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Review 2011 Ford F

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The EcoBoost engine hasnt 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 TrueDeltas Car Reliability Survey. Should know in six months or so if the 2011 includes any glitches.

  • UhhOldandSlow 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 shaftsderived from the best that Lexus/Toyota has to offerUntil now(Ford 5.0 maybe); nothing else compares

  • 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.

  • Getting 4.9L six levels of reliability arent 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!

  • If the 3.7 it does hold up like my bulletproof 300, Im 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 thats what Im going to be looking for.

  • One of my high school buddys 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 couldnt break it.  We tried our best I swear it was indestructible!!

  • @Redshift: I experienced RWD wheelspin in my Z71 tester.  I dont recall any 4WD switchgear in the cabin, and Ive priced this rig on both Chevy and Edmunds website, and I could indeed order a 2WD Silverado with Z71.

  • 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 arent 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

  • That they had sludge issues similar to Saabs B205/235 wasnt a maintenance issue, either.  The B234 didnt sludge, nor did the blown Ecotec, nor any number of other blown engines of similar power.  Epidemic sludge is always a design issue.

  • 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 theyve done their homework and considered all of the variables.

  • 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.

  • 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 isnt 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 doesnt have to rev the engine hard to get great torque, leading to better longevity and fuel economy.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  •  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.

  • 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?  Sothe engines were powerful enough to move trucks the weigh 3 times what a Super Dooty weighs while remaining bulletproofyet in a much lighter Ford truck, they were nothing but problemsyeahthat makes sense.  As for the 6.7I 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.

  • 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 youre 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 didnt 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 didnt allow them to tailor it to suit Fords 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 havent heard of any of the issues you are talking about, although Im 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.

  • 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 V8s 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.  Ive 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.  Were been phasing out the 4200s for the 4300s which are a big improvement they use a different engine.

  • Ford has a history of putting engines out way too soon, and letting owners take their lumps.  Fords diesels SUCK (except the 7.3 Powerstroke) and  I can see the EcoBoost engine being a DISASTER (even though Im excited about the prospects)  The spark plug issues the mod motors were also a disaster, and the early motors were gutless.

  • I dont 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.

  • 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 Id expect the turbo to be fine. if I was hauling heavy loads regularly Id buy some other engine. Probably the diesel stick that they dont sell unless it sounded like the gravel crusher in my friends F-250. Im 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 cant hear him.

  • 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 dont know if Ill every buy another Generic Motors product again.

  • Well sort of.  The 3v head 5.4 from 04-08 have issues with the plugs not coming out in one piece.  Its generally not a big problem, but it can be a PITA to get the plugs out.  The 5.4 3v certainly cant match the larger v8s out there regarding power, but it does have a good power band for towing.  It will tow all day with out much fuss, but wont win many races.

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

  • I read in a boat mag that tested a Ford flex with ecoboost towing a 5k lb pound boat.  Its 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 dont think many truck buyers will go for a turbo 6 in a truck.  No doubt the 5.0 will be the volume seller.

  • The 4.8-5.3-6.0-6.2 engine family in the GMs 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 dont even know why GM bothers with the 4.3 V6.

  • 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.

  • 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. Its obvious that it was built for overcompensation and not real work.

  • 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 dont want to mess with it anymore.

  • 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.



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  • Ltuicee NOT surprised at FORDS innovation! MUCH better automobiles and worth MORE than "YOU KNOW WHO"!Hint: It starts with "G" and ends with "M"! AND Ford has not been put on "FORMULA", via U.S. TAX PAYERS!As in "MILK" (bail-out) for the "BABY" that can\'t "FEED" itself, and INSISTS on OTHERS doing it FOR them!FORD, You are head and shoulders above ALL the other AUTO producers! I have had my Ford Ranger since it was a tricycle! Nearing 150000 miles, still "young"! Thanks to my Grandkids It looks like an accordion, but still humming!! Good LUCK FORD! You don\'t really NEED luck! YOU got TALENT! April 29 2011 at 5:42 PM rate up rate down

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