Ford 2.7 L EcoBoost problems seem bad (but they’re really not)

Ford 2.7 L EcoBoost problems seem bad (but they’re really not)

Due to problems owners had with the original Ford 2.7 EcoBoost, Ford came out with a revamped version of the engine in 2018. Since then, vehicles made after 2018 have a much more reliable version of this particular EcoBoost engine.

Unfortunately, no engine is perfect – and this one certainly isn’t. Despite the changes made in the newer generation version, some owners are still facing problems with the 2.7 L EcoBoost. These problems include (but are not limited to):

  • Leaking oil pans
  • Coolant leaks
  • ECT sensor malfunctions 
  • Carbon buildup on the intake valves
  • Defective cylinder heads (and gaskets)
  • Check Engine Lights illuminating for no reason
  • Smokey cold startups
  • PCM calibrating issues

But wait! As scary as this list seems, the 2.7 L EcoBoost is a fairly reliable engine in the grand scheme of things. Let’s break it down a little further:

A closer look at the most common Ford 2.7 EcoBoost problems

First, a little backstory: the Ford 2.7 EcoBoost is a 2.7-liter V6 twin-turbo engine. It’s rated at 315-335 horsepower (hp) and 400-pound feet of torque.

These engines are used in models such as the F-150, select Lincoln models, the Edge Sport and ST, the Fusion Sport, and more.

  • The first-generation Ford 2.7L EcoBoost engines were installed in vehicles between 2015-2018.
  • Second-generation engines are in cars manufactured after 2018.

Sounds neat, right? Well, don’t get too excited. Below are some of the most common Ford 2.7 EcoBoost problems owners have experienced (covering all model years):

Leaking oil pan

A leaking oil pan is the number one problem that older models of the 2.7 EcoBoost have. According to the official Ford service bulletin, certain F-150 vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2017 “may exhibit an oil leak from the engine oil pan RTV seal.” If this is the case for your vehicle, you must replace the oil pan (which isn’t going to be cheap).

Coolant leaks and ECT sensor malfunctions

Ford has faced legal allegations regarding a defect that causes coolant to leak into the cylinders. Certain 2015-2020 Ford F-150 vehicles with a 2.7 EcoBoost engine might also see their check engine light illuminate, as well as a warning that the engine coolant temperature is too high. The alert is triggered by issues in the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor or wiring harness.

Coolant leaks are no joke. The risk of fire is high when you neglect coolant leaks!

Carbon buildup in the intake valves

Many drivers of pre-2018 vehicles equipped with the Ford 2.7 EcoBoost engine have reported issues with carbon build-up in the intake valves of the cylinder head. The reason that this is such an issue is that Ford does not have a listed way of DIY cleaning this carbon build-up without voiding the warranty. Oops.

A safe recommendation for cleaning the carbon build-up is to include plug-and-play catch cans that do not require any drilling and won’t void the warranty.

F-150 with the 2.7 L EcoBoost
So, what do you think so far? Are you thinking twice about picking up an F-150 with the 2.7 L EcoBoost? If you’ve been unfazed so far, keep reading…

Defect in the cylinder head and head gaskets

Ford issued an updated service bulletin in 2019 regarding some 2016-2017 F-150 vehicles for having a defect in the cylinder head valve guides (which causes damage to the head gaskets). 

Certain vehicles built between April 1st, 2016 through January 1st, 2017 “may exhibit white or blue smoke from the exhaust, rough idle in neutral or park at normal operating temperature or after a hot restart.” Vehicles manufactured within this period may show a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) known as the check engine light.

Check engine light unnecessarily going off

The malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) – or check engine light – going off without reason is a very common Ford 2.7 EcoBoost problem. It seems to be most prominent in newer models such as the 2019-2020 F-150.

If the check engine light illuminates, Ford’s service bulletin suggests scheduling an appointment with customer care as soon as possible. Luckily, “the condition has no effect on vehicle operation or long term durability.” It’s just massively annoying, that’s all.

White or blue smoke during cold spells

Some drivers have reported blue or white smoke coming out of their exhaust pipes after starting their 2.7 L EcoBoost-equipped vehicle. Fords’ service bulletin states that it “may be due to oil entering the left-hand turbocharger turbine housing.” This blue or white smoke occurs when the engine has been inactive for long periods in cold temperatures.

Calibrating issues

Ford has reported some issues with its powertrain control module (PCM) software in select 2019 F-150 vehicles featuring a 2.7L EcoBoost engine. These software issues lead to the malfunction indicator lamp illuminating and a diagnostic trouble code appearing on your screen.

Ford Fusion with the 2.7 L EcoBoost
I’m willing to bet that you’ll never look at a Ford Fusion with the 2.7 L EcoBoost the same ever again after reading this. Sorry.

Is the Ford 2.7 EcoBoost reliable?

Yes, despite the problems mentioned above, the 2018 (and newer) Ford 2.7 L EcoBoost engine is reliable. I’ve seen users post in online forums with generally few engine issues to report. Most owners tend to complain about other unrelated things (such as poor build quality of the entire vehicle).

I’m of the opinion that the changes that went into the second-generation 2.7L EcoBoost engines manufactured from 2018 and onward is what turned this engine from a bad to goo. These changes include:

  • Direct injection and port injection
  • Updated high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system
  • New turbochargers
  • New lightweight dual-chain camshafts

While Ford does not have the highest reputation amongst its peers for building the most reliable vehicles, potential owners should not be deterred away from the newer generation of the 2.7L EcoBoost engines.

How long will a 2.7 EcoBoost last?

From everything that I’ve read online (and what owners of vehicles with this engine have told me) the Ford 2.7 EcoBoost can be expected to last approximately 125,000 miles to 155,000 miles. With regular checkups, good maintenance, and no modifications, you’ll probably get a lot more mileage out it than that.

For comparisons sake, the Ford 3.5 EcoBoost has a longer life expectancy of around 250,000 miles.

adding engine oil
Treat your EcoBoost well, and it’ll treat you well.

Which is better: the 3.5 L or 2.7 L EcoBoost?

The 2.7L EcoBoost engine offers superior fuel economy over the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost. With the 2.7L, you can get anywhere between 20-26 miles per gallon (MPG) depending on highway or city driving. The 3.5L engine, on the other hand, gets closer to 18-25 miles per gallon. If you are using your vehicle for daily driving, the 2.7L engine will be the better option in terms of overall cost.

  • The 3.5 L is better for those who need maximum torque and stronger towing capabilities. The 2.7L EcoBoost has 325 horsepower, while the 3.5 boasts 365-450 horsepower.
  • When it comes to torque, the 3.5L wins out over the 2.7 L. The 3.5 EcoBoost engine is rated at 420-510 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.7L is rated at 375-400 (which is still quite good).

For most drivers, the Ford 2.7 L EcoBoost will provide sufficient power with with good gas mileage.

Recalls

Believe it or not, the Ford 2.7L EcoBoost engine has not been subject to any recalls (as of yet). I told you this was a good engine! That being said, things can change, and recalls can be issued at any time. I’ll be sure to update this page if I see anything pop up…

Until then, you can check for updates yourself by entering your vehicle’s year, make, and model on the official NHTSA website.

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