The most reliable Ford engine range is solid proof that sometimes it’s not worth imposing your own design, it’s better to take advantage of a competitor’s offer. It also shows that modern solutions are attractive, but can be expensive.
Under the Ford hood, you’ll find machines of various designs and origins. It should be noted that “newer” sometimes means more unreliable and unfit to command, but there have also been many successful units from recent years.
Interestingly, some designs were developed by Ford, others came from subsidiaries of this brand or cooperating companies. We asked George Zarcki of Solid Garage, who specializes in Ford repairs, to evaluate the unit.
We learned, among other things, that in the case of petrol-fueled vehicles, it is impossible to ignore the popular Zetec-SE / Duratec series – for many years it has been the main source of propulsion for most models.
Although this machine needed renovation more and more frequently, compared to the cost of other units, it didn’t cost much money and many mechanics praised the machine. The engine remained in production, but was replaced by the 1.0 unit, which is not so great anymore – Mr. George emphasized that expensive fixes were not uncommon in the case of 1.0. The larger EcoBoost (1.6 and 2.0) got a higher score.
Mazda petrol, PSA diesel
Apart from the drawbacks, we have also included a naturally aspirated 2.0 engine among the recommended units – this is a bike developed by Mazda (the L series is rated positively). Larger petrol engines (2.3, 2.5T) are attractive, but indicate high fuel demand, so – while durable – we don’t recommend them.
Among the diesel engines that are worth pulling is the 2.0 unit – but we advise you to be careful, because 17 years ago the failed engine developed by Ford made its debut. On the other hand, since 2004, it has been gradually replaced by turbodiesel 2.0, which has its roots in the attention of the French PSA – this is a very good engine, especially if you take into account the modifications after the 2011 modernization.
In the case of an older car, the wrong engine choice could mean you are spending more money on repairs.
On the other hand, we recommend that you don’t buy a 1.8 diesel (it wasn’t a bad unit back then), and for the 1.6 diesel version, we’d advise caution – 16V is much worse than 8V.
Most Reliable Ford Engines
- 1.6 Duratec Engine
- 1.6 EcoBoost Engine
- 2.0 Duratec Engine
- 2.0 TDCi Engine
Below we will explain in full the reasons
1.6 Duratec Engine
The compact and small petrol units are a treasure trove for manufacturers based mostly on compact models. Ford has one! The 1.6 liter Duratec engine has been used in many models – from Fiesta, Puma, to Mondeo. Of course, while in the first car it performed well, the Mondeo was at least questionable, although only the more powerful variant with valve timing adjustments was used. The 1.6 Duratec engine is also offered in a factory-adapted version to run on LPG and biofuel (Flexifuel).
The machine was rated very positively – simple, easy to repair and quite durable. Of course, time and mileage do their job – in many instances, for example, Focus I, you can cope with an increase in oil consumption (even 1 l / 1000 km). This is the result of sticking the piston rings. Remodeling (along with new head seals) and unsealing the thermostat house are minor issues.
On the Focus II, there is a coolant leak through the broker in the head (must be dismantled for repair). In turn, in the Focus III there were problems with the electronic controller. The variant with valve timing, introduced in 2004, was more flexible, but the variator failed – there was no power, the engine went into emergency mode.
1.6 Duratec Engine Pros
Simple motor structure and long production life – cheap and easy to find parts, good mechanical strength.
1.6 Engine Duratec Cons
Limited dynamics and average fuel consumption, the condition of many cars is not very good (especially since the start of production).
Machines have been offered for nearly 20 years! Of course, it has been modernized, but the basic features of the unit have not changed.
Zetec or Duratec?
The Sigma machine family emerged in 1995 under the trade name “Zetec-SE” (not to be confused with the Zetec-E family!), And after modernization it was called “Duratec”.
The engine has an aluminum block and cylinder head, the intake manifold is plastic. In 2004, the variable valve timing was introduced.
Time every 120,000 km
In most versions, Ford recommends replacing the timing belt every 160,000 km or 8 years, but mechanics recommend shortening this distance and time to 120,000 km or 6 years.
The manual gearbox on the Ford 1.6 engine is a simple 5-speed construction – without too much of a problem, although it does experience occasional oil leaks.
Those who wish to buy a Ford 1.6 with an “automatic” should be careful – in the old version a simple 4-speed automatic transmission was used, but in the younger version, the PowerShift “dual clutch” gearbox, which was not one of the most durable, can increase costs.
1.6 Duratec Engine Installed on:
Ford Fiesta V
The Zetec-SE series made its debut on the Fiesta IV (1995 – version 1.25; 1.6 engine appeared in 1999). Fiesta V used the 1.6 engine in 2002-08. The Fiesta 1.6 / 100 KM reaches a speed of 100 km / h in 11 seconds, and averages 6.4 l / 100 km of fuel consumption (factory data).
Ford Mondeo III
1.6 units in a mid-range car? Mondeo I had such a thing, in the “two” offer opened by the 1.8 engine, in III (from 2007) the 1.6 engine (Ti-VCT) was returned. The Mondeo III 1.6 can have 110, 120 or 125 hp – in its weakest version it takes 12.7 seconds to reach 100 km / h.
Ford Focus II
The 1.6 unit is a very popular power source for compact Ford cars. In the Focus II you’ll find a 100- or 115-horsepower variant (with variable valve timing). The weaker engine took 11.9 seconds to hit the “hundred” and burned more – an average of 6.7 l / 100 km.
1.6 EcoBoost Engine
High power and sensible combustion – Ford proved it was possible, but needed a modern solution. Will driving really be cheap? Simple units, like the previously described 1.6 Duratec engine, have great durability, but the power to fuel consumption ratio is not impressive. The newer engines like the EcoBoost do much better in this regard. Unfortunately, its intricate design makes it more expensive to service.
How is the fix? Entirely decent, but not perfect. Problems 1.6 EcoBoost with start-up and lack of power are most often caused by a malfunction of the high-pressure circuit of the fuel system (pressure regulator integrated with the pump).
The turbocharger can break down, unfortunately, sometimes the housing breaks down, which prevents its regeneration. The engine is also not free from the typical defects for direct gasoline injection, namely carbon deposits in the valve and in the intake manifold (symptoms: uneven operation, misfiring). Mechanical cleaning is best.
However, all of these problems are not common, nor are they too expensive to remove. On the other hand, this unit has advantages: good working dynamics and culture, reasonable fuel consumption. That’s why we recommend it to people who expect good performance from a car (especially class B and C) and are ready to spend more money on its operation.
1.6 EcoBoost Engine Pros
Driving is very pleasant (especially with Fiesta, Focus model), reasonable fuel consumption, acceptable durability.
1.6 EcoBoost Engine Cons
Significant structural complications make repair costs more expensive, possible damage – eg. Turbo and fuel system.
Modern construction. The name “EcoBoost” stands for: direct fuel injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing. Fuel consumption similar to the 1.6 Turbo engine is associated with high fuel consumption, but is out of date – the 1.6 EcoBoost requires as much fuel as 1.6 Duratec, but is much more dynamic.
EcoBoosty 1.0 has an oil immersed belt, 2.0 – chain and 1.6 – classic belt, which must be replaced every 200,000 km or 10 years.
In 2017, Ford summoned 350,000 owners of cars with 1.6 EcoBoost engines for inspection due to possible overheating and fires.
A manual gearbox (6 gears each) is standard on the EcoBoost engine. They mainly had minor leaks.
Automata is rarely combined with the EcoBoost 1.6 engine. We found one in the Kuga model, and it’s a classic gearbox with a torque converter – a well-operated one turns out to be durable and costs nothing.
1.6 EcoBoost Engine Intalled on:
Ford Fiesta VI
The 1.6 EcoBoost unit appeared on a small car in 2013, in the ST version. The engine is available in two power versions: 182 HP (ST) or 200 HP (ST200). This gives the car a very good acceleration – from 0 to 100 km / h in 6.9 seconds (more powerful: 6.7 seconds).
Ford Mondeo III
Variation 1.6 appeared in 2010-14 (variant with 160 HP), then came the 1.5 EcoBoost engine. The 1.6 supercharged engine can even handle large cars – acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h takes 9.3 seconds with an average fuel consumption of 6.4 liters / 100 km!
Ford Focus III
It received a supercharged compact petrol with the debut of the third generation model. In 2014, it was replaced by 1.5 EB. The engine (150 or 182 hp) offers good performance and promises sensational low fuel consumption: in 8.0 seconds to 100 km / h and 5.9 liters / 100 km (more powerful version).
2.0 Duratec Engine
The recipe for a good class in this case turns out to be simple construction and solid material. Despite the drawbacks, mechanics recommend this machine. Over the years, the 2.0 engine known as Ford’s “Duratec” managed to earn a very good reputation – it broke down much and performed well. Today, age and mileage do their job and there is a disease similar to that experienced by Mazda 2.0 users.
First of all, it is an increase in oil consumption caused by improper operation of the piston rings. An additional problem is that it is difficult to detect defects during pre-purchase testing. Repairs required significant disassembly of the engine along with removing the cylinder head.
The second typical problem is making a hole in the collector, through which the cover that controls the airflow to the engine is installed. The motor started rattling unpleasantly. Some suggest removing the flap (technically an easy solution), but you should account for a noticeable drop in torque at low engine speeds. Repair? For most versions, Ford has prepared 1 kit and repair.
The remaining problems are usually trifles, such as improper operation of the EGR valve or “too sensitive” lambda probe, exhaust gas purge testing. Cooperation with LPG looks bad – engine has sensitive valve seats.
2.0 Duratec Engine Pros
High mechanical resistance, good access to parts, durable time chain drive (basically maintenance free!).
2.0 Duratec Engine Cons
Just an average compromise between fuel consumption and dynamics, the possibility of breakage is quite expensive (burning engine oil).
The 2.0 Duratec features an aluminum fuselage with cast iron cylinder liners. Indirect injection, no push.
Mazda is a subsidiary of Ford, so it’s no surprise that the technical solutions are pervasive – the 2.0 engine is a Mazda unit with the designation “L”.
Ford uses a timing belt on gasoline engines, whereas Japanese engines have chains that rarely have problems.
A little like diesel
In the engine you will find solutions more closely related to diesel: EGR valves, double mass wheels, a flap that controls the flow of air in the intake system.
The manual two-liter petrol gearbox has only 5 gear ratios. Its advantages include durability and easy operation.
The classic gasoline-fired “vending machine” is surprisingly simple, and correct operation ensures high durability. However, 4 gears is very little for modern expectations.
2.0 Duratec Engine Installed on:
Ford Fiesta V Unit
Two liters were used in the ST version in 2005-08. This is the biggest machine in its model history! The engine has 150 HP, does not count on great acceleration – 100 km / h appears after 8.4 seconds – but the toddler accelerates to a maximum of 208 km / h.
Ford Galaxy II
The first edition of the big van uses 2.0 petrol from the previous generation, an engine with Japanese roots making its debut on the Galaxy II (2006-14). On the Galaxy 2.0 it took 10.9 seconds to reach 100 km / h. Fuel consumption averaged 8.2 l / 100 km.
Ford Mondeo III
The two-liter petrol engine is a popular power source in the middle class. The engine generation described appeared on the Mondeo II in 2000, and was also used in the Mondeo III – until 2014. The average fuel consumption of the Mondeo III 2.0 is 7.9 l / 100 km, the car reaches “one hundred” after 9.9 seconds.
2.0 TDCi Engine
The two-liter diesel engine stands out from the competition with a small list of typical failures. Of course, this doesn’t mean driving without problems. After a very negative experience with diesel 2.0 production itself, Ford decided to cooperate with PSA. The 2.0 diesel unit (code “DW10”, 16 valve variant only), which began appearing at Ford in 2004, is very well known and appreciated.
The mechanics easily mention the advantages of this design: a sturdy piston-crank system, an injector that can withstand hundreds of thousands of kilometers, decent double-mass wheels (even 250,000 km without replacement). Of course this diesel also creates problems. The biggest ones relate to the turbocharger – steering, stuck exhaust steering wheel, sensors, etc. Fortunately, there are no more problems with professional turbine regeneration and steering wheel setup.
So, good durability was also improved during modernization (2011) – since then, the main problem has been the improper operation of the exhaust afterburner located in the exhaust, which supports the regeneration of the diesel particulate filter. Remember, however, that Focus and Mondeo, being several or a dozen years old, have traveled hundreds of thousands of kilometers – you can’t count on the fact that the exploits will be free of charge. You should expect, among other things, problems with the DPF filter and EGR valve.
2.0 TDCi Engine Pros
Some technical problems (especially the version after modernization in 2011), a huge selection of varieties and copies.
2.0 TDCi Engine Cons
Possible problems with exhaust gas cleaning (especially newer versions), often using expensive PS boxes to repair.
2.0 TDCi is a engine borrowed from PSA’s attention. The timing is driven by the belt, but the shafts are held together by an additional chain.
The weakest variant has 115 HP, the most popular – 140 HP. Lovers of good performance can choose the 185hp version (Focus ST).
Exhaust gas treatment is one of diesel’s main problems. New DPF filters from well-known companies are expensive.
Belt, not chain
Ford’s two-liter diesel engine is easy to distinguish from the PSA design – the former have a time chain, and the successors have a belt that needs to be replaced every 240,000 km or 10 years.
The engines usually work with a manual gearbox (6 speed), at the 115hp S-Max you’ll find a 5-speed gearbox. It’s a safe choice.
“Automata” is usually a PowerShift (dual clutch) transmission, but up to 2010 you may also find classic automatic transmissions that are more cost effective.
2.0 TDCi Engine Installed on:
Ford Focus III
The compact is dominated by the 1.5 and 1.6 TDCi diesel engines chosen by the fleet, but driving with the 2.0 engine is a lot of fun. The weakest version of the Focus III, 2.0 / 115 HP, is only connected to the PowerShift gearbox. You’ll also find varieties: 140, 150, 163 and 185 HP (the latter being ST).
Ford S-Max I
Most of the S-Max offered on the aftermarket has a 2.0 diesel engine – all with PSA roots. The weakest S-Max 2.0 TDCi develops 115 HP (acceleration 0-100 km / h in 12.2 seconds), but there are also variants: 130, 140, and 163 HP.
Ford Mondeo III
A nice change: The older Mondeo has a Ford diesel engine, since 2007 the 2.0 variant of PSA’s attention dominates. Various versions: 115, 130, 140 and 163 hp. We recommend the 140 HP variant after modernization – average fuel consumption of 5.3 l / 100 km, “hundred” in 9.5 seconds.
The Worst Ford Engine
- 1.0 EcoBoost: On paper it is tempting with its performance, but disappointing in practice. Note: repair is expensive!
- 1.6 TDCi 16V: serious problem, we advise you to be careful when buying the 109 HP variant.
- 1.8 TD: many variants of the power system, increased mileage and expensive repairs.
- 2.0 TD: Ford engine crashes – lots of faults, repairs may not be profitable!
We will only give a negative rating for the two-liter diesel engine developed by Ford – in terms of the passenger model, it is under the hood of the Mondeo 2000-2007 (successively upgraded, at the end of production it becomes tolerable in operation).
The 1.6 diesel engine with a 16 valve cylinder head was also bad. As our interlocutor George Zarcki of Solid Garage service emphasizes, this is a good unit for training mechanics – its main problems include lubrication and refilling systems.
The remaining engines are blacklisted mainly due to negligence of servicing and various possible costly faults – for example, costs may be due to the EcoBoost liter (poor access to parts, experience required, for example when changing timing belts).
In recent years, Ford has used its most reliable engines. Most gasoline cars are working fine, their diesel engines have improved. Worst of all was the 2.0 Ford diesel engine from the start of production.