The 2.7 EcoBoost was launched in 2015 in the Ford F150 as a 2.7L V6 twin-turbo producing 315hp and 350lb-ft. of torque. In 2018 the 2.7 Ecoboost received various performance updates, dubbed the 2nd Gen “Nano” EcoBoost.
The upgrades included the addition of port injection alongside direct injection, an electronic turbo wastegate, lightweight cams, and a high pressure EGR system. The 2nd Gen 2.7 EcoBoost produced 335hp and 400lb-ft. of torque and is used in the 2018+ F150’s and the 2021+ Ford Bronco’s.
While these numbers are quite stout for a small 2.7L V6, there are some simple bolt-on modifications that can really open this engine up. A handful of bolt-on mods can take the 2.7 EcoBoost to 400whp+, with potential for 500whp+ with some more sophisticated mods.
Breaking past the 425-450whp mark is going to require upgraded turbos. This guide is going to focus on simple bolt-on modifications to get to the ~400whp mark. Additionally, this guide is relevant for all cars with the 2.7 EcoBoost, not just the F150 and Bronco. Other cars this is applicable for are the Edge Sport/ST, Fusion Sport, and a handful of Lincoln models.
5 Best 2.7 EcoBoost Performance Upgrades
- Intake / Cold Air Intake
- Flash Tune
- Intercooler (FMIC)
- E85 / 93 Octane / Methanol Injection
The above mods will get you to “full bolt-on” or “FBO” status. One of the upgrades we are intentionally excluding from the list is a cat-back exhaust or full exhaust systems. With respect to exhaust power gains, downpipes will provide 95% of the performance gains with very minimal benefit from a full exhaust system. A full exhaust system won’t provide any harm if you want the louder exhaust sounds, but it is generally an expensive piece of metal in which the performance gains don’t justify the cost.
1st Gen vs. 2nd Gen 2.7 EcoBoost Performance
As evidenced by the power numbers, the 2nd gen 2.7 EcoBoost received a number of performance upgrades. One of the most important upgrades was the addition of port injection in combination with direct injection.
Creating more power requires more fuel use. Direct injection systems, ie. the injectors and high/low pressure fuel pumps, can only handle a certain degree of power before they become maxed out and require upgrades. And fuel system upgrades are rather costly.
The duel fueling system that the 2nd gen 2.7’s received means that these engines can handle more power without the need for expensive fueling upgrades. However, it also makes upgrading the fueling system less costly and easier if you want to run E85 fuel or meth injection.
Additionally, the 2nd gen 2.7 EcoBoost engines received electronic wastegates and lighter turbine wheels, ultimately making the turbochargers more efficient. With that being said, the 2nd gen engines will usually make around 25-50rwhp more than the first gen engines with the same modifications.
1. 2.7 EcoBoost Cold Air Intake
An upgraded intake system is our first recommended upgrade for the 2.7 EcoBoost. Upgraded intake systems provide more air flow to the engine which in turn improves turbocharger efficiency and “opens up” the engine a lot more.
While the stock intake system is sufficient for lightly modified 2.7’s running stock boost levels, the intake starts to become highly restrictive once additional boost is added. When you add more boost pressure, usually through a flash tune, the turbocharger has to work harder to compress air to a high pressure level. When you add a cold air intake, more air flows into the engine which increases the pre-turbo air pressure, therefore increasing turbo efficiency by requiring it to work less.
On a stock engine an upgraded intake system will have pretty modest power gains. However, those power gains are amplified when you add an intake in conjunction with a tune. Bone stock you will probably see power gains around the 5whp level, whereas when combined with a tune you will likely see closer to 10whp gains.
Open vs. Closed Intake Upgrades
To clear any confusion when you are looking at intakes, they go by a number of names. You will see: cold air intake, performance intake, ram air intake, etc. They are all the same so don’t get caught up in whether its called a “cold air” intake or not.
The next thing you will notice is different styles of intakes: open air intakes or closed air intakes. With open intake systems the filter is directly exposed to the air in the engine bay. In closed systems the filter sits within an enclosed box and is not exposed to engine bay air.
Open air intakes will pull in more air and therefore have higher airflow increases over the stock engine. The limited downside is that they will pull in slightly warmer air because they are exposed to hot engine bay air. Closed systems will pull in cooler air (by a couple degrees) but will provide less airflow improvements since they are enclosed in a box that can only hold a certain amount of air at a time.
We prefer open air intakes because the additional airflow is more beneficial than the slightly warmer air temps. The turbocharger will heat the air up anyways and the intercooler is located post-turbo so the air is cooled back down before entering the engine, making the slightly warmer temps not very meaningful.
With that being said, unless you are shooting for 500whp+, open vs. closed doesn’t really matter. Both are adequate and will provide just about the same power gains.
2.7 EcoBoost Upgraded Intake Benefits
- Cool intake sounds
- Faster turbo spool
- Improved turbo efficiency
- Small MPG improvements
- Increased airflow
- 5-10whp gains
Best 2.7 EcoBoost Intakes
- Open Air: JLT Systems
- Closed: S&B, Roush, Banks Power
There are dozens of options on the market but these are two of our favorite. Again, this is more of a preference items. All brands will generally function the same and provide the same performance benefits. Choosing to upgrade your intake is more important than the brand you choose.
2. 2.7 EcoBoost Downpipe Mods
Downpipes are part of the 2.7 EcoBoost exhaust system and bolt directly up to the turbochargers. Once you have an intake system and are sucking more air into the engine bay, you now have more air you need to get out of the engine.
The stock downpipes have large catalytic converters on them that are highly restrictive for exhaust flow. With a tune and an upgraded intake you will start building increased turbo back-pressure from all the air building up because the stock downpipes are too restrictive to efficiently handle the excess airflow.
Back-pressure is terrible for turbochargers. Without getting into the technical details, turbo spool is better when there is a greater pressure drop between the inlets and the outlets. Ie. it is harder for the turbo to spool when the back-pressure, or air pressure post turbo is higher.
Upgraded downpipes increase exhaust air flow, improving turbo spool and efficiency by reducing back-pressure. And therefore, increase horsepower and torque.
Catless vs. High-Flow Catted Downpipes
Performance gains from downpipes comes from reduced back-pressure. Your two options for downpipes upgrades on the 2.7 twin-turbo V6 are catless or high-flow catted downpipes.
Catless downpipes completely remove the catalytic converters, which are the most restrictive part of the exhaust system. Therefore catless downpipes will reduce back-pressure by the most amount and therefore provide the best power gains. The downside is catless downpipes are illegal since they affect the emissions. Ie. you will not pass emissions with catless downpipes.
High-flow catted downpipes are legal (in most cases) and provide the same benefit of reduced back-pressure but to a lesser degree. You can expect catted downpipes to provide about 5whp less than catless options. Unfortunately they are also more expensive by about $250-$450 since catalytic converters are expensive.
2.7 EcoBoost Downpipe Mod Benefits
- 10-20whp (when combined with a tune)
- Better turbo spool
- Reduced turbo back-pressure
- Slightly louder exhaust note
3. Ford 2.7L EcoBoost Tuners
Generally speaking we recommend combining an intake and downpipes with a tune. However, a tuner or programmer by itself is probably hands down the best bang for the buck mod you can get on your 2.7 EcoBoost. A tune by itself can generally add 40-70whp and 60-100wtq. When you combine this with an intake and downpipes, you can see closer to 100whp and 130wtq when running the most aggressive map.
Most of the power gains from a tune come from increasing the boost pressure, or psi, of the turbochargers. By increasing boost pressures, the air being sent into the engine is more pressurized and therefore creates more combustion and more power.
The reason we recommend intakes and downpipes in conjunction with a tune is because all the power comes from the turbochargers. And bringing in more air and reducing turbo back-pressure are the best ways to maximize gains while minimizing the stress placed on the turbos. Aside from these being complimentary performance mods, they are also reliability mods and will help improve the lifespan of your turbos.
2.7 EcoBoost Performance Tuner Benefits
- Multiple maps for towing, performance, fuel economy, etc.
- Plug and play and can be turned on and off easily
Best 2.7 EcoBoost Tuners
- SCT X4
- Cobb Accessport
4. Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC) – 2.7L V6 EcoBoost
FMIC, or intercoolers, cool the air after the turbocharger has compressed it, before the air enters the engine. The stock 2.7 intercooler is adequate for stock boost levels but is still prone to heat soak during towing or heavy driving. Intercoolers are great reliability mods
When you increase boost the turbocharger has to work harder which causes it to produce more heat. Heat soak is caused when the turbos are producing so much heat that the intercooler can’t cool the air enough. Ultimately, you end up sending warm air into the engine because the intercooler can’t keep up. If you ever drive your truck hard you’ll notice it starts to get slightly weaker or slower every pull you do. This is a result of heat soak.
The best solution to heat soak is an upgraded FMIC. Most FMIC’s are simply larger than the stock intercooler and therefore have more surface area to cool air. An upgraded intercooler will prevent heat soak when running above stock boost levels and provide more power as the air entering the engine is cooler.
Upgraded FMIC Performance Benefits
- 10-20whp gains
- Decreased likelihood of engine knock
- More consistent performance
While the power gain benefits are nice, intercoolers are in reality more of a reliability modification. Heat doesn’t just kill performance, it also kills engines. Upgraded FMIC’s will reduce the chance of engine knock as well as keep engine temps lower which is better for the internal components of the engine as well as the head, block, and turbochargers.
Best 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Upgrades
- CVF Titan
- Agency Power
- Cobb Tuning
- Wagner Tuning
While there are dozens of FMICs on the market the most important thing to look out for is surface area. The larger the surface area, the more cooling capacity the intercooler has. For full bolt-on 2.7 EcoBoost’s you want something larger than the stock intercooler. Unless you plan on upgrading your turbocharger as well anything larger than stock is perfect.
5. Fueling: E85, 93 Octane, Methanol Injection
Although the 2.7 EcoBoost can run on 87 octance, we certainly don’t recommend it for tuned Ford’s. If you are running a tune we recommend using 91 or 93 octane. Using higher octane gas will provide some horsepower gains but will also generally allow you engine to run smoother and healthier than on lower octanes.
Outside of higher octane fuel, one of the best power adders is running E85 fuel. However, ethanol fuel requires approximately 30% more fuel per burn cycle. This means that your fuel pump, injectors, and fueling system need to pump 30% more fuel than they would otherwise. Long story short, it puts a lot of stress on your fueling system.
Running 100% E85 will require some fueling mods, but can provide power gains from 30-40whp. On the 2.7 EcoBoost the stock fueling system can handle E30, with E50 being the maximum amount we’d suggest.
Methanol injection is the last fueling mod to mention. Meth injection can give 40-60whp gains but is certainly a more advanced mod. Meth injection is a separate fueling system so it can be used in conjunction with the stock fueling system to provide additional fueling. It is generally most beneficial when you are running your stock fueling at 100% capacity and still need additional fueling. Methanol injection is an advanced topic so we will cover it in further detail in a separate article.
Ford 2.7 EcoBoost Performance Upgrade Summary
While the F150’s and Bronco’s with the 2.7 come with solid power numbers from the factory, their twin-turbo setups make additional power easy to come by. Adding an intake and tune alone can provide an additional 80whp and full bolt-on setups can provide an additional 100-125whp over stock levels.
The first four mods we discussed in this article: intake, tune, downpipes, and FMIC will produce numbers somewhere in the ballpark of 400-425whp. Stacking on ethanol fuel or meth injection can take the 2.7 upwards of 450whp. To break the 500whp mark, upgraded turbos will be necessary.
If you are just getting into modding, a tune is a great first option. Once you have your feet wet you can combine the tune with an intake and downpipes for additional performance benefits and reliability. Once you have these three mods an FMIC is the next step, if you constantly drive under high boost and like to max out the performance of your engine.
These four mods are really the cornerstone to additional modifications. Running upgraded turbos, advanced fueling, etc. should all come after you have these base bolt-on modifications.