Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost Intercooler Upgrade Guide
Zach is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He’s been repairing, upgrading, tuning, and writing about cars & engines for over a decade. Zach has written over 400 automotive articles and continues to be a lead writer for TuningPro. His passion, experience, and deep technical knowledge make him a go-to resource for readers looking to take their car to the next level.
The F-150 2.7 EcoBoost is an excellent engine that responds very well to performance upgrades. We previously wrote a guide about the 5 best 2.7L EcoBoost mods. In that article, an intercooler (FMIC) made the list as one of the best bolt-on mods for good reason. Not only do intercoolers offer solid hp gains, but they also ensure consistent performance along with countless other benefits. In this article, we discuss the best Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades, benefits, power gains, and more.
F-150 2.7 EcoBoost Intercooler Info
On the surface, FMIC upgrades are pretty simple. The basic idea is to provide more effective and efficient cooling to keep intake air temperatures as low as possible. However, there is a lot that goes into 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades. Before diving into the bulk of this article let’s discuss intercooler design and sizing.
Starting with the basics – the Ford F-150 2.7L engine utilizes an air-to-air intercooler system. The intercooler is mounted at the front of the engine bay, hence the name front-mount intercooler (FMIC). Turbochargers create immense heat which is why an FMIC is a crucial part for turbo engines like the 2.7 EcoBoost. An intercooler uses fins that ambient (outside) air passes thru to cool the charge air (the pressurized air after it leaves the turbos).
The charge air passes through the intercooler core which is lined with tiny metal fins. Meanwhile, ambient air cools the external fins which are connected to the internal fins. In turn, the charge air is cooled as it passes through the intercoolers core. That leads us to a few important FMIC topics – bar/fin design, surface area, and volume.
Intercooler Design – Bar & Plate vs Tube & Fin
There are two primary intercooler designs that are common on performance FMIC mods: bar & plate and tube & fin. We don’t want to get too deep into the technical aspects, so we will keep this to a cliff-note level. Tube & fin intercooler designs are common from manufacturers. They use curved edges on the air galleries, which improves efficiency due to less air resistance. Tube & fin 2.7 EcoBoost intercoolers are also usually lighter.
However, due to the curved edges of a tube & fin design their overall capacity is lower. Enter bar & plate intercoolers. This design uses rectangular air galleries allowing higher volumes of air. They are also generally stronger and more durable meaning they can handle higher boost pressures.
Ultimately, a majority of 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades use a bar & plate design for the strength and greater volume. Some brands, like Mishimoto, use the more efficient tube & fin design. There isn’t always a correct answer as to which is better. However, we prefer bar & plate designs and have run them on many of our turbo engines with great success.
2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Volume & Surface area
Alright – we promise to speed things up so we can move onto the more exciting topics. Anyway, two major points to look for in F-150 FMIC upgrades are volume and surface area. A larger surface area helps catch more ambient air to improve overall cooling capacity. Generally, a larger 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler surface area is better.
Next is core volume. Again, a larger core will improve cooling capacity and help prevent heat soaking. Most 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC’s offer a core volume of 50-100% larger than the factory intercooler. One consideration here is that a larger core creates a bigger pressure drop (it leaves more room for the charge air to expand and lose pressure after being compressed by the turbos). More volume to fill can also worsen throttle response and make the turbos feel slower to spool.
To put it simply – you CAN go too large with an intercooler design. The idea is to maximize cooling capacity without going too large and created unnecessary pressure drops. A roughly 40-75% larger core volume is a good number for stock turbo 2.7 EcoBoost engines. If you’re planning to upgrade the turbos then you may consider a larger, more capable FMIC.
F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Upgrade Benefits
With the technical stuff mostly out of the way let’s jump into the exciting topics. What are the benefits of F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades? Of course, many look to upgrade the intercooler for the performance gains. However, there are many other benefits of 2.7L twin turbo intercoolers including:
- 5-10+whp (similar torque)
- Consistent performance
- Lower IAT’s (intake temps)
- Improved ignition timing
- Lower risk of knock/pre-detonation
Let’s take a moment to discuss power gains with an aftermarket performance FMIC. On a cool day if you simply do one quick WOT pull then an intercooler won’t offer big gains in power or performance. You might pick up about 5-10whp on the top-end. Where an F-150 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler really shines is on hotter days or back-to-back multi gear pulls.
The factory intercooler quickly heat soaks which leads to high intake air temperature (IAT). Hot air is less dense so you naturally lose some power there. Additionally, hotter air increases the chance of knocking and the PCM will back out some performance to keep the engine safe and healthy.
An FMIC ensures consistent performance by maintaining lower intake temperatures. It might not gain a lot of peak horsepower for glory runs. However, in some situations, it can prevent the engine from losing 10-20+whp.
FMIC Upgrade Intake Air Temperatures
The above chart paints a good comparison between the factory intercooler and CVF Titan FMIC upgrade. This data-log was provided to CV Fabrication by a customer. As shown, the stock intercooler shows a +42°F rise in intake temperatures. By the end of that pull, the 2.7L twin turbo engine was surely pulling some timing and boost to keep the engine safe.
With the intercooler upgrade, the intake temperatures only rise 2°F – a massive improvement. The starting temperature was higher since the runs were done several hours apart (and the ambient air was warmer for the second pull with the CVF FMIC). Anyway, this shows that an intercooler can go a long way in keeping IAT’s cool and ensuring consistent, safe performance.
Best F-150 2.7L Intercooler Upgrades
Now, we understand FMIC basics, design, and benefits. What are the best Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades? Is there anything else to look for in intercooler mods? In the next sections, we discuss a few of our favorite F-150 intercooler upgrades, price, and more.
Please note – this is far from an exhaustive list. Tons of great 2.7L twin turbo FMIC upgrades are out there, and we don’t have time to cover them all. Instead, we are focusing on some 2.7 EcoBoost intercoolers that we believe deliver the best balance of price, quality, and performance.
1) Ford 2.7 EcoBoost CVF Titan Intercooler Mod
Price: $599.99 (5% off w/ code TUNINGPRO)
Buy Here: F-150 2.7L EcoBoost CVF Titan Intercooler Upgrade
We already referenced the CVF Titan intercooler with the above charts. Based on that, it’s easy to see this intercooler does its job very well. CVF is one of our favorite brands for 2.7 EcoBoost bolt-on performance upgrades, and that holds true for this intercooler. It uses a bar & plate design with a core volume roughly 50% greater than the OEM intercooler.
What’s really awesome is the cast end tanks that deliver exceptional airflow efficiency. The CVF Titan 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC is also TIG welded. It was even featured on a record-setting F-150 2.7 EcoBoost in the 1/4 mile. It’s evident the CVF intercooler is high-quality and also delivers great real world performance results.
Combine those facts with a very competitive $599.99 price tag, and this might be the single best bang-for-your-buck FMIC on the market. Oh and did we mention this intercooler comes with a CVF lifetime warranty? Ultimately, if you’re looking for a Ford F-150 intercooler then look no further – this CVF Titan is the real deal. It fits all 2015-2020 2.7 EcoBoost F-150 models, and will fit 2021+ models with a small modification to the cold side hose.
2) F-150 2.7 EcoBoost Livernois FMIC
Buy Here: Ford F-150 EcoBoost Livernois FMIC
Livernois Motorsports has been around since 1949 and builds some awesome products for Ford, Mopar, and GM. They design, test, and manufacture all their products here in the United States. The Livernois 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC is almost 1.5″ thicker than OEM, offers a larger surface and an 80% increase in cooling area, and can support 800+whp.
As with the other FMIC’s on this list you’ll likely see peak power gains of roughly 5-10whp. However, the Livernois intercooler is very effective at keeping consistent temperatures and performance. Livernois proved the intercooler was highly effective at preventing power loss of 50+ horsepower after back-to-back pulls, even on an otherwise stock F-150.
The Livernois FMIC is also very well priced considering it’s designed and manufacturer in the US. At $699 it’s a great value compared to products like the Whipple or Mishimoto intercoolers that run $900+. Anyway, if you’re looking for a high-quality, well-priced F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC from a reputable company then Livernois is an exceptional choice.
3) F-150 2.7L Turbo Whipple Mega Cooler Intercooler
Buy Here: Whipple F-150 2.7 EcoBoost Mega Cooler Upgrade
Most American car enthusiasts are likely familiar with Whipple. They’re well-known for providing high-quality upgrades, especially forced induction systems – like Mustang superchargers. Anyway, they also offer this incredible Whipple Mega Cooler intercooler for the Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost engine.
The core features a 54% greater volume than the OEM intercooler along with an 8% increase in surface area. As with CVF, it’s a bar & plate design that’s sure to deliver great strength and performance. Again, the $900 price surely includes a bit of a premium for Whipple’s brand name and proven history in the American performance scene. $900 is still a very fair price for a high-quality FMIC upgrade.
F-150 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC Summary
The Ford 2.7L twin turbo EcoBoost engine is an engine we’ve loved and respected for a long time. It’s a very mod-friendly engine capable of incredible performance with a few simple bolt-on upgrades. Among the best performance mods lies a 2.7 EcoBoost FMIC. The small factory intercooler is quickly overwhelmed and leads to heat soak.
Intercooler upgrades might not offer massive peak power gains, but it’s a great mod for consistent, reliable performance. The F-150 is a popular platform, so intercooler upgrades are plentiful. That said, the CVF Titan tops our list as the best F-150 2.7 EcoBoost intercooler upgrade. It offers such a great balance of performance, price, and quality and was even featured on a record breaking F-150.
Otherwise, Mishimoto and Whipple are two well known brands that deliver quality products at a fair price. Regardless of the specific brand you choose an FMIC upgrade goes a long way in boosting the Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost to the next level.
What’s your experience with F-150 EcoBoost FMIC upgrades? Are you considering one?
Leave a comment and let us know!