Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Problems And Reliability!

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Problems And Reliability!

June 7, 2023 0 By CarGuy

Are you interested in purchasing a Ford with the 2.3L engine and want to learn more about the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine problems? If that’s correct, you are in the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover.

Before purchasing a car, doing your own research is probably one of the best things that you can do. There are a lot of cars with different engines out there. Some of them are good, while some of them are not that particularly good. So, doing your own homework in understanding which of these models is good and which is bad is the right way to go. And that’s why we are here to help you out and pinpoint these problems for you.

First, we are going to cover the basic specs of the 2.3 engine, then, we are going to discuss the applications of this engine as well as the common Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine problems. Once we clear that out of our way, we are going to learn more about the reliability and life expectancy of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Specs

The 2.3L engine is an engine developed for the EcoBoost family. This engine is a clean sheet design by Ford Motor Company.

This engine debuted with the Ford Mustang and is in use ever since in a lot of Ford and Lincoln models.

The engine even though quite small, is very powerful and also extremely durable. It is installed in cars, SUVs, and even trucks, and that is something that we are going to cover in a moment.

When it comes to the specs, the numbers are the following:

  • Configuration: inline-4
  • Displacement: 2.3L
  • Cylinder Bore: 87.55 mm
  • Piston Stroke: 94 mm
  • Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Design: DOHC
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes
  • Turbocharger: Yes
  • Direct Injection: Yes
  • Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Power Output: 270 – 405 hp
  • Torque Output: 310 – 369 lb-ft

The power and torque numbers really depend on the application. And more on the applications we are going to cover next.

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Applications

Now before we elaborate on the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine problems, let’s take a look at the applications of this engine.

Ford & Lincoln Models:

  • 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
  • 2015 Lincoln MKC
  • 2016 Ford Explorer
  • 2016 Ford Focus RS
  • 2019 Ford Ranger
  • 2019 Focus ST
  • 2021 Ford Bronco
  • 2020 Ford Everest

Non-Ford Models

  • 2016 Zenos E10 R
  • 2017 Elemental RP1
  • 2016 VUHL 05 RR
  • 2017 Dallara Stradale

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Problems

Now let’s briefly list the common Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine problems.

  • Carbon Buildup
  • Spark Plug & Coil Failures
  • Likes To Run Hot
  • Tends To Overheat
  • Turbo Problems
  • Oil Consumption
  • Prone To Failure When Modded

We briefly listed the common problems with this engine, now let’s further elaborate on them. Knowing how these problems appear, as well as the symptoms you will notice when they appear is really important for you. So, let’s cover them in the following chapters before we discuss the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost reliability.

Carbon Buildup

Carbon buildup is probably the most serious problem with the 2.3 engine. So, what is carbon buildup, and how does it occurs?

This engine is using something known as direct injection. Direct injection is using high-pressure fuel pump to inject the fuel and this fuel is injected through special injectors. Unlike the case whenever you have the gas injected through the intake ports like in older engines.

This new approach to technology has drawbacks. With direct injection, the intake ports are not cleaned. This is why carbon deposits start to develop inside these ports.

And whenever you have too much carbon inside the ports, you will experience problems with the engine. Symptoms will include the check engine light and engine misfires.

All this is caused because the engine valves do not open and close as they should. Simple as that. Ford addressed this problem on the 2.7L engine by implementing both port and direct injection. But on the 2.3, this problem is still an issue to this day.

The way around it is to do a method called walnut blasting every 50,000 miles to clean off the carbon buildup and free up the valves.

Spark Plug & Coil Failures

Spark plug and ignition coil failures are common on this engine. Spark plugs produce sparks, while the ignition coils are the components that transform the low current delivered from the battery into a high electric current.

The coil sits above the plug. And what happens is that these components often fail. Mainly because this engine is using direct injection.

Direct injection, although good in terms of fuel efficiency and performance, has some downsides. And both of these problems that we covered are because of this system.

Luckily, replacing them is not crazy expensive and can be done at home using simple tools.

Likes To Run Hot

This engine also loves to run hot. Much hotter compared to other engines that Ford previously used and this caused a problem.

The problem was that many of the components surrounding the engine suffered quite a bit. And many of the engines from the first two model years had issues with some components around the engine melting down.

Ford reportedly fixed this issue by adding some heat shields in order to protect the components around the engine. This is why it is better to go for a newer engine than go after one of the first two model years.

Tends To Overheat

In addition to this, this engine also tends to overheat. It can blow a head gasket and basically overheat.

Whenever this happens, you will have to remove the engine head and machine the head to flatten it out and then place a new head gasket on.

Even though we must say, these overheating issues are far smaller compared to the 1.6L and the 2.0L EcoBoost engines from the EcoBoost family.

These two engines suffer a lot from overheating. The 2.3 still has some problems but not to that extent like the previous two engines that we mentioned.

Turbo Problems

Turbo problems are also common on these engines. Especially to those engines that are tuned. Many people love to tune these engines and make them push serious power.

And when this occurs, there are turbine failures that occur. In this case, you will have to rebuild the turbo or replace it with a new unit.

In addition to this, there were cases of non-tuned engines having wastegate rattle. Wastegate rattle is an annoying rattling noise that appears on a lot of turbocharged engines.

The problem is caused by loose wastegate actuator linkage. The solution is to fix this linkage and the problem will go away.

Oil Consumption

One of the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost engine problems is the massive oil consumption. This engine, especially at higher miles, tends to drink more oil than normal.

And you should be aware of this issue. Newer engines are better in this aspect and the problem has been reduced.

For example, one owner says on a forum that he has 1.5 to 2 quarts of oil consumption per 3-4k miles. Which is something pretty concerning. This is why we advise that you go for one of the newer engines instead of a 2015 model.

Prone To Failure When Modded

This engine is also prone to failure when pushed too hard. This engine is often very popular when it comes to tuners and people who want to get quick power on the cheap.

They just add a tune and push 420 lb-ft of torque from the wheels. And at this point, this engine is starting to fail.

If you push the engine this seriously, you will highly likely experience a blown block or similar catastrophic engine damage.

This is why we don’t recommend pushing the engine to these lengths since it is easy to ruin it.

Basically, any tune will shave a ton of mileage from the life of the engine. So, if you want to get more performance, we recommend going after the 2.7L, 3.0L in other models, or the 5.0L Coyote if you are into Mustangs.

Ford 2.3 Reliability

The reliability of the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost is good. It is much better compared to the 1.6L and 2.0L engines from this family of engines.

That’s why we recommend getting one if you want a more reliable Ford engine in a smaller package. Besides the carbon buildup, if left on stock settings, this engine will definitely serve you well. If you decide to tune it, you risk engine damage.

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Life Expectancy

The lifespan of this engine is somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. It is not one of the greatest performers but it is not that bad after all.

So, if you get this engine at relatively low miles, you will definitely see a lot of good use of this engine in the years to come.


Overall, the Ford 2.3 EcoBoost is one small peppy engine that is definitely worth your attention. This engine is pretty good in terms of power and also able to be pushed quite a lot more.

So, if you are into tuning, you can use this engine to squeeze more power on a budget. But we recommend that you don’t go to great lengths and destroy the engine. Everything has limits, and so is the case with the 2.3L EcoBoost.


What Are The Common Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Engine Problems?

Common problems with this engine include carbon buildup on the intake ports and spark plug and coil failures caused by direct injection. Other problems with this engine include problems with the turbo, overheating issues, and oil consumption.

Is The Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Reliable?

Yes, the 2.3L EcoBoost is a pretty reliable engine that can serve you for a really long time if you maintain it well and fix problems on time once they pop up. If you don’t care about it, the reliability might soon drop and you start to experience engine failure.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of The 2.3L EcoBoost?

The average life expectancy of this engine is somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. This engine does not last like a Toyota or a Honda engine but still is not a bad option if you do not put a lot of miles on the car.