By on March 26, 2020

Ford F-150

Last year’s debut of a wonderfully throwback engine was just the early Christmas present many traditional truck fans needed. Sporting an iron block, pushrods, and 7.3 liters of displacement, Ford’s new heavy duty V8 felt like the 1970s were still upon us.

Rumor has it Mathew Guy has a blueprint of one adorning his bedroom ceiling.

While a delightful addition to the world of all things American and big, the engine carrying the codename Godzilla leads us to ponder how long it can all last.

Yesterday we received the latest hint that Toyota’s revamped Tundra, apparently due next year, will carry no V8 engine. A six-cylinder, with the assistance of turbochargers and an electric motor, will muster the needed oomph.

At least in full-size guise, Ford’s been headed towards that destination for years — the F-150’s V8 take rate declined steadily following the release of the 3.5- and 2.7-liter Ecoboosts. A hybrid and fully electric variant are on the way. It’s not hard to guess which member of the Detroit Three will be first to leave V8s behind. Over at General Motors, the Chevrolet Silverado offers a turbo four-cylinder on a range of trims. Good idea or not, the move showed that mindsets are changing in the full-size truck segment.

The orthodoxy that ruled the pickup field for decades is shifting, all thanks to environmental considerations. Thus far, the only major player not talking about electrics is Fiat Chrysler, purveyor of two Ram 1500s. Surely that will change. As a shifting product mix spurs the need to boost fuel economy in big vehicles, the automaker’s engine range could one day contain no trace of the word “Hemi.”

As for Nissan, one wonders how long the Titan nameplate will last, never mind the engine (which happens to be a standard V8).

Take your best guess, B&B — which automaker will be the last to offer a V8 engine in its full-size pickup lineup? We’ll keep heavy duty trucks off the table for now.

[Image: Ford, Fiat Chrysler]

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57 Comments on “QOTD: Last Stand of the Great Eight?...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    well the 7.3 is in a class of truck exempt from CAFE, so I doubt it’ll go anywhere for a while.

    IMO the F-150 will have a V8 so long as the Mustang does. The Tundra’s problem is 1) CAFE and 2) if the V8 disappears from Lexus’s lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      JimZ

      Nailed it !

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I tend to agree. The 5 litre also exists for the “loud pipes annoy lives” crowd that will only drive a V8. Ford hedges their bets that way.
      I’ve noticed anecdotally that the Ford dealers in my region tend to have plenty of left over 5 litre pickups come year end sales blowout season. Over the regular course of the year most of the trucks on their lots have EB V6’s under the hood.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I reject the premise of this question.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So in the case of the 5.0 in the F150, even the small relative percentage of sales is still an awful lot of sales. Furthermore, a sizable chunk of those buyers would likely go to GM or RAM should they drop it and go with an all 6 cylinder lineup.

    It may be the first to drop it, but it won’t be for many years at this point (Think when Gen-X is at the stage of life the “Greatest Generation” is now).

    That is probably when that mindset becomes small enough to kill it barring some massive change in fuel availability or regulation before then.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    Godzilla is nothing more than a GM big bore copied LS motor with fancy piston skirts. Makes minimal power over GM’s 6.6 gas and drinks more fuel. No replacement parts for 8 or 10 speed transmissions

    To the subject. There are no “environmental concerns”, only regulations made by bureaucrats who cannot figure out what a BTU is. As for the last V8 manufacturer….GM

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      man, is there anyone left here who isn’t a troll? the only thing they have in common is pushrods and # of cylinders.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        “man, is there anyone left here who isn’t a troll?”

        Agreed.

        “The orthodoxy that ruled the pickup field for decades is shifting, all thanks to environmental considerations.”
        …and…
        “To the subject. There are no “environmental concerns”, only regulations made by bureaucrats who cannot figure out what a BTU is.”

        Neither environmental considerations nor regulations are to blame. We have V8s widely available, and with no extra regulation than GM’s turbo 4 pickups. The market has changed, and people don’t want to pay for a V8 if they don’t need it.

        A month ago I was talking with two coworkers. One has a ten-year old V8 F150, one a four-year old EcoBoost F150. The guy with the V8 was lamenting the gas mileage and unreliability compared to the EcoBoost. He wants the V6 in his next truck. That’s not “environmental regulation”, that’s “the market” speaking.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Erikstrawn – I had a conversation with a mechanic for a large fleet and he stated that the EB 3.5 had been more reliable than the 5 litre V8. My 2010 F150 with 5.4 has been very reliable so far. More so than my ex’s Toyota Sienna and even her 2019 Honda CRV.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          “The guy with the V8 was lamenting the gas mileage and unreliability compared to the EcoBoost”

          Ah yes, the ten year old truck is less reliable than the newer four year old truck.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        My chuckle for the day.

        Both have two valve cylinders, push rods, four bolt mains, iron blocks. GM direct injection is different, yet Ford chose same fuel injection as Chevys L96. Exhaust are different material, Chevy stainless while Ford remains cast. I’ve changed warped exhaust on both my Ford Expedition and 2500WT.

        As for troll, I’m pretty sure no commenters live in their truck 4-5 months per year or lays down 60-70 miles traversing the country using a Truck camper as a mobile office, at full payload, towing 9900 pounds or both. (notI’m not a hot shot)

        Every mile (all 230k of them) my 2015 makes me money, yet I’m not in the transport business. I know my mpg at what rpm along with cost per mile and nothing beats reliability and repair ability of a LS motor.

        I’ve driven Ecoboost and yes barely touch the throttle and the torque is instant. Drove the grapevine along side an ecoboost expedition both of us pulling same type of travel trailer and no matter what I did couldn’t stay with him. Turbo at altitude rules but NA over time doesn’t stretch overhead cam chains nor do F150’s run at full payload, tow or both 99% of the time. If gas turbos overhead cams were reliable Ford would put them on SuperDuty…they don’t.

        While some commenter jaw about posers, before dawn an army of workers making their way to job sites via fully loaded trucks in every imaginable configuration well before the average commuter thinks about waking up. I’m one of them.

        If that makes me a troll in your world then it’s your cross to bear.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          My chuckle for the day is reading this and knowing believe you’re impressing us. you said something stupid and you were called on it. Own it and move on.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      TFL Truck ran the Ford 7.3 versus the Chevy 6.6 on the Ike Gauntlet pulling a 16k trailer. The Ford was considerably faster.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Ford had a higher rear end. 4.30 vs 3.73. GM had better gas mileage on their 66 mile loop

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @dont.fit.in.cars – a minute and a half difference in time is more than gearing.

          As far as Ford copying Chevy with the 7.3…… Cam in block push rod V8’s have been around a very long time. You assign engineers to build something to a price point and they will develop similar products. BTW, Ford’s 6.2 is now the base engine in the SuperDuty.

  • avatar
    Jon

    GM has many pennies wrapped up in their V8’s. Thanks to their modularity, they are cheap to produce. Their designs are (relatively) easy to modify in order to produce the next generation of V8’s. Due to their simplicity, they are reliable. However the current GM leadership does not seems to understand its truck customer base as well as others. Im not sure if GM will be the last, but they might be one of the last two.

    Ram may be the last because their current leadership understands their customer base better than any other manufacturer; and their customer base wants a V8.

    Nissan is the runner up only because they cant afford to develop anything different.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I have absolutely no problem as a car lover seeing V-8’s go extinct. The reality of the world now is that we can get performance better than a V-8 from an electric powered fake luxury compact tesla. And while not everyone can buy and support an electric vehicle, there are alternatives to a V-8 that can and will be made. And should someone want to pay through the nose for a V-8, let the market meet those needs and pay the gas guzzler tax to boot.

    I love classic cars so there are plenty of V-8 classics to buy!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    RAM will be the last V8 standing. FCA has very noticeably eschewed the turbo revolution, even though the PentaStar was designed to support turbocharging from the beginning.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Exactly, FCA is by far the most “old fashioned” auto maker in North America. Jeeps rarely change and those 300s/Chargers/Challengers have hung on forever. You will have to pry V8s from their cold, darkened plants

    • 0 avatar

      The rumor mill says that FCA decied the Pentastar was to expensive and not modular enough to continue for ever. Supposedly FCA is working on a whole new line of engines that will be inline 4 and 6’s with turbos to replace the V8’s and common parts between the 4 and the 6. But my bet is still on FCA or GM being the last one you could buy.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’m-a pour one out for The Homies.. Thanks, I’ll survive but traditional pickup buyers are overrun by the mainstream anyway, which don’t care and likely have never owned a V8 anything. It’s just an arbitrary number.

    The F do they know? Even traditional buyers, say the middle-age rancher looking to drive it into the ground for the next 30 or 40 years, freshen it up every couple decades, add a few mods, maybe a couple trans rebuilds, paint/reupholster along the way, aren’t wise to keep any pickup much past the warranty, V8 or not.

    He/she could be a millionaire so how many lost sales is that?
    They’re getting extremely disposable like anything else (for a reason).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If it weren’t for the sound, nobody would care. By any performance or durability metric, the EcoBoost V6s are amazing engines. The hybrid V6 Tundra will decisively outperform the V8 one while getting probably 40% better fuel economy. The Godzilla is what it is because the V8 configuration was the cheapest way to satisfy the particular goals of that engine.

    In general, people don’t give enough credit to how much our emotional experiences are shaped by what’s coming in our ears. People often decide where to live, not just what to buy, based on the sounds around them.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “By any performance metric”

      I don’t think modern turbo V6s have enough top-end (at least the ones mere mortals can buy). Probably doesn’t matter in a truck, but that can be disappointing in other applications.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Agree, and this will matter for as long as the domestics share engines with their muscle car counterparts.

      • 0 avatar

        Turbo’s are kind of weird You seem to be able to tune for low or high but getting it to have both is tough. Of course with a hybrid you can use electric for down low and set the turbo like a Turbo mopar from the 80’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          That was my thought…A Hybrid with even a small Battery to help launch the vehicle can cover the sins of a larger turbo by allowing it to build up boost before handing off to the conventional powerplant.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          This works great in theory, but in practice it seems tough to get all 3 working well together.

          In the end I’m not sure how many buyers really care about 4000+RPM performance so automakers might not bother with it until one gets into the $60K+ classes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @ajla – “I don’t think modern turbo V6s have enough top-end”

        I had a rental F150 ecoboost 3.5 a few years ago as a insurance claim loaner. I drove it like I stole it. The secret to getting good performance out of it is to drive it more like a diesel. It has a broad power band but isn’t a revver due to the hp/torque curve. If one is smooth on the throttle and can keep it from aggressively downshifting it pulls amazingly strong. Guys I know that are accustomed to short stroke small block Chevy pickups hate the EB 3.5 but guys accustomed to 5.4’s or diesels like it.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “The secret to getting good performance out of it is to drive it more like a diesel.”

          Correct. And, that probably works just fine in a full-size truck. However, it works less fine in something like a Mustang or Edge ST or anything where a buyer wants some additional zing.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        they don’t, unfortunately. you either use small turbos for rapid spooling up to get more low-end torque, or big turbos for top-end power but lag you can measure with a stopwatch.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      “By any durability metric, the EcoBoost V6s are amazing engines.”

      When compared to V8’s of similar application/class? Care to back that up with any sources?

      • 0 avatar
        RSF

        Jon- I’ve owned a 3.5L Ecoboost F150 for 4 years now and I can say that power and driveability are excellent. Acceleration is effortless in town and on the highway, and towing a 6000lb travel trailer is no problem either. I haven’t had any issues with mine. These engines have been in production for nearly 10 years now and there aren’t any wide-spread problems with them. That said, however, my next F150 will be a V8 again. I miss the sound of my 2011 5.0, and generally I feel that it will be less expensive to keep it around for many years. The long term costs and durability are more important to me now that I’m getting older and kids are going to college and retirement is not too far off.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          RSF – This is VERY similar to what i hear from many 3.5EB owners. They love the performance and have limited reliability issues. I will not deny its towing and everyday driving performance superiority to the 5.0.

          But many simply dont trust the EB reliability far beyond the warranty period. The motor “feels” like it will not be as durable and/or reliable as its 5.0 competitor.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I have not had any issue with the lowly 2.7 whatsoever. I left the warranty behind some time ago.

          • 0 avatar
            RSF

            Jon- I also want to mention that I don’t have this feeling with just the Ecoboost engines. I don’t want any turbo engine if I’m going to keep the vehicle for the long term(100K+ miles). I’ll find something naturally aspirated.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Check any reliability survey you want, and the 3.5TT beats every half-ton pickup truck V8 from all of the Big 3. That’s not because of some inherent characteristic of turbo sixes, it’s because all of the V8s are flawed in some respect.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          I dont need to find your sources. You do. You provide the link, if it exists.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          I would take any of the Big 3 V8’s over an Ecoboost engine. A friend of mine was the last person I know with an EB who hadn’t had turbo issues finally had his, right after the warranty expired on his ’17 F150. A few weeks earlier, and it would have been covered, but instead, it’s like $2000+ to fix. The only engine related issues on the many people I know who have 5.7’s in their Rams, or 5.3’s in their Silverados/Sierras were carbon build up in the 5.3’s and the intake manifold leaking on the 5.7. I know 4 people with EB F150’s and every single one of them has eaten a turbo before 3 years is up. Some are still under warranty, some aren’t, and Ford just says “Aw, too bad!”. I’ve driven all of them, and they drive great, they just have too many expensive issues for me to ever buy one. All 4 of them are planning on buying V8 trucks next time. All but one is sticking with an F150, even though Ford has given them absolutely no reason to. One guy has had terrible Ford cars, SUV’s, Minivans, and F150’s over the 34 years I’ve known him, with only a couple of even OK vehicles in that time, and he still is totally loyal to Ford. I have no clue why. He’s a smart guy in most ways. If I had the problems his last two F150’s had in any make of vehicle, I would seriously be looking to change. He’s spent thousands of $$ in repairs on the two trucks and there’s no end in sight. If it follows the pattern from his old EB and friend’s trucks, the next thing will be some control module that costs a fortune, and Ford won’t cover it, just like last time in his older one, just over the powertrain mile limit.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Koenigsegg now has a 592hp 433lb-ft 2.0-liter triple. It uses its cam-less “Freevalve” technology. Electric motors boost the cars total output to 1677 hp. It’s only a matter of time before that technology filters down to the masses. I’d go as far as saying even the V6 and the 4 are doomed. Turbo triples and BEVs will rule by the end of the decade.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      what’s Koenigsegg’s warranty on that engine?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        One thing I forgot to mention is that performance drops to 500hp on pump gas. As far as warranty goes, in the past, they’ve had a 3-year unlimited mile warranty. Their methods of getting that much horsepower shouldn’t overstress the engine. Perfect control of the valves without the limitations of a mechanical camshaft. Open and close them whenever you want. Perfect tuning. With that kind of control, you can even do stuff like switch between Miller and Otto cycle. Even without the turbo, it would produce 280hp. They’re also working with an AI company to improve the software and further boost the output.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I don’t recall consumers bugging automakers to lop off cylinders instead of proven engines and replace lost power with complexity, high pressures/temps and hopefully a short duration of teething problems for the sake of marginally improved real world economy.

    They’re compliance engines, compliance transmissions, compliance all over. I’m fine with it, but clearly leasing is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Oh stop…You could get Forced Induction on all manner of Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg products way on back in 1929 right along with 4 valve cylinder heads. Turbo/Supercharging is not new, nor is it rocket Science and I believe OHC is older than OHV and is arguably less complex since you don’t need to design around a rod passing from the V to the top of the head.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      dude, the Ecoboost engines have been in trucks since 2010 (CY.) If they were some durability nightmare, it’d have become apparent in the DECADE they’ve been here.

      and nevermind the fact that diesels have been turbocharged with electronic direct injection for even longer. But I’m sure you’ll sputter about how diesel is just so fundamentally different because reasons.

      But, but, I know. anything you don’t like is *bad.*

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I didn’t say turbos are anything new nor a reliability disaster. Do you see the little red car next to my name?

        Parts are parts. Except there’s just more of them to make the thing go. I consider the engine a single part, unless I have to go inside. I’ve never had to since I buy right.

        But the turbo related hardware? Have you ever owned a “Turbo” long term?

        There’s nothing romantic about turbos. They’re just artificial displacement with added parts/complexity.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Do you see the little red car next to my name?”

          on my screen it’s in a square about 5/16″ by 5/16″. So pardon the hell out of me if I don’t know what that dozen pixels are supposed to be.

          “Have you ever owned a “Turbo” long term?”

          10 years, 170,000 miles on a Dodge SRT-4. sold it, and last I checked (burned a Carfax out of curiosity) it had well over 200k.

          so stop being a presumptuous a$$.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Awesome. We’re all familiar with them. Except that wasn’t the point.

            But nice way blow a lot of hot air to divert from the point.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Ohh, I want less moving parts…I know, I’ll get a wankel. By your theory that should be the most reliable what with like 3 moving parts!

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        When one of the Big 3 has enough confidence in an aluminum block, DI, turbocharged engine’s ability to do continuous work that they install it in an HD truck, that is the day I will give in and admit the turbo evangelists were right.

        Until then, the fact that Ford invested millions in a new bespoke pushrod V8 for Super Duty rather than develop a version of the existing Ecoboost tells me that they share my skepticism for those engines living a hard life over the long haul.

        For a daily driven half ton that doesn’t see anything heavier than a boat trailer or a yard of dirt, yeah no problem. For someone who uses their truck hard, they are still best off with a V8.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Wrong thread

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