Ford’s EcoBoost Tear-Down Stunt Is Gimmicky
At next week’s Detroit Auto Show, Ford will be tearing-down an EcoBoost engine live in front of the public as an attempt to prove how tough and reliable their new twin-turbo V6 truck motor is. While this sounds like a great way to demonstrate the toughness of this particular motor, it’s really just a gimmick.
To be sure, Ford’s plan sounds impressive:
Ford powertrain engineers will tear down an engine that…has the equivalent of 160,000 miles and 10 years of rugged use. Engineers punished it in temperature and load extremes simulating nearly 10 years of use – a regimen tougher than any consumer could ever subject a truck to….It hauled 55 tons of lumber…It ran at full throttle for 24 straight hours towing 11,300 pounds [and] completed the world’s toughest desert endurance race, the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000 in Mexico
The thing is, there’s a difference between simulated wear and tear and the real world.
First, let’s state the obvious: The internal components of your typical engine are incredibly reliable these days. Provided that things are well lubricated, adequately cooled, and properly managed by the engine computer, there’s very little reason that they should ever fail.
The thing is, most engine failures start with either a cooling problem, a lubrication problem, or an engine management problem.
- Older trucks blow head gaskets because of poorly maintained and/or less efficient cooling systems.
- Trucks of all years and models have major engine problems because of improper lubrication, which is almost always owner error. As crazy as it sounds, people forget to change their oil.
- Lots trucks have problems due to engine management issues. Sensors go bad and/or degrade, become ineffective, and then these sensor errors lead to other problems.
While it’s great that Ford pushed this engine as hard as anyone could ever hope to, no one should be surprised that it’s still running strong. The cooling system is still relatively new, the engine maintenance schedule has been carefully followed, and the electronics are practically brand new – remember, electronic failures are more often caused by vibration and temperature extremes than they are by anything else.
You can run a truck all day long every day for a year and the electronics will be fine. But if you drive that truck down some rough trails over the years and put it through a few cold winters and hot summers, electronics start to lose integrity, degrade, and eventually fail. Even if the sensors degrade gradually, they can cause the engine to run improperly and ultimately cause damage.
Think of it this way: If it were easy to simulate years of wear and tear, manufacturers would make even more reliable products, right?
While Ford’s tear-down does have some value – it’s a testament to the fact that Ford’s design isn’t inherently flawed – it shouldn’t be construed as a testament to the ultimate reliability of an EcoBoost engine or a Ford truck in general.
If you want to know about reliability, look at JD Power study results, Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, etc. Lately, Ford has done very well in these areas – that’s why you should consider the EcoBoost – not because of some auto-show tear down gimmick.
Filed Under: Auto News