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February 2011 Drivelines: Off-Road News

Baja 1000 Ford F150 Ecoboost Torture Test Side Shot
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted February 1, 2011

EcoBoost Tackles Baja

EcoBoost Tackes Baja
In 2008 Ford engineers used the Baja 1000 as a torture test for the then-new Raptor; this year it's the EcoBoost's turn. The twin-turbo V-6, which produces 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, will be available in F-150s in early 2011. Prior to its launch, Ford will have tested the engine in a number of unusual ways, from hauling timber in Oregon to towing race cars around Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

Running for 30-some hours in the Mexican desert will likely make those previous efforts look like a cakewalk, especially since the EcoBoost going into the race truck isn't some specially prepped mill. The engine was selected randomly off the Cleveland Engine Plant line, literally the same kind of engine buyers will get. "No special blocks or structural upgrades," says Eric Kuehn, the truck's chief engineer. "We are fully confident that because of the strict testing the 3.5L EcoBoost truck engines underwent before we started manufacturing, it will take anything the desert can dish out."

If you're interested in seeing the EcoBoost testing in dynamometer labs and in the field, visit www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/f150/2011/experiencef150.

We Have a Hall-of-Famer!
Our fearless leader, Editor Rick Péwé, was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, joining Rod Hall, Parnelli Jones, Vic Hickey, Ivan Stewart, Mickey Thompson, and other select individuals who have made an impact on the off-road community. Péwé was one of five new members inducted for 2010. He was joined by Pete Brown, founder of KC HiLites; Gene Chappie, a California legislator who championed off-road recreation with several landmark bills; Chris Haines, a champion motorcycle racer who went on to found the Baja Off-Road Tours Company; and Johnny Johnson, an off-road racer with 107 First Place wins-including 13 Baja 1000 titles-among his career achievements.

Also prominent at this year's induction dinner, held during the Off-Road Expo in Southern California, was a tribute to off-road racer and Hall of Fame member Frank "Scoop" Vessels, who passed away earlier this year.

It's fitting that Péwé was inducted in the Recreational: Four Wheeling category, since he has taught so many of us proper wheeling techniques, whether through personal contact or the pages of this and other magazines. "I have tried to infuse others with the fun and joy of four-wheeling," he said after receiving his award. You've done far more than "try," Rick. Congratulations.

EcoBoost Stats
It's not often a truck maker develops a V-6 as gutsy-at least on paper-as the 365hp EcoBoost. Here are some more factoids from Ford about its latest powerplant.

•The engine's direct fuel injection and twin turbochargers give it a broad, flat torque curve, says Ford. Some 90 percent of its 420 lb-ft is available between 1,700 and 5,000 rpm. Torque peaks at 2,500 rpm.

•EcoBoost runs on regular fuel.

•The engine's twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) provides variable and independent control of the intake and exhaust valve timing. This allows maximum fuel economy at part throttle, says Ford, while optimizing power at full throttle.

•4x4 models with the heavy-duty package have a maximum payload capacity of 2,860 pounds and are rated to tow 11,300 pounds.

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