Ford 1.5 EcoBoost Engine Problems
The Ford 1.6L EcoBoost turbo engine was downsized to the 1.5L EcoBoost turbo engine in 2014. China’s lower vehicle taxes for 1.5L and smaller engines contributed to this. In spite of the slight reduction in size, the engine is still as powerful as the previous 1.6 EcoBoost version. The Ford Fusion and Focus have roughly the same amount of power (181 hp).
A solid engine with a good balance of power, dependability, and efficiency, the 1.5 EcoBoost is a good choice. But no engine is perfect, and the 1.5 turbo inline-4 isn’t exempt from that rule. Many Ford 1.5 EcoBoost engine issues are covered in this article, as well as general reliability.
What Cars Use the 1.5L EcoBoost?
Prior to delving into the 1.5 EcoBoost engine’s common issues, it’s important to know a few things about it. The following Ford years and models make use of it:
- 2014-2018 Ford Focus
- 2014-2020 Ford Fusion
- 2017-present Ford Escape
- 2015-present Ford Mondeo
- 2015-present Ford C-Max
The Ford Focus and Fusion in the United States both have 181 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. There’s also a 179-horsepower US-spec Ford Escape 1.5 EcoBoost. Some foreign 1.5L turbo engines only have 148-158hp on tap.
Ford 1.5 Turbo Specs
The following are the technical specifications for Ford’s 1.5-liter inline-4 turbo engine:
Fuel Delivery: Direct Injection
Bore x Stroke: 79mm x 76.4mm
Compression: 10.0 : 1
Head & Block: Aluminum
Valves: DOHC, 16v
Max HP: 181hp @ 6,000 RPM
Max TQ: 185 lb-ft @ 4,300 RPM
This is a pretty standard set of specifications for today’s high-performance engines. Fuel economy and emissions can both be improved by using a smaller engine with a lower displacement.
The turbocharger in the 1.5 EcoBoost allows it to produce surprising amounts of power considering its size. Direct injection is great for both performance and emissions, but it does have some drawbacks, which we’ll go over in more detail later in this article.
4 Common 1.5 EcoBoost Problems
When it comes to the 1.5L Ford EcoBoost turbo engine, the following problems are fairly common.
- Cooling system
- Carbon build-up
- Fuel injectors
- Spark plugs & ignition coils
We’ll go into more detail about each of these issues in the following sections. Finally, we’ll discuss the 1.5 EcoBoost’s reliability. Prior to performing, however, it’s critical to get some quick notes down on paper.
There’s a good reason why we call these the MOST typical Ford 1.5 EcoBoost issues. Just because they’re common doesn’t mean they’re really common. When problems or failures do occur, these are some of the most common places where they occur.
Having said that, any engine can develop issues. This is especially true for turbo direct injection engines, which are more recent inventions. As a rule, newer cars have more technology, more moving parts, and higher initial purchase prices.
This will be brought up in a later section. Anyway, let’s dive right in and take a look at a few issues with the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine that have been reported.
1) 1.5 EcoBoost Cooling System Issues
The article we wrote about common problems with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine did a little digging into this issue. With that engine, there were a few surprises. The newer 1.5 inline-4 engines have some of the same issues.
There’s a lawsuit pending against Ford over cooling issues with its 4-cylinder EcoBoost engines. It doesn’t appear to be as common on the 1.5 as it is on the 1.6, but the 1.5 EcoBoost is included in the lawsuit nonetheless.
We tend to stay away from recall and lawsuit stories because the information is readily available elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, the problem appears to be with the block’s and head’s design. Coolant leakage into the combustion chambers can lead to low coolant levels, corrosion, misfires, and even engine failure in extreme cases.
We’ll leave it there for the time being. Some 1.5 EcoBoost owners have reported coolant problems in the Ford Fusion, Focus, and Escape forums. It may even necessitate the replacement of the entire engine in some cases. Many things on the internet are blown out of proportion, including this issue. Ford 1.5 buyers, on the other hand, should be aware of this fact.
Ford 1.5L Turbo Coolant Fix
Internal problems like this can’t be fixed easily, unfortunately. One reason some people need new engines is because of this. If Ford isn’t helpful in resolving these issues, the lawsuit may be beneficial to the harmed owners.
In any case, it’s critical to monitor the coolant levels. Overheating due to a lack of coolant can lead to reliability and longevity issues in the long run.
2) Ford 1.5 EcoBoost Carbon Build-Up Problems
Modern engines have a lot of talk about carbon build-up. For a long time, fuel was delivered primarily through port injection. Direct injection (DI) on the other hand offers numerous advantages in terms of performance and efficiency.
As a result, many engines, including Ford’s 1.5 EcoBoost, have switched to direct injection (DI). It’s a great piece of technology, but there’s a problem with it.
Oil blow-by occurs on all engines to some degree. After entering the engine’s intake system, the oil collects on intake ports and valves. For many years, engines have used port injection to remove oil blow-by by spraying fuel into the intake ports.
DI, on the other hand, injects fuel into the cylinders through a fine mist. The valves can’t be cleaned because there’s nothing there. As a result, the 1.5L EB’s intake valves and ports accumulate carbon.
Carbon build-up is extremely unlikely to have any other negative effects on the reliability or lifespan of a device. Some 1.5-liter EcoBoost engines, especially older ones, are likely to have carbon buildup for the duration of their useful lives.
Cleaning the valves is good maintenance because clogged ones can lead to a variety of drivability and performance issues. For the Ford 1.5 EcoBoost, expect carbon build-up issues to show up somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000 miles.
1.5L EB Carbon Build-Up Symptoms
The following are signs that your Ford 1.5 turbo engine has too much carbon buildup:
- Power loss
- Rough idle
- Poor operation
Excess carbon deposits clog the cylinders’ air intake, reducing power. As a result, the 1.5 EcoBoost will experience power loss, which can be substantial. It’s one of the more difficult symptoms to pick up on, though. Degradation occurs gradually over time and distance; it can take years and thousands of miles for the carbon to accumulate.
Otherwise, keep an eye out for general engine performance issues. Misfires, a rough idle, stuttering acceleration, and so on are all possible symptoms. All of these symptoms, however, can be indicative of a number of different problems.
Ford 1.5 EcoBoost Intake Valve Cleaning
When it comes to removing carbon deposits from intake valves and ports, walnut blasting has a long track record of success. Cleaning the intake valves is mostly labor-intensive, so it’s low-cost maintenance if you’re a competent do-it-yourselfer. A shop vac is required, as are walnut media shells for the project.
To get to the intake ports, you’ll have to remove the 1.5L inline-4’s intake manifold. Blasting takes about an hour or two once you’re inside, depending on how bad the buildup is. Depending on the repair shop, this job could cost between $400 and $600 to complete.
3) 1.5L Inline-4 Fuel Injectors Clogging
Some direct injection engines have yet another flaw. Ever since the transition to DI, many manufacturers have had problems with high-pressure fuel pumps, injectors, and other fueling components. Fuel injector issues have been reported in some Ford Fusion, Focus, and Escape models equipped with the 1.5 EcoBoost.
Fuel injectors can go bad for a variety of reasons. Fuel injector clogging on the 1.5 GTDI engine appears to be a common problem, so we’ll concentrate on it for the time being. Injectors that leak or are unresponsive, on the other hand, do occur on occasion.
The 1.5 EcoBoost’s fuel injectors are obviously critical to its proper operation. Having faulty injectors can result in numerous problems with the vehicle’s drivability. Even though it’s a rare occurrence, be on the lookout for problems north of 70,000 miles.
Symptoms of 1.5 EcoBoost Injector Problems
EcoBoost fuel injector problems can manifest as the following symptoms:
- Long cranks
- Rough idle
- Poor fuel economy
A clogged injector prevents enough fuel from reaching the troublesome cylinder. When an injector leaks, there’s an excess of fuel. Long cranks, rough idling, and misfires are all possible side effects of the Ford 1.5 EcoBoost injector issues. Poor fuel economy can also be caused by leaking injectors.
Ford 1.5L Fuel Injector Replacement
When it comes to fuel injector repair, there are a few options. Seal replacement for leaking injectors is a labor-intensive process. If your fuel injectors are clogged, there are a number of ways to get them clean again. That, however, isn’t always the best long-term solution for your situation.
A set of four fuel injectors for the 1.5 EcoBoost costs between $100 and $300, which is a welcome relief for most people. A lot of people choose to just replace the injectors because they’re so inexpensive to begin with Cleaning or repairing the injector seals can cost as much as buying new ones if done by a repair shop. However, it’s an excellent way for those who prefer to do things themselves to save money. Injector cleaning is demonstrated in the video below.
4) Ford 1.5 EcoBoost Plugs & Coils
Before we get to 1.5 EcoBoost reliability, we’ll get this section out of the way quickly. Standard maintenance includes changing the spark plugs and ignition coils. Since they are not a problem on the EB turbo engine, we don’t think they should be classified as such. Failures that occur before their time aren’t unheard of, but they do happen. However, we’ve brought up plugs and coils because there’s good reason for it to be there.
A new generation of turbocharged engines, such as Ford’s 1.5 EcoBoost, can be a little more difficult to maintain. High cylinder pressures result from turbocharger boost, necessitating a stronger spark plug. As a result, the wear and tear on the spark plugs and ignition coils is greater in turbocharged engines than in naturally aspirated ones.
Despite this, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost is a small engine with low boost and power outputs. It shouldn’t be as taxing as engines with more displacement, such as the 2.7 or 3.5 EcoBoost.
The fact remains that simple components such as plugs and coils can produce a wide range of symptoms in a vehicle. Spark plugs and ignition coils in 1.5 EcoBoost vehicles that have been tuned or modified will have a much shorter lifespan. Spark plugs and ignition coils on stock engines can last for up to 70,000 miles before they need to be replaced.
1.5L Inline-4 Plugs & Coils Symptoms
Spark plugs and ignition coils that have seen better days are likely to have symptoms like the ones listed below:
- Rough idle
- Poor performance
When the spark plugs and coils wear out, the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder cannot be ignited and burned completely. Misfires are the first symptom of this problem. Misfires and poor overall performance may become more common as they continue to age and degrade.
Ford 1.5 Turbo Spark Plug Replacement
Some of the simplest auto parts to maintain are the spark plugs and ignition coils. Even the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfers can complete the project in the driveway in no more than an hour or two. Ignition coils cost about $100-200 and a set of four spark plugs costs $30-50.
1.5L EcoBoost Turbo Reliability
Is the 1.5-liter EcoBoost Ford engine a dependable powertrain? Yes, we believe that the 1.5L inline-4 turbo engine receives comments on its reliability that range from average to better than average. The Ford 1.5 EB has only a few minor flaws.
Engine block/head problems that let coolant leak into the cylinders have sparked lawsuits and concerns. While it’s possible, the issues are probably exaggerated to some degree.
That being said, some dependability is determined by chance. That’s out of our hands, but we do have some control over one important aspect: maintenance. Not just the 1.5 EcoBoost is covered by this information.
Use high-quality oils, make regular fluid changes, and address problems as soon as they arise. If you do all of these things, the 1.5L turbo engine should last you a long time.
Ford 1.5 EcoBoost Engine Problems Summary
A smaller version of the 1.6 EcoBoost debuted in 2014 as the 1.5L EcoBoost. It’s a great all-around value in terms of price, fuel efficiency, dependability, and power. While 181 hp may not sound like much, it’s more than enough for many drivers of the Ford Focus, Fusion, and Escape.
There are a few issues with the 1.5 EcoBoost, as there are with all engines. In some cases, lawsuits have been filed because of coolant leaks into the cylinders, and the engine has to be completely replaced as a result.
It’s not unheard of for fuel injectors to malfunction, but it’s a relatively minor and inexpensive issue overall. Otherwise, carbon buildup is merely a drawback of an otherwise excellent technology.
Ford’s 1.5 EcoBoost turbocharged engines can be more difficult to maintain. However, there aren’t many modern engines on the road that don’t make use of turbochargers and direct injection.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the 1.5-liter engine well-maintained. The Ford 1.5 EcoBoost has a good chance of lasting a long time with proper care.
What are your thoughts on the 1.5-liter engine so far? Are you thinking about it?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!