By on October 4, 2010

While my invitation to the media burnout fest musta been lost in the mail, I attended a regional ride/drive event to cover the four new engines in the 2011 Ford F-150 as compared to some of its domestic competition. The afternoon included a fairly-lame autocross, a (short) drag strip and real world tests, unladen and towing. The product specialist made a point to ask everyone to tell their friends about this event. Luckily for Ford, I got a lot of people to tell.

Chevy Silverado Z71 (5.3L, 6AT): The Z71 Chevy used to be a serious 4WD off-road package, but now it can be a knobby tired, softly sprung PreRunner rig. Which shows the Blue Oval Boys stacking the cards in their favor, earning a wag of my finger. The Z71 was terrible on the autocross, but I brake torqued my way (3.73 gears?) to a dead heat with an EcoBoost at the drag strip. Irrelevant, as the drag strip was short and sweet, though I preferred the throttle tip in of the Chevy from a standstill in our mini-road course. Lose the Z71, add a little more Z06 under the hood and FoMoCo could be in trouble.

Dodge Ram 1500 (5.7L, 5AT): The “Big Horn” edition Ram was perfectly respectable in every performance metric, with more midrange V8 lust than the 5.3L Chevy and feeling similar to the 5.0L Ford. But I suspect, in the real world, the impressive horsepower isn’t up to par when stuck with Dodge’s 5-speed automatic. It’s still a nice truck, but here’s proof that continuous improvement isn’t just for cars.

Ford F-150 V6 (3.7L, 6AT): this six-banger is the reincarnation of the powerful, efficient and legendary Ford straight-six. I noticed the rumbly exhaust at first, then the 7000rpm tach with no redline markings. The new motor’s lusty midrange was expected with variable valve timing, but the tach ran through its full range of motion. That’s right, an $18,000-ish truck can rev to 7000rpm and bring a smile to one’s face. The lightweight cammer Ford was (obviously) soft on the bottom end, has the lowest tow ratings, but is far and away the most exciting truck I’ve experienced in years. Maybe its because Paul and I both love I-6 Fords (his small-six from 1966, my 1994 big-six), but the vast majority of TTAC readers want this mill in their rig.

F-150 5.0L (6AT): the last 5.0 was a joke compared to it’s faster/stronger/cheaper 4.9L straight-six brother, but this is a respectable mid-range motor, more grunt than the 3.7L with a great sound for not much extra coin. And compared to the outgoing 4.6L trucks, Dearborn gave us a reason to believe that multi-cam V8s have a place in big trucks: depending on the EPA’s final judgment, the HEMI and 5.3L Chevy have their work cut out for them. Safe!

F-150 6.2L (6AT): Though a top option with BOSS 429-esque valve covers, a macho engine note and impressive grunt that sounds like da bomb, an overweight (iron) 6.2L big block motor has no business in a nimble, streetwise F-150. Crotch-rocket aficionados say the same about Harley Davidson’s V-twin in modern bikes, which explains why this motor is standard in the Harley-fettled F-150. That said, I adore this BOSS-wannabe, and eagerly await my first test in a workhorse F-250: the Powerstroke diesel’s premium might be in trouble. But the F-150? Not so much.

F-150 EcoBoost (3.5L, 6AT): The “Eco-Brick” certainly appeals to urban cowboys and status seekers in the flyover states. Gutsy move, but the numbers don’t lie: there’s plenty of low end grunt with a gentle turbo whistle, taking much needed weight off the nose for the best autocross performance of the bunch. And while our mini-drag race test wasn’t a slam-dunk win, the EcoBoost mill would destroy the competition if it ran through more than one gear.

But truck users whose actions create America’s collective pickup forklore might be unimpressed: over load/under maintain the beast and I see a well worn, multiple owner, Eco-Brick F-150 eating turbos in less than 200,000 miles. Respectable for the sludge-factories from VW and Audi, but that might as well be pickup brand management suicide.

Conclusions: I’d buy Ford’s base V6, XLT trimmings, start praying for a MidBox option and research how to use a sawzall/welder to lower the bed rails to a usable height. Then again, there’s no good “bed” on the market, so I doubt I’d even consider a comparable Chevy or Dodge.

And while a ride and drive is no substitute for real seat time, Ford eclipsed the competition with upscale interiors stocked with full color gauge displays and great ICE systems, decent suspensions, 6-speed transmissions across the board for respectable fuel economy (or so they promise) and a blizzard of configurations.

More to the point, this is a slam-dunk of a mid-cycle refresh. If only we could peer into the future, checking out Texas’ Craigslist ads from the year 2025: if a fully depreciated Ford sells for more than a Chevy counterpart, the circle shall be complete.

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78 Comments on “Review: 2011 Ford F-150 (3.7 vs 5.0 vs 6.2 vs Ecoboost)...”


  • avatar

    That vibrant blue works surprisingly well on the truck…though it would certainly brand the owner as a poser. As I’d be if I owned one.
    I haven’t driven the various full-size pickups in years, but must say that these new powertrain offerings have me curious.
    The EcoBoost engine hasn’t been having any problems in the MKS, Flex, etc., but those are cars and they have nowhere near 200k on them. The F-150 has good reliability scores in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. Should know in six months or so if the 2011 includes any glitches.
    About the Car Reliability Survey:
    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What,  no Tundra?  :)

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      I noticed that right away too. Despite the Tundra’s shortcomings in the full size market, that engine is a beast.

    • 0 avatar

      Why this is a domestic face-off is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Ford wanted to assert superiority over their two closest competitors…

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Had the same immediate thought, where is the Tundra.  On the other hand the Tundra is a distant fourth place in the fullsize truck segment – and if I recall correctly if you put the GMC Sierra stand alone instead of rolling it up into the Silverado number, the Tundra drops to fifth.  I will SPECULATE that the absence of the Tundra was Ford making a statement that is failed sales numbers (less than 50% of what was targeted) speaks for itself.  Personally, I would have like to have seen it there.
       
      I’ll also toss out a bit surprised that the GMC Sierra wasn’t there with its Cadillac derived engine and tranny options.  I know the sales numbers are a big joke also, but what about the Nissan Titan too.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      that engine is a beast…….
       
      A colleague at work just had the timing belt replaced on his 02 Tundra with a V8 – $1200.00
       

    • 0 avatar
      dartman

      Uhh…OldandSlow… Since ’07 the 5.7  in the Tundra is an all-aluminum DOHC 4 valve per cylinder, under-rated 381HP “BEAST” with chain-driven cam shafts–derived from the best that Lexus/Toyota has to offer…Until now…(Ford 5.0 maybe…); nothing else compares…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      dartman -
      Unless of course you count the 403hp 6.2 liter V8 in the GMC Sierra Denali or the 390hp 5.7 liter HEMI V8 in the Dodge Ram, both of which get better fuel economy than the Toyota.
      Of course the new 6.2 liter in the F-150 at 411hp is the king of the hill for the moment, but don’t expect truck V8 hp wars to go away anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar

      Two reasons there is no Tundra one it’s sales are not even half Ford, Chevy’s or Dodges so why put them in when you don’t have to beat them anyway? Second last time I saw the consumer reports over 60% of Tundra owners use them as cars, a Ford truck is not for that type of buyer, it’s built to work and is not the best option if this is what you want a truck for – get a Chevy or Toyota, or better yet a station wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      wdar

      The tundra was there but isn’t anywhere close to the american trucks in any category.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The F-150 CrewCab is the 21st century Crown Vic.   All you need is a hard cover for the short bed.
    360hp 5.0L V8
    6-speed auto
    Body on fully boxed frame
    front double A arm suspension, rear live axle
    6-passenger capacity with two bench seats
    4 full size doors
    Choice of 4WD or RWD
    What else do you need?
     
     

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The new all-aluminum 5.0 V8 and 3.7 V6 mean the F-150 probably has the lowest CoG in years.
    It’s also not that hard to “slam” (lower) the truck.  Though I wouldn’t do it to mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Different priorities Amigo.  If I buy a truck it’s to work it like a rented mule.  Almost no options, 2wd, standard cab, long bed.  Bought to haul sh**.  If I buy a sedan, it’s to haul golf clubs, groceries, and luggage for trips.  So you see if I bought a new F150 and tried to make it work like a Crown Victoria for me, it would require significant modifications.  Which sort of makes it a non-starter as Panther platform replacement in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Buy a trailer to tow with your whatever you prefer to drive the rest fo the week. That way when you dent the side or bust the floor – no tears.
      It doesn’t ride like a truck and their are four doors to haul the kids. If I had a truck I’d have to have a crewcab which is more truck than I’d want to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Rude374

      “If I buy a sedan, it’s to haul golf clubs, groceries, and luggage for trips.”
      Huh??  You can’t do that with a F-150??

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I am glad that the review was quite profuse in its praise of the storied 4.9 straight six versus the horrendous 5.0 V8 of yore. I just wonder how many (few) of these new motors will have anything closely resembling the dependability and durability of that 300 straight six.

    • 0 avatar

      Getting 4.9L six levels of reliability aren’t out of the question, but the cheap to rebuild/reincarnate aspect of a big six is another story. Curse the person who invented torque to yield bolts (?) and variable valve timing!

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Damn skippy on the TTY bolts, the only way to do it is to stud the motor out! Although hopefully VVT proves its worth down the miles. My old man had a base F150 with the 3.7, it was a/nice truck and one I considered well equipped for the job it had to do.

        The high revving V6 was pretty surprising as well combined with the 6 speed auto. Although being the brick that it is combined with my lead foot, I averaged worse mileage on the highway compared to my GT500.

    • 0 avatar
      crm114

      If the 3.7 it does hold up like my bulletproof 300, I’m going to rush out and pick up a 2011, off of Craigslist, in about 17 years. I hope somebody orders an XL with an 8′ box in that gorgeous shit brown; because that’s what I’m going to be looking for.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      @crm114

      nornally i would shudder at the thought of a big truck in  that brown, but damn i like it too

    • 0 avatar

      @ crm114:  from the engine, to the trim level, to the color, I must say that we gotta be separated at birth.  Nice choice.

    • 0 avatar
      Rude374

      One of my high school buddy’s had an old beat up F150 with that big straight six and manual tranny.  We used to beat the ever-living CRAP outta that thing and just couldn’t break it.  We tried our best I swear it was indestructible!!

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Were all models 4WD between Ford and the competition?  Does Ford offer the V6 models (NA and boosted) in 4WD?

    • 0 avatar

      I am pretty sure that all were 2WD. Unfortunately I didn’t get the specs of all trucks present, and for that I apologize. Who knows what gearing these trucks had, and how far Ford used that to their advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Yeah, that makes me wonder as well.  While commendable that Ford offers different gear ratios, too often we see the Performance Pack or similar sent out to the reviewers but fuel economy numbers are only available from the tall ratio version. *cough V6 mustang cough*

    • 0 avatar
      Redshift

      I don’t think you can get the Z71 Offroad Pack without 4WD. (At least it wouldn’t make any sense.)

    • 0 avatar

      @Redshift: I experienced RWD wheelspin in my Z71 tester.  I don’t recall any 4WD switchgear in the cabin, and I’ve priced this rig on both Chevy and Edmund’s website, and I could indeed order a 2WD Silverado with Z71.
      I vaguely remember the Z71 went “soft” about 4 years ago to capitalize on the brand recognition of this option package, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Redshift

      Good to know.  (Also possible the Canadian packages are different.)  Last time I priced out a GM truck I could only get the Z71 pack with 4WD, but that had been awhile.  It really has gone soft.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Yes…you can get the Z71 package with a 2WD truck.
       
      It makes sense too as a 2WD truck with a locking diff will go farther than any Ford with their limp-wristed “limited slip” diffs and 4WD.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      From what I understand the 3.7 liter engine will be available in all configurations except for Crew Cab 4×4, and the 3.5 EcoBoost will be available in all configurations.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a top issue for pickup truck buyers. Long term reliability and durability are big unknowns for a new engine with two turbochargers. Ford’s long deplorable history of motor issues leaves minimum room for optimism. I’ll wait a few years before I look at an EcoBoost anything.

    • 0 avatar
      wdar

      Sorry sir but you need to get up to date. I own an auto repair shop and I am constantly researching all vehicle technologies and quality. The last 4 years of Fords have eclipsed all others for quality. Thank Alan Mullaly for turning Ford into a different company with second to none quality. Dodge is at the other end with worlds worst quality and the tundra and nissan just aren’t trucks (girly). I ordered a 2011 F150 the miniute I heard about the butt kicking power of the 6.2 but would have opted for a 3.5 if it came with a bigger tank. FORD RULES

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Ford does offer boosted V6 in 4WD models- though not at the beginning of production.
    Why no Tundra? Toyota not a serious player in this arena.

  • avatar
    Variant

    This isn’t directly related to the truck review, but I’m going to post it here because Sajeev touched upon my point.  I hope Ford has thought long and hard about their intended market for these EcoBoost engines.  I haven’t driven one, but I have no doubt they are every bit as good as claimed.  However, let’s not forget how highly praised the Audi/VW 1.8t was when it was first introduced, before they sold a few million of them to Americans who generally viewed the maintanence requirements of turbocharged engines as mere suggestions.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The 1.8T’s problems weren’t so much Americans not maintaining them as VW’s inability to procure a decent coil pack and stonewalling warranty coverage.
       
      That they had sludge issues similar to Saab’s B205/235 wasn’t a maintenance issue, either.  The B234 didn’t sludge, nor did the blown Ecotec, nor any number of other blown engines of similar power.  Epidemic sludge is always a design issue.
       
      It was a good engine in terms of power, but it wasn’t their best moment in terms of reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Maintenance and design are two sides of the same coin in this case. The 1.8T has a tiny oil reservoir with a tiny filter and a tiny pickup. Consequently you must change the oil and filter religiously every 5k and use a full synthetic. The vast majority (all?) of sludged 1.8s did not follow this procedure. Stupid design? Yes. Stupid owners? Well, yes.

      Grrr. Now you made me angry thinking about the cheapo coilpacks, control arms, PCV system, upholstery, glove box latch etc. in my Passat. Decontented VW? Snort! I’ve been driving one for years.

    • 0 avatar
      Variant

      My concern isn’t with faulty coil packs or warranty stonewalling, those are supplier and customer relations issues unrelated to the overall engine design.  I agree that the longitudinal 1.8t was designed with the bare minimum oil capacity (easily mitigated by simply using a larger filter), but I can also see their engineers justifying it as, “If zey follow zee rules, there vill be no problems.”

      I disagree that sludging is always a design and not a maintenance issue.  To argue that the blown Saabs and GM Ecotecs haven’t suffered the same issues isn’t a fair comparison; neither of those engines have been sold in anywhere near the volume or in the same variety of applications as the 1.8t.

      Perhaps I should rephrase my statement to, “I hope Ford has thought long and hard about their intended market for these EcoBoost engines and has over-built them to withstand the over-loaded/under-maintained lives they will inevitably lead if they are successful in selling a significant volume of them in the US.”  High output, smaller displacement, turbocharged engines simply have different maintenance requirements than NA OHV V8′s.

      I like what Ford is trying to do and I think they are doing a great job positioning themselves as a market leader in powerful yet fuel efficient engines.  I just hope they’ve done their homework and considered all of the variables.

    • 0 avatar
      Variant

      Adding:  If there are significant long-term reliability problems with these EcoBoost engines it would not only be a disaster for Ford, but also for the whole “we can build better cars powered by a better ICE before we need to move to a hybrid or (gasp) full EV infrastructure” movement.
      Okay, I’m done.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I think there is a big difference between the EB 3.5 and small turbo 4s like the Audi/VW and Subie engines.  3.5L is pretty big displacement for a V6, and for F-150 use the engine is being redesigned with stronger internals, metal intake/exhaust runners, and a recalibrated power curve to meet truck needs.  This isn’t going to see typical turbo use of being redlined hard again and again in a sports car, the torque curve is designed so that the driver doesn’t have to rev the engine hard to get great torque, leading to better longevity and fuel economy.
      Ford seems pretty confident in the engine with the plans to pull one at random from the line, run it for 150,000 miles on a dyno, use it to haul logs in Oregon, run it for 24 hours straight towing 2 Fusions around a racetrack, and then run the same engine in the Baja 1000.  The F-150 is Ford’s bread and butter, they wouldn’t put this engine in the truck if reliability weren’t known to already be bulletproof from a ton of testing.
       
      The 3.7 liter has already seen use in the Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKT, Mazda CX-9, and Mazda6, it already has a great reliability reputation.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    Is the 5.0 the Coyote engine?

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Actually there is a potential bed height solution. Just go Australian and make it a “tray top”. A nice aluminum drop side flatbed would give easier loading and maybe even take some weight off, although you may still want to go to air suspension so you can drop the ride height for loading.
    Also money permitting, I might actually one of these. Dues to some complicated circumstances the rental on our last out of town trip was an F150 crew cab and my wife loved it, despite being only 5’1″. Of course her primary load for the bed is the family bicycle fleet so I may be negotiating to a smaller vehicle, and a bigger bike rack.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Did Ford finally get the spark plugs figured out with these engines?  Because they have missed the boat for the past 13 years with the mod boat anchors.

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    It looks like Ford may be willing to give up some of thier historically strong fleet & commercial sales with this engine lineup. That ecoboost V-6 looks like a grenade to me, at least in fleet use, and the 5.0 looks like just too much. The 4.6 Ford and the 4.8 GM may not be “enthusiast” engines, but once they got them sorted out they have been about bullet proof and were well suited to light commercial use.
     If the 4.6 is gone, I know where my fleet dollars will go this year. Ford also has a history of needing a few years to get a new engine right, much more so than GM although they are not perfect either. Maybe in 2013 or so…..

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The 3.7 liter is being positioned as the general purpose fleet engine.  It makes more power (and only a tad less torque) than the older 4.6 liter 2valve fleet special, and does it with better fuel economy.  The 3.7 liter has already been out for a few years and has already developed an excellent reliability reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Ford seems pretty confident in the engine with the plans to pull one at random from the line, run it for 150,000 miles on a dyno, use it to haul logs in Oregon, run it for 24 hours straight towing 2 Fusions around a racetrack, and then run the same engine in the Baja 1000. The F-150 is Ford’s bread and butter, they wouldn’t put this engine in the truck if reliability weren’t known to already be bulletproof from a ton of testing.

      Oh…like the 5.4′s that spit plugs? Or how about the 6.0 diesel? How about the 6.4 diesel? How about the 5.4 with the 3V heads? I’m even hearing that the 6.7s are coming in for warranty work now. Those engines were tested to the same (lacking) Ford “standards” as these new ones…

      And the mod motors didn’t start spitting plugs until 1997 or so…and they had been on sale for years. So saying an engine is proven in another platform means squat.
       
      These engines have to prove themselves for about 5 years before any sensible person will take them seriously.
       
      And the 5.0 V8 is pointless with the TwinForce (because there is nothing “ECO” about it) V6.
       
      Ford now has a WAYYY too cluttered boat anchor line up for 2011.  V6, V6TT OR 5.0.  That is it.  I think they only offered the 6.2 for bragging rights.  It really serves no purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The 5.4 with the plugs didn’t start showing up until later because the majority of the problems were due to people installing replacement plugs improperly.  Yes, the engine was designed with an odd spark plug set up, but Ford learned the lesson and changed that with the new 5.0 and 6.2 liter V8s.
       
      The 6.0 and 6.4 had issues due to Navistar designs not matching up to the power figures that Ford needed the engines to put out, hence the 6.7 that was all in house.  There have been no issues due to design or manufacture with the 6.7, the only thing Ford is calling owners in for is for the free software recalibration for more horsepower/torque.
       
      The EcoBoost is going to be the mainstream premium engine, with the 6.2 being reserved for extremely limited models and super heavy duty towing applications.  If you plan on using the full 11,300 towing capacity on a regular basis, the 6.2 is the engine you want.  If you want something that gets best in class fuel economy (unofficial reports are saying better combined economy than the GM hybrid pickups) while still offering excellent power and excellent towing capability, you get the EcoBoost 3.5.  The 5.0 will be the mainstream engine in the lineup, and the 3.7 will be the low cost high efficiency option.

    • 0 avatar
      tiredoldmechanic

      Nullomodo, I hope you are right and this engine works out. I will wait a couple of years  though, so that means GM gets to sell a dozen or so more 4.8s. A turbocharged small displacement gas engine in a commercial app just makes me nervous. It does sound like a great general purpose engine for personal use though. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.
       As for the Triton spark plug issue, yeah they really pooched that one but it was fixed by about 2003. Took too long and they were not always easy about warranty but the Triton has been a reliable engine since then. I have some 04 and 05 4.6 units running around with 350,000 km and still going strong. The 5.4 is just as durable but it has always been a gas sucker in my experience.
       Now if only Ford (and everyone else) would just give us a box you can reach into from the side….

    • 0 avatar

      If I ever buy one of these, I definitely throw the stock box away and install an aluminum flatbed.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      In reference to Z71_Silvy, you can get a 4.3, 4.8, 5.3 and 6.2 on the Chevy Silveraldo 1500 thus same amount of choices. Also the 6-spd is only available on the 5.3 and 6.2.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Poorly segmented and redundant product is no small part of why you and I are part owners of GM.
       
      I don’t think three mainstream and one halo engine are excessive for a lineup at F-150 volumes but I wouldn’t justify it by holding it up to the GM model either.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      If you plan on using the full 11,300 towing capacity on a regular basis, the 6.2 is the engine you want.

       
      Why?  The 5.4 could tow the same amount…from a much smaller engine.  Or did you just inadvertently admit that Ford’s capability claims are not based in reality?

      The 6.0 and 6.4 had issues due to Navistar designs not matching up to the power figures that Ford needed the engines to put out, hence the 6.7 that was all in house.  There have been no issues due to design or manufacture with the 6.7,
       
      “Ford needed the engines to put out”?  So…the engines were powerful enough to move trucks the weigh 3 times what a Super Dooty weighs while remaining bulletproof…yet in a much lighter Ford truck, they were nothing but problems…yeah…that makes sense.  As for the 6.7…I am hearing they are coming in for internal leaks in the fuel rails and that the silly reverse flow heads are leaking boost.  And that is from a Ford tech.
       
      All that shows is that Ford’s “durability” testing is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Their standards are very low.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The 5.4 can handle it fine, in fact, the 3.7 could probably handle it fine, after all, they use engines a lot smaller for towing than we do in Europe, but if you’re going to tow a lot all the time, you might as well go for the most powerful option available.
       
      Ford needed the 6.0 and 6.4 to put out numbers that look good on a stat sheet next to those of GM and Chrysler.  It didn’t matter that the engine would have worked just as well optimized the way International used it for their heavy trucks, too many people buy on figures rather than actual capability.  At the end of the day what Ford needed from the engine and what International needed created design goals that were too far apart to accomplish with the same build, and the contract Ford has with International didn’t allow them to tailor it to suit Ford’s needs well enough.  The 6.7 is tailor made for Ford HD truck use, and is the best all around pickup diesel on the market.  I haven’t heard of any of the issues you are talking about, although I’m sure it could have happened on an engine or two, just like you have occasional build problems with any car no matter how good the overall reliability is.  Camrys, Silverados, Phantoms, and Corollas all occasionally come off the line with unforeseeable defects, that is what the warranty is there for.
       
      Ford has the highest durability and reliability stands for their trucks in the industry, which helps explain why there are more 250,000 mile plus F-series vehicles still registered on the road than any other make or model.

    • 0 avatar
      Rude374

      “So…the engines were powerful enough to move trucks the weigh 3 times what a Super Dooty weighs while remaining bulletproof…yet in a much lighter Ford truck, they were nothing but problems…yeah…that makes sense.”
      Anyone who has experience with the International 4200 trucks (I have a fleet of them at my distribution center) will tell you this is just not true.  Those Navistar V8′s have been the most UN-reliable engines I have ever seen out of any vehicle, commercial or otherwise.  They have had countless electrical issues… computer issues… and eat turbos.  I’ve had drivers stall and stranded in the middle lane of I-285 here in Atlanta more than a few times putting them in a very dangerous situation.  We’re been phasing out the 4200s for the 4300s which are a big improvement… they use a different engine.

  • avatar
    ajla

    From what I understand the 3.7 liter engine will be available in all configurations except for Crew Cab 4×4, and the 3.5 EcoBoost will be available in all configurations.
     
    So I could get an Ecoboost regular-cab-short-box F-150 4×2? In that “Flame Blue” color?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      For the regular cab the EcoBoost is available only with the 8′ bed, but otherwise, yes.  You can even get it with the XL stripper trim if you get the max trailer tow package.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    7,000 rpms out of an F150? Jeez, I want one. Too bad I can’t grab one with a manual gearbox.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    In my opinion, Ford probably builds the best full-size pickup, but I’d want to wait a while for all these engines to settle.
    Ford has a history of putting engines out way too soon, and letting owners take their lumps.  Ford’s diesels SUCK (except the 7.3 Powerstroke) and  I can see the EcoBoost engine being a DISASTER (even though I’m excited about the prospects)  The spark plug issues the mod motors were also a disaster, and the early motors were gutless.
    Ford should build an F-150 or Ranger with a small Diesel.  My guess is ALL the brands would build small diesel trucks if it wasn’t California’s ridiculous emission laws.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    ….over load/under maintain the beast and I see a well worn, multiple owner, Eco-Brick F-150 eating turbos in less than 200,000 miles.
     
    I don’t really care how much torture testing Ford does with this motor. I still question the long term durability of such an exotic engine (for a truck) over the course of multiple towing/hauling/general punishment. At the same time though, give Ford props for having the gonads to drop a fuel efficient bomb into a pickup with the grunt of a V8 while having the efficiency of a V6.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Perhaps they see that alot of folks use F-150s (and other 1/2 ton trucks) for commuter duty more often than they use them like trucks. If i was doing that then I’d expect the turbo to be fine. if I was hauling heavy loads regularly I’d buy some other engine. Probably the diesel+ stick that they don’t sell unless it sounded like the gravel crusher in my friend’s F-250. I’m think VW TDI more than the engine he has in his truck. Has to turn it off to go through a drive through or they can’t hear him.
      YONG-YONG-YONG-YONG-YONG…

  • avatar
    dieselone

    All that shows is that Ford’s “durability” testing is a lot of smoke and mirrors.  Their standards are very low.
     
    Having owned a 5.3 powered Suburban, I can say from experience, GM is not any better.  Piston slap, pitman arm, fuel pump, power steering issues, rear dif whining, 4l60e (horrible trans) rebuilds, and faulty HVAC controls all by 70k miles, not to mention all of squeaks and rattles.  I don’t know if I’ll every buy another Generic Motors product again.
    .

  • avatar
    dieselone

    As for the Triton spark plug issue, yeah they really pooched that one but it was fixed by about 2003.
    Well sort of.  The 3v head 5.4 from ’04-08 have issues with the plugs not coming out in one piece.  It’s generally not a big problem, but it can be a PITA to get the plugs out.  The 5.4 3v certainly can’t match the larger v8′s out there regarding power, but it does have a good power band for towing.  It will tow all day with out much fuss, but won’t win many races.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, the 5.4′s insanely long stroke makes it good for towing. I drove one with a 93-octane tune on it, and the powerband’s personality changed.  Long stroke or no, those 3v heads flow really well when you reflash the computer.

  • avatar
    dieselone

    I do find the Ecoboost v6 interesting.  I certainly don’t think I want to buy a used one with many miles on it.  Poor maintenance could be a real issue down the road.
    I read in a boat mag that tested a Ford flex with ecoboost towing a 5k lb pound boat.  It’s 0-60 time was about 4 seconds quicker than a 5.3 powered Tahoe towing the same load, something like 14 seconds 0-60 vs 18 for the Tahoe.  They said the Ecoboost pulled like a diesel.  So it seems it definitely has potential.  But I don’t think many truck buyers will go for a turbo 6 in a truck.  No doubt the 5.0 will be the volume seller.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The 4.8-5.3-6.0-6.2 engine family in the GM’s have been pretty much bulletproof from 2004 onwards from what I can tell. We sell a ton of them at my buddys dealership, some with 300K and they run as new. The current 4.8 is underrated in mileage at 13/18 on 4WD models, at least on the 2010 extended cab Silverado I rented a few weeks ago, and feels nearly as powerful as the previous 5.3! I don’t even know why GM bothers with the 4.3 V6.
    I can’t wait to try out a 2011 F-150 with both the V6 and 5.0 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      GM still sells trucks with the 4.3 V6 because the tooling was paid off back in the stone age. That makes it a cheap and (somewhat) reliable bet for contractors and those just wanting a basic truck. Although a 4.8 V8 with a six speed automatic would probably kill it in both reliability and gas mileage.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    The V-6 is definitely the killer app here. It’ll smoke my old Dodge 5.2 and get better fuel economy doing it. But, does Ford even offer a manual anymore? If they do, this truck will be replacing my Ram once the tin worm takes it’s toll. Concerning the bed side height, how much wider is this F-150 compared to say the 80-96 era truck? I mean, adaptability is but a drill and some bolts away. Okay, maybe a Sawzall and a MIG. Locally, there’s a 99-04 F-250 quad cab. with, I kid you not, a 88-98 Chevy Step-side bed.
    On a related note, these new trucks are really ticking off the local landscapers. A  friend of mine went from a ’98 Chevy 2500 to an ’07. Sure, he gained about 100 horsepower and two more forward gears but he also gained about two inches of step in height, four inches of bed height and lost more than a quarter of outward visibility. The tailgate height makes it much harder to see a small equipment trailer, which makes oversize mirrors a necessity. The hood and “power bulges” make seeing the road directly in front of you next to impossible. The hood so oversize that the Fisher plow he uses bangs against it. It’s obvious that it was built for overcompensation and not real work.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Yeah i don’t get the freight train dimensions of the newer trucks. Leave the size to the F-250 and 350 and make the F-150 something smaller and the Ranger something smaller again.

    • 0 avatar
      thehomelessguy

      Yeah, I stopped hiring snow removal (got a nice two stage snow blower) as the guys hit my garage this year due to (likeily) the issues you mentioned. They did send someone out to fix it, but I just don’t want to mess with it anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      mazder3: It’s obvious that it was built for overcompensation and not real work.
      Absolutely brilliant.  Damn, I wish I thought of that!
      But FWIW, I betcha it’ll be easier to sawzall/MIG the factory bed rails because of the radical rear suspension re-think in 2004. Adapting the old bed would be a nightmare.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    Just for kicks, Ford should have brought out a Chevy 1500 with the 4.3V6 and send it down the drag strip with the 3.7 Ford. Or should I say just for laughs?
     
    Great article Sajeev, my folks needs just shifted to needing a tow vehicle (small camper) and the F150 with the 3.7 sounds like it will fit the bill nicely.

  • avatar

    Are we getting locking-diffs for the 4WD on any Ford’s next year? Otherwise, GM still owns the crown…

    By the way, in Canada, Z71 only comes in 4WD. ;)

  • avatar

    It is easy to laugh at this stuff compared to EVs but the mileage changes to these can be much more important.If you from 35 to 40 mpg with a car that is only a 14% improvement. But if you go from 10MPG to 13MPG on a big truck, that is a 30% improvement. So don’t dismiss these improvements. They are far more important than most people give them credit for!We will still need big trucks and you use them indirectly all the time even if you don’t own them. So don’t laugh this stuff off.
    Thanks
    Ford-f-150′s Eco boost

  • avatar
    jharna

    EcoBoost is a family of turbocharged and direct injected six-cylinder and four-cylinder gasoline engines produced by the Ford Motor Company. Engines equipped with EcoBoost technology are designed to deliver power and torque consistent with larger displacement, naturally aspirated engines while achieving approximately 20% better fuel efficiency and 15% reduced greenhouse emissions than these same engines.
    Used Trucks for Sale


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