Tech: EcoBoost F-150 Boost Cooler

0 EcoBoost F-150 Water-Meth Featured

EcoBoost Cooler

Snow Performance improves EcoBoost 3.5-liter F-150 performance

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Snow Performance

We all know boost is good. If you’ve ever driven a boosted vehicle, you know the feeling of joy that accompanies the swing of the needle on a boost gauge. This is especially true of Ford’s EcoBoost engines, which combine the benefits of direct injection and turbocharging to make smaller engines perform like bigger engines.

If you own a 2011-2015 Ford F-150 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, Snow Performance offers its Boost Cooler-branded water/meth injection system designed to mate with this engine.
If you own a 2011-2015 Ford F-150 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, Snow Performance offers its Boost Cooler-branded water/meth injection system designed to mate with this engine.

However, even the EcoBoost engines are sensitive to increases in air-charge temperatures. The factory intercoolers are modestly sized, and the system can heat soak, which leads the factory PCM to pull timing and decrease performance. When this happens some of that boosted fun fades away, and no one enjoys that.

One simple way to improve the performance of a boosted engine is plumbing in a water/meth injection system. These systems benefit in two ways. First the methanol has a higher octane rating than pump gas, and second the mixture offers a cooling effect when introduced to the intake. A popular purveyor of water/meth systems for modern vehicles, is Snow Performance, which offers its Boost Cooler line of systems.

Snow Performance’s plug ’n play Boost Cooler for 3.5 F-150s is available as a Stage 3 system that includes the company’s controller. This setup reads the signal from the factory fuel rail pressure and manifold absolute pressure sensor, processes that information, and sprays just the right amount of water/meth to safely achieve maximum performance. The Snow Stage 3 kit includes everything you need to install it, including the 300-psi injection pump, the controller, the injection plate, a 3-quart reservoir, and all the necessary hoses and wiring.
Snow Performance’s plug ’n play Boost Cooler for 3.5 F-150s is available as a Stage 3 system that includes the company’s controller. This setup reads the signal from the factory fuel rail pressure and manifold absolute pressure sensor, processes that information, and sprays just the right amount of water/meth to safely achieve maximum performance. The Snow Stage 3 kit includes everything you need to install it, including the 300-psi injection pump, the controller, the injection plate, a 3-quart reservoir, and all the necessary hoses and wiring.

“The Boost Cooler injects a fine mist of water/methanol into the intake tract when needed making the induction charge colder and denser providing power similar to 116-octane race fuel along with a large intercooler,” Matt Snow, President of Snow Performance, said.

Of course the nature of Ford’s EcoBoost engines makes them particularly receptive to water/meth injection because the run a lot of boost throughout the power curve and the PCM strategy is designed to respond to the temperature of the air entering the engine.

In order to gain access to the factory fuel-rail and MAP sensor signals, you’ll need to de-couple the wiring harness from the factory PCM.
In order to gain access to the factory fuel-rail and MAP sensor signals, you’ll need to de-couple the wiring harness from the factory PCM.

“Being turbo’d and having closed-loop knock control, the EcoBoost is very heat sensitive. The vehicle’s computer reduces spark timing with increased air-charge temps and if any detonation detected,” Matt explained. “Water/methanol injection is very effective at reducing air charge temps—three to five times more effective than an air-to- air intercooler—and taking away any detonation. A 50-percent methanol mix injected on top of pump gas will beat 116-octane race gas in a 3.5-liter EcoBoost. This translates to a 30-horsepower gain on a warm day when heat-soaked.”

We were offered the opportunity to take a look at the highlights of the system’s installation and the results of the setup in action, and it looks like Boost Coolers and EcoBoost engines are destined to become fast friends.

Follow the instructions carefully and tap into the fuel rail pressure sensor. Other than tapping into this signal, the rest of the Boost Cooler harness is all plug and play.
Follow the instructions carefully and tap into the fuel rail pressure sensor and MAP sensor wiring. Other than tapping into these signals, the rest of the Boost Cooler harness is all plug and play.

“For the 30-horsepower gain, no tuning is required. Of course if timing or boost is added, power goes up. Adding 4 degrees of spark advance over what is normally in a premium pump gas tune yields another 25 horsepower.” Matt added. “Better yet, with the vehicles closed-loop knock control and heat-sensitive timing maps, it’s entirely safe.”

As effective as the 3.5-liter Boost Cooler is, we were also excited to learn that it won’t be the last vehicle-specific system for EcoBoost Fords. Next up is a kit for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang.

“The Mustang system is due out before the SEMA Show in November and preliminary results are impressive as well,” Matt teased.

After routing the wiring harness, you can either install the provided 3-quart reservoir to store your water/meth mix. (Snow sells pre-mixed Boost Juice if you like.) Then you can install the Snow pump and plumb the fluid lines from the reservoir to the pump and onto the injection plate that installs between the throttle body and intake manifold.  This plate securely and easily mounts the company’s Hypersonic nozzles right in the air stream.
After routing the wiring harness, you can install the provided 3-quart reservoir to store your water/meth mix. (Snow sells pre-mixed Boost Juice if you like.) Then you can install the Snow pump and plumb the fluid lines from the reservoir to the pump and onto the injection plate that installs between the throttle body and intake manifold. This plate securely and easily mounts the company’s Hypersonic nozzles right in the air stream.
The Snow Performance Digital Variable Mapping Controller creates a two-dimensional water/meth map by reading the fuel pressure and boost signals and spraying the appropriate dose of water/meth for the situation. By using a smaller, variable-injection nozzle for off-idle boost and a larger nozzle and high boost, the system ensures a more accurate delivery throughout the boost curve. The controller also offers gauges in its LCD screen that show the boost pressure, fuel rail pressure and injection pump output so you can keep tabs on the system
The Snow Performance Digital Variable Mapping Controller creates a two-dimensional water/meth map by reading the fuel pressure and boost signals and spraying the appropriate dose of water/meth for the situation. By using a smaller, variable-injection nozzle for off-idle boost and a larger nozzle and high boost, the system ensures a more accurate delivery throughout the boost curve. The controller also offers gauges in its LCD screen that show the boost pressure, fuel rail pressure and injection pump output so you can keep tabs on the system
Because Ford’s EcoBoost PCMs utilized closed-loop knock control, they will actually add more timing when there is no spark knock. Just bolting on the Stage 3 Boost Cooler added 30 horsepower (green) and with just 3 degrees more timing (blue) this 3.5-liter 2012 F-150 picked up an additional 50 horsepower. In its baseline configuration this truck put down 258 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Adding the Boost Cooler took those numbers up to 301 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque, while adding in that extra timing took the truck’s peak output to 335 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque.
Because Ford’s EcoBoost PCMs utilized closed-loop knock control, they will actually add more timing when there is no spark knock. Just bolting on the Stage 3 Boost Cooler added 30 horsepower (green) and with just 3 degrees more timing (blue) this 3.5-liter 2012 F-150 picked up an additional 50 horsepower. In its baseline configuration this truck put down 258 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Adding the Boost Cooler took those numbers up to 301 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque, while adding in that extra timing took the truck’s peak output to 335 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque.

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One thought on “Tech: EcoBoost F-150 Boost Cooler”

  1. The other good reason to use meth/water injection on the ecoboost engines (since it’s direct injection) is to keep the crud from building up on the intake valves… I wonder how many people seafoam their direct inject engines???

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