When Ford came out with the EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine it knew what it was doing. Now highly regarded by enthusiasts and a hit with the truck crowd since the introduction in the F-150 in 2011, the EcoBoost does a great job of combining economy with performance.
However, many truck enthusiasts are just not satisfied with “great,” they want “wow” when they stomp on the gas pedal. So we decided to use our 2013 Ford F-150 4×4 CrewCab XLT EcoBoost Project Blue Collar Blue Oval as a test bed and dig deep into the aftermarket performance world for just the right parts to liven the truck up.
Our search took us to Livernois Motorsports where we found a one-stop shop capable of providing a matched set of parts designed for maximum performance gain. This integrated approach was attractive to us because Livernois Motorsports has already figured out which downpipe to use with which exhaust, and so one, to get the optimum performance.
“We developed an entire package to go beyond simply creating power. If there are inefficiencies in the other parts of your system, well then, that’s no good,” said Andy Ricketts at Livernois.
The EcoBundle kit from Livernois Motorsports includes a MyCalibr8or tuner by AIW (with custom tuning available exclusively from Livernois), an American Racing Headers downpipe (manufactured exclusively for Livernois), a Corsa cat-back exhaust system with patented RSC noise-canceling technology and a straight-through flow, a new thermostat and new spark plugs. It’s a complete package designed to increase power, and improve drivability.
We started the install day by performance testing the Project Blue Collar Blue Oval 2013 Ford F-150 4×4 EcoBoost on our Dynojet chassis dynamometer prior to the installation. Without tracking the before and after results of installing performance parts you are left to seat-of-the-pants tales of glory. Now don’t get us wrong, we’re all about the way a vehicle feels (and sounds) after performance mods, but we feel that it’s important to verify what parts actually do in a scientific manner.
One of the most important aspects of the EcoBundle kit from Livernois is the AIW MyCalibr8or tuner. This tuner has multiple stages for increased horsepower and torque, dyno-proven air/fuel adjustments, tow-specific tunes, and transmission modifications with reduced torque management and modified shift points and firmness.
We developed an entire package to go beyond simply creating power. – Andy Ricketts, Livernois
Installation of the tuner is about as simple as you can imagine. Just plug it into the OBDII diagnostic port and answer a few questions (what octane gas will you use, tires size, etc.) and then the tuner re-programs your truck with the new tunes.
Included in the EcoBundle kit is a direct bolt-on American Racing Headers stainless steel downpipe with three-inch inner diameter tubes. Designed to be compatible with the Livernois kit, the down pipe reduces backpressure.
This is not exactly an easy install, but it’s not difficult either, you just have to twist your arms this way and that way to get the right angle on the nuts, bolts, and clamps that hold the downpipe on. Swivels and extensions are valuable during this part of the removal of the old downpipe and installation of the new one from American Racing Headers.
A Corsa cat-back system is also a part of the kit and it’s a straight-through three-inch design that maximizes airflow, yet doesn’t drone on the highway due to the patented RSC technology. Corsa acoustically styles the sound without bottling it up. The system is 12 pounds lighter than the factory system and includes twin four-inch side swept stainless tips that exit on the passenger side. All components, even the clamps and hangers, are constructed of stainless steel.
This part of the install is extremely simple and Corsa makes it enjoyable with high quality clamps. The factory exhaust hangars are reused and Corsa’s attention to detail means everything lines up so it’s very easy work. The factory catalytic convertor will be reused on the new Corsa system.
Take the time to properly burp the cooling system during the install. – Andy Ricketts.
The spark plugs are precision gapped to eliminate high boost flame-out misfires on the EcoBoost engine. Getting to the spark plugs for replacement is no more difficult than on most modern vehicles, so the help of an extension, a swivel joint … and maybe some tape make it easy enough.
During a baseline dyno test (red), the F-150 put out a peak of 291 horsepower and 334 lb-ft of torque. After installing the EcoBundle kit from Livernois Motorsports with the 87 Octane tune, we made another set of runs and scored (blue) a 302 hp and 370 lb-ft torque peak. Check the first chart below, The Livernois Ecobundle completely reshaped the engine’s power curve, giving it much more juice down low. That’s a 36-point jump in torque down in the mid- and low-RPM range where you really feel it and use it most.
A few days later we brought the F-150 back in, performed another base line dyno run to re-establish a starting point, and then installed an Airaid No. 401-101 SynthaMax Dry Filter intake system. This kit eliminates the factory restrictions and provides a high-flowing dry air filter. You don’t have to oil the air filter, yet you can clean it when it’s dirty. It’s a nice benefit that Airaid offers a “No Hassle” lifetime warranty on its filters and it is built in the U.S.A.
The air box has to be bolted together but it’s only a few nuts and bolts, a very easy job. The Airaid system gets rid of the “accordion” section that Ford included in their air tube. The installation involves removing the factory air box and tube, disconnecting the air meter while doing so, and the MAP. The air meter and MAP are reused on the Airaid system.
Since the Airaid intake assembly uses the factory airbox bottom it’s an easy process. You just stick the panel’s tabs into the slots, and then lower the tube side down and fasten three clips. After placing the Airaid tube onto the new box and reinstalling the sensors, you’re ready to go.
After the Airaid kit installation, we put the truck back on the dyno to record performance numbers (see the second chart below) that included the tuner, downpipe, exhaust install, and the Airaid filter system. The truck’s output at the rear wheels went up 6 hp and the 6 lb-ft. A little more power never hurts, and the Airaid system provides a much better filtration system, offering the security that your powerplant will be fed nothing but purified air.
Just for kicks, we then decided to turn things up a notch. We programmed in the 91 Octane Tune, emptied out the 87 octane fuel, and gave the F-150 enough 91 octane gas to make some good dyno runs. We recorded an additional 47 peak hp and 119 ft-lbs of peak torque from where we started that day! The torque was something you could really feel when accelerating, and it certainly showed up when driving this truck.
Another reason for the better acceleration and seat-of-the-pants feel was the increase in horsepower and torque in the low- and mid-range RPMs in the 87 Octane and 91 Octane Tunes. A shift in power at lower RPMs is really the secret to this Livernois Motorsports EcoBundle power boost system.
As you can see in both charts at bottom, the “area under the curve” in the after-installation dyno runs show a substantial improvement in horsepower and torque. The result is a much easier to drive truck, and a lot more get-up-and-go in the places where you will feel it the most.
Our installation of the Livernois Motorsports EcoBundle’s exhaust components proved to be much less difficult than it seemed at first, and required no specialized tools. The Airaid performance air filter kit designed to work with it was easy to pre-assemble and install, making it a no-brainer for any enthusiast looking for improvement. The programming of any of the performance tunes was simple as 1-2-3.
The feeling we got when driving the “new” truck was amazing, and the numbers back up our impression. Taken as a whole, the Livernois EcoBundle kit worked as a system to provide a very useable and valuable uptick in the power where it was needed and wanted most in our 2013 Ford F-150 4×4 Crew Cab EcoBoost.