Go Home 5.0: 5 Ford Project Cars Ripe for a 2.3L EcoBoost Swap
We recently took at look at GM’s “LGT” 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and how it makes a great under the radar swap candidate for a variety of vehicles. Now it’s time to turn the tables and head over to the Ford side and give some examples of that brand’s turbocharged four-cylinder engines as a choice for project vehicles.
To keep things simple, we’ll be talking here primarily about the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine which has powered the Mustang since 2015, the new Ranger, the upcoming Bronco and other models.
With output ranging from 270hp in the Ranger all the way up to 350hp in the Focus RS, the 2.3L EcoBoost is a stout performer out of the box, and like all modern turbocharged engines, there’s plenty of room to go further with aftermarket upgrades.
Along with a wide selection of secondhand pull-out engines, Ford also offers the 2.3 EcoBoost as a complete crate engine, with a control pack that comes with everything you’d need to get the engine running in your project car.
A 2.3 EcoBoost would be a great choice for countless restomods, race cars or pro touring, or even off-road builds, but we’ve rounded up five Ford products that we think are especially well suited to this swap.
The Ford Maverick was an affordable and under-appreciated car that’s long been a favorite for engine swaps and against the grain project builds. It’s modest size and light weight also make it a great candidate for an EcoBoost swap.
In this case though, theres a direct evidence. When actor Sung Kang built his Project Underdog Maverick for the SEMA Show a few years back, the 2.3L EcoBoost was the engine of choice and one that was perfectly suited to the car’s theme.
While a lot of Ford’s great European market models never made it to American shores, there are a couple exceptions—including the German-built Capri which was sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers throughout the 1970s.
Originally powered by either four-cylinder or V6 engines, the Capri is a an ideal home for an EcoBoost swap as it’s always been one of the more interesting and obscure Fords ever sold in the US.
If there’s a Ford product more obscure than the Capri, that would be the Merkur XR4Ti. Built in Germany and sold abroad as the Ford Sierra, the XR4Ti’s was one of two European Ford products sold in the US under the “Merkur” brand name.
All US market XR4Tis were powered by Ford’s 2.3L turbocharged SOHC four-cylinder engine, so the modern 2.3L EcoBoost would be an absolutely perfect engine for an '80's themed Merkur project.
Fox Body Mustang
When Ford first debuted the EcoBoost Mustang for 2015, a lot of comparisons were made to the Mustang SVO of the 1980s which also featured the aforementioned 2.3L SOHC turbo engine, along with unique styling and suspension parts.
Naturally, a Mustang SVO with an EcoBoost swap would be the most fitting, but really any Fox Body Mustang would be a good candidate for the modern 2.3, and unlike some of the other cars on this list the aftermarket support is going to be endless.
Ford Ranger/Bronco II
Last, but not least, we have the first generation Ford Ranger pickup and Bronco II SUV. With 1980s vehicles rising in popularity both of these models would look right at home upgraded for modern times with an EcoBoost swap.
Whether for the street or for off-road use, either one of these 1980s icons would be made quite powerful when swapped with the engine from their modern counterparts.
These five just scratch the surface of potential project car ideas based around Ford’s modern EcoBoost four-cylinder, but it should be a good start to get the mind wandering…
More From Driving Line
- Don't forget the other four-cylinder EcoBoost engines as well. Here's our guide to the family.