The 4 Most Common Ford 1.6 Liter Ecoboost Engine Problems

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Engines and faults are two inseparable things: the Ford 1.6L Ecoboost engine problems come from a design flaw, issues reinforced by misuse, and lingering negligence of symptoms on the part of the vehicle owner or driver.

Engines can fail to carry out their expected functions. However, they tend to show a couple of symptoms before they do.

Take a look at the following most common issues associated with the Ford 1.6L Ecoboost engine:

  1. Ignition (Plugs And Coils) Problems
  2. Formation Of Carbon
  3. Overheating
  4. Timing Belt

You may need to pay close attention to other issues that are usually part of the natural fallout of wear and tear and age. Watch out for these and quicker attention will save you a lot of money and help keep the engine in good condition.

What Are The Most Common Ford 1.6L Ecoboost Engine Issues?

1. Ignition (Plugs And Coils) Problems

This specific problem is mainly formed within this particular engine. Although it is not an actual issue that may cause worries, it is a factor to consider before it happens.

This engine and others that run on gasoline need proper maintenance for their plugs and coils. It works on a direct turbo engine, which can sometimes be harder on these two components.

Ignoring turbo and performance at times may cause the functionality of these components to deteriorate. On this note, you should begin using the boost regularly, and coils can become worse than what you may think of.

Plugs and ignition coils are not prone to wear and tear within a shorter period. These items do not always fail, mainly on this type of engine. Instead, there is a reduction in their functionality as they become older.

As earlier noted, it is not a real issue, while it’s no surprise if you see over 90k miles of your spark plug’s life. Repairing these parts is cost-effective but do not turn a nonchalant attitude towards it.

What To Watch Out For

Before your plugs and ignition coils turn bad, the following symptoms would have signaled a warning:

  • Abnormality In Performance: While abnormality in performance is a general phrase used to represent a wide range of issues, there are specific visible signs that accompany it.
    1. Flickering Dashboard Lights: One of them is flickering dash lights. This is one of the simplest and earliest symptoms of an ignition problem. While you’re driving, whether at low or high speed, you’ll notice that the dashboard lights start to flicker.
    2. Engine Stalling: Another ignition-related symptom that indicates that your engine is performing abnormally is stalling the engine. Although this can be caused by several other mechanical issues, the stalling engine usually occurs when your vehicle is down the highway. However, you may not notice the problem while the car is idling. In any case, do not ignore these signs.
  • Key Refuses To Turn: The simplest and most visible sign of an ignition-related problem in your car is the refusal of the key to turn. Typically, the key should align with the key slot. However, if the key won’t turn even if you rotate the steering wheel to and fro, be sure the ignition lock is not engaged.
    The first suspect is the ignition system. There might be excessive wear around the system that causes the key not to turn as it properly should. Depending on the extent, you may need to replace the ignition.
  • Starter Motor Won’t Produce Sound: The natural response that should follow when you turn the key to your car is a sound from the starter motor. However, if this does not happen, there’s a possibility that your ignition switch is lacking in power to send the required electrical contact to the starter motor from the battery.
    Although a dead battery may be responsible for this, an issue with the ignition system should be the next thing to suspect.
  • Engine Misfires: Engine misfire is a natural consequence of most of the mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical problems in a vehicle. It accompanies many issues and serves to inform the driver that something is not right with a part of the engine.
  • Car Won’t Start: Another symptom you will notice if your car is having a failing ignition system is that the car won’t start. Usually, if you turn the key, the natural response should be a sound from the engine. If this fails to follow, then there’s a chance that your ignition switch is having some issues.

What To Do

As said earlier, the breakdown of these components may not be an actual issue, and thankfully, they are easier to maintain and complete when they become faulty. They are easy to replace; even a DIY beginner can quickly correct this fault.

All you need to do is buy a set of 4 plugs to replace the old ones. The good news is that these plugs cost less, but ignition coils can be pretty expensive. It takes a few minutes to replace these parts with your mechanic, with little cost attached.

However, if you notice there is advanced damage to the entire ignition system, calling a certified technician will be the best thing to do. They can carry out a proper inspection and diagnosis to know the extent of the damage and what remedy to apply.

In terms of cost, the extent of the fault will determine a lot here. Truth be told, there is so much that goes into and is connected to fixing a car’s ignition system. To fix the switch, you can budget between $300 to $400, with parts costing around $250 while labor can be somewhere in the region of $100 to $150.

2. Formation Of Carbon

Direct Injection (DI) is the actual definition of exceptional technological innovations, ranging from emissions to fuel economy, but it comes with a price to pay – carbon build-up.

The problem is mainly associated with the latest engines that run on turbo gasoline, including this specific Ford engine. A certain amount of oil blow-by is naturally common to all engines.

The oil moves in the direction of the intake tract and catches up on both valves and intake ports. The most common fueling on a gasoline engine is port injection. It passes fuel directly to intake ports, and when this happens, the fuel gets rid of any oil blow-by, making it not an actual issue.

The downside is that the feature mentioned above is not available for this engine, making it a common Ford 1.6L Ecoboost engine problem. Fuel is passed directly into cylinders by the injectors as it is with DI.

When this happens, the deposited oil builds up on intake ports and valves, and over time, carbon formation becomes evident.

Carbon build-up does not appear to be a threat to most direct injection cars. The truth is that most of the manufacturers of modern engines running on Direct Injection do not appear to take into account this downside.

But again, the assumption has always been that most of these Ford 1.6 turbo engines will not be affected by carbon build-up and so may rarely need a clean-up of deposited carbon. However, it is best to clean up Ecoboost engine intake valves once you travel at the 10,000-mile mark.

What To Watch Out For

The following signs and symptoms will help create awareness about carbon build you in your Ecoboost engine:

  • Engine Knocking: Carbon deposit is one of the natural by-products of a combustion process in the combustion chamber of your car engine. It doesn’t matter whether the carbon build-up occurs at the tip of the injector or on the intake valve, the engine will react negatively through knocking.
    Engine knocking may be caused by other issues such as poor timing of the engine, poor fuel quality or incorrect fuel, carbon build-up causes the engine to produce a dangerous squeaking sound.
  • Power Shortage: Power loss is an important symptom of carbon formation in the engine. The result of high combustion pressure coming from the excessive efficiency of the DI engine is the accumulation of carbon deposits in the intake valve.
    In the process, the engine will start to overheat, stall, consume gas excessively, cause knocking sound, and ultimately lose power.
  • Rough Idle: You should suspect carbon formation whenever you notice your car is going through rough idle. Other causes may be responsible but the direct transfer of fuel to the combustion chamber without passing through the cylinders of the intake manifold deepens the risk for rough idle.
    There will be a lean fuel-to-air mixture, resulting in the engine not running steadily and fluctuating rise-and-fall performance of the engine.
  • Engine Misfire: When your engine misfires, carbon-build is one of the suspects. Incomplete combustion in the cylinders is primarily responsible for engine misfire.
    When your car starts to give off a stuttering sound, hesitate, shake, or the check engine light on the dash begins to go on and off at short intervals, then carbon formation may have occurred.

What To Do

When there is carbon formation in your engine, finding a means to solve this issue immediately to avert further damage is necessarily essential.

There are ways to remove the carbon deposition from the intake valve, but the surest and most reliable way among other procedures is Walnut blasting. This method has been vividly proven to eliminate carbon formation, even to the smallest drop successfully.

3. Overheating

Ford 1.6L engines are not excluded from this problem – overheating. It has even been noted that this is a common issue with Ecoboost, as claimed by several filed suits, including service bulletins. These recalls are connected to the issue of excessive heat in the engine.

The primary cause of higher temperature in this particular engine is traceable to the low coolant on which the engine runs, causing oil leakage, crack, and excessive heat to the cylinder head. Some among these engines even catch up fires as a result of high-pressure oil leaks.

According to a recent lawsuit filed against Ford, it claimed that an inherent flaw is associated with the Ford 1.L6 Ecoboost. Further allegations pointed to the coolant leakage in the cylinder, which resulted in likely fire, corrosion, and failures in engines.

Going by the suits filed, the extreme temperature issues are commonly found in earlier models of the brand, and certain parts have been updated. To conclude that overheating issues in the Ecoboost engine are solved remains challenging due to resurfacing lawsuits, even a few years ago.

What To Watch Out For

  • Metering Pin Lands On ‘H’: If you notice that the metering pin on your dashboard rests on the “H” there’s a chance that your car is having a serious overheating problem. Although the temp gauge on your dash may slightly fluctuate; the temperature light shouldn’t come on.
  • Unusual Smell: A hot-smelling odor from the engine is an indication that the engine oil is overheating. The lubricity of the oil breaks down. On the other hand, a sweet smell in the car means the car is seeping coolant away.

What To Do

The primary factor responsible for overheating in your Ecoboost engine is low or loss of coolant. Shortage of coolant isn’t associated with this specific engine alone, as all engines lose a reasonable amount of coolant with time.

When there is coolant loss or leaks, it is best to top off as required. If you notice an excessive loss in your coolant, it may be leaking into the cylinders.

You, however, need to check the coolant and top off if need be, regardless if your coolant is leaking or not, to prevent further issues and to cut the odds of overheating in your engine.

4. Timing Belt

Damaging timing belt is one of the common Ford 1.6L Ecoboost engine problems. Although it is not a genuine concern, it needs immediate fixing to prevent other issues from springing up. Although, the engine is an interference type, which indicates certain overlap valves travel and piston area.

An unpleasant occurrence may emerge as a result of a failed timing belt. There are chances of contact between pistons and valves, and this may bend the valves.

What To Watch Out For

  • Ticking Noise: A failing timing belt causes your engine to give off a ticking noise. A series of levers are attached to the timing belt connects it to the camshaft and crankshaft. The noise often results from old age which wears out the timing belt.
  • RPM May Act Up: There is a chance that your revs will start to act up and behave strangely. When you notice this, it could be an indication that your timing belt is already in a bad shape.
    The RPM’s (Revolution Per Minute) effect is often felt when the timing belt has snapped up or is missing in teeth. Replacing the timing belt every 70,000 to 100,000 miles is recommended.
  • Oil Leak: An oil leak is another common symptom of a bad timing belt. You may notice oil around the engine, a sign that some oil is leaking.
    This is often caused by a loose belt which results from loosely connect bolts and nuts. You can also check if there is a crack or wear in the gasket located between the timing cover the engine block.

What To Do

Replacing a timing belt takes longer, ten years or 150k miles, making it reliable most days. It’s still amazing Ford chose a timing belt for many latest turbo DI engines using timing chains.

Timing belt issues have minimal occurrence in Ecoboost engines; regardless, running a timely check on it will help avoid outrageous repair bills. Routine inspection will help prevent the timing belt from failing, including earlier detection of other underlying problems.


1. What Is The Lifespan Of An Ecoboost Engine?

Users with this engine enjoy an extended lifespan due to how it is built, rugged, and designed. A typical engine of this type will cover up to 250k miles.

Scheduled preventive maintenance will also help to keep the engine life in a good and healthy shape. Compared to other engines of its class, the Ecoboost engine has a more extended lifespan.

2. How Good Is The Ford 1.6L Ecoboost Engine?

This engine provides users with 148-197 horsepower (HP), making it excellent and reliable. However, every engine tends to break down at a time; it is no different with an Ecoboost engine.

3. What Are 1.6L Ecoboost Specifications?

Features : Specs:
Max Torque @ RPM 199 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
Camshaft Drive Belt
Max Power @ RPM 197 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Engine Family EcoBoost
Displacement 1.6 Liters
Vehicle Engine Orientation Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) With Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT)

Final Thoughts

Ford 1.6L Ecoboost engine problems may vary from one to another, but the engine has proven to be reliable, efficient, and offer the best performance. A symptom or sign shown by any engine requires proper and timely attention to ensures their lifespan is extended.

While the problems are found in Ford’s 1.6L Ecoboost engines, they may vary among other engines. Replacing faulty parts is cost-effective. However, it is best to prevent them from becoming flawed rather than replacing the parts.

In general, the Ecoboost engine provides you with the comfort you need and offers users the best driving experience, making it one of the best cars to make a top choice for selection.