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Ford 2.0L EcoBoost Head Gasket Problems

Austin Parsons

Meet Austin

Austin holds a technical writing degree and has 5 years of experience working as a Technical Product Specialist at BMW. He is an avid car enthusiast who is constantly watching F1, consuming automotive content, racing on his simulator, and working on his Toyota’s and BMW’s. Austin’s technical writing skills, extensive automotive knowledge, and hands-on experience make him an excellent resource for our readers.

The 2.0L inline four-cylinder EcoBoost is an older addition to the Ford EcoBoost lineup. Released in 2010, the 2.0 EcoBoost also introduced new technology. Chief among these innovations was the introduction of independent variable cam timing. The 2.0 EcoBoost, especially the earlier models, has been lauded as a competent and reliable engine overall with plenty of power on tap. However, it has a few issues of its own in addition to some that it shares with the rest of the engine family.

One of the most well-known and discussed issues with the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost 4-cylinder is head gasket failure. This issue frequently leads to coolant intrusion problems which are often discussed side-by-side with 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems. This issue primarily affects later-model engines with the redesigned open deck block and cylinder head design. 

Premature head gasket failure is also a problem for other 4-cylinder EcoBoost engines. This includes the 1.5L, 1.6L, and 2.3L EcoBoost engines. Head gasket problems on the 2.0L EcoBoost can lead to a host of serious issues including cylinder wall corrosion, misfires, and complete engine failure if not caught early enough. 

2.0L EcoBoost Head Gasket Problems – Affected Models

There have been multiple Ford technical service bulletins released about 2.0L EcoBoost head gasket problems/coolant intrusion issues. In these service bulletins, Ford outlines that the following vehicles are affected due to the open deck block design:

  • 2015-2018 Ford Edge 
  • 2017-2019 Ford Fusion/Lincoln MKZ built on or before 8-Apr-2019 
  • 2017-2019 Ford Escape built on or before 16-May-2019
  • 2017-2019 Lincoln MKC built on or before 18-Apr-2019 

In 2020, Ford revised the engine yet again. The third redesign, still considered the second-gen 2.0 EcoBoost, features a redesigned deck that lacks coolant channels between the cylinders. This largely solved the issue. The 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems were mostly restrained to Ford and Lincoln models between 2015 and 2019.

Early vs Late Model Engines

Before we jump into the specifics of what causes 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems, let’s first talk about the gap between the first and second generation. It is important to understand the difference, as many of the head gasket issues associated with the 2.0 EcoBoost stem from the design change that occurred in 2015.

When the 2.0 EcoBoost was first released in 2010, the engine was largely a borrowed design. The first-gen engine was built upon the existing Mazda L engine platform which was also the starting point for the naturally aspirated 2.0 Ford Duratec engine. While the first-gen was largely based on the Mazda L engine, Ford did add their own cylinder head, fuel injection system, and twin independent variable cam timing system. Most importantly to this article, 2010-2015 2.0 EcoBoost engines used a closed deck block with coolant passages to help keep the cylinders cool. This was a very sturdy and reliable design that makes early model 2.0L EcoBoosts much less likely to have head gasket issues.

The design of the 2.0 EcoBoost engine changed dramatically for the 2015 model year. The second-gen engine was initially released in the Ford Edge and featured a ground-up redesign. In 2015, Ford scrapped the Mazda block in favor of their own design. The new 2.0 EcoBoost block featured an “open deck” design with large coolant passages surrounding the cylinders. The deck also has small coolant channels between the cylinder walls, compromising the head gasket mating surface. This is where most of the 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems stem from.

What Causes 2.0L EcoBoost Head Gasket Problems?

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The main source of 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems is the design of the engine’s cylinder block. When Ford released the second-gen 2.0L EcoBoost, they wanted to be able to squeeze more power and efficiency out of the engine. The closed block design of the first-gen 2.0L EcoBoost meant that there were cooling limitations. For that reason, they switched to an open deck block that allowed for cooling channels to envelope the cylinders. 

In the pictures below, you can see the difference between the early first-gen 2.0 EcoBoost block design and the redesign. Not only does the second-gen Ford EcoBoost have cooling channels around the cylinder walls, but there is also a small cooling slit sandwiched between the cylinder walls on the mating surface of the deck. These extra channels give the 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket very little space to properly seal the block to the head. Since the 2.0 EcoBoost is a turbocharged engine, the head gasket needs to be able to withstand even more strenuous forces than it would with a naturally aspirated engine. 

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The thin walls between the cylinders and the additional cooling channels on the deck lead to a couple of issues. Since there is only a very small mating surface for the head gasket, it is known to frequently blow out between cylinders two and three. Additionally, the thin cylinder walls can also crack, allowing coolant to seep into the cylinders themselves. This can lead to a number of serious issues if not resolved quickly.

2.0L EcoBoost Head Gasket Problem Symptoms

One of the worst things about Ford 2.0L EcoBoost head gasket problems is that they are unpredictable. While some second-gen owners have gone hundreds of thousands of miles without an issue, some owners run into problems as early as 40,000 miles. Misfires, dash lights, overheat warnings, white smoke from the tailpipe, and low coolant levels are the most common signs of Ford 2.0L EcoBoost head gasket problems.

Most Common Symptoms

  • Misfires
  • Engine codes P0300, P0301-P0304, P0316, P0217, P1285 and/or P1299
  • White smoke from the tailpipe
  • Engine overheating
  • Excessive coolant consumption

Common engine codes related to the issue include P0300, P0301-P0304, P0316, P0217, P1285 and/or P1299. These codes are related to cylinder misfires and overheating cylinders. In almost all cases, a crack in the block will develop between cylinders 3 and 4 on the 2.0L EcoBoost. For that reason, if your car is displaying an engine code pertaining to either of those cylinders it is important to have your vehicle diagnosed as soon as possible. 

Constant overheating is another sign of potential 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems. Coolant leaks into the cylinders if the block is cracked or if the head gasket has blown out. This causes a disruption to coolant flow. This will cause the engine to overheat and throw a code. If you notice this, it is crucial to turn off the car as soon as possible and have the vehicle towed to a service station for diagnosis.

Another telltale sign that damage to your 2.0 EcoBoost’s head gasket is damaged is white smoke from the tailpipe. This is due to the fact that coolant is entering the combustion chamber and burning off. Over time, as more and more coolant enters the cylinder, the engine’s coolant level will decrease. If you notice that your 2.0 EcoBoost’s coolant level decreases rapidly after a refill and you don’t notice any visible leaks, it might be worth looking into potential head gasket problems. 

Solutions for Ford 2.0L EcoBoost Head Gasket Problems

In most cases, Ford 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket and coolant intrusion problems are serious issues that require serious solutions. Due to the fact that the issue is caused by a design flaw in the open deck block, the only true solution is to replace the block altogether. 

This is outlined in all of the Ford technical service bulletins about the issue. If you opt to simply replace your head gasket, there is a high chance that the issue will resurface. Of course, if you are experiencing coolant intrusion issues from a cracked 2.0 EcoBoost block, the block would have to be replaced regardless. 

One of the most frustrating aspects of 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems and coolant intrusion problems is the lack of support from Ford. Ultimately, the outcome of fixing this problem depends heavily on the warranty that you purchased with your vehicle. Many 2.0 EcoBoost owners that have encountered this issue have been lucky to have the repair covered entirely by their powertrain warranty. However, if you have exceeded your warranty period, the repair will need to be covered out of pocket. 

Many Ford 2.0 EcoBoost owners are angry that this issue has not been addressed in a recall. Since the defect is the result of the long block’s poor design, many EcoBoost owners believe that the responsibility should fall on Ford to remedy the situation, even out of warranty. As a result, there is an ongoing class action lawsuit regarding head gasket and coolant intrusion problems on all of the Ford 4-cylinder EcoBoost models. 

2.0 EcoBoost Head Gasket Replacement Cost

Average Price of Head Gasket Problems Fix: $4,000-$7,000

In actuality, the out-of-pocket cost to repair your 2.0L EcoBoost due to head gasket problems can vary a lot. Once again, if you are covered under a standard Ford 8-year, 60,000-mile warranty and your 2017-2019 vehicle has under 60,000 miles on the odometer, it is possible that you won’t need to pay any money out of pocket to have your engine replaced entirely. 

If not, Ford typically works with owners on a case-by-case basis. Some 2.0 EcoBoost owners that have encountered this issue have not been compensated or aided at all by Ford. However, others have appealed to Ford and received help in paying for an engine replacement. Unfortunately, it is a very inconsistent arrangement and depends on both the dealership and Ford’s attitude to your situation. 

As we previously covered, there is currently a class action lawsuit underway regarding the problem. The lawsuit was initiated in 2020 and has accumulated hundreds of 2.0 EcoBoost owners that have encountered the head gasket/coolant intrusion issue. Since Ford has been largely unresponsive about the problem, the people have taken it into their own hands. At this point, it appears that the lawsuit has been filed and a verdict is yet to be reached. You can learn more about the lawsuit and read the technical service bulletins below. 

Ford EcoBoost Lawsuit and Technical Bulletin Resources

A full list of both EcoBoost lawsuit information and related technical service bulletins can be seen below. All of these resources are directly related to 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems and coolant intrusion issues. While o verdict has been reached yet in terms of the lawsuit, second-gen 2.0 EcoBoost could be entitled to compensation pending the verdict.

2.0 EcoBoost Technical Service Bulletins

  • TSB 19-2375 – 2017-2019 Escape; 2014-2019 Fusion
  • TSB 19-2346 – 2015-2018 Edge; 2017-2019 Escape, Fusion; 2017-2019 MKC, MKZ
  • TSB 19B37-S1 – 2017-2019 Escape, Fusion
  • TSB 20-2100 – 2014-2019 Fusion, 2017-2019 Escape
  • TSB 19B37-S3 – 2017-2019 Fusion, Escape
  • SSM 48991 – 2015-2020 F-150/Edge/Fusion, 2016-2018 MKX, 2019-2020 Nautilus, 2017-2020 Continenta

2.0 EcoBoost Class Action Lawsuit Resources

Summary

As an overall package, the EcoBoost engine family has been a solid addition to the Ford lineup. With that being said, a few engines in the group, including most of the 4-cylinder EcoBoost models, have some significant issues that can lead to serious problems down the line. Top among these is Ford 2.0L EcoBoost head gasket problems.

Early model 2.0L EcoBoost engines produced between 2010 and 2015 did not exhibit these issues. It wasn’t until Ford redesigned the engine with an open deck block that the problem arose. The redesigned coolant channels between the cylinders provide little room for the head gasket to seal to the deck. This allows for excess combustion forces to blow out the head gasket or crack the block. This issue can lead to coolant intrusion, cylinder wall corrosion, misfires, and engine failure.

Some of the most common symptoms of 2.0 EcoBoost head gasket problems include constantly low coolant levels, overheating, and misfires. Additionally, white smoke from the exhaust and a number of engine codes are also present. If you notice a combination of these symptoms, it is good to limit your driving and visit a repair center.

Ultimately, the only true fix for this issue is a complete long block replacement with a newer, redesigned block. If your car is still under factory warranty, it is possible to get the engine replaced for free. However, the cost of the repair usually hinges on Ford’s interpretation of your case.

For more information, take a look at our Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Engine Guide. We also have a 5 Most Common 2.0 EcoBoost Problems Guide for more diagnostic-related content.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the summary about this issue.

    You should add an image with the newest engine revision. It’s a pity Ford did not revise the 1.6-I4 version, but only the 1.5 and 2.0.

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