With the release of our Ecoboost to ZF transmission adapter kit, we thought it long overdue to provide some insight as to why you should consider an Ecoboost swap over a myriad of other options. LS and JZ swaps have been done in any car you can imagine, and you’re likely to find the parts and the knowledge surrounding these by doing a quick Google search. However, there are some key benefits in bucking trends and choosing an Ecoboost engine for your next project, we did our best to highlight some of the best here.
Turn to any group or forum and you’ll hear the phrase “God’s motor” being tossed out quite often. From SR20DET, to the Toyota line of JZ engines, to LS V8s, everyone has their opinion on which is the best powerplant. The plucky four cylinder Ecoboost hasn’t entered that conversation and in many ways is kind of a sleeper option. In production and development for over a decade, these can be optioned in any of Ford’s vehicles. For a company that ships over two million vehicles a year, you can guarantee that an Ecoboost engine will be easy to source both today AND in the future. In a time where the supply of “God’s motors” are dwindling, the Ecoboost is a boon for anyone keeping their classic car on the road or the track.
With increased supply comes decreased cost. As the price of SR20DET and 1/2JZs skyrocket, you can source a 2.0/2.3 Ecoboost for nearly a quarter of the cost from your local junkyard. That's not to say that prices remain fixed, but it is consistently cheaper than older options. Additionally, the fact that Ecoboost engines are still in production means that they’re still relevant to those that support them. Replacement parts, both OEM and aftermarket, are easily obtained. A simple call to your Ford dealer or parts store of choice will net you the replacement component you need quickly instead of scouring websites, parts groups or forums for that one unobtainable part. With the realization of the kind of power these engines can make, the aftermarket community has provided untold numbers of aftermarket reliability and performance options for both the 2.0T and the 2.3T. When reliable and repeatable power is only a few bolt-on modifications away, you start to take notice.
Ecoboost engines can be found with low miles and the types of vehicles they’re typically found in mean that the spiciest driving conditions they may have seen are accelerating onto the highway or running little Jimmy to school. That being said, they are incredibly easy to tune and turning up the power is as simple as turning up the boost! Horsepower ratings from the factory typically fall between 160-350 horsepower but we’ve seen modified Ecoboost vehicles surpass 500 wheel horsepower with little more than bolt-ons and a competent calibration. The OEM Ford ECU with any Ecoboost powered vehicle is more than capable for 99% of enthusiasts. As such, a professional calibration utilizing HPTuners software is all you would need to get your project dialed in without any need of expensive standalone ECU options, wiring harnesses and install time. Another benefit? If you track your Ecoboost powered vehicle, HPTuners offers additional features such as TrackAddict, RaceRender and VCM Suite.
For those that plan to track their swap projects, you’ll be pleased to learn that both the 2.0T and 2.3T when paired with a ZF transmission are absolute lightweights when compared to straight six or V8 options. An Ecoboost four cylinder when mated to a ZF transmission weighs in at just under 500 pounds, very nearly the weight of just an LS or 1JZ engine. The light weight in a compact package coupled with the kind of power they are capable of means the Ecoboost will definitely change the handling and power delivery aspects of your project in an extremely positive way. In terms of swaps, managing a single downpipe vs exhaust headers is a godsend for those engine bays where space is at a premium.
All in all, the Ecoboost four cylinder is a great choice for anyone looking to get the most bang for their hard earned buck. Its low cost and weight, reliability, propensity for making more power as well as its OEM and aftermarket support will continue to raise its status within the motorsports and enthusiasts communities. From low key sleeper to the future four cylinder swap of choice, we think the plucky Ecoboost will prove itself across a host of various motorsports disciplines.