As I wrote about the new ecoboost V6 for the 2011 Ford F-150 I couldn’t help but be blown away as I dug into some Ford resources. The power and torque numbers out of a V6 (at least I thought) are almost unbelievable. It’s that impressive. The more I thought about it, the same questions begged to be asked. How is a V6 supposed to produce this much power and torque without blowing itself up. So I dug in a little deeper to answer, is this new engine going to be reliable? Want to know what I found? Keep on reading baby!
An all-new engine
Every Ford truck engine undergoes a tortuous testing program, and the EcoBoost truck engine was no exception.
“We’re testing this EcoBoost truck engine just as we would all of our other F-150 truck engines – we have exactly the same expectations and it has to pass all our truck durability and reliability tests,” said Kris Norman, powertrain operations manager. “From our standpoint, this is an all-new engine specifically designed and engineered for the F-150. Everything is validated to the higher stress levels and higher customer usage levels found in any F-150 engine.”
- More than 1.5 million hours of analytical time
- More than 13,000 hours of dynamometer testing, including more than 5,000 hours at full boost and more than 2,500 hours at or above 5,000 rpm; the dyno testing helps ensure durability in excess of 150,000 miles
- More than 100,000 hours of vehicle test time encompassing the full range of potential customer operating conditions
All the tests together replicate more than 1.6 million miles of customer usage – the harshest-use customer. A customer profile reflecting extreme-use driving style, road types and vehicle usage, including maximum towing and payload situations, was developed to underpin the testing program.
The computer modeling and system analysis especially have been key.
“Instead of constantly building and testing parts, we want to be smarter and use our computer skills and our ability to model things to do the upfront work,” Norman said. “We want to get everything right at the start, then validate with extensive testing.”
Turning up the heat
Engineers put the 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine on an extreme, accelerated pace. The thermal cycling test, for example, replicated conditions from the Arctic Circle to Death Valley to simulate 10 years of use in the harshest environments.
“On a thermal cycling test, for example, we want the engine to get hot as fast as possible, so the best way to do that is to go full boost at high speed,” Norman said. “To test the structure of the engine, we run it at full boost with maximum load. We run thousands of hours at full boost – conditions not attainable in a real-drive situation but important for proving this F-150 is ready to go the distance.”
The 2011 F-150 with EcoBoost will be available in early 2011.