After almost 25 years since the last generation went out of production, Ford has finally revived the Bronco nameplate for 2021 with not one but two distinct models, catering to different audiences. Unlike the Ford Bronco Sport which is based on the C2 platform that also underpins the Ford Escape crossover, the regular Bronco goes back to its roots of being an off-road monster, competing with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler.
To help it power through tough off-road conditions, the standard Ford Bronco gets the bigger 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder as standard, with a power output of nearly 300 hp. The standard engine can also be bought with a smooth 7-speed manual transmission. However, the main focus here is on the optional 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 engine that comes as an option on the Bronco. Like the smaller engine, the Bronco gets a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. Upgrading to the V-6 engine offers adequate performance with 330 hp on tap and 415 lb-ft of torque.
With the bigger 2.7L engine, the Bronco propels to 60 MPH in just 6.3 seconds. However, the 2.7L EcoBoost engine has come under fire recently for several issues, with some owners experiencing failures. Upgrading to the bigger engines is a necessity if you plan on pushing the Bronco to its limits and these flaws may put customers off the Bronco if not addressed.
So, let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Are the 2.7L EcoBoost engines fatally flawed?
The answer is a lot trickier than usual, especially since the 2.7L EcoBoost has been around since 2005 in several Ford models like the popular F-150, Edge, and Fusion Sport. However, these models used the first generation of the engine. The 2.7 is a smaller version of the bigger 3.5L unit found in several other models with a smaller graphite iron block and a square cylinder design. While the first-generation engine had several issues, the most notable is the carbon build-up caused by the direct injection technology. Eventually, a lot of these engines suffered from excessive build-up, leading to drivability issues and power loss.
Fortunately, the second generation of the 2.7L EcoBoost, now found in the new Bronco and the latest F-150 uses a port injection system to avoid carbon build-up. The first-generation models also had issues with their plastic oil pans, leading to leaks and some pans sealing to the block. The second-generation engine also fixes these oil leak issues with a redesigned oil pan.
However, according to recent reports, several other issues have been reported concerning Ford Broncos with the 2.7L EcoBoost which are traced back to the valves, resulting in complete engine failure for some customers. What’s even more interesting is that some of these failures cannot be blamed on poor maintenance since even a brand new engine with just 3 miles on the clock experienced engine failure. The average mileage for most of these cases hovers around 2500 miles, leaving owners stranded with brand new Ford Broncos.
According to Bronco6G, the problematic engines can be traced back to units manufactured between May 13 to October 2021, which account for serial numbers between 21133 to 21281. Two of these failures have been reported on the NHTSA portal with weak valves as the main culprit.
So far, the sudden failure of these engines is alleged because of weak valves used in these engines, which are procured from an outside vendor. Because of a defect in the valves, the valves will fail unexpectedly, leading to total engine failure. For now, there is no official news from Ford for these issues, and it is still unclear whether the same issue plagues other Ford models with the same 2.7L EcoBoost like the popular Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Detecting a faulty engine
Fortunately, several members and owners have traced the valve issues back to engines manufactured between May and October of 2021. To check the manufacture date of an engine and confirm if it falls between the affected date range, look for the serial number for the build date on the engine. Its placed around the oil fill tube. The date code can be traced in the serial code by looking for “21” and the following three digits. If you’re unsure about the date range, taking it to a Ford dealer will help you confirm the same.
Unfortunately, if your Ford Bronco comes under the affected date range, Ford still hasn’t issued a recall for the same and any failures should fall under the standard warranty coverage. If a failure does occur, make sure you report it and let other owners know of the possible symptoms and issues faced.
Keeping your engine healthy
Regardless of these issues, it’s always a good idea to take care of your engine with proper maintenance. Here are some tips to follow, especially if you own some of the worse examples mentioned here like the first generation 2.7L Ecoboost.
- Always follow the manufacturer prescribed maintenance schedule. Although most modern cars use fully synthetic oil that can last for several thousand miles, changing it at the right time is key to keeping your engine healthy. Follow the recommended oil change intervals and change all the maintenance items like filters, spark plugs, and more for better performance and efficiency.
- Always tackle issues, no matter how small they may seem. Even serious issues like valve damage can be traced and sorted out before the engine fails by noticing abnormal sounds and performance issues. If there is an issue with your engine, take it to the service center as soon as possible before it snowballs into something worse. Even suspension issues that can be noticed by knocking sounds can turn out dangerous if not addressed in time.
- If you live in a colder region, warming up your car’s engine before you go out in the morning will help it lubricate properly and reduce wear on the internal components. It’s also a good idea to drive with a light foot till the engine reaches optimum temperature. In snowy conditions, start the car up and let it idle for at least a minute before driving off.
On similar lines, it’s also a good idea to let the engine cool down for a brief minute before turning it off, especially after a long highway drive. This is particularly important on turbocharged engines like Ford’s EcoBoost, allowing time for the oil to flow through the turbochargers and cool them down.