F150 vs Mustang Coyote: What’s the Difference?

Out of all modern American V8s, the Ford Coyote is arguably the best out there. Sure, the GM LS is an awesome platform and very affordable, but the Coyote is more advanced, more efficient, and offers better performance per liter. The only problem is, the Coyote is a family of engines and they’re not all the same. More specifically, there a lot of people who want to know the differences between the F150’s Coyote and the Mustang’s Coyote.

The Basics

In terms of performance, the F150’s Coyote engine doesn’t make as much peak power as the Mustang’s Coyote, which makes sense because one of these is a performance application and one of them is work application. Across different generations of Coyote, the Mustang variant offers 30-40 horsepower more than the F150 variant, but peak torque is nearly identical between the two.

The real performance difference is seen where the peak power is made. For the Mustang, peak horsepower occurs around 6,500RPM where the F150 is around 5,750RPM. Equally as important, peak torque on the F150 is about 500RPM lower than it is on the Mustang. Based on the use cases for each application, this makes sense, since you want as much low-end power as possible for towing and hauling. Ford changed the peak torque of these two variants through the camshafts, internals, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, and tuning.

Intake Manifolds

From what I can tell, the F150 intake manifold sits up a little bit higher than the Mustang intake manifold and uses slightly longer intake runners with a slightly modified runner path, at least according to Justin Starkey of VMP Performance who tested a bunch of different Coyote intake manifolds to see which one performs the best.

Size, shape, and length of the intake port can change air velocity and affect the power curve. Not too surprisingly, the F150 intake manifold is designed for increased low-end torque and will generally produce a bit more low-end torque and less top-end power than a GT manifold.

It’s also worth noting that of all OEM Coyote intake manifolds, the 2018+ Mustang intake offers the best performance for the money spent, even competing with the Cobra Jet intakes which are specifically designed for race use.

Camshafts

Moving on to the cams, it’s more of the same. The F150’s cams are specifically designed to increase low-end torque compared to the Mustang’s cams. Ford did this by using less duration on the intake camshafts. With the intake valves closing sooner, there is increasing cranking pressure which theoretically helps with low-end torque. The exhaust camshafts are the same between both versions.

Ford’s Ti-VCT can be found on both engines which allows for a massive amount of change in valve overlap. An area that’s kind of grey on the differences is tuning, and I couldn’t find any clear answers on how Ford tuned the Ti-VCT system for the F150 compared to the Mustang.

Exhaust Manifold

The last major difference you’ll find on the top end is the exhaust manifolds, where the Mustang has stainless steel manifolds compared to the F150’s cast iron exhaust manifolds. Stainless steel is lighter than cast iron, so it makes sense why Ford would make that upgrade for the Mustang. I suspect the Mustang also a better design to improve exhaust scavenging at high RPM for a bit more power.

Other Changes

Depending on the generation of Coyote that you’re looking at, compression is different. On the earlier Coyote motors, the Mustang had an 11:1 C/R compared to the F150’s 10.5:1 C/R. That’s since changed to 12:1 across the board, partially thanks to the addition of direct injection for both variants. Other changes include the F150’s front-mounted oil cooler, less robust oil pump gears, and lack of windage tray. The timing cover is also less ribbed, and the alternator location is different as well.

When it comes down to it all, the F150 and Mustang Coyote are incredibly similar. The major differences come down to the intake cams, tuning, exhaust manifolds, and intake manifold. F-150 Coyotes are less performance-focused, but given the price differences, there’s no wonder that people are interested in using them for Coyote swaps.

The F-150 is the number one pickup in America, and are subsequently relatively easy to find in junkyards, often with Coyotes that haven’t even accumulated many miles. As long as you’re aware of the differences between the two Coyotes and have decided whether you’re okay with the F-150’s performance specs or are comfortable doing a cam swap, then there’s really no reason not to at least consider an F-150 sourced Coyote.

About Bryce Cleveland 375 Articles
Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. He currently owns a 2003 Honda CRF450R Supermoto, 2006 Nissan 350Z, and a 2018 Yamaha MT09. Follow him on Instagram for more @bryce.cleveland.

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