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5.0 Coyote Engine Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert with over a decade of experience working on and modifying cars. A couple of his favorites were his heavily modded 2016 Subaru WRX and his current 2020 VW Golf GTI. He’s also a big fan of American Muscle and automotive history. Chandler’s passion and knowledge of the automotive industry help him deliver high-quality, insightful content to TuningPro readers.

Since its introduction in 2011, Ford’s 5.0 Coyote engine has quickly made a name for itself. Not only does it produce magnificent performance and sound incredible, but it is solid for dependability and reliability. Since 2011, the 5.0 V8 has powered both the Mustang GT and the F150 truck. It has undergone a few changes over its decade-plus history, and has gained horsepower every few years.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about Ford’s 5.0 Coyote engine. From its history, specs, and applications, to its basic engine design, common problems, and potential performance upgrades. This is your one stop shop for need-to-know 5.0 Coyote knowledge.

5.0 Coyote Engine Guide

Table of Contents

Engine Specifications

EngineFord CoyoteFord Coyote
GenerationGen 1/2Gen 3
Model Years2011-20172018-2022
Displacement5.0 L (4,951 cc)5.0 L (5,035 cc)
AspirationNaturalNatural
ConfigurationV8V8
Compression Ratio10.5:1; 11.0:112.0:1
Bore and Stroke3.63 in × 3.65 in3.66 in × 3.65 in
Valve TrainDOHC 32VDOHC 32V
Fuel SystemPort Fuel InjectionDirect/Port Injection
Head/Block MaterialAluminumAluminum
Horsepower Output360-435 horsepower395-460 horsepower
Torque Output380-400 ft-lbs400-420 ft-lbs

Ford 5.0 Coyote Engine Design Basics

The First Generation Ford Coyote

The first generation 5.0 Coyote engine features a cast aluminum block and head, designed similar to the outgoing modular 4.6 L V8. It has a bore and stroke of 3.63 in × 3.65 in (92.7 mm x 92.2 mm), making for a total displacement of 302.1 cid. Technically, the first and second gen Coyotes came in at just under 5 liters – at 4.951 L – though it’s very close. With rounding, the 4.951 L becomes a 5, so we’ll give Ford a break on this one.

The new modular 5.0 shared a lot in common with its 4.6 L predecessor. The deck height and bore spacing were kept the same for assembling purposes, but a new forged-steel crank was added. There are also oil jets added to cool the hypereutectic pistons – something the 4.6 L did not have. The valve train is DOHC with 4-valves per cylinder, for 32 valves total. It also utilizes a drive-by-wire throttle instead of being cable actuated – somewhat of a gripe among hardcore racers.

The Gen 1 cylinder head flows decently and is responsible for the 5.0 Coyote engine’s incredible top-end performance. New for the 5.0 Coyote engine was Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT). The addition of Ti-VCT allowed for a larger and smoother power band, while reducing cylinder pressure and widening the lobe separation angle. Without getting too technical, a wider lobe separation angle will give you more usable power, while increasing low end torque and overall performance.

The plastic composite intake manifold reduces engine temperatures, and the first gen 5.0 Coyotes have sequential multi-point fuel injection. Ford rated the first gen Mustang GT 5.0 Coyote engines at 412-420 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque.

Second Generation Ford Coyote Improvements

Ford revised the 5.0 Coyote engine for the 2015 model year. Some of the biggest changes came to the cylinder heads, which have larger exhaust and intake valves and are higher flowing. The valve train springs are also stiffened, and Ford gave the Coyote revised intake/exhaust cams. A rebalanced crank and stronger connecting rods (from the Boss 302 Coyote) help sustain higher RPM horsepower.

The intake manifold was also revised for improved flow, with the addition of charge motion control valves (CMCV). The CMCVs allowed for more stable air-to-fuel ratios and idling, while improving emissions and fuel economy. The piston tops were also redesigned with deeper cutouts, due to the larger valves. The head bolts were strengthened top 11 mm to help sustain power better.

Ford also bumped up power on the second gen Coyotes in the Mustang GT. Power increased from 420 to 435 horsepower, and torque jumped from 390 ft-lbs to 400 ft-lbs.

Third-Generation Ford Coyote Fueling Improvements

In 2018, Ford released the third generation of the 5.0 Coyote engine, and it got some major improvements. By far the biggest was the introduction of a high pressure gasoline direct injection fuel system (GDI). Ford combined the new GDI system with the existing port fueling system on the Coyotes, and both are utilized.

GDI fuel systems run at much higher pressure rates than traditional port fueling systems. They include high pressure fuel pumps that pressurize fuel at 2,000-3,000 PSI – 50x more than port fueling systems. GDI works by injecting atomized fuel straight into the combustion chamber rather than upstream. This allows for incredibly precise fuel injection timing, which massively reduces emissions while boosting fuel economy and performance.

Other Third Generation Ford Coyote Improvements

Another big increase was the rise in compression from 11.0:1 to 12.0:1 – which was aided by the new GDI system. Ford also bored out the 5.0 Coyote engine from 92.7 mm to 93 mm (3.63 in to 3.66 in). This finally brought the Coyote’s total displacement to over 5 L for the first time, where it clocks in at 5.035 L. Ford also used Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) to coat the cylinders instead of using sleeves, which helped reduce weight.

They strengthened the head bolts again to 12 mm, and again gave the cylinder head larger intake and exhaust valves. The exhaust cams also got cam phasers for the first time, as well as a new intake manifold was installed. Ford also installed higher lift exhaust and intake cams, and gave it even stiffer valve springs than the Gen 2s. The cylinder head casting was also improved to flow as well as the 5.2 L Voodoo in the GT350s. All of this allowed for a redline of 7,500 RPM.

The piston tops again got deeper cut outs due to the new valves, and the crank was rebalanced again for higher-RPM operation. Ford rated the gen 3 Coyotes at 460 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque when it first came out. For 2022, Ford has the Coyote rated at 450 horsepower and 410 ft-lbs of torque in the Mustang.

Ford 5.0 Coyote Engine Variants

5.0 Coyote Engine Boss 302
Credit: 2007stang/Wikipedia

F150 Coyote Variant

The F150’s 5.0 Coyote variant is very similar to the standard Coyote in the Mustang GT, but more focused on low-end torque. On the Gen 1 and Gen 2 F150 Coyotes, compression was lower than the Mustang Coyotes at 10.5:1. The first-two Gens also got different cams, exhaust manifolds, and cylinder heads – which created more low-end and mid-range torque at the expense of top-end power.

For the Gen 2s, Ford revised the intake slightly, to improve induction and change the source of air from the fender to the grille. Most of the Gen 3 changes from the Mustang Coyote also carried over to the F150 Coyote, including the increased bore, addition of GDI and PTWA, and higher compression ratio.

The Boss 302 Coyote Variant

Ford created several different versions of the Coyote, including a few bored-out variants. The first variant was the Boss 302 Roadrunner from 2012-2013. The Boss 302 Coyote Roadrunner made 444 horsepower and 380 ft-lbs of torque, and was a high-performance version of the standard Coyote. It got new stronger connecting rods, ported heads, and a new intake manifold, to go along with higher lift cams and stronger valve springs. The new manifold was completely ported, and had shortened runners for better performance.

The Boss 302 was the first variant to have a 7,500 RPM redline, something soon adapted to the standard version. The valve train was lightened and stiffened, and the piston-cooling jets were removed. The rotating assembly was reinforced for high mileage and high RPM performance. Ford also gave the Boss 302 a new racing crank and rod bearings, as well as an oil cooler.

Ford built the 302 for both performance and longevity, wanting to make something that could roast tires for well over 150,000 miles. While most Boss 302s will never see anything close to that mileage, there’s no doubt about the engine’s stout engineering.

5.2 L Voodoo, Aluminator, and Predator Variants

In addition to the Boss 302, Ford also released three other Coyote variants bored out to 5.2 L. The first development was the 5.2 L Voodoo V8, which Ford put in the 2015-2020 Shelby GT350/R. The Voodoo features a flat-plane instead of cross-plane crankshaft, which results in better power from a lighter rotating assembly. The firing order is slightly changed due to the crank, which allows for better exhaust scavenging.

New for the Voodoo are the intake manifold, cylinder heads, and camshafts, which are engineered for better flow (manifold/heads) and higher lift (cams). The valve train was also improved. The Voodoo spins all the way out to an insane 8,250 RPM red line, a full 750 RPMs higher than the standard Gen 2 and 3 Coyotes. Ford rated the naturally aspirated Voodoo at 526 horsepower and 429 ft-lbs of torque.

For 2021, Ford phased out the Voodoo and introduced the new 5.2 L Predator. The Predator goes back to the cross-plane rather than flat-plane crank from the Voodoo. Ford also gave the Predator a 2.65 L Eaton TVS Supercharger, pumping out 12 PSI of boost. To compensate for the supercharger, compression is much lower on the Predators, at 9.5:1.

The red line dropped back down on the Predator to 7,500 RPM, a result of the new crank. Yet, the new supercharged Predator makes 760 horsepower and 625 ft-lbs of torque.

The Aluminator 5.2XS

Finally, Ford also has a 5.2 L crate version of the Coyote, known as the Aluminator 5.2XS. The Aluminator has a cross-plane crank and fully forged internals, which support 580 horsepower and 445 ft-lbs of torque. It is naturally aspirated, has the Coyote’s 12.0:1 compression ratio, as well as various Cobra Jet Mustang and Shelby GT350 parts.

Ford gave the Aluminator the Cobra Jet intake manifold and dual bore throttle body. It also gets the GT350 block, oil pan, and cylinder heads, as well as high performance cams. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated crate engine ever developed by Ford, and it is an absolute beast.

Common Problems and Reliability

If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our Ford 5.0 Coyote Common Problems video below:

Overall, the 5.0 Coyote engine is very reliable and stout. For the most part, it does not have a lot of common problems or defects, and generally performs well without major issues for lots of miles. That being said, the engine is far from perfect, and there are some commonly associated problems with it. We’re not saying you’re at all likely to have a problem with any of them, but if you do have an issue it’s likely one of these.

The most common 5.0 Coyote engine problems are engine ticking, automatic transmission problems, and the oil pan and gasket. Granted, the transmission is connected to the engine, but it’s still an area of headaches for many 5.0 Coyote owners. The engine ticking noise is possibly related to the introduction of direct injection from 2018 on. Direct injection sounds louder than standard port injection, and some mistake it as a problem.

The 2018+ 10r80 automatic transmission has been faulted for jerky shifts, missing gears, hanging gears, and slow shifting. Most of them are pretty reliable, but a few have had issues that needed the PCM to be reset. For a more detailed look at the 5.0 Coyote’s reliability, take a look at our top 4 most common 5.0 Coyote problems article.

Engine Performance and Upgrades

Ford’s 5.0 Coyote engine is well known for its performance, making over 400 horsepower out of the box in the Mustang GT since the beginning. The 2022 Mustang GT makes 450 horsepower, and the 2024 Mustang is rumored to be making 500 horsepower from the same power plant.

However, this only stock performance, the real mark of an engine is how it performs with aftermarket mods. Luckily, the 5.0 Coyote passes with flying colors and has a very robust aftermarket modding community. Both the F150 and the Mustang have lots of modding support for everything from cold air intakes to massive superchargers.

Top 5.0 Mustang GT and 5.0 F150 Mods

  • Tuning
  • Cold Air Intake
  • Long-tube Headers
  • Supercharger

Tuning is the best way to unlock horsepower and torque on the 5.0 Coyote engine. Tuning will net 20-45 wheel-horsepower by itself without any other mods. Getting your 5.0 Coyote tuned will also add towing capacity if you have an F150, and it can compensate for other bolt-on mods you have on the car. Check out either our Mustang GT tuning guide or F150 tuning guide for more 5.0 Coyote tuning information.

The top bolt-on mods for the 5.0 Coyote are cold air intakes and long-tube headers. Both of them add airflow to the engine, unlocking extra horsepower and torque. Intakes add about 5-20 wheel-horsepower with tuning, and long-tube headers add 10-25 wheel-horsepower with tuning. You’ll definitely get better results with tuning, and some intakes and headers actually require tuning for safe performance. Check out our Mustang GT intake guide and Mustang GT headers guide for a more in-depth look at Mustang Coyote upgrades. We also have a general top bolt-on performance mod guide for the Coyote Mustang GT, too.

If you’re looking at really upping the power on your 5.0 Coyote engine, supercharging is the way to go. Depending on the size of your blower, you can add anything from 100-500 horsepower on the Coyote engine with ease. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll definitely want to think about supporting mods and upgrading the internals with supercharged builds. We have a guide on supercharging the Mustang GT, which you can check out for help with your build.

The 5.0 Coyote Is Both A Screamer and a Workhorse

Overall, the 5.0 Coyote engine is a fantastic small block V8 with very satisfying performance. It produces a throaty V8 tone that sounds thunderous and raspy, to go with the 400+hp engine that screams down the streets. While it’s not a completely bulletproof motor, it has minimal problems and strong reliability. It can also support some serious builds, and some 5.0 Coyote engines have made 1,000+ horsepower on stock internals.

Ford has made it clear the 5.0 is sticking around for at least a few more years, and all indications are that performance is only going to go up. We’ll have to see what exactly Ford has in store for 2024+, but it’s likely going to include at least 500 horsepower.

Let us know what experiences you have had with the Ford 5.0 Coyote engine. Do you own either a Mustang GT or F150 powered by the Coyote V8, or are you considering buying one? Either way, let us know in the comments below.

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One Comment

  1. I bought a 2022 Mustang GT 5.0. I think it is bad to the bone. It accelerates VERY fast. I got it going 160 mph quickly. It was still wanting to go faster. I did not. Really a nice, fun ride.

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