Bigger & Better
Ford Performance Racing Parts swaps a 2.3-liter EcoBoost into a Focus ST
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Performance Racing Parts
From the moment Ford equipped the Mustang with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and the Focus RS was slated to receive an even more powerful 2.3, Focus ST owners were jealous. Maybe you won’t admit it, but as a proud Focus ST driver, your author was definitely a bit green with envy. While the EcoBoost platform has turned adage that there’s no replacement for displacement on its ear, there’s still something to that extra grunt available from a bigger engine—even if it’s only .3 liters bigger.
A time-tested way of adding extra displacement is with an engine swap, and the crew at Ford Performance Racing Parts set out to show what a hot-rodded 2.3-liter would do—besides making us jealous again—for a 2014 Focus ST. The goal of this project ST is to create the ultimate front-wheel-drive track car.
“A large amount of modularity exists between the 2.0- and 2.3-liter Ecoboost engines. The 2.3 engine offers a lot of ‘bang for the buck,’ as seen in the 2015 Mustang. We see potential in offering the 2.3-liter engine for both front- and rear-wheel-drive applications,” Ron Ewert, Ford Performance Racing Parts Engine Engineer, explained. “This ST project provides us the opportunity to showcase a potential crate engine package for our Ford Performance enthusiast. It also gives us the opportunity to highlight parts from our partners at Mountune, all on the same vehicle.”
To investigate that potential, the FPRP team started with a 2.3-liter engine from another platform.
“The 2.3-liter engine used in this project is from the current production Lincoln MKC, which produces 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque as installed in the Lincoln,” Ron said.
However, thanks to all the parts Ron pulled off the FPRP shelves to enhance the performance of the engine in its new home, there’s no doubt the 2.3-liter output is greater than stock. Highlights of the upgrades are the same FPRP/Mountune intercooler and charge pipes we installed on our Focus ST project, along with a Mountune cold-air intake, a ST Quaife torque-biasing differential, and more (see the full Mod List below).
Of course, like most engine swaps it’s not a purely bolt-on operation. Off-the-shelf gear will only take you so far. Some of the 2.0-liter parts swapped right over to the MKC 2.3-liter, but to make the new engine fully functional in a Focus ST required a few custom components.
Ron and his team fabricated an adapter, which mates the 2.0-liter engine’s catalytic downpipe with the 2.3-liter turbo. Supporting the cats is a modified support bracket. They also had to install a coolant de-gas line with a T to join the 2.0-liter de-gas tank with the 2.3-liter engine. Likewise, an oil-filter adapter plate allows the use of the 2.0-liter oil filter on the larger engine.
We can only imagine that this car is a lot of fun on the street and the racetrack. Just adding all the FPRP/Mountune parts to a Focus ST makes for a great package. The extra grunt provided by the larger engine should take it to the next level. However, since the car is just breaking cover this weekend it hasn’t seen any real testing—yet.
“A calibration is being optimized for this project,” Ron said. “We’ve not had an opportunity to evaluate on the track, but this project holds a lot of potential.”
(If you need some help with that “evaluation,” feel free to give us a call!)
In the meantime, the FPRP ST is debuting this weekend at the Carlisle Ford Nationals, so if you are at the event, be sure to stop by the Ford display and check it out.
The Mod List
- Mountune High-Flow Air Filter
- Focus ST High-Flow Air Filter End Cap
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Mountune Low-Restriction Intake, Black
- 2013-2014 Focus ST Intercooler Upgrade, Silver
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Mountune Charge Pipe Upgrade Kit, Blue
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Mountune Ultra-High-Performance Silicone Ancillary Coolant Kit, Blue
- 2013-2014 Mountune Ultra-High-Performance Silicone Coolant Hose Kit, Blue
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Mountune Uprated Air Recirculation Valve
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Symposer Delete Kit
- 2013-2014 Focus ST Catback Exhaust
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Short-Throw Shifter
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Mountune Quick Shift
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Quaife Torque-Biasing Differential
- 2013-2015 Focus ST Quaifie Differential Installation Kit
- TPMS Activation Tool and Sensor Kit
- 19×8.5-inch Focus RS Wheels, White
- 2013 Focus ST Lowering Kit