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How to Increase Boost on an EcoBoost Mustang

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With the recent gains in technology one of the most effective ways to add power is through a tuner. A tuner can talk to your Mustang's computer and a number of settings.

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Factory rated at 310HP and 320 ft-lbs, the EcoBoost is reminiscent of the 2.3L SVO of yore. Churning 310HP out of a 2.3L four-banger is an amazing feat. Even better, the EcoBoost doesn’t cap out there; with the right techniques this little engine has more to offer.

American Muscle

Quick Boosting Suggestions

  • The stock ECU for the EcoBoost monitors throttle mapping, fuel delivery, waste gate function, boost control, ignition, and more
  • Because of the new tech in the 2015s, a boost controller doesn’t work. A new tune is necessary to pump more boost through stock parts
  • Such a tune allows you to change the waste gate thresholds, ignition timing, fuel curves, and throttle maps
  • Adding a boost gauge to help monitor changes will help you control how much boost you’re putting through your engine

The EcoBoost ECU

As mentioned, apart from the same displacement, the original 2.3L that debuted in the Fox Mustang era shares nothing in common with the new model. The EcoBoost model is invariably more powerful, efficient and complex. As is the trend these days, the EcoBoost engine is micromanaged by a computer. Throttle mapping, fuel delivery, waste gate function, boost control, ignition etc are all controlled by the ECU. Despite great peak numbers of 310 horsepower and 320 ft-lbs of torque, the ECU with stock programming is actually quite conservative. Or, perhaps a better term to use is cautious. The factory-programmed ECU is cautious, often cutting or limiting horsepower, particularly at RPM’s above 3500. This has left those racing down the 1320 somewhat befuddled. A big difference in ¼ mile time can occur between runs, with no changes to the car, simply because the ECU has sensed some a condition and has limited the power as a response (it is interesting to note that torque remains unchanged). Luckily, we can rectify this condition and add more power.

2015 EcoBoost Mustang Engine Bay

Adding Boost

The easiest way to get more power is simply to add more boost. With more boost, you can add more fuel and make more power. In the old days of turbochargers, to increase boost you simply would slap on a manual boost controller, or, if you had a little more dough to throw around, a digital one boost controller. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the new EcoBoost Mustang. It is a little more high tech. A boost controller for the new EcoBoost ‘Stang comes in the form of a computer reflash or tune. An aftermarket tune will reprogram the ECU into a more liberal or aggressive state, squeezing more power out of the little 4 banger and removing the nanny-like tendency of limiting power. Dyno testing has shown an increase of 30 HP peak and a 55HP curve gain (averaged numbers). Torque gains are around 45 ft-lbs peak and 60 ft-lbs across the curve. Again, all of this is coming from a 2.3L engine – super impressive, especially considering these are essentially first generation tunes for a newly released platform. With more time and testing, we can expect to see further major advancements further down the line.

While the tune is extremely crucial to the amount of boost, the physical components of the turbo system play a part as well. In all stock components, the general rule is 25 PSI is the max the ​EcoBoost can handle in stock form. Talk with your tuner about his or her preferences, as that is essential to the amount of PSI to be utilized.

2015 EcoBoost Mustang at the Drag Strip

Tuning for the Future

As mentioned, boost is controlled via the engine control unit. An aftermarket tune will remap the boost and waste gate threshold parameters, as well as ignition timing, fuel curves and throttle maps. Without a boost gauge present, it is difficult to estimate exactly how much boost is increased, nor is there much publicized data regarding the amount. Regardless, the aftermarket numbers are pretty impressive given that the 2015 Mustang hasn’t been around for more than a year. As mentioned, as the EcoBoost platform matures, we can expect to see a whole lot more aftermarket availability. Be it with hard parts or more custom software for the ECU. One thing is certain – Ford definitely designed this engine with the idea of tuning and ECU mapping in mind. For now, we’ve just dipped our toes into the water.

2015 Mustangs on a Trailer

How to Operate a Tuner for More Boost

Unless you are a professional tuner or highly versed in modern day engine management control, there is simply no way for you to create a tune for your EcoBoost Mustang on your own. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of variables and the complexity of the ECU mappings make creating or changing your tune too risky without having a huge amount of industry experience and professional level tools. Incorrectly tuning your EcoBoost can easily lead to critical damage that would render the engine unusable. Thus, tuning your EcoBoost for more boost and power is best left to the industry professionals. It, unfortunately, is not as simple as just hooking up a laptop and changing a few numbers.

Fitment includes: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, EcoBoost