Project F-150 Ecoboost – Making Serious Power with Garrett’s Powermax Twin Turbo and Intercooler Upgrade

We then slid thermocouples under the couplers and into the charge airstream. We placed thermocouples on each of the two inlet sides and one on the outlet side to measure the temperatures going into and out of the intercooler. Here are the couplers with the thermocouples in place and ready for testing. Our test protocol is to run the vehicle on the dyno doing consecutive pulls as quickly as possible until the inlet and outlet temperatures are stabilized and the system is heat saturated.

We used our in-house SuperFlow AutoDyn 30 for both our inlet/outlet temperature data and for baseline horsepower numbers. Here is our Project Ford F-150 EcoBoost on our dyno doing one of many consecutive pulls. The data we collected included inlet temperatures, outlet temperatures, ambient air temperatures and baseline power numbers (horsepower and torque).

We also monitor the vehicle’s coolant temps, intake air temps, air-fuel ratio and long/short-term fuel trims using our AEM Electronics CD-5 dash, which also works as a data logger. This is to make sure that we are running the engine within safe parameters and to help with consistency when we do back-to-back comparisons.  This is pretty important in late-model cars whose ECU’s can actively make impactful changes.

Our baseline temperature data yielded an average inlet temperature of 245F degrees an average outlet temperature of 175F degrees. Stock baseline power numbers were 258 horsepower and 338 foot-pounds of torque.

Before we started bolting on the aftermarket Garrett goodies, we wanted to test a couple more things while the car was still in stock form.  Like we mentioned earlier, the factory turbos and intercooler work well for what they were designed for, but we were wondering what exactly happens when one of the many off the shelf tunes available for the Ecoboost engine is used. After loading a new tune to our project it was time to spin the roller again. With the turbo compressors way out of their efficiency range, due to the tune’s higher than stock boost pressure, the charge temps coming out of the turbos were about 450F degrees! After the intercooler, the temps were still a frying 270F degrees! That’s a difference of over two hundred degrees in inlet temp and almost one hundred degrees in outlet temps.  This is seriously not good for your engine!

Additionally, we played around with removing the front license plate which blocks the airflow to the intercooler and re-ran the test.  Removing the license plate made a measurable difference to our air charge temps of about 10-15 degrees.

This was still pretty darn hot and we don’t feel it is safe to run your F-150 EcoBoost on just a tune. Yes, it will make more horsepower, but those inlet and outlet temperatures are unacceptable and will not yield good results in the long run. You can boast on the internet all you want about how your stock EcoBoost F-150 is making all kinds of power on just a tune, but unless you’re on a short lease plan we suggest NOT doing that.

So now that we have our baseline data and verified that the stock components are already being pushed to their limits by the OE tune, it is time to see what kind of results we get from the performance turbos and intercooler from Garrett.

12 comments

  1. I’m currently shopping for an Ecoboost F150, the stock intercooler setup just does not makes sense to me. First, with the acres of real estate on the front of an F150, why did they feel the need to put the licence plate right in front of the intercooler opening, covering 80% of it? Second, shutters? really? I mean I understand shutters on a radiator for warm up, but on an intercooler? And I don’t buy the aero benefit… with as much penny pinching as oems do, there’s no way that minuscule aero benefit could justify the price. My money is on the condensation build up Ford suffers with on their turbo cars. But to me thats like using pain killers to deal with a broken bone rather than casting it… I do kinda like the idea of fan on the intercooler tho… prolly helps with low speed high load situations that a truck could see..

      1. With the amazing prevalence of turbochargers on vehicles these days, and every tuning company offering a “stage 1” tune that increases boost pressure and fuel delivery, it makes me wonder how many other platforms fall victim to insane intake temperatures when pushed like this. All of the twin turbo German stuff, the turbo 4pot 2.0 everythings etc.

    1. AJ Hartman built a 3.5EB SN95 with the MT82. I bet it’s a riot!
      I wish the package was a little smaller. It would be a fun swap engine if the bay is wide enough.

      1. And then got boned by dyno procedures… ah, NASA.

        But yeah, again, it seems fun. I wonder if the Link GDI ECU would run one of these well.

  2. Did I miss you testing the new intercooler with the same aftermarket tune you ran on the OE turbo/intercooler setup that increased the temps a bunch? If not, did you and what where the temps?

  3. Jeeezlus, power is waaay too easy these days. 435whp on a Superflow on pump gas through a truck drivetrain wasn’t something you could bolt on without sacrifice (comfort, driveability, etc). Now? No problem, hell, you could even finance the parts! 🙂

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