The Ford EcoBoost family of engines was first introduced back in 2010 with the 1.6L EcoBoost engine that offers between 148hp and 197hp. This engine can be found in many Volvo and Ford models and is one of the most widespread Ford EcoBoost engines ever. Considering the fact that the 1.6L EcoBoost has been around for 12 years, we can properly assess its reliability.
In short, the 1.6L EcoBoost is a fairly reliable engine that can last a fair bit of time. Ford has done some tweaks to it over the years to make it more in line with the current era of the automotive industry. Ford also introduced the 1.5L EcoBoost a few years later which was loosely based on the 1.6L which also means that it shares certain reliability traits with the 1.6L engine.
When it comes to common Ford 1.5 EcoBoost engine problems, we need to mention problems with the timing belt, problems with the cooling system, problems with carbon build-up, and problems with spark plugs and ignition coils. The 1.6L EcoBoost is a direct injection engine which means that some of these issues are directly associated with that.
All in all, the 1.6L EcoBoost is a really good engine and it should serve you well for years to come. Earlier 1.6L units were a lot more problematic, but Ford managed to solve most issues until this point. However, no engine is perfect, and we are going to tell you what is wrong with the 1.6L EcoBoost in this article.
Ford 1.6L EcoBoost – Timing belt issues
The 1.6L EcoBoost does not experience any issues with the timing belt per se, but the problem here is the way the engine is constructed. There is some overlap in how the valves and the pistons travel which can be a huge issue if the belt fails. If the belt does indeed fail, it will cause the pistons and valves to come in contact with each other and that can easily lead to severe engine damage.
To avoid this, you will have to replace the timing belt every 10 years or 150,000 miles. This is a fairly long replacement interval which means that Ford is really confident in its timing belt design. Be that as it may, you need to inspect the timing belt from time to time as not all 1.6L units are built perfectly. The key here is to notice timing belt issues early enough so you can avoid any potential issues down the line.
Ford 1.6L EcoBoost – Cooling system issues
The worst issue that can plague the 1.6L EcoBoost is the one associated with the cooling system. This issue even caused a bunch of recalls, service bulletins, and even a class action lawsuit against Ford. It seems like the issue is due to a cracking cylinder head from which the coolant can escape and later cause severely low coolant levels.
This can cause corrosion, engine misfiring, or even complete engine failure which is certainly something to worry about. Ford did update the 1.6L engine during its lifespan and replaced a bunch of parts to stop this from happening. However, we are not 100% if this issue is resolved completely as lawsuits still keep coming.
Ford 1.6L EcoBoost – Carbon build-up
Direct injection engines come with a few significant benefits such as a more precise fuel delivery system which favors better fuel efficiency, and more power. This also enables the automaker to make a smaller, lighter engine and further improve the car’s dynamics and efficiency. Direct injection engines are also good for the environment as less fuel is wasted.
However, this design does come with a few drawbacks as well as direct injection engines tend to cause carbon deposits to build up on the valves and restrict the airflow that goes into the engine. This will not likely cause severe engine issues, but it is going to lower your overall output. To cope with this, be sure to pay a few hundred dollars for an engine Walnut blasting cleaning technique.
Ford 1.6L EcoBoost – Spark plug and ignition coil issues
All gas engines require spark plug and ignition coil maintenance which means that this is not necessarily an issue. However, because the 1.6L EcoBoost is both a turbocharged and a direct injection engine, both the plugs and the coils are under more stress as opposed to non-turbocharged indirect injection engines.
The combustion process requires a stronger spark and thus causes these two essential components to wear out faster. Ford says that you will have to replace these every 90k miles or so, but many owners complained about replacing them as early as after 50k miles.
How long can the Ford EcoBoost 1.6L engine last?
Earlier Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engines are not as reliable as later units which means that those are likely to last anywhere between 100k and 200k miles at best without needing any major overhauls. Later units come with upgraded systems that shield the engine from many issues from earlier production models and thus these can last longer.
It all depends on how well you take care of the engine and if you abuse it or not. If you are careful and service the car properly and regularly, you should be more trouble-free for a really long time.
Can I tune the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost engine?
It does seem like there are many people out there tuning the 1.6L EcoBoost engine, sometimes up to 400hp or so. This needs to be done in a really sophisticated manner as such power outputs can severely damage the 1.6L engine.
Some say that the EcoBoost can endure up to 25PSI of boost in stock form, anything over that is going to require more substantial upgrades that are likely going to cost a lot of money. Moreover, the transmission will also need strengthening to cope with such torque increases.
How efficient is the Ford EcoBoost 1.6L engine?
Ford EcoBoost engines promise up to 30% better emissions as opposed to older large-displacement Ford naturally aspirated engines. Ford says that the 1.6L EcoBoost can return up to 46MPG, but real-world testing has shown that your real average MPG is somewhere between 35MPG and 40MPG combined.