One of the well known and documented issues with the 3.5L Ecoboost engine in the F-150’s is the condensation problem that runs rampant with the original Charger Air Cooler (CAC) design. Ford stated the design was so effective that is was cooling the charged air too much resulting in a condition where condensation could pool within the charger. When the driver gives hard throttle or accelerates onto the highway for example, the charged air forces all that condensation in droplet form into the intake and then into the cylinders.
Once inside your cylinder the condensation instantly flashes to steam and can damage the spark plugs, causing carbon tracking and even causing a flashover situation that destroys the coil. If you really suck in a lot of water via the CAC it’s actually possible to “hydrolock” the engine and serious damage has occurred.
To make a long story short, this truck I purchased from Hallmark Ford in Surrey BC never had any of the several CAC updates (TSB’s) that have come out over the last few years. This came to light on Friday October 10th when the vehicle suddenly started missing really bad, shaking violently and eventually going into limp mode while accelerating on the highway.
The result was getting towed into my local Ford dealer and spending $165.00 to replace the #5 spark plug and coil. They quote TSB 14-0180.
The list of TSB’s for the CAC issue is as follows:
- TSB 12-6-4
- TSB 12-10-19
- TSB 13-3-3
- TSB 13-8-1
When asked if any of these updates had been completed on the truck I purchased, Hallmark said NO and stated there was nothing on file that the previous owner had reported. By the trucks build date (May 10th 2011) it definitely qualifies for the TSB and a mechanic at my local Ford dealer also confirmed that it is eligible for the TSB.
He also agreed with me that the sudden surge of condensation being ingested into the cylinders on bank #2 (where #5 is located) gets the worst of the condensation issues. I’ve had this truck less than 2 months and it’s spent more than 17 days in the shop so far.
Truck was purchased at Hallmark Ford Sales Ltd. in Surrey, BC.