2015 Ford F-150 - From NASCAR to Your Truck

A Trio of Truck Performance Parts From Roush & Yates Engines

Jeff Huneycutt
Jan 16, 2016
Photographers: Jeff Huneycutt
If you have watched a NASCAR race in the last decade you have seen their work. Roush & Yates Racing Engines began as a partnership several years ago between notable Ford team owners Robert Yates and Jack Roush with an objective to combine assets and build championship-winning engines for both their teams. Today, Roush Yates produces every Ford engine for teams racing in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Under the guidance of company president Doug Yates, it has won championships– most recently with Brad Keselowski– and at least 100 races in both NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series. Of course, that's what the company is famous for. What fewer people know is that Roush Yates also builds the EcoBoost race engines that power the Ford prototype cars to great success in the IMSA United Sportscar Series.
Recently, Roush Yates has decided to branch out into street performance under the Roush Yates Performance Products banner. The roadmap they have sketched out is to partner with established companies in a particular area and contribute their engineering expertise to co-develop components that perform to their high standards. It is a unique plan, but it already seems to be paying off. Roush Yates has partnered with JMS Chip and Performance to create the Roush Yates by JMS BoostMAX and PedalMAX. These products piggy-back onto a vehicle's computer system to increase boost pressure in EcoBoost engines (BoostMAX) or increase throttle sensitivity (PedalMAX). These are especially interesting because of the company's extensive experience racing the EcoBoost engine. On the suspension side of things, Roush Yates has partnered with Hellwig to create a line of ultra-high quality sway bars.
We wanted to get a closer look at all three, so we paid a visit to the Roush Yates Performance Products Installation Center when installers Jeff "Jr" Paxton and Sean Irvan were working on a new ’15 Ford F150 powered by a 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost engine. The Roush Yates by JMS BoostMAX is an electronic control system that can increase the boost pressure on EcoBoost engines. We were told the unit for the 2.7L EcoBoost can raise the boost pressure by as much as five PSI and increase the horsepower by 40 or more. The Roush Yates by JMS PedalMAX unit, meanwhile, improves on the drive-by-wire stock throttle system by taking out the lag and making it feel much more responsive. Both work by piggybacking a control module on the stock electronics to modify the signal to either the turbo or throttle controls. It is an impressive system because it doesn't make any changes to the computer, so it doesn't affect the warranty. There is no cutting or splicing of wires, the simple plug-and-play system just connects to the existing wiring harness. Both the BoostMAX and the PedalMAX are pretty stealth and can be installed in about an hour. The BoostMAX units work with all of Ford's different EcoBoost engines. The PedalMAX system, however, isn't limited to just EcoBoost engines. It will work with all Ford vehicles from the 2011 model year on up. So follow along below and check out the Roush Yates website to see what’s available for your F150.
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We threw all three of Roush Yates Performance Products’ new upgrades at this ’15 Ford F150, and not only did we get a truck that’s much more fun to drive, the dyno also shows an improvement of 42 additional horsepower.
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Even though the V6 is shorter than the usual V8, the F150’s cab-forward design still puts much of the engine “under glass”. Thankfully, Roush Yates by JMS’s BoostMAX unit can provide a significant horsepower increase without making any modifications to the engine itself.
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The BoostMAX control module and wiring harness is on the left. It also includes a control knob, which is on the upper right-hand side of this photo. In the center is the PedalMAX control module and wiring harness.
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Step one is to connect the BoostMAX control module to the wiring harness. The control module is separate so if it is ever damaged or starts giving problems, it can be removed easily and sent for repair. It uses a multi-pin connector, and a secure connection is maintained thanks to two screws. Roush Yates even includes the correct-size screwdriver in the kit.
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After disconnecting the ground to the battery to kill the electrical system, Roush Yates' Jeff "Jr" Paxton pulls the engine cover to reveal the MAP (manifold absolute pressure) and TIP (turbo inlet pressure) sensors. This is the TIP sensor you see on the air inlet tube just in front of the throttle body.
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The BoostMAX wiring harness is clearly labeled with the plugs that go to the MAP and TIP sensors. There are two plugs for each– a male and a female– and they splice into the stock wiring between the sensor and the OEM plug. Here, Paxton plugs the wiring harness in between the MAP and TIP sensors.
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Here, you can see the two plugs for the TIP portion of the BoostMAX wiring harness "spliced" between the TIP sensor and the OE plug.
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The MAP sensor is located on top of the V6 EcoBoost engine's black plastic manifold. Here, the BoostMAX plugs have already been clicked into place and the wiring harness secured with a few zip ties. Notice how the BoostMAX wiring harness blends right in with the OE wiring to remain super stealth.
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The wiring harness is long enough to allow you several mounting options for the BoostMAX control module, but Paxton prefers to use a couple strips of double-sided tape to mount it to the side of the engine compartment on the driver's side just in front of the firewall.
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The last piece of the BoostMAX wiring harness is this four-pin connector for the boost control knob. It routes to the interior behind the dash and goes through a grommetted hole in the firewall into the interior of the truck.
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The last piece of the BoostMAX wiring harness is this four-pin connector for the boost control knob. It routes to the interior behind the dash and goes through a grommetted hole in the firewall into the interior of the truck.
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The additional boost provided by the BoostMAX can be set by this control knob. The zero setting essentially turns the BoostMAX off and returns the EcoBoost to OEM settings. On the other end of the range, the "100" setting, or 100 percent, pumps five additional pounds of boost to the combustion chambers, which is usually worth over 50 hp at the rear wheels. If you are operating at full additional boost, 93 octane gasoline is a must. A good mounting option is to use one of the fasteners that holds the OBDII plug in place to also bolt up the control knob. This keeps it in easy reach yet out of sight.
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The PedalMAX system makes the truck more fun to drive by cutting the throttle lag inherent in Ford's drive-by-wire system. Like the BoostMAX, it is a plug-and-play system with a removable control module. While the BoostMAX is designed exclusively for EcoBoost engines, the PedalMAX system will work with any Ford engine from 2011 on up.
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It can be a bit difficult to understand how the harness works and where everything plugs when mating the two systems, so we thought it would be easier with a couple photos. On the left is the wiring harness for the BoostMAX. You can see how the four-pin plug connects to the boost control knob in the center. If you are using just the BoostMAX system, that's all there is to it. The harness for the PedalMAX is on the right.
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Pairing the PedalMAX harness to the BoostMAX is simple. First, unplug the boost control knob and plug in the four-pin plug from the PedalMAX harness. The PedalMAX harness has a second four-pin plug for the boost control knob, and it has already been plugged in as you can see. The two larger plugs that are open are to splice the unit into the OEM electronic throttle controls. The last four-pin plug you see (near the control module) is for an included chip that dials back some of the aggressiveness of the PedalMAX. Paxton says that his customers never use the chip, instead preferring the full-go feel provided by the PedalMAX system.
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The throttle has an accelerator pedal position sensor above the pedal bracket. Here, the connector has been unplugged from the sensor and the PedalMAX wiring harness has been plugged up in between. The control module has been zip tied out of the way behind the dash.
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The installation of both the BoostMAX and PedalMAX units took about an hour, and Paxton moves on to install a set of Roush Yates by Hellwig sway bars designed expressly for Ford's new F150.
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The F150 does not include a rear sway bar, so Roush Yates and Hellwig have done all the engineering to design a kit that bolts up without any cutting or welding on your truck necessary, and includes every you will need right down to grease for the bushings.
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To keep you from having to cut and weld attachment points to the frame of the truck, they have come up with a pretty neat method for mounting the clevis. This threaded plate has a length of stiff wire tack welded to it so you can slide it through a hole in the frame and position it in the proper position for bolting up the clevis.
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Use the wire to hold the threaded plate in position while you thread in the clevis with a 1/2-inch bolt. Once the bolt is torqued to 50 ft-/lbs, bend the wire back and forth until it breaks free.
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Use the included grease to lubricate the bushings and install both on the sway bar, along with the saddle brackets, as far outboard as possible.
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Attach the U-bolts over the rear axle making sure they are under any brake lines, wires or hoses on the axle because those can be crushed when the U-bolts are tightened.
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Paxton (left) and Sean Irvan lift the sway bar into place and thread the U-bolts through the included U-plates and saddle brackets. Included locknuts will keep the assembly from backing out due to road vibration. Leave everything loose for now to help ease assembly of the end links.
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Loosely attach the end links to the clevis that was installed on the frame rail earlier.
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Finally, attach the ends of the sway bar to the end links. The Roush Yates by Hellwig bars feature a level of adjustability not found in many sway bars on the market. Start by bolting the end links to the center holes. If you want the bar to act stiffer (like a larger -diameter bar), move the attachment point to the inner hole. If you want it softer, move to the outer hole.
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Finally, the truck is put back down on the ground so that the suspension is sitting at ride height before tightening all the fasteners to the torque values supplied in the instructions.
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Up front the Ford already has a sway bar, although a bit too small and flexible for real performance driving in our opinion. The first step is to remove the cover that sits just behind the cross member directly underneath the transmission and sway bar.
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Removing the stock front sway bar is relatively straightforward. The first step is to unbolt both sides of the bar from the end links. Unlike the rear of the truck where the end links hang down from the frame, here they extend up from the lower control arms and the bar slides right off the top.
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Next, remove the two nuts holding the saddle brackets to the frame on each side, and the sway bar drops right out.
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Here, you can see the difference in beefiness between the stock bar (black) and the Roush Yates by Hellwig bar (blue). The new bar is a single piece of heat treated, high-strength steel tubing which should provide consistent performance for years.
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Make sure to coat both sides of the included rubber bushings with the provided grease to prevent squeaks. The kit also includes new saddle brackets.
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Paxton and Irvan bolt up the saddle brackets to the frame in the OE location.
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The new, bigger bar simply drops right over the end links. Use the original hardware to secure the ends to the links.
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Finally, the kit also includes a pair of collars that connect to the sway bar just to the inside of both bushings. These collars keep the bar centered and help improve consistency from turn to turn. Although we are still running the stock shocks and springs, both the front and rear sway bars will work quite well if the truck is lowered or lifted as future upgrades are made.
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Paxton had already made a baseline run with the truck on Roush Yates Products’ chassis dyno, and as soon as we finished the install we took it right back to the dyno to test the results of the BoostMAX unit.
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With five additional pounds of boost we saw improved power all the way across the board with peak increases of 42 horsepower and a very impressive 76 lb-ft of torque. That's definitely something that we'll feel from the driver's seat!

Sources

Roush Yates Performance Products
Mooresville, NC 28117
877-604-8077
http://www.roushyatesparts.com

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