F150 3.5L Ecoboost Tuning Overview
By: MorePowerTuning/MPT Performance
Initial Thoughts and Concerns
The first time we drove an F150 Ecoboost we
couldn’t help but think this is one badass truck.
Even on the stock engine calibration, the torque it
was packing was simply amazing for a 3.5L engine.
Even so, it was immediately apparent that there was
room for improvement.
In the upper RPMs the power just seemed to fall
off and boost definitely faded. There was also some
decent delay in throttle response; which takes some
of the fun out of driving this truck. The lack of
throttle response was expected. Fords these days all
seem to have the same sluggish feeling that we are
used to fixing with MPT custom tunes.
The shift schedule on the other hand, just doesn’t
seem to match the performance of the truck. This
truck is powerful and the turbos just love to spool
up, but it always feels like it’s in a rush to shift.
Whenever the truck is over 40mph it tries to be in
6th gear. This drops the rpms very low and leads to
poor throttle response and some rather annoying
gear kick downs. Later,
we also found that the
throttle blade was closing
significantly even with
your foot to the floor.
“From the factory the throttle
blade was closing even with our
foot all the way to the floor.”
SCT Preloaded Tunes
The SCT tune for this truck is definitely impressive.
Throttle response was noticeably improved. Boost
spikes to 18-19 psi, but fades quickly to 14-16 psi.
Not bad considering stock boost is only around 12
psi. The problem we
found was that when the
boost fell off the throttle
was closing, and at times
the fuel system
“We couldn’t help but think
this is one badass truck.”
is trending downward struggling to keep up. Lastly,
the shifting was slightly improved with firmer shifts, a
later shift at WOT, and seemingly shorter time
between each shift. All in all, not a bad upgrade from
stock.
Fast forward to now, we
have a tune doing
everything we would like
within the limits of the
stock fuel system.
MPT Tuning Round 1
Present Day Released Versions
How can we improve over the stock Ford calibration
and the preloaded SCT calibrations?
We had to actually lower boost and limit the low rpm
peak torque in order to carry horsepower throughout
the entire run. The fuel system is now keeping up
and our actual air/fuel ratio
never really drifts from what
we're commanding. We also
found that the knock sensors
on these trucks are super
sensitive. This is a good thing
because they will actually add timing and improve
performance when no knock is detected, but they can
also quickly pull out quite a bit of timing, if no
audible knock is heard. To have the best performing
tune in all conditions, we needed to strike a balance
between the knock sensor advancing and retarding
our ignition timing.
Not surprising in the least with this type of
setup, we found that air charge temps affect
performance. One day at the track our downstream,
IAT2, air temps before launching were 160°, and
once we got moving the lowest they dropped was to
120°. Then they quickly rose again with coolant
temp reaching upwards of 160-165 degrees during
our ¼ mile run. We knew we were pushing the
efficiency limits of the stock turbos and we also knew
a better intake, intercooler, and a lower degree
thermostat were in our near future.
With the first round of MPT
tunes, we had a few goals in
mind. We wanted to take care
of the low rpm shift points,
the sluggish throttle response,
and increase the power output
beyond SCT’s preloaded tunes.
We were able to improve the throttle response
pretty easily, giving it our signature electronic throttle
control twists that have worked well since 2005.
Shifting was somewhat straight forward as well
however we were finding the throttle blade closing and
boost control issues more difficult.
We were able to get torque and initial boost really
high. We made some insane amounts of torque, in the
mid to high 500 ft lbs at times, but then the throttle
would close and the fuel pump would again struggle to
keep up.
Track IATs were 160° and
dropped to a min. of 120°
before rising again with
coolant temp.
MPT Tuning Round 2
This time our biggest priorities were to keep the
throttle blade open, limit the fuel pump dip, and raise
peak horsepower from 4k rpm to redline.
Unfortunately, it seemed like every time we'd fix
one of these things, it was like a game of whack-amole and one of the other two would get worse. Boost
would look great, torque was awesome, horsepower
at the end of the RPM range was doing good, but
right in the middle of the RPM range the fuel system
falls to scary low rates. Definitely not a tune we
could release to the public.
Features of the Performance Tune
The throttle body and air fuel are doing exactly what
we want them to do. We ended up going way deeper
into calibrating the shift points. The more and more
we drove the truck, even tuned, it just didn't feel
right. After a recent drive in a Turbo Mustang with
a manual transmission it finally clicked what was
missing.
Performance vehicles making this much horsepower
and torque are usually manual trans, so we decided
to calibrate the trans schedule to hold the gears as
if you were driving stick. We could increase the
base level of performance without even putting the
pedal to the floor. Our 93 Performance Race tune
netted us a respectable timeslip of 13.86 at
98.87mph in the quarter mile with a stock run on
the same day pulling a 14.74 at 94.51mph. This was
with ambient temperature of about 85° and 75%
humidity. Our Crew Cab being 2WD doesn’t help
with track times and neither does our 3.55 rear
end, combine that with factory tires and getting a
good 60’ is near impossible. We made it a point to
resist temptation to modify the truck to insure good
track times with only a tune. We were definitely
happy with the 9/10th improvement over stock.
STOCK
TUNE ONLY WITH
A SLOW 60'
Throttle is now wide open when the pedal is to the floor.
With how easy this truck gets hot, we wanted to see
what sort of power it makes when already pretty
hot, so we started with a stock tune with the speed
limiter removed and netted 271hp and 320 ft/lbs of
torque at the wheels, but power fell off pretty
quickly after 5k rpm. SCT’s preloaded tune was still
able to increase power even under extremely hot
conditions of our non-air conditioned, hot dyno room
in Central Florida. This tune increased power to
300hp and 406 ft/lbs of torque at the wheels,
respectable numbers indeed. So you could imagine
how excited we were when our base tune laid down
a consistent 372 horsepower and 458 ft-lbs of
torque at the wheels. The boost curve was solid at
19-20 psi with no boost spike and we gained a solid
100 horsepower and almost 140 ft-lbs of torque
with consistent gains throughout the entire RPM
range.
Interpreting a Dyno Graph
Let's take a moment to get to know our dyno and how
we interpret the data it delivers. A dyno is nothing
more than a tool, simple as that. Our choice here at
MPT is a Dynocom 15000 Load Bearing Chassis
Dynomometer. We chose this dyno for several
reasons, most importantly because it allows us to
apply load to the rollers to simulate real on-road
driving scenarios. Not only does this help ensure
excellent driving manners when we finish a tune, but
it is almost a requirement with turbocharged engines
to accurately assess when the turbo(s) will spool and
exactly how much boost they will make. Also, being
able to accurately
simulate road-load
allows us to insure that
any ignition timing
changes we make are
both safe and effective.
Essentially it's completely possible to have two
vastly different dynographs made from the same
vehicle, running the same tune, depending upon the
conditions. That being said, when reading a
dynograph the most important thing to look for is a
baseline from the same day to compare against. Once
the baseline has been established you can accurately
determine the gains of a tune. So, while peak
numbers make for great banter, they don't really tell
the whole story. The best approach here is to
determine the PERCENTAGE GAIN increase over
the baseline. All it takes is a little simple math.
Having a loaded dyno is crucial
for tuning turbo vehicles. Most of
the commonly used dyno’s are
inertia only which just can’t
replicate street conditions or
turbo spool properly.
Now that we know how
that data is collected,
let's talk about how we interpret it. There are many
variables that come into play when measuring power
on a dyno. Ambient temperature, relative humidity,
engine coolant temperature, air charge temperatures,
tire diameter, transmission and axle gear ratios are
just a few of the factors that will impact the results of
the dyno graph.
Simply divide the new
power output by the
baseline power output to
determine the percentage
increase. For example, if
our baseline made 300
RWHP, and our new tune
made 450 RWHP, the
math would look like this: 450/300= 1.5 or a 150%
increase in power output. This formula can be used
throughout the entire dynograph to determine where
the largest gains occurred. So, just like us, you should
be leery of internet dynographs that are posted up
that don't show an accurate baseline for you to
compare against.
Personal Favorite for Daily Driver
 Truck pulls hard and feels way lighter
 6-8psi Boost Increase at WOT
(Peak: 20-22psi / Avg stock 11-14psi)
(Boost intentionally dropped at high rpm to limit
air temps and increase hp)
 Improved Throttle Response
 Faster 0-60
 Low end torque and acceleration
 Shift Points focused on Performance, keeping the
truck in the best rpm range for quick acceleration
when needed
 Better fuel economy
(When driven conservatively, 1-2mpg gain avg)
 Race is the firmest, fastest shifting tune.
 Torque Reduction is almost fully disabled to allow
a very quick alert shift between gears.
 Part Throttle and WOT shifts are quick and firm,
most likely chirping the tires on the 1-2 shift and
possibly the 2-3 shift
 Shift Points are much later than stock, holding
the gears longer and preventing upshifts at low
speeds/rpm.
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In stock form, most all driving is in 6th gear, on
our Race tune; all gears are used to their proper
range.
The Performance Race tune has been described as
shifting as if you were driving a manual
transmission.
Very strong low end acceleration and high rpm
pulling horse power.
Most throttle response out of all the tune choices.
Special feature on Performance Race: Clicking the
tow-haul button transforms the shifting into a
performance/economy
profile allowing shifts
into higher gears at
lower mph.
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Truck pulls hard and feels lighter
4-8psi Boost Increase
(Avg for Street 16-18psi / Avg stock 11-14psi)
Improved Throttle Response
Faster 0-60
Low end torque and acceleration
Shift Points focused on Performance, keeping the
truck in the best rpm range for quick acceleration
when needed
Better fuel economy
(When driven conservatively, 1-2mpg gain avg)
Torque Reduction reduced to allow a fuller feeling
shift with less delay between the gears.
Street option increases shift firmness
approximately 40% over stock.
Part Throttle and WOT shifts are quick and firm,
most likely chirping the tires on the 1-2 shift.
Shift Points are later than stock, holding the gears
longer and preventing upshifts at low speeds/rpm.
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In stock form, most all driving is in 6th gear, on
our Street tune, all gears are used to their proper
range.
The Performance Street tune has been described
as shifting as if you were driving a manual
transmission.
Strong low end acceleration and high rpm pulling
horse power.
Special feature on Performance Street: Clicking
the tow-haul button transforms the shifting into a
performance/economy profile allowing shifts into
higher gears at lower mph.
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Focused specifically on towing
2-3psi Boost Increase
(Avg Towing 14-16psi / Avg stock 11-14psi)
Improved Throttle Response
Faster 0-60
Low end torque and acceleration
Shift Points focused on Towing, keeping the truck
in the needed gear for pulling power and climbing
hills
Increased engine braking while descending to
extend brake life span
mp� �RUCK
FAQ:
What should I set my spark plug gap at?
The recommended spark plug gap on all tunes including stock is .028-.032. For higher boost tunes run the lower gap. It’s also a
good idea to change plugs a little more frequently than recommended in the owner’s manual, especially on more aggressive
tunes. 6,000 miles should be the max interval between changes on a truck that is driven hard, regularly, on our street tune and
above. Plugs are cheap…. “When in doubt… change them out!”
How much time will the custom tunes take to build?
Custom Tunes are completed in order they are received. Typical turnaround time is approx. 3 business days, but times may
vary.
Need your tunes ASAP?
If you are in a hurry, upgrade your tunes to 'RUSH MY TUNES' status. This will put you at the top of the line.
About Our Truck
MPT owns a 2012 F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. Most of our tunes were developed on this truck while it was completely stock.
We use an SCT Livewire TS to program the vehicle and monitor vital stats on the road. Recently, we’ve begun
testing more popular modifications.
Enkei ST6 matte gunmetal wheels
Follow us to learn more about Ecoboost Products and our Track Adventures
MorePowerTuning.com/Ecoboost
Facebook.com/MPTperformance
YouTube.com/MPTperformance
Instagram.com/MPTperformance
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