|Power and torque curves for stock and performance-tuned Focus ST with 2.0L I-4 EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.|
Ford is now offering EcoBoost engines in all of its high-performance nameplates—from Fiesta ST to Mustang—enabling 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 (122 N·m) of torque in cars such as the Focus ST.
To allow performance enthusiasts to exploit these capabilities, Ford Racing is offering a programming handset (ProCal, $595, along with required new sparkplugs) for Focus ST’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost. Plugging the device into the car’s diagnostic link connector port in the driver’s side footwell allows tuners 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 maintaining the Ford-backed limited warranty.
Ford Racing is also 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.
Tinkerers have in the past 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 not readily accept.
For example, while replacing a camshaft can result in added horsepower, 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, Ford notes.
With the advent of computer-controlled engines, tuners began 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.
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 says it is demonstrating a commitment to a new breed of forced-induction performance.