Pushing the EnvelopeIt is not an unusual desire to want to add performance upgrades to your F-150’s engine after it has passed its prime and it is time to think about either getting a new truck or doing a partial build, full rebuild, engine replacement or engine swap of your reliable road warrior.
There is actually a lot of personal satisfaction to rebuilding an engine resulting in achieving significantly more horsepower than the day it came off the assembly line. In fact, nothing is more American than taking any bit of tech and making it bigger, better, faster, louder, and even more dangerous, than it was designed to be in the first place. In other words America has always been about pushing the envelope. And many of us want to be part of it.
However, there is often a price to pay for wanting more. History is replete with examples of men and women who pushed the unpushable until something finally gave. If you build something to excel and it fails to break the first few times before success, then perhaps you didn’t try to make it excel enough…or are just unusually lucky with the first effort.
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In other words, a spectacular failure has merits that a humdrum success never will.
What I Live For
For example: Nothing gets me more excited than to watch an engine I’ve rebuilt undergo a dyno test while watching behind the safety of bullet proof grade glass. Mentally, I try to calculate what the odds are of the engine blowing up on me as it is pushed to higher RPMs than I probably will ever drive it to knowing that if it does blow, I’ve lost hundreds if not thousands of dollars in parts and sweat equity that I will never be able to recoup.
It’s funny how that in those moments your memory kicks in making you question whether you forgot that final torque or if the mystery ping sound was actually something dropping inside the block during assembly.
But that’s okay. Because I do it for the sheer pleasure of doing it. Not exploding is just the icing on the cake. And in either case, I have already started planning the next build. Just don’t tell my wife.
Here’s my latest rebuild video of an old FE engine on the dyno that for a moment I was sure it was about to blow. Four hundred plus HP at about 5,000 RPM…not too shabby for an engine that had only about 145 HP off the assembly line back in 1973.
P.S. My apologies for not updating the new site recently, my blown knee has hobbled me both physically and mentally lately.
This One Blew Up
What motivated this reflective pep talk is a recent Ford Tech Makuloco YouTube channel episode where the host shows what happened to a Ford F-150 when the owner did some aggressive aftermarket tuning upgrades to his truck’s EcoBoost engine to make it go from mild to wild.
The story is that sometime after the upgrade rebuild, the owner floored it passing another vehicle on the highway only to experience his new engine blow spectacularly.
Follow along the video posted below and see a good example of a spectacular failure with a modified EcoBoost engine that assuredly deserves a toast and nod to greatness.
Proof Ford EcoBoost Engines and Aggressive Aftermarket Tuners DO NOT MIX!
For additional articles related to engine improvements (?) and modifications, here are two for your reading pleasure:
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
Image source: Deposit Photos