2013 Ford F-150 EcoBoost - Project Silver Bullet, Part 1
A V-6 Made How Much Horsepower?
Remember the old adage, "There's no replacement for displacement?" With a gleam in his eye, your old man always told you about big-block muscle cars ruling the streets during the '60s and '70s. Big engines used to be the kings of horsepower, but with today's engine builders using direct injection, variable valve timing, and turbochargers, the golden era of efficient power is upon us. Ford put the pickup truck world on notice with the release of the twin-turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost engine in the F-150 in 2011. We've touted the engine as being extremely receptive to aftermarket bolt-ons and custom tunes alike, but what about parts that aren't commonly upgraded such as the throttle body, intercooler inlet tube, and the much-anticipated turbo headers? That's where we come in. We want to be your EcoBoost source, and despite GM's claim that a real truck has to have a V-8, we believe this latest wave of parts is just what F-150 owners need to get the most out of the potent little engine.
For our 2013 F-150 project dubbed Silver Bullet, we wanted a Blue Oval truck that could run with all of the LS-engine–equipped GM trucks in our THROWDOWN performance truck shootout. Rather than using the predictable 5.0L V-8 and adding a supercharger, we opted for the boosted 213ci V-6. To get the small engine ready to make some big power, we contacted the Mustang professionals over at Paul's High Performance, in Jackson, Michigan, for several performance parts specifically designed for the EcoBoost. Paul's HP is used to making 1,000hp Mustangs, so adding some ponies to a truck came naturally. In this month's story, we'll be adding a new, taper-bore throttle body and high-flow air charge cooler tube with heat wrap. Both of these parts on their own will add power, but to optimize the computer for max output and to get more air into the turbos, we ordered a new Bully Dog GT tuner and Bully Dog RFI intake sytem. We've seen huge power gains with just the Bully Dog tuner installed on other EcoBoost trucks and with a few other bolt-ons in place, our F-150 should be ready to light up the tires. To handle the dyno runs for us, we made the short drive down to Stillen's headquarters. Besides selling top-brand parts, they can also have their ASE-certified techs install them. Nothing proves real power like a dyno, and Stillen had our results in just a few minutes.
On Stillen's dyno in stock trim, our 2013 EcoBoost laid down 283 rwhp and 326 lb-ft of torque. For a 213ci V-6 with only 39 miles on the odometer, that's pretty darn impressive. It was now time to see how much more we could squeeze out of it.