Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems: The 4 Most Common Problems

Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems

Ford’s 1.6-liter GTDI engine is one of the first in the EcoBoost line of engines. Ford and Volvo have used it in a number of their vehicles since it was first introduced in 2010. The 148-197 horsepower of Ford’s 1.6 EcoBoost engines can be yours for the taking.

For a small fuel-efficient and dependable engine, that’s not bad at all. However, no engine is faultless, and this one is no different. Several issues with the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost are discussed in this article, and we conclude with some general thoughts on reliability.

What Cars Use the Ford 1.6L?

In Ford lingo, the engines are referred to as the 1.6L EcoBoost engine. Volvo, on the other hand, refers to the engines as B4164T in their marketing materials.. The Volvo engine code ends with a different number depending on the specific 1.6-liter inline-4 engine variant. The 1.6-liter turbocharged Ford and Volvo models that use it are as follows:

  • 2010-2018 Ford Focus
  • 2010-2018 Ford C-Max
  • 2013-2016 Ford Escape
  • 2013-2014 Ford Fusion
  • 2013-2016 Ford Fiesta ST
  • 2016-2017 Ford Fiesta ST200
  • 2014-2016 Ford Transit Escape
  • 2013-2016 Volvo V40
  • 2010-2018 Volvo S60
  • 2010-2018 Volvo V60
  • 2011-2016 Volvo V70
  • 2011-2016 Volvo S80

There are a few other models around the world that use the 1.6L EcoBoost engine. The new 1.5 EcoBoost engine became standard on the majority of models in 2015, especially in the United States. Depending on the year and model, power ranges from 148 to 182 horsepower. The 1.6 EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta ST200, on the other hand, makes 197 horsepower.

4 Common 1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems

1.6 EcoBoost Engine Problems

The following are some of the most frequently encountered problems with the Ford 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine:

  • Timing belt
  • Overheating
  • Carbon build-up
  • Spark plugs & ignition coils

The rest of the article goes into greater detail about the aforementioned issues. Before we continue, however, a few clarifications are in order. These are some of the more frequent issues. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean a lot of engines are affected. These are some of the more likely places where things go wrong when things go wrong.

Ford’s 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine is a good all-around performer. Early on, there were a few significant issues that were quickly resolved. At the end of the article, we’ll revisit the 1.6 EcoBoost’s reliability and address any outstanding issues.

1) Ford 1.6 EcoBoost Timing Belt

The 1.6 inline-4 turbo engine’s timing belts don’t appear to be a problem at all. In contrast, the Ford EcoBoost is a non-linear piston engine. This means that the pistons’ and valves’ travel paths have some overlap. Failure of a timing belt would be disastrous. If the pistons and valves come into contact, bent valves can result.

Timing belts should be replaced every 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. Timing belts used to last for a long time, but these days they are very dependable.

Even so, we’re surprised Ford went with a timing belt instead of a timing chain, as many modern turbo direct-injection engines do. Timing chain tensioners and other cheaply made parts are a problem for some manufacturers, but they’re not uncommon.

In any case, the 1.6 EcoBoost engine’s timing belt is a non-issue for the most part. Timing belt problems are rare, at least in our experience. However, it’s critical to periodically inspect the belt. As belts rarely break out of the blue, this can save you a lot of money on repairs. Instead, they gradually degrade, making periodic inspections the only way to catch problems early.

1.6L GTDI Timing Belt Symptoms

Timing belt issues on the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost can manifest as the following symptoms:

  • Ticking / odd sounds
  • Check engine light
  • Poor operation

If you hear a ticking noise or some other strange noises coming from your engine, it’s possible that your timing belt is worn out. It’s a warning sign that the 1.6L’s timing belt may eventually fail. Always check the timing belt, especially if your car has logged more than 100,000 miles. There are a slew of symptoms and poor performance when a timing belt fails.

Unexpected misfires, check engine light illuminations, rough idle—all of these symptoms could indicate that your EcoBoost’s timing belt needs to be replaced.

Ford 1.6 Inline-4 Timing Belt Change

As a reminder, the Ford 1.6L timing belt should be serviced every ten years or 150,000 kilometers (whichever comes first). To be sure, look in the owner’s manual one more time. In addition, we believe it’s a good idea to visually inspect the belt on a regular basis.

In any case, timing belts are less expensive than timing chains to replace or repair. The belt itself costs less than $50, and the repair is doable by the do-it-yourself crowd. The 1.6 EcoBoost timing belt, on the other hand, needs to be installed correctly with the correct tools to avoid any problems. Repair shops can cost between $200 and $400 for people who aren’t as confident.

2) 1.6L EcoBoost Overheating Issues

1.6L EcoBoost Overheating Issues

When it comes to Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine overheating issues, there’s a lot to unpack. Overheating problems have been the subject of numerous lawsuits, service bulletins, and product recalls.

A recall was issued by Ford in 2017 for some 2014 Escape, Fiesta ST, and Fusion models. A lack of coolant appears to be the primary problem, as an overheated cylinder head will crack and leak oil. High-pressure oil leaks caused fires, and some people got hurt. As a result of the recall, Ford updated its vehicles to include coolant level sensors.

Currently, there is a lawsuit asserting that the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine has a flaw from the beginning. Claims are made that engine failure, corrosion, and even fire can result from coolant leakage into the cylinders. Considering that there is a ton of information about recalls, service bulletins, and the like, we’ll leave it at that for now.

No matter how you slice it: recalls and other issues that have already been addressed are generally avoided in our content. It appears that these issues primarily affect older models, although some parts may have been updated as a result. Even though lawsuits are still being filed, it’s difficult to say whether or not these issues have been fully resolved.

Ford 1.6 GTDI Overheating Fix

Low coolant appears to be the root of the problem. For the most part, this isn’t a problem, as all engines lose coolant over time and should be topped off as needed. Excess coolant loss suggests, however, that coolant is leaking into the cylinders in some cases.

However, make sure you regularly check and top off your coolant. Overheating, head cracking, or a blown head gasket are all unlikely if this is done correctly. Coolant leaking into cylinders, on the other hand, could have long-term ramifications for engine longevity and resiliency.

3) Ford 1.6 Turbo EB Carbon Build-Up

We’ve discussed carbon build-up on direct-injection engines before, and we won’t stop there. Fuel economy, power, and emissions can all be improved with direct injection (DI). Many modern turbo-gasoline engines, such as the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost, feature this feature. However, there is one major drawback to DI.

Oil blow-by is a normal byproduct of all engines. Intake ports and valves collect this oil as it makes its way to the combustion chamber. It’s not a big deal in and of itself, and it’s a topic that’s come up less frequently in the past.

In the past, the most common fueling method for gasoline engines was port injection (PI). So, any oil blow-by was not an issue because PI sprays fuel into the intake ports.

The 1.6 EcoBoost direct injection engine, on the other hand, is devoid of this advantage. With direct injection, fuel is injected directly into the cylinders through the injectors. Over time, the carbon in the intake ports and valves is fueled by the oil deposits that accumulate.

It’s not a big deal, and a lot of modern DI engines have learned to live with it. Ford 1.6 turbo engines, I’m sure, will last their entire lives without ever having the carbon deposits cleaned off. Excess carbon build-up, on the other hand, can impair performance and drivability over time. Every 100,000 miles, it’s probably a good idea to clean the 1.6-liter EcoBoost intake valves.

1.6 EcoBoost Carbon Build-Up Symptoms

EcoBoost Carbon Build-Up Symptoms

The following are some signs that the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost engine may have too much carbon buildup:

  • Power loss
  • Misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Stuttering/hesitation

As carbon deposits accumulate on the intake valves, airflow to the cylinders becomes restricted. This reduces the power and efficiency of the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost. Power loss, on the other hand, can go unnoticed for years and thousands of miles.

Otherwise, the 1.6L EcoBoost engine’s carbon buildup may result in misfires. In turn, these misfires can result in a rough idle, stuttering, and generally poor performance.

Ford 1.6L Turbo Carbon Build-Up Fix

Intake valve carbon deposits can be removed with great success using walnut blasting, which has a long track record of success. A heavy-duty shop vac and walnut media shells are used in the procedure. If you have the right equipment, this is a very low-cost project to take on because the majority of the costs are labor-related.

Cleaning the intake valves takes about an hour once you have gained access to them. When working on this engine, you will need to remove the 1.6L GTDI intake manifold. The cost of labor can quickly add up, so plan on paying between $300 and $600 for this repair job. Every 80,000 to 120,000 miles, it’s probably a good idea to perform preventive maintenance like this, but it’s rarely an emergency.

4) 1.6 EcoBoost Ignition System Problems

1.6 EcoBoost Ignition System Problems

Alright. We’ll wrap things up with something that’s not really a problem in our opinion. In order to keep a gasoline engine running smoothly, spark plugs and ignition coils need to be replaced on a regular basis. Spark plugs need to be replaced every 90,000 miles, according to Ford’s service manual specifications. Spark plugs have a lifespan of about 1.5 to 2 times that of ignition coils.

A turbocharged direct injection engine like the 1.6 EcoBoost, on the other hand, is a turbocharger. Spark plugs and ignition coils can be ruined much more quickly when using turbos or DI.

The plugs and coils should last a long time if you don’t use the turbos or performance often. Spark plugs and coils can quickly wear out if you use the boost frequently. This is especially important if you plan to modify the 1.6L turbo engine in any way.

A spark plug or an ignition coil will need to be replaced periodically. On the 1.6 EcoBoost, they don’t fail all of a sudden; rather, they degrade over time. Again, we don’t think it’s a big deal, but we’d be shocked if many people got more than 80,000 miles out of their spark plugs. Don’t overlook something so simple because it’s so cheap to fix.

Ford 1.6L Spark Plug Symptoms

Ford 1.6L turbo engine problems can have symptoms that point to worn-out spark plugs or ignition coils.

  • Misfires
  • Rough idle
  • Poor performance

Spark plugs and ignition coils that have worn out are the most common causes of misfires. Rough idle and poor overall performance may also be present. Spark plugs have a shorter lifespan and are less expensive, but ignition coils last much longer. As a result, spark plugs are usually the best place to start if you encounter these problems.

The ignition coils, on the other hand, are located on top of the plugs, making them more accessible. Identifying the problematic cylinder is easy if you notice misfires and look up the fault codes.

After that, you can swap the ignition coil from the bad cylinder to the good one and see if that works. If the misfires continue, it’s possible that the coils need to be replaced. Otherwise, the problem is most likely due to faulty spark plugs.

1.6 Inline-4 Spark Plug Replacement

Fortunately, maintaining plugs and coils is a piece of cake. Even the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfers can complete the project quickly and easily in their own garage or driveway.

For the 1.6 EcoBoost, a set of four spark plugs costs about $30. Ignition coils are more expensive, costing anywhere from $20 to $40 each. Remember, these are simple jobs for mechanics to do, and you should expect to pay no more than $100-150 for the labor.

Ford 1.6L EcoBoost Reliability

Ford 1.6L EcoBoost Reliability

Reliability of Ford’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine For reliability, we’ll give the engine a C-. Due to a few product recalls and lawsuits, it hasn’t exactly earned the best reputation.

Despite this, the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t the worst thing about the car. The 1.6 EcoBoost has few flaws or failures, which is encouraging. The internet can inflate things out of proportion, which is why some people are skeptical about it because of the overheating issues.

Maintenance is a big factor in the 1.6 EcoBoost’s dependability. Use high-quality oils, replace fluids on schedule, and address problems as soon as they arise. The majority of this work is standard fare on any engine.

Turbo direct injection engines like the EcoBoost, on the other hand, place a greater emphasis on this. As long as you keep up with routine maintenance, the Ford 1.6L inline-4 should provide a fun and reliable driving experience for the majority of drivers.

1.6 EcoBoost Common Problems Summary

A lot of the modern Ford line-up is powered by EcoBoost engines, including the 1.6L models. For their size, these are fantastic engines that deliver excellent performance while also being efficient and reliable. Compared to the other options, there do appear to be a few more concerns with the 1.6 EB.

Potential design flaws with coolant leaks into cylinders are a major source of concern. Because of this, the engine’s coolant level is low, and this can lead to overheating, head cracking, and other problems.

We believe it’s been exaggerated because of product recalls and lawsuits related to these problems. Other than that, the Ford 1.6 EcoBoost appears to have few major flaws to speak of.

Because it’s an interference engine, keep an eye out for timing belt failures. They could lead to even more problems. Indirect injection has a drawback, and that is carbon buildup, but it is a minor one. As a result of their proclivity for burning through spark plugs and ignition coils, turbocharged engines can be more labor-intensive to maintain.

Which 1.6L EcoBoost engine do you prefer? Is one something you’re thinking about getting?

Up Next: Ford 3.5 F150 EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrade Guide

Leave a Comment