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When Should I Upgrade My EcoBoost Cooling System?

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Just because combustion involves fire doesn't mean heat and explosions are what you want. Keeping your Mustang cool is the key to consistent reliable power.

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Running any sort of forced induction generates more heat than a naturally aspirated engine. Keeping your EcoBoost cool is important for both performance and reliability.

American Muscle

Why Is Cooling Important?

Your engine works just like a big air pump. Air comes in, fuel is added, and the mixture is ignited. The cooler the incoming air, the more dense it is which means you can add more fuel and make more power. Have you ever wondered why your car feels more powerful on cool fall days? That’s the reason why! Cooling is important on any engine, but it’s even more important on an engine with forced induction like your EcoBoost Mustang. When air is compressed, it heats up. Since the turbocharger is compressing the air to squeeze more into the engine, the post compressor air can be a lot hotter than the ambient air temperature. On a stock car this can cause a noticeable loss in power on warm days. When you tune the car and crank up the boost, the intake temperatures can get even hotter.

What Can I Do to Lower My Intake Air Temperature?

The best thing you can do for lowering intake air temperatures on a boosted is by upgrading the intercooler system. The stock EcoBoost cooler is barely adequate for a stock engine, and testing has shown that intake temperatures can get around 170º-190º with the stock intercooler. These intake temperatures are insane, and the lower density of the air will result in reduced power, while the temperature will cause the computer to pull ignition timing. Installing a larger intercooler will drastically reduce the intake air temperature, bringing it down reasonable levels, around 100º. The reduction in take temperatures can add 20-30 rear wheel horsepower on an otherwise bone stock Mustang, with no tuning needed.

Ecoboost Intercooler Kit

Installing A Lower Temperature Thermostat and Oil Cooling

If you plan on doing a lot of extended high RPM driving with your EcoBoost Mustang, you’ll want to install a lower temperature thermostat for your cooling system. A lower temperature thermostat for your coolant will open sooner than the factory thermostat, allowing the engine to begin circulating coolant sooner, which means it will run cooler. This is not a modification I recommend for a daily driven car in cooler climates, as it can prevent the engine from reach optimal operating temperature, reducing the fuel economy efficacy of the heater. For a track car or a Mustang that doesn’t see cold weather, this is the perfect complement to your upgraded intercooler.

Oil is used to keep things cool as well, and in particular, the turbos. This results in no idle times when turning the car on or off since the turbos are essentially liquid cooled. Oil cools the engine by preventing metal on metal friction. While not only keeping the engine alive as a result, it also removes friction which in turn lowers the temperatures created by moving parts. For a Mustang that sees a lot of track time, an oil cooler is a must. An engine oil cooler will help keep the engine cooler as well by increasing its oil capacity, and by circulating the oil through a radiator. Heat causes oil to break down faster and reduces the protection it offers. Keeping your oil cool will extend its life and keep your engine protected. The increased capacity will also allow the oil to absorb more heat. 

Mishimoto Oil Cooler

Benefits to an Upgraded Cooling System Include

  • Lower intake air temperatures
  • A cooler running engine, less prone to heat soak
  • Increased oil capacity, increased oil life
  • More horsepower and torque without tuning your Mustang

When Should I Upgrade?

For any performance minded EcoBoost owner, an intercooler upgrade should be one of the first mods you do. Even on a stock tune you’ll notice a significant increase in horsepower and torque. As you crank up the boost, the intercooler will benefit you even more. If you plan on keeping the car stored in the winter or don’t mind the heat being a little less than hot, a lower temperature thermostat will keep that engine running cooler. For the track nut wringing every last RPM out of their Mustang on the weekend, an oil cooler will help keep your engine protected by increasing system capacity and preventing oil breakdown.

Tuning
Fitment includes: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, EcoBoost