing testing to the equivalent of 150,000 miles. Components such as the exhaust manifolds and the crankshaft (forged steel) were upgraded, piston-cooling jets which squirt oil on the underside of the pistons to keep the piston crowns cool under extreme operating conditions and oil coolers were added, and engines were specifically calibrated for improved heavy-duty operation and durability in F-150.

3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost is a premium engine offering available after launch with power comparable to a naturally aspirated V8 and projected class-leading fuel economy. Fuel economy improves up to 20% versus 2010 model year F-150 5.4-liter V8.

Improved intake and exhaust camshafts are optimized for improved fuel economy and performance; cast exhaust manifolds support heavy-duty operation and durability. A direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valvetrain with polished buckets to reduce friction and improve fuel economy.

3.7-liter four-valve Ti-VCT V6. The 3.7-liter V6 powering the base 2011 F-150 is the latest application of the Duratec V6 engine, with additional technology and upgrades for truck application. In particular, more work was done on the bottom end of the engine, a strong point of all Duratec V6 engines. The 3.7L V6 will deliver an estimated 300 hp (estimated) at 6,500 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine has E85 flex-fuel capability.

The engine is fastened with four-bolt mains and two side bolts, enhancing durability and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). Other enhancements for durability include a forged-steel crankshaft, cast-iron exhaust manifolds and a die-cast aluminum oil pan, which supports a 10,000-mile interval for oil changes. The design of the cylinder bore and piston rings has been optimized for efficient lubrication.

In addition to engine durability, Ti-VCT leads a host of technologies that increase overall engine efficiency. Ti-VCT’s precise and variable control of the intake and exhaust camshafts optimizes performance and fuel economy. The piston squirters enable faster engine warm-up, and the polished buckets reduce friction, which aids fuel economy.

5.0-liter four-valve dual-overhead-camshaft Ti-VCT V8. The 5.0L V8 delivers 360 hp at 5,500 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 4,250 rpm. A new strengthened block and new cylinder head are optimized for performance and enhanced cooling. Unique intake camshafts, combined with Ti-VCT, composite intake manifold and optimized compression ratio improve low-speed torque and towing capability. This engine is also E85 capable.

While this 5.0-liter V8 engine is similar to the one powering the 2011 Mustang GT, it has several important differences to optimize it for the harsh duty cycle truck customers demand. First, the camshafts were tuned to improve low-speed torque, which is key to truck customers. Also, the 10.5:1 compression ratio was optimized to reduce knock tendency at lower engine speeds while towing.

The hardware added to the 5.0 specifically for F-150 includes: an additional oil cooler, which helps extend the life of the oil to 10,000-mile intervals; foam covers for the fuel injectors to reduce NVH; and cast exhaust manifolds for improved durability. The new aluminum block is 70 pounds lighter than the 5.4-liter V8, which aids fuel economy and improves handling. The engine’s forged-steel crankshaft also ensures durability.

6.2-liter two-valve single-overhead-camshaft V8. The 6.2-liter V8 is a premium engine offering on the 2011 F-150, with an expanded offering to F-150 SVT Raptor and other specialty applications. The engine delivers 411 hp at 5,500 rpm and 434 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm.

The engine utilizes a large bore and shorter stroke. This approach to creating power has its roots in Ford racing engines. The large bore allows for larger intake and exhaust valves for improved engine airflow, and the short stroke allows higher engine speed for increased horsepower.

Because of the large bore size, two spark plugs per cylinder are used to more efficiently burn the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber, enabling better fuel economy and increased engine torque. The twin plugs also help the engine maintain a smooth, stable idle.

The 6.2-liter V8, standard on the 2011 F-Series Super Duty, is uniquely tuned for the F-150 with a special cam profile. The engine will be standard on the 2011 F-150 SVT Raptor and other specialty applications.

6-speed automatic. For the first time, a six-speed automatic transmission is standard in F-150 on all engines. Several available enhancements have been added to the proven 6R80 transmission to help F-150 customers tow more easily, including SelectShift with both progressive range select and manual functions.

Progressive range select allows the customer to reduce the range of available gears while in Drive. When the customer taps down into range select mode, the display shows the available gears and highlights the current gear state. This feature allows the driver to limit the use of upper gears when heavily loaded or while towing on grades.

With SelectShift, customers can get full manual function by pulling the shift lever into “M” for manual mode and then select the gear desired by pressing the “+” button for upshifts or the “-” button for downshifts. The control system will hold that gear for a full manual transmission feel.

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