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EcoBoost Mustang Upgrade Guide: Making the Most of Your 2.3L Engine

 
2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

(Image/Motor Trend)

Ford’s engineers earned their paychecks when they designed the 2.3L EcoBoost engine.

Making more than 300 horsepower, it’s no surprise that the mighty 4-cylinder replaced the venerable 3.7L V6 as the Ford Mustang’s base engine. Throw in 25 miles-per-gallon highway fuel economy and a price point thousands below the GT trim, and you’ve got a potent, yet practical pony car.

A Brief Overview of Ford EcoBoost Engines

Introduced for the 2011 model year, the EcoBoost family of engines comes in a variety of four- and six-cylinder sizes (and even three-cylinder) and is available on everything from the compact Focus to the workhorse F-150. Popular sizes include the 3.5L V6, 2.7L V6, and 1.6L I4.

The 2.3L EcoBoost makes 310 horsepower and 320 ft.-lbs. of torque, and incorporates the same two baseline characteristics as the rest of the EcoBoost engine family: turbocharging and direct injection.

The combination of turbocharging and direct injection results in more airflow and pinpoint fuel delivery. Using the greater air volume from the turbocharger and increased fuel efficiency from direct injection, the EcoBoost engine creates power on par with larger, naturally aspirated engines while achieving much better fuel economy.

[Don’t have a 2.3L? Read EcoBoost 101: A Quick Guide to Upgrading Your Ford EcoBoost Engine.]

If you are the proud owner of a 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang, there are ways to make the turbocharged 4-cylinder even better.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common power-adders to make your right foot a little happier.

2.3L EcoBoost Mustang Upgrades: A Buyer’s Guide

Exhaust Systems for 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang

flowmaster exhaust for ecoboost mustang

Upgrading your 2.3L EcoBoost usually starts at the tailpipes. Since its introduction in the 2015 Mustang, companies like Flowmaster, MagnaFlow, Borla, MBRP, and Roush have begun making cat-back and axle-back exhaust systems for the turbo-four. In most situations, these systems are a simple bolt-off, bolt-on affair using the same mounting points and routing the factory did. These kits will squeeze a few extra ponies out of the motor, and give your Mustang a bit more bark for its bite.

Cat-back systems

Axle-back systems

Air Intake Kits for 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang

airaid air intake for 2.3L ecoboost mustang

Based on the proven formula of more air = more power, a cold air intake kit is an efficient way to unlock performance. The colder, denser air improves fuel atomization in the cylinder, which results in better combustion—ultimately making more power. Mishimoto, Airaid, aFe Power, and K&N all make air intake systems for the gen-six Mustang 4-cylinder. Here are some of the most-popular options:

Computer Programmers for 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang

SCT power flash tuner for ecoboost mustang

There’s a lot of math going on under the hood of your Mustang, and a new ECU tune can make it work more in your favor. SCT Performance, DiabloSport, Hypertech, and Bully Dog all make programmers for the 2.3L EcoBoost. A quality programmer can alter fuel maps, shift points, modify rev limits, and other parameters all with the goal of increased driving performance.

CARB-approved programmers

Other popular options

Intercoolers for 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang

mishimoto intercooler for 2.3L ecoboost mustang

The EcoBoost makes a lot of power in a small 2.3L package thanks in large part to the magic of turbocharging. That means another world of upgrades is open to you. Most turbo folks will start with upgrading the intercooler. As a turbocharger spins, it compresses the intake air, which is good because it feeds more air into the engine’s combustion chamber. Unfortunately, the compressed air also heats up during that process. An intercooler cools down the compressed air to deliver improved combustion, and an intercooler from Mishimoto, Wagner Tuning, or Vortech will do that job better.

Despite it’s position as the “base” engine in the Mustang lineup, there’s nothing base about the 2.3L EcoBoost. Add a few bolt-ons, and it will rival most any V8 performance car from the 1990s and 2000s.

2.3L ecoboost engine

(Image/Ford Motor Co.)

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