Ford 1.6L EcoBoost: Everything You Need To Know

The playing field level presently is more diverse than ever. But how do downsized engines like the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost compete in a world where larger machines dominate the arena? Maybe it is the technology and overall reliability. Let’s find out!

From a sweet aftertaste brought by the 1.0 Liter and 1.5 Liter Dragon EcoBoost engine, Ford gathered their well-collected confidence to build a downsized engine with its slight edge bumping a higher ambition to achieve larger displacement. It cannot be stopped as a broader range of automakers make an informal competition for a compact engine with lesser weight, higher fuel efficiency, and consistent performance.

What are Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engines?

Ford became famous because of its durable trucks and especially the “you can’t forget” profile of the ‘Mustang.’ It’s an incredible sight to see such vehicles roaming the neighborhood or just staying there in the corner. But Ford has a greater idea to entice compact engine fans to try their own brand of downsized engines.

And this is where the 1.6 Liter EcoBoost comes in.

The Ford 1.6 EcoBoost is one of the latest innovations produced by Ford. This engine developed way ahead of its debut in 2010 and was first unveiled in the 2009 Lincoln C Concept. The first turbocharged engine developed in the downsizing strategy imposed by Ford, apart from the 1.0L Fox EcoBoost.

These engines were also installed in earlier Volvos when Volvo was still a part of Ford’s ownership; they badged the engines as B4164T.

Furthermore, Ford’s 1.6L EcoBoost engines competed in the British Formula Ford Championship, replacing the original naturally-aspirated 1.6 L Duratec units. These 1.6L engines also powered Ford Fiesta in WRC events.

Ford overcame greater heights at its capacity to showcase that smaller engines can produce the same abilities that larger engines do. With the 1.6 Liter EcoBoost, the advanced technologies allowed this engine to replace larger machines without losing peak performance and cutting significant amounts of fuel consumption and emissions.

The production of the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost engine commences at Ford Bridgend Engine Plant in Bridgend, Wales.

Engine Specifications and Design:

  • Production Run: 2010 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 79.0 mm
  • Stroke: 81.4 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC 4 valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.6 L (1596 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0
  • Weight: 251 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 180 HP at 6,000 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 180 lb-ft at 1,600 – 4,000 RPM

Cylinder Block Design

The Ford 1.6L EcoBoost engine has an open-deck cylinder block design made from high-strength aluminum alloy. The open-deck design was chosen since it improves ventilation, cooling balance, and weight reduction. The lightweight aluminum engine block has thin cast-iron sleeves or liners cast directly into the cylinder walls.

Inside the engine block is a cast-iron crankshaft with five main bearings and four counterweights for balance; forged connecting rods, low-friction hypereutectic aluminum pistons, and resin-coated piston skirts. The piston pins are covered with DLC (Diamond-like Coating) for lesser friction. The aluminum oil pan adds structural support between the engine and transaxle assembly; it also keeps the continuous supply of engine oil in check.

Cylinder Head

The Ford 1.6L EcoBoost has a 16-valve aluminum cylinder head. Between the engine block and the cylinder is a multilayer stainless steel head gasket that acts as a cushion for vibrations and movements. The deliberate design of the cylinder head is one piece with a camshaft casing which features four valves per cylinder: two for the intake side and two for the exhaust side.

D-shaped intake ports manage the efficient airflow coming from the intake manifold going into individual cylinders. Ford used shimless buckets in the valvetrain for more convenient and straightforward valve activations. There is no hydraulic lash adjusting mechanism in the 1.6 L engine. However, shimless buckets range in 36 different thicknesses to set proper lash clearance.

The intake valve diameter is 30 mm, the exhaust valve diameter is 25 mm, and 5 mm valve steam for the intake and exhaust valves. The engine also features dual overhead belt-driven camshafts. As Ford calls them, these camshafts are ‘Twin Independent Variable Cam-Timing or Ti-VCT’ equipped; due to the dual integration of variable cam timing – variable intake and exhaust valve timing.

One camshaft is favored with an additional cam lobe to drive the high-pressure fuel pump. The fuel pressure works the same with the 1.0L Fox. It has six-hole injectors as an entry point for the high-pressure fuel and loads it up to the cylinders. Each injector is placed right at the middle of the cylinder, near the spark plug, for better combustion.

Turbochargers

Furthermore, the additional power that EcoBoost enjoys across the board and a vital component for their not-so-secret power output are their turbochargers. These turbochargers installed on the EcoBoost engines, especially on the 1.6 L EcoBoost, have low-inertia and are highly responsive – the Borg-Warner KP39, blotted and attached to a separate cast-iron exhaust manifold. The middle section of the turbocharger is water-cooled.

The compressed air goes into the plastic intake manifold through the 52-mm drive-by-wire throttle body; ECU Bosch MED17 manages this operation after undergoing an air-to-air intercooling process. The hot exhaust gases from the turbocharger are then flushed into the close-coupled three-way catalytic converter.

The Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine is Euro-5 emission compliant.

Applications of Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine:

118 HP

  • 2013 Volvo V40

148 HP

  • 2010 – Present Ford C-Max
  • 2010 Ford Focus
  • 2012 Volvo V40
  • 2011 – 2018 Volvo S60
  • 2010 – 2018 Volvo V60

158 HP

  • 2011 – Present For Mondeo
  • 2012 – Present Ford S-Max
  • 2011 – Present Ford Galaxy

178 HP

  • 2010 Ford Focus
  • 2013 – 2016 Ford Escape
  • 2014 – 2016 Ford Transit Connect

182 HP

  • 2010 Ford C-Max
  • 2010 – 2018 Volvo S60
  • 2011 – 2016 V70
  • 2010 – 2018 Volvo V60
  • 2011 Ford Focus
  • 2011 – 2016 Volvo S80
  • 2013-2020 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2012 Volvo V40
  • 2013 – 2014 Ford Fusion

197 HP

Engine Tuning, Upgrades, and Modifications

For tuning the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost, you can opt to buy a plug-and-play type of tuner. It is easy to install and participates well with the factory ECU tuning to remap the boost, fuelling, and timing for optimal performance as well as reducing turbo lag.

You can check out our Fiesta ST Muffler/Resonator delete demo plus launch control.

With some tuners, you can gain up to 40HP and 70 lb-ft of torque to the wheels on a stock vehicle.

Problems surrounding Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine:

The issues surrounding the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost engine are not limited to the matters mentioned here but maybe less or more. One thing’s for sure, no machine is perfect, and some issues might occur later or even prematurely to some. It is equally helpful for those who want to know some of those troubles.

Recall and Risk of Fire

The biggest issue that Ford and the 1.6 EcoBoost engine faced is the insane amount of overheating incidents. brief history – a decade ago when Ford issued a recalling campaign in 2013 involving Ford Escapes equipped with this engine due to overheating. But fortunately, Ford already addressed these problems that derailed their years of hard-earned success.

There are 29 fires reported to Ford collectively from the United States and Canada.

Affected by the engine overheating due to harsh temperature exposure, one of the main components such as the cylinder heads suffers. Causing the heads to crack and wrap, and if not fixed earlier, it will cause leakage.

Reports states that some owners experience coolant deficiency up to the point that it’s already drained, as if someone is siphoning the coolant out of the tank. The coolant drop causes the coolant warning light to flash even after refilling.

So, in 2017, the second recall campaign retrieved over 360,000 units of Ford Escape, Ford Fiesta, Ford Fusion, Ford Transit Connect, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta ST, and C-MAX hybrid because of an engine risk causing fires due to lack of circulation, as they claim.

The Ford 1.6L EcoBoost, or the whole EcoBoost line, is equipped with direct injection technology. Sure, it has many advantages – fuel economy, lower emissions, and power benefits, but it does have one bad side.

The direct injectors spray fuel directly into the cylinders, contrary to the port injection where the diversion of fuel goes into the intake ports, hence its name. Now, these guys do not have the benefit of washing away oil-blow-by and oil deposits build up on intake ports and valves, causing carbon build-up over time.

These Carbon deposits affect the power and performance of the engine. They restrict airflow, blocking passageways to the cylinders suffocating the engine with lesser supply. In addition to that, carbon build-up may lead to stuttering, rough idling, and overall poor performance.

Summary

Ford took the risk as they traversed the slippery road of downsizing engines; they have the influence, power, and expertise to do so. They succeeded in the 1.0L Fox EcoBoost engine; indeed, the confidence is sky high, and the product, the 1.6L EcoBoost.

However, as good as it sounds, the 1.6L did not live up to its expectation as problems occurred left and right, jeopardizing the long-term success of the newly established engine. Ford asked for recalls but some issues overwhelms the helpdesk resulting in slow response.

Even with that, Ford continues to thrive; they addressed and solved the issues proving that they have a lot to show.

And for the 1.6L EcoBoost, it is a good thing. This machine’s technologies, integrated components, and engineering show that you can achieve high power without that large displacement. It is also more efficient beating larger engines at this caliber. On top of that, it is relatively cheap and affordable compared to them.

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