Does Your EcoBoost Shudder? Here's the Problem

Have you been having shuddering issues with your Ecoboost engine? Are you suddenly losing power? You are not alone, Ford is working on fixing the problem. What is the problem? Condensation.

Many Ford F-150 pickups with EcoBoost have a condition where the vehicle shudders or stalls during normal use. In the most severe of cases, the truck will actually go into "limp mode" causing the engine to lose all power. This issue seems to be primarily from humid states like Texas and Florida.

Ford has a growing issue here with more and more owners encountering this problem and they say they are working on a solution.

What's Causing the Problem

Does Your EcoBoost Shudder?

After doing research by talking with Ford employees, auto technicians and reading through various forums, the cause seems to be the Charge Air Cooler (CAC).

This CAC cooler cools the intake air as it goes through the turbocharger. This cooled air then travels into the engine. The problem seems to be that the CAC is working too well and is causing condensation to build up inside the air intake tube.

Here's the sequence of events.

  1. Air is drawn through the CAC and moisture collects inside the tubing. Most often this happens when traveling down the interstate when air flow into the motor is relatively slow.
  2. Sudden acceleration by the driver, changes the intake air flow rate through the CAC which causes the engine to pull in more air. With the moisture sitting in the intake tube, the engine is acting like a vaccum sucking up all this water.
  3. Depending on the amount of water that is sucked up causing the vehicle to have different responses. A small amount causes shuddering. A large amount causes the truck to go into limp mode to protect it from damage.

What does this have to do with humid areas? Those drivers live in an area where the dew point is equal to the ambient temperature for much of the time. This means condensation occurs more often causing more issues.

The Fix

While there are no doubt quick fixes on the internet, Ford is planning on issuing a technical service bulletin soon to address the issue. They are currently working on redesigning the CAC to handle times of excess moisture. Be on the look out for this TSB.

Looking for more information? This forum has lots of information about the problem.