Ford offers factory engine ECU upgrades for all EcoBoost-equipped cars

Ford knows that performance is a part of the brand’s bloodlines and they also know that it’s a driving force (no pun intended) for the Dearborn automaker’s brand image. As a result, Ford’s taking an extra step to make sure that owners of their sporty new EcoBoost-powered cars are well-catered to, especially if those owners like tuning their cars.

This extra step for Ford involves offering customers the chance to reflash their ECUs straight from the factory, without voiding the warranty. One of the common concerns about modifying new cars is the worry over voiding the warranty from aftermarket parts not properly tested and approved by the manufacturer as an Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM. But Ford reassures their customers by offering these mods, giving them a chance to get more out of their car without sacrificing any much more than some bills.

The upgrades are easy, according to Dearborn, who says that modifying the engine’s performance can be accomplished with some hand-held programming equipment, which gives techs the chance to change several operating parameters while checking the on-board diagnostics. The result for some, like the Focus ST, can be a boost in torque by up to 90 lb-ft. The cost for this upgrade: $595 from the factory at your local dealer.

More upgrades will be announced, for instance, Ford Racing’s working on a similar upgrade for the all-new Mustang and its new 2.3L EcoBoost turbo four, which is expected to surface sometime next year.

Check out the press release below for full details.

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A New Breed of Performance Starts with Ford EcoBoost Engines

  • Ford now offers EcoBoost® engines in all of its high-performance nameplates – from Fiesta ST to Mustang – making room for a new kind of aftermarket tuning
  • Modifying engine performance can be accomplished with hand-held programmers that adjust several engine parameters
  • Adjusting engine control unit programming can result in performance gains of up to 90 lb.-ft. of torque in cars like Focus ST

Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost® engine lineup not only has great EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings, it is also becoming a favorite family of engines in the performance tuning community.

From the infancy of the automobile, tinkerers have always chased more power by removing original components and replacing them with expensive aftermarket parts. This can lead to added performance, but at a cost to fuel efficiency, durability or driving comfort most owners would never accept.

For example, while replacing a camshaft can result in added horsepower, but typically a smooth idle must be sacrificed. Replacements can include new exhaust and intake manifolds, high-flow fueling systems and sometimes superchargers. This kind of tuning requires significant know-how and for the vehicle to be out of operation for some time.

Now, with the advent of computer-controlled engines, tuners have begun modifying a vehicle’s original programming for increased engine performance in the areas they choose. The technologies in Ford EcoBoost engines make their efforts even more effective.

Advanced EcoBoost technology includes direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging that, together, offer excellent power density and EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings straight from the factory. In the hands of engine tuning experts, tweaking these attributes can result in tremendous gains in horsepower and torque output, at an inexpensive price tag.  

A programming handset from Ford Racing offers a perfect example of the tuning possibilities. For Focus ST’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost, Ford Racing offers ProCal, which any performance enthusiast can purchase at FordRacing.com for $595. Plug the device into the car’s diagnostic link connector port in the driver’s side footwell to tap into the many aspects of the car’s performance – anything from throttle response characteristics or idle speed, to turbo wastegate control, to fuel curves and spark timing.

While these settings should be modified only within recommended limits, the resulting performance gains with Ford-tested programs can be impressive. Focus ST owners, for example, can expect up to a 90 lb.-ft. increase in torque – all while maintaining the Ford-backed limited warranty.

Ford Racing is developing custom engine calibrations for the all-new Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost, with a product expected on the market by the end of 2015.

Not all enthusiasts are concerned about maintaining their factory warranty, and for those Ford has committed to working with aftermarket tuning companies to enable the development of high-quality parts and accessories to maximize the performance of Ford vehicles. Aftermarket tuners have achieved impressive performance gains for the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 in the 2015 Ford Mustang. Several tuners, including Mountune and Full-Race Motorsports, showcased their modified EcoBoost Mustangs at the 2014 SEMA Show.

By working with respected turbocharging engine experts from around the world including Mountune and Full-Race Motorsports, Ford is demonstrating a commitment to a new breed of forced-induction performance. Expect to see more exciting new options from Ford Racing in the near future.

Chris Chin

Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech Freelance Automotive Journalist / Editor / Photographer

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