Muddy Ford F150 ecoboost v6 truck
Patrick Rall's picture

Feds Drop Ford F150 EcoBoost Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially closed their investigation into the Ford F150 pickups powered by the popular EcoBoost V6 after deciding that there is no need to recall those 360,000 trucks due to a power loss issue - with no further action required by the automaker and that means no recall of their most popular pickup.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched the initial investigation into the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Ford F150 pickups powered by the popular twin turbocharged 3.5L V6 after receiving 95 complaints of the trucks losing power in certain conditions. Ford was quick to respond, pointing out that the charge air cooler (intercooler) can develop condensation in particularly humid or rainy conditions and as a result, there can be a brief misfire condition that will reduce power…but only by a small amount and only at wide open throttle. Ford insists that the EcoBoost powered F150 will still maintain speed and accelerate during these stints of reduced power, they just wont accelerate as quickly as usual. During the course of the initial investigation, the NHTSA received a total of 525 complaints about a loss of power from the EcoBoost engine

The NHTSA found in their investigation that the Ford F150 powered by the EcoBoost V6 will indeed lose power, but as Ford pointed out, the loss isn’t enough to really impact drivability. Ford also pointed out that this misfire condition is actually programmed into the engine control unit as part of the federal emission requirement about water ingestion by the engine. Finally, Ford has issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) instructing dealerships who have trucks come in for repairs citing EcoBoost power losses, instructing the service department to install a deflector shield below the charge air cooler to protect it from any excessive water in wet conditions. The NHTSA also noted that replacing either the charge air cooler, installing the shield that is part of the TSB or doing both will fix this issue.

In the end, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the 2011-2013 Ford F150 pickups powered by the EcoBoost V6 can run into this power loss issue, but the problem is unique enough relative to the number of possibly affected trucks and the problem itself is minor enough that no further action is required. In other words, since it can happen so rarely and when it does, the repair is straightforward enough that the government will not require a recall of these 360,000 Ford half ton pickups.

While this announcement will likely serve to aggravate those 2011-2013 Ford F150 owners who were hoping to see a recall force the Motor Company to address this issue free of charge, the bottom line is that this power loss is more of a rarely occurring inconvenience than a safety issue and the NHTSA’s job is to protect the American auto industry from safety issues…not annoyances.

I have had the fortune of spending time in several EcoBoost powered F150 pickups from those models years and during some of that time, I can guarantee that my charge air cooler was very, very wet on both hot and cold days. In no situation did I notice any power loss from the F150, even when the engine bay was wet enough to account for the picture shown above.

Other F150 News:
Ford F Series, Chevrolet Corvette Named Most American Cars in New Study
Ford F150 V6 Engines Continue to Dominate the Truck Market
Ford Could Offer the First Successful Hybrid Truck with the 2015 F150
A Look at the Engine Lineup for the 2015 Ford F150 with Possible Power Numbers
The 2015 Ford F150 Should Yield Ford's First Half Ton Diesel Pickup


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Comments

I can assure you that this is a very real problem. I wouldn't call it a minor annoyance either. Anytime a vehicle responds in a different way than it normally does, there is potential for a very dangerous situation. I have had the Ecoboost power failure problem occur 4 times in the past 2 years I have owned my truck. The first two instances were in central Texas after I had just passed through heavy rains on the highway and was ready to pass another car. In both cases not only did the truck not accelerate, it began violently lurching then lost power and began slowing down. This is NOT A SAFE SITUATION on a freeway. The third time my Ecoboost had this issue was attempting to merge onto a freeway in Houston in rain. The acceleration failed miserably and caused me to have to brake to a stop in the rain and wait for a gap big enough o accelerate from a stop to get onto the freeway. Again, THIS IS A DANGEROUS SITUATION caused by the Ecoboost. The fourth instance was during the winter in a light rain in Missouri. I wasn't even accelerating hard in this instance, but was on a winding mountain road, trying to climb a hill. I really believe the Ecoboost engine is DANGEROUS in rainy conditions, and will not drive it at speeds above 40 in the rain, if I can avoid it. I really expected more from a $38,000 truck.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE ECOBOOST IS THAT FOR DESIGNED THE ENGINE TO INGEST OIL FROM THE PASSENGER SIDE VALVE COVER DIRECTLY INTO THE TURBOCHARGER THAT LEADS TO THE INTERCOOLER AND THE REST OF THE ENGINE. THIS OIL THAT MAKES IT WAY TO THE INTERCOOLER IS CONTAMINATED WITH BOTH FUEL AND MOISTURE. THIS FUEL /MOISTURE/OIL MIX ACCUMULATES IN THE INTERCOOLER AND INTAKE TRACT, THIS ACCUMULATION CAUSES MORE AND MORE WATER TO ACCUMULATE IN THE INTERCOOLER, ESPECIALLY ON LONG TRIPS. ON THE LONG TRIPS, AS THE COOL OUTSIDE AIR FLOWS OVER THE INTERCOOLER FINS, IT CAUSES EVEN MORE WATER BUILDUP INSIDE THE INTERCOOLER AT STEADY STATE THROTTLE CONDITIONS (CRUISE CONTROL ON HIGHWAY). I CAN ATTEST TO THIS BECAUSE IT HAS HAPPENED TO ME NUMEROUS TIMES ON WET AND COOL DAYS DRIVING THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE TO AND FROM TEXAS TO CENTRAL FLORIDA. THE TRUCK SHUTS DOWN AND GOES INTO LIMP MODE. HAD I NOT HAD MY BLUETOOTH DEVICE TO RESET THE ECM, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN STUCK IN A THUNDERSTORM ON INTERSTATE 10 BETWEEN FLORIDA AND LOUISIANA THIS LAST DEC 22ND WAITING FOR A DEALER SHIP TO OPEN. IM SURE THAT THE INVESTIGATORS WHO SAY THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE WILL SURELY NOT PURCHASE ANY ECOBOOST EQUIPPED FORD MODEL. THERE IS AN EASY SOLUTION, FORD COULD INSTALL A CATCH CAN LIKE THE UPR DUAL VALVE CATCH CAN, OR THE REV EXTREME DUAL VALVE CATCH CAN SYSTEM TO ALLEVIATE THE SLURRY THAT THE ENGINE INGESTS ON A DAILY BASIS. IF THEY DO NOT DO THIS, AND ONLY BANDAID THIS REAL PROBLEM WITH NEW INTERCOOLERS AND NEW PCM FLASHES, THEN THIS WILL NEVER TRULY BE FIXED. I BOUGHT THE RX DUAL CATCH CAN AFTER THIS LAST TRIP AND DOING SOME READING AND FINALLY SEE WHAT THE REAL ISSUE IS! PERSONALLY, I WANT FORD TO GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK FOR MY TRUCK, AND UNTIL THEY CAN DESIGN THIS OUT OF THE PCV/TURBO/INTAKE SYSTEM, I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER VEHICLE WITH AN ECOBOOST ENGINE. THOSE WHO DOUBT ME, PLEASE GO TAKE YOUR INTERCOOLER OFF YOUR TRUCK AND SEE WHAT TYPE OF BUILDUP YOU HAVE IN IT. I HAVE PICTURES OF MINE, IT WAS FULL OF WATER/OIL/FUEL AFTER ONLY A YEAR OF BEING ON THE TRUCK. BY THE WAY , MINE IS A 2011 F150 WITH REVISED TUNE/INTERCOOLER, INTERCOOLER DEFLECTORS/ ETC.. FIX THE DAMN PCV ISSUE FORD ENGINEERS AND GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY DESERVE, NO COVER UPS NO BS. THANKS~!!!
I have a 2012 F150 ecoBoast and have the same problems can u please send me pictures or if there's a website where I can see then Thanks
I would also like to see all the pictures if you don't mind. Just got stuck on a camping trip pulling a trailer in the rain on the west coast.
I'm still having issues with my 2011 F-150 Ecoboost. It's in the shop right now getting new plugs and coils (not covered under powertrain warranty). It has a whopping 51,002 miles. I would trade the 2005 Altima I sold to buy my F-150 if I could today and it had 182,000 miles. However, I would drive that car anywhere. I won't drive my F-150 more than 200 miles from home. I HATE MY ECOBOOST and am probably going to sell it soon, since it's paid for.
I have finally solved my Ecoboost problem once and for all. Three weeks ago I traded my 2011 F150 with 50,600 miles in on a 2016 Ram 1500. If asked, I will spew my hate of the Ecoboost to anyone who will listen. I owned mine for 4.5 years and had lots of problems after the first 6 months. The shudder would raise its head at the worst times and I was always scared to drive the truck far. Also my transmission started shifting first to second really hard after 50,000 miles and the dealership always (3 times taken in for trans) said there was nothing wrong. With all the anecdotal evidence of transmissions for the Ecoboost trucks needing replacement at around 70,000 miles, I knew it was time to trade in the piece of garbage I bought brand new from Ford in 2012. I am done with Ford and decided it was time to give the Ram a chance.
Hello Brad, if you get this message please email asap. I would like to talk to you about my experiences with the F150 Ecoboost and ask you some questions! Help!! Thanks!
I have had the same issue. Only 4 times in 2 years. When it does happen, it is a very dangerous situation. All 4 times occurred in heavy traffic while passing other vehicles. The truck starts vibrating quite violently and loses speed. Everyone behind me has to hit their brakes as I slow down. As soon as you try to accelerate again, it starts the vibration and loses power again. After awhile it does go away and drives perfectly for several months. 1 of the 4 times this happened was on a perfectly dry day with low humidity. Even without a recall, I think Ford could issue a free fix coupon or code for the people that are experiencing this issue.
I have a 2012 f150 platinum Eco boost with every option $56k I purchased in April 2013 to replace my 2008 f150 lariat I have had this same problem several times the first was only weeks after purchase when I lost power merging into highway traffic.I had several losses of power after that and very poor gas mileage 13mpg same I was getting on my 08 vortex Was hoping for better as I drive a lot I called the dealer and set up a service date the truck was also pulling to the right when I brought it in they gave me a transit for a rental what a POS ,compared to my platinum but I degrees they had the truck over 7 days. seems like a long time they claim they had to reprogram computer sounded like BS to me but I went with it. after I got the truck back they gave me the alignment spec looks like they did some adjusting but its still not right. I now have over 35k and the tires are wearing heavy on the out side edges I have rotated several times now have to replace. To this day I have never gotten anything better then 13mpg I see people claiming they are getting 16-18 I don't think I even get that on the highway. most recently when we had excessive rain here on longisland and I could not push the throttle I had to slowly get up to traffic speed and then I could not pass anything. The truck has always had a shimmy when accelerating slowly that drives me nuts. I asked the dealer they say that should happen with the turbo that is complete BS I have had turbo cars and never felt that before it also has a rough idle it vibrates the entire truck. I am now looking into getting rid of this truck and currently looking for a replacement I feel the truck has too many issues and the will never be resolved. It's a shame because I really do like the truck
I have the 2010 Taurus SHO have this exact problem. How can you tell me that if I'm getting on the highway, accelerating, and lose my power while still trying to merge isn't dangerous. I've had it for 6 months and it has happened several times. Why would I buy a car like this if I can't take it over 60 without it shaking and telling me there is a misfire?
I have this problem too.If something isn't done about it I will never buy another Ford. I wonder how much the payoff was. Crooked bastards.
I too have had this issue on my Ford F150 with Exoboost. Power loss while merging onto a highway in Michigan. Major shutter, engine light blinking, forced to pull over to the side of the road and activate my hazards. This is supposed to be my dependably new truck. They need to help us out here! Very sad Ford employee here!
I had this problem first time on OCT 28, 2014. 2012 Lariat SuperCrew 4WD EcoBoost, ordered new. Lots of Interstate driving in rainy/humid conditions with no prior problem. This time I'd been on highway 6 hours total with intermittent rain, about 3.5 hours since last stop, still had 1/2 tank of gas. Location was I-65 North at Elizabethtown, KY, 11:15 PM, wet road/heavy spray, 55 degrees and falling, 84% humidity. In right lane approaching slow-moving semi, with car riding my blind spot in lane to left. Put my foot in it to move ahead and was changing lanes when the truck started bucking and lost speed. My wife thought we were hitting pot holes and that I'd let off the gas. I quickly steered back into right lane and did let off the gas, bewildered, and relieved we didn't touch off multi-vehicle crash. Was then coasting smoothly, so I switched from 4WD-Auto to 2WD and tried to gently accelerate, but truck started bucking again. Noticed check-engine light was flashing, so took off-ramp that was right there and rolled into truck stop. By the time I came to a stop the light had stopped flashing. Checked all around, under the hood, gages, etc. with no further sign of a problem. I drove away and truck performed normally for rest of journey, 45 minutes. Next day took it to local dealer who confirmed classic scenario for well-known (to them) condensation problem. Another customer of theirs had same problem when pulling trailer, resulting in jack-knife crash while attempting a pass.
This is a tragedy! Clearly a cover up! My 2012 Ecoboost had the issue at least 4 times. It is seriously being "under played" by Ford and the NHTSA is either not getting all the facts or they too are covering it up. On one of the occasions we were almost in a very serious accident! Hey Ford STOP LYING!! No, I did not lose complete power-but I could not touch the gas pedal as it made matters worse. At 65-70 on the interstate a truck this big (Super-crew) drops speed fast! And to make matters worse I was in the left lane trying to get over due to a speeding ambulance, the almost generous people in the right lane would not let me over! So DON'T tell me it isn't serious!!! Now here's news to everyone, yes they did finally apply the TSB as I found a formal Ford copy only, got right in the service departments face and stated don't tell me there is no known issue. ...as they did the first time! Here's the best part... Although they applied the said fix, I lost HP and MPG because of it!! The worst news, IT DID IT AGAIN A RECENTLY!!! So God strike me down if I am lying! My wife was with me and could not believe it either! And NHTSA, you closed your investigation because there were only very few complaints?! Shame on you! So to you a persons life is only worth a replacement vehicle, of which Ford will not do!
I live on the West Coast of Canada and have now had it happen on my 2012 F150 Eco-Boost twice. Both times were scary but this last time was a situation where I could have been either killed, or in a horrific accident had the guy driving the Dodge coming at me as I was passing a Semi, not driven way over on his shoulder to avoid hitting me in my dead truck. It does not retain it's power in any way and Ford has to be held accountable for leaving these on the road. I am currently talking with Ford Customer Care and am interested in how they handle this situation.
Hi Darren, we also live on the West Coast of Canada (Vancouver Island) and had our 2011 F150 lose power, shudder and the engine light come on today while accelerating in dry conditions! I imagine there was condensation in the engine from recent rain though. I'm wondering how (if) Ford Customer Care did handle the situation?
Jaclyn, don't hold your breath. My 2011 F150 is in the shop for the 2nd time in 20,000+ miles for the same thing. Another $300 to "fix" it.
I have a 2011 f 150 ecoboost and have had the vehicle go completely powerless and stop moving 3 times. It has lost power 10 times and came back without pulling over and restarting. The only thing ford did was reprogram it. I had the same issue twice after that. For me it happens when I'm in a snowstorm or snow covered road and pulling my 4 snowmobiles. I also have to point out that the re flash killed my fuel mileage and power. Oh Yea don't let me forget being I'm mechanically inclined and told ford customer assistance what I thought they told me to fix it my self. They told me that when the truck was still under factory warranty. Great isn't it.
This is happening far to often vehicle shakes violently, that's limp mode. Dealers solution put air deflector over intercooler because it works to good causing excessive condensation. Drive it like a race car will help.
Same problems at noted all over the internet. My 2012 F150 Lariat sitting in shop on Christmas Eve with $600 of questionable repairs for this issue. Ford seems to have the quick repair answer and of course it is not covered under any of the warranties. Thought about leaving it with the dealer. My family and I have been a Ford loyal ower for many years. This is my last one!!!!
"I have had the fortune of spending time in several EcoBoost powered F150 pickups from those models years and during some of that time, I can guarantee that my charge air cooler was very, very wet on both hot and cold days." What kind of ignorant statement is that?? You obviously did not OWN any of those for any period of time to have this happen. I have a 2011 model and it has happened 3 times now in 4 years. Not something you expect to happen every time it was wet. So far almost $700 for this issue, and yes, I almost was rear-ended by an 18-wheel rig because I couldn't accelerate out of his way when the issue was occurring. Don't presume to understand the issue unless you've experienced it. It's not an annoyance issue, it IS a SAFETY issue.
To all you guys who own these Fords. Thanks for taking the time to write about your bad experiences. I have been a loyal Ford owner all my life. But after reading this, I am going to buy the Tundra. Screw the MPG. Obviously, the govt. doesn't care if you lose your life so long as the turbo charger is saving the environment.
Well according to Ford and the Feds you Ford owners are just making a big deal over nothing. The EcoBoost is a great innovation but nothing is perfect. A little power loss and acceleration shudder in a very few rare occasions doesn't warrant any freebies. Don't be such whiny babies!
Whiny babies?? Put yourself and your family in your vehicle when "A little power loss and acceleration shudder" occurs, you idiot. If it immediately resolved itself, it would not be an issue. It's the continued shuddering/loss of power and only being able to stay at 30 MPH in the inner or center lane of the interstate (passing, remember??) warrants a "freebie" - because it is a SAFETY issue. BTW, Ford issued TSB 13-8-1 to resolve it. After taking it to Ford Corporate, the dealer installed the TSB/PCM/flash at no charge, even out of warranty.
well if it didn't happen to the author it didn't happen i guess, MORON. when it gets too scary to drive and pass slow trucks, it is time to reevaluate the issue. Unless you really believe the maker the Pinto (or the mobile people BBQ) always has the best interest of the customer in mind, NOT
This happens to my 2012 every time i get on the gas after driving steady on the highway for 30+ minutes. It is a dangerous situation, it happens above 3000rpm, in that range the engine is producing 400+ftlbs and 300+ hp. To have that kind of power shuddering on/off is enough to make the vehicle loose control in some situations, dont even try to say this is isnt a danguerous situation. Now Ford is profiting off their own mistakes by dishonoring the warranty and making customers pay to patch this problem up. This angers me to the bone, despite the ecoboost being a engineering marvel and a blast to drive, I wont be driving another Ford.
2012 54k truck, noticed hesitation, though it was bad fuel, ran truck for 1/2 hour at 60-70 MPH and then stepped on it and it hesitated very badly and engine light came on, dealer wants to replace plug and wires and I had to insist they flash the computer. Owners bloggs say they want to fix everything 1st and not read service bulletin or the NTSB report. Ford comsumer complaints said to visit another dealership. I think I need to try another truck manfacturer. I guess the FED's aren't driving ford trucks with ecoboost. Glad I didn't get it in my wifes explorer.
I have had the same issues and had my truck in the shop 4 different times, but now that the deflector kit and reprogramming are done the truck doesn't hesitate anymore but my mileage is down significantly, 4+ mpg! I was getting 21mpg on the freeway and 18 around town and now 14mpg in town and 16-17 highway. My escalade had a 6 liter and got the same mileage! Does anyone know why the mileage is that bad now? I'm very disappointed and won't be buying another ford because of the way this has been handled.
This is definitely a safety issue. I just bought a used 2012 F150 ecoboost 4x4 and had the shudder when I was passing a car. I nearly rammed head-on into oncoming traffic because the truck DID lose power. I have no faith in my truck and this has been the absolute worst investment I have EVER made. For everyone else here, I have done my research and homework on this and here is what I found. The Charge Air Cooler for the turbos was designed to be "too" efficient. In other words, it cools too much and creates moisture buildup in the CAC. When you get into boost to pass/merge, this moisture is passed through the track and fouls your spark plugs. This is where the shudder comes from. Fixes: 1) Install new Motorcraft spark plugs gapped at 0.028" and make sure to replace them every miles 30k miles. 2) Drill a weep hold in the lower driver side corner of the CAC. This will allow accumulated moisture to drain/blow out when hard acceleration is needed. Next, keep an eye on your MPG on every tank of gas. You can tell if the truck is running well based on this. For mine, I had 14 mpg when I bought it used. After the shutter, I changed plugs and added the weep hole. MPG increased to 16mpg. I also had a bad battery and replaced it. I continued to get a battery light intermittently on the dash. This was fixed by having Ford reset the battery life monitor at the dealer (can't do with tuner or scan tool). This is a funky system that engages/disengages the alternator based on need so that the engine can conserve gas. Having this reset, I no longer had a light and the mpg has now gone up to 19+. With all of this, I have had to change my driving style since you never know when the truck will shutter. I will also be very active now to get the truck sold and look for a 5L / 6.2L replacement truck. This F150 ecoboost engine has been a nightmare and I am not confident that I am safe in it.
On our way home from a family vacation driving from Colorado to California in my 2011 F-150 pulling a 23.5 long trailer. We've had a lot of rain on the trip and suddenly just after entering Utah on the return my check engine light started flashing and I got the loose of power. Stopped at a Big O Tire store and had them read my OBD and it came up that the 6th cylinder was misfiring. Happened to have a spare spark plug so I replaced it, but it didn't solve the problem. Made it to Wendover, NV and stayed the night at a KOA. Also found that the octane level in other states was not high enough so put in some additive and used higher octane gas, still didn't help. Very disappointed in finding out this information now since I have over 500 miles to go in very desolate area. Ford will be receiving a complaint from me this just ruined a perfect vacation. Why produce a product that is faulty and not provide a permanent fix. Here's hoping we make it home so we can go back to work and pay to fix this problem!!

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