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F150 5.0 Turbo Kit 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.

The Ford F150 truck is one of the top American trucks on the market today for reliability and performance. Ford’s 5.0 L Coyote V8 engine, which became available in the F150 starting in 2011, is one of the best F150 power plants. The engine offers a great balance of performance and reliability, though it’s a little under powered stock – especially the F150. The 5.0 Coyote in the Mustang GT makes 50 more horsepower than the F150, with nearly equivalent peak torque. While supercharging is the most common upgrade path, today we’re going to look at some F150 5.0 turbo kits.

That’s right, this won’t be your traditional F150 forced induction guide, we’re getting rid of the supercharger and throwing on a turbo – or two – and seeing what happens. If you’re interested in supercharging your 5.0 Coyote, check out our 5.0 Coyote supercharger guide. There’s only a few F150 5.0 turbo kits on the market today, but they provide some serious bang for your buck.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about potential F150 5.0 turbo kits. We’ll start with the basics about turbocharging engines, before getting into the benefits, necessary supporting mods, and Coyote power limits. Finally, we’ll look at the few available F150 5.0 turbo kits on the market and review them. Let’s get started.

F150 5.0 Turbo kit On3
Credit: On3 Performance

F150 5.0 Turbo Upgrade Benefits

  • +100-1,000 horsepower and torque
  • Massively improved power band
  • Improved throttle response
  • Improved towing capacity

The biggest benefits from an F150 5.0 turbo upgrade are going to be in the performance department. Depending on your turbo sizing and how many of them you have, you can see moderate to extreme power gains. On the low-end, you can expect to pick up at least 100 horsepower with a decent turbo setup. On the high-end, the sky is truly the limit, as there are multiple 2,000+ horsepower turbo-Coyote builds. You won’t just see improved peak numbers with a turbo, the entire power band will be more robust and usable.

Additionally, you’ll have a larger towing capacity for your truck, depending on the F150 5.0 turbo kit you choose. As anybody who has towed large amounts of weight will tell you, almost any truck can tow – the difference is how fast and easily it will make it up and down inclines. Adding an F150 5.0 turbo kit will make towing jobs easier, allowing you to move more weight more efficiently.

Keep in mind, a turbo will likely change the characteristics of how your Coyote engine behaves. Horsepower will be prioritized over torque, so if towing is a concern you’ll want to make sure you have a setup that can bring on quick and sustained boost – usually a twin-turbo setup. Single-turbo setups still work, but you’ll definitely need your tuner to crank up the boost early for quick torque.

Turbo Upgrade Supporting Mods

Before adding an F150 5.0 turbo kit you’ll want to make sure your truck has enough supporting mods. Without additional support, your turbo setup will not perform as optimally as it should, and you’ll sacrifice reliability and performance. We’ll talk about the engine’s power limits a little later, for now, we’ll focus on supplemental air and fueling mods.

Number one is going to be an intake. The stock intake won’t be reusable on a turbo, and most kits come with an intake designed for their turbo. You’ll also want all basic bolt-on mods done – though it’s a little different with a turbo setup. You won’t need headers, as your turbo kit will provide them, but you might need a new cat-back.

An aftermarket 5.0 Coyote intake manifold, if your kit doesn’t provide one, is a smart upgrade for a turbo. As is a larger throttle body. Catch cans and air-oil separators are good investments for forced induction engine builds. Internally, you’ll want larger injectors, with their size dependent on the amount of boost and fuel type. Speaking of which, going flex fuel and utilizing E85 will provide big power gains with excellent knock protection on Coyotes. 2015+ F150s have easily adaptable flex fuel kits, which are great investments for turbo setups.

Finally, you’ll need some sort of tuning to support forced induction. If you need tuning advice, check out our F150 Tuner Guide.

Twin vs Single Turbo

Now time for the big question: single or twin-turbo setup? The answer to this is really going to depend on your power goals and truck uses. As we mentioned earlier, if towing is a big concern you’ll probably want to lean towards a twin-turbo setup. Twin-turbos can be set up sequentially, with a smaller one for immediate response and a larger one for top-end power. Or they can be set up as parallel, with both producing equal boost pressure together.

If you’re really looking at cranking out big horsepower, a twin-turbo setup is the way to go. Some of the biggest 5.0 Coyote builds in the world use twin turbo kits.

Single-turbo setups are better for moderate builds that aren’t doing a ton of towing, and they are much more basic. You’ll definitely have a big power boost for both horsepower and torque, but it will be a much simpler setup. Double the turbos means double the complexity, including for tuning. If you just want a good power boost without going too crazy, a single-turbo setup is probably right for you.

Engine Power Limits

Power-wise, the 5.0 Coyote can take a serious beating, and each generation has gotten stronger. The first gens are generally thought capable of sustaining 650 wheel-horsepower, but that’s the top-end. You can push a little more, but it becomes a gamble past that. Even at these power levels, there are still some internal supporting mods you’ll want to make, like an oil pump gear swap, and the internals will be stretched to their limits.

The second-generation engines are a little more stout, and they can take roughly 750 wheel-horsepower. You will definitely want to upgrade the internals at this point, as well as other supporting mods like a better cooling system.

The third-generation Coyotes are still pretty new, but they seem capable of even more. Many third-gen engines have made north of 900 wheel-horsepower while on the stock internals. We wouldn’t recommend testing that out, but it has been shown capable. Likely, you’ll want a completely built block with all supporting mods, but the Coyote can pump out 1,000 wheel-horsepower time and time again without issue on proper builds.

Top 3 F150 5.0 Turbo Kit Upgrades

F150 5.0 turbo kit Hellion
Credit: Hellion Turbo

Now for our top 3 F150 5.0 turbo kit upgrades:

  • On3 Performance Single or Twin-Turbo Kits
  • Hellion Twin-Turbo Kit
  • Custom F150 5.0 turbo kit

There are only a few F150 Coyote turbo kits on the market unfortunately, so options are pretty limited. On3 Performance and Hellion Turbos have the two most popular kits, and both are exceptional. You can also go the route of building a custom turbo setup. We’ll cover a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when starting out on a build like that.

Turbocharging is a Great Way To Get More Power From the F150 5.0

While turbochargers are not the typical forced induction route for the F150 5.0 Coyote, it’s certainly a viable option. Depending on the setup, single or twin-turbos, fueling, and supporting mods, you can pump out anything from 500-2,000+ horsepower out of the Coyote V8.

Unfortunately, the available turbo kits for the 5.0 F150 are pretty limited, but luckily both of them are outstanding options. The On3 Performance F150 single and twin-turbo kits are both the most customizable and pump out the most power.  If you’re looking at pushing past 1,100 horsepower, the On3 kit will get you there.

The Hellion twin-turbo kit still performs very well, but not quite as well as the On3 kits. The smaller Hellion turbos will spool faster and make earlier power, but they won’t be able to match the larger On3 kits on the top-end. Still, for a moderate F150 build, the Hellion is more than capable.

The other option is to go with a custom turbo kit, and we went over some places to get started with that. No matter what your goals, the Coyote V8 is a very capable motor that absolutely loves to eat boost.

Are you considering adding a single or twin-turbo setup to your F150 5.0 Coyote? Let us know about your build in the comments below.

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