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Old 12-01-2020, 11:23 PM   #1
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Ford F-150 3.5 Ecoboost: are they less reliable than V-8?

I am gearing up to shop for a 2017/2018 Ford Platinum with 3.5 Eco boost and Max tow package in the spring. I want better towing for my 8,500 lb. travel trailer AND the driver assist options in the 701A package. My long term mechanic, who admits he has never worked on turbo boost engines, tells me they require more maintenance than a "simple V-8". He says the turbo is rough on the plugs and seals for example. I really like the towing ratings for the truck I want. The v-8 ratings are nice, but not as great. I am not a mechanic, nor a DIY truck mod guy. Could I hear from F-150 3.5 Eco boost owners on this issue? I sure would appreciate it.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:32 PM   #2
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Right now I'm totally sold on my 3.5 Ecoboost with Max Tow package.
Is 8500lbs weight number the loaded weight, dry weight or GVWR?
My TT is nowhere near that heavy. Your trailer's loaded tongue weight may exceed the F150 receiver's max weight.
You might to go to this forum:

https://www.f150forum.com/
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:35 PM   #3
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Ford F-150 3.5 Ecoboost: are they less reliable than V-8?

That is loaded max weight.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puma26RLSS View Post
That is loaded max weight.
Have you ever weighed the loaded trailer at a scale?
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and Zoe the Wonder Dog(R.I.P.)
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:23 AM   #5
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This is MY opinion and mine only. Others will differ but I will share my experience:

I had a '11 Ecoboost to pull the trailer in my signature that weighed 7500 lbs fully loaded. The truck was a basic XLT with a 1529 payload and the towing package that allowed a tow rating in the 9k lbs range.

Towing: It had plenty of power to pull the trailer at speed but on long grades, it did downshift and spent a lot of time in 3rd and 4th gear (out of 6 gears) to maintain 65mph comfortably along with about 3500 RPM's. It had a 3.55 rear end.

Weight: Purchasing the trailer, we were close to the truck's capacity. By the end of the 2nd season and 4k miles later, the kids were growing and another one on the way, we ran out of payload. The hitch was dialed in and we never had any white knuckle drives; however, I always felt the trailer was a bit big for the truck to handle.

(Aug '18) 71K miles: I started hearing an exhaust manifold leak. Under an extended warranty, it went to the Ford dealer. There, it was determined that the wastegates on the turbos had failed causing pressure and heat to build, warping the manifolds on both sides. All parts needed to be replaced. It was also determined that the electronic vacuum pump ('11 Ecoboost only) had failed, needing replacement as well. In my ownership, that was the 2nd vacuum pump replacement...the first was a special warranty item by Ford.

Talking to the service writer, the whole reasoning behind the failure was unexplainable and was called a "Doozy of a problem". Ford did try to pin the cause on me for towing such a big trailer. They didn't get too far with that when I produced the CAT scale receipt showing my trailer was 2k lbs under the trucks tow limit.

The extended warranty picked up $5,500 and my share was another $500. OUCH!!!...But it was fixed.

Resolution: With all the above experience, I honestly, lost a ton of faith in turbo engines. Asking the service writer what he would drive for longevity and piece of mind, he said the 5.0 in the F150 and the 6.2 in the F250.
They are both older technology, boring, and not as fuel friendly; but, they are tried, true and carry a good reputation for durability and longevity.

The step up to the 6.2 F250 was welcome and it's been a great truck for the last 2+ years. Towing the same trailer on the same routes as the F150, both the 6.2 and 3.5 have plenty of power, hang in the 3500 RPM 3rd/4th gear when towing up long grades and get the same MPG towing.

In all, my experience is one truck. I know a half dozen others that own the Ecoboost and have never had an issue. The 2nd generation is far removed and refined from the 1st year engine.

In closing, I will say that at 8500 lbs, the 3/4 ton (any of the manufacturers) will likely give you a much better overall towing experience.

I hope this info helps.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:02 AM   #6
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While I do believe at 8500 a 3/4 ton would be a better experience in general, you didnt ask that question so I will give you my experience with the Ecoboost.

Both my Brother and I purchased 2013 f-150's with the 3.5 ecoboost, brand new in 2013. he did more towing than I, but both were extremely reliable with his only getting plugs replaced at 100K. He traded his in 2018 for a new f-150 with the 5.0 simply because it was cheaper in the trim level he wanted.
According to him the 5.0 doesnt tow nearly as well and is screaming when doing so. He is going back to the 3.5 when able. I simply got bigger Campers or I would still have mine, or a new one. IMHO there is not another 1/2 ton out there that pulls as strongly as the ecoboost.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:40 AM   #7
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I believe the max tow is only available with the 3.5 so you may not have a choice. With the high trim level pay close attention to the payload numbers.

This is my 1st year with the 3.5 but I am very satisfied with it and have not seen excessive negatives, there are complaints about everything. I do most of my own work but I am not sure if I would work on the turbo systems myself, not because of complexity, just lack of knowledge.
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:56 AM   #8
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I bought a used 2012 F150 3.5 EB three years ago. The only issue I have had with it is the front brakes. I bought it from a Chevy dealer and when they replaced the front pads they installed the incorrectly. I have been extremely pleased with it as a TV and daily driver. No engine issues at all.

I test drove several 2012 F150's both the 3.5 and the 5.0. While they both drove well the 3.5 was much more responsive. I felt it had more ability to get me out of trouble if needed.

The most important thing of all with the 3.5... it just sounds cool when the turbos kick in .
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:23 AM   #9
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My experience with turbo charged engines involves flying aircraft. The shutdown checklist on a Piper Turbo Arrow requires idling the engine for five minutes before shutting off the engine. It was my understanding the hot turbo charger continues to spin after shutting off the engine. The sudden loss of oil pressure and oil cooling shortens the life of the turbo.
This is why I let my Cummins idle for a bit before shutting it off.
Is the Ecoboost affected by this?
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:35 AM   #10
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If the Eco boost required the cooldown I am sure the manual would detail it and they would have built in a delayed shutdown.

I drove a school bus for a while and they had that warning on the dash, I never saw another drive delay the shutdown so I asked the mechanics. On the buses they said it really wasn't needed and only somewhat beneficial if returning from a long highway run.

So if you are pulling heavy and pull into a rest area it wouldn't hurt to let it run a couple of minutes before shutting down, otherwise I wouldn't be too concerned
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:53 AM   #11
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Be careful with payload issues.

Fancy trucks have lower payloads. In the past and today, I thought the Ford
Literature the most difficult to understand. Another word is deceptive. Ram is better. Explore their site an hour or so. You will better understand what I mean.

30í long heavy half ton towable trailers tow better behind a 250. Trailer frontal area has to be considered.

The line between 150 and 250 is fuzzy.

I like too much truck rather than just enough!

We, however, we tend to take long trips. White knuckle short trips are not so bad.
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:33 AM   #12
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My 2018 Platinum had a payload of about 1450 lbs. With 2 people in the truck and not a lot in the bed, we were 200lbs under the PL limit. Truck pulled my 7k lb trailer without issue all over the country. You will really like the active seats on long drives, the massage gets the kinks out of your back and legs!
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:08 PM   #13
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I had a '15 3.5 ECO, towed a 7000# (loaded) TH. Traded it only because I wanted a little more stability towing...a little sway with a 1000# bike in the back. 250 SD has a longer wheelbase than the 150.
Ford gave me $23K on the trade with 48k on the odometer. The truck was fully warranted and received all the scheduled maintenance. I had zero problems with that it...none. Towing mileage was 10-ish, non-tow 21-ish. I would still be driving it if I didn't absolutely love the Super Duty.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
My 2018 Platinum had a payload of about 1450 lbs. With 2 people in the truck and not a lot in the bed, we were 200lbs under the PL limit. Truck pulled my 7k lb trailer without issue all over the country. You will really like the active seats on long drives, the massage gets the kinks out of your back and legs!
Be very very wary of those ďactive seatsĒ SailorSam mentions.

At the FROG INTERNATIONAL RALLY, my wife road shotgun in the truck trying the active seats on the way back from dinner one night.
We had to make a stop at the 7 Eleven so she could get a pack of cigarettes.......and she doesnít smoke.

Just be forewarned.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:39 PM   #15
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Plenty of truck for what you want to do.

They don't come with a rear sway bar to my knowledge. Putting one on wouldn't hurt (at all). PITD. Not complicated with another person to help, but otherwise a pain.

If you want airbags, I'd do it. SuperSprings work well, too. Simple install. I had them on my 2013 F-150. Did a fine job. No difference in ride but it did lift the arse end a bit. Not too bad on mine because I always have a cap on my Pickups. You'll notice but I'm not sure anybody else will.

Airbags are more gooder but more expensive and a more detailed install. And they're not without their quirks. But, overall, probably a better than supersrpings. YMMV
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:45 PM   #16
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Ford F-150 3.5 Ecoboost: are they less reliable than V-8?

I have not been able to pull my trailer yet since I took delivery of my 2020 F-150, XLT, with the 3.5 ecoboost engine, with max tow package, 10 speed trans and 36 gal gas tank.
Prior to this I had a 2015 f-150 XL with the 2.5 ecobost engine, with 6 speed trans. It pulled our 2016 Roo 21SS with no issues, even going up grade when we were headed for Florida from Wisconsin. Had to stop for gas often, 21 gal tank.
We ordered the 2020 f-150 in late June and took delivery Sep. 11th. The towing weight is almost 12,000 lbs and my payload is 1916 lbs.
So far I love the truck! Like others have said, it has plenty of get up and go power. We have a new Rockwood 2509S on order and won't get that until March 2021. The dry weight says 5300 lbs, and dry hitch weight of 709 per the catalog, for what that's worth. The 3.5 should have no problem towing the 2509S!
It is just the DW and myself so we should have plenty of payload to spare.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:51 PM   #17
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I drove a 2012 with the 3.5 eco and 3:55 rear end for 6 years. Because you get max torque at 1500 rpm it is a towing beast. I pulled a similar weighted trailer and the truck pulled it almost effortlessly. However, the trailer wagged that little truck all over the road.

As for reliability: that high performance turbo charged engine will require more maintenance and repair than the less complex naturally aspirated engines

My experience: one spark shorted out which killed a coil. Warranty. Moisture got into the intercooler which caused a scary stall on the freeway. Also warranty.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:53 PM   #18
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So I tow a 34 foot TT around 8000 lbs I was impressed. My 2013 eco boost is a awesome motor yea it slows down on steep hills but it is the most diesel like motor. Low revving and just goes. No problems !
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llr View Post
If the Eco boost required the cooldown I am sure the manual would detail it and they would have built in a delayed shutdown.

I drove a school bus for a while and they had that warning on the dash, I never saw another drive delay the shutdown so I asked the mechanics. On the buses they said it really wasn't needed and only somewhat beneficial if returning from a long highway run.

So if you are pulling heavy and pull into a rest area it wouldn't hurt to let it run a couple of minutes before shutting down, otherwise I wouldn't be too concerned
The Gen II Eco has an electric water pump that keeps coolant flowing after shut down so your turbo won't weld itself closed.

It's still a good to excellent idea to idle your turbo charged engine after a long, hard run however. Don't pull in to the gas station after climbing I-40 with a load outside of Knoxville and run into the bathroom unless it's an emergency Even then, I'd take the time cool it down. Pants are cheaper than turbos

Try to let it cool down a bit after a hard run.

I also read where the Gen I used some kind of oil lubrication that drew oil through the turbo after shut down. I think.

They've come a long way.

The Ecoboost is an amazing engine. My Boy just bought a new 2.7 EB. This weekend.

Those things make 2 Horsepower per cubic inch.

Think about that. If a SBC could do that, it would be making 700HP. Bone stock, reliable, smooth and economical.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:59 PM   #20
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The 5.0 is a good motor but basically it belongs in the Mustang. The eco 3.5 will tow a house with no sweat. Torque is what moves ya. The torque curve on the 3.5 is flat it has huge torque from 1500 rpm to 5,000 rpm. The 5.0 will always be trying to get to it's max torque curve on hills and will downshift and scream to get there. The 3.5 will just keep going like a diesel.
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