Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Ford F-150 V8 Engine Works Smarter Now

The 2021 Ford F-150 5.0-liter V8 engine has a few tricks up its sleeve. Instead of going for more horsepower, Ford implemented changes for the engine to work better. See how the 2021 Ford F-150 V8 engine works in your favor. 

The 2021 Ford F-150 V8 engine works smarter 

Ford brought many new changes to the table for the 2021 F-Series line up, including a Ford F-150 hybrid system, an on-board generator, and updates to the 5,0-liter V8 Coyote engine. But it only got a slight bump in horsepower. 

2021 Ford F-150 driving through a forest
2021 Ford F-150 | Ford

The 2021 Ford F-150 V8 engine gained 5 horsepower and 10 lb-ft of torque for a grand total of 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. That’s plenty of power and shouldn’t let fans down. But if they aren’t sold on the upgrade yet, they can read about the new variable displacement deactivation function. 

Say what now? That’s a mouthful. PickupTruckTalk had Dawn McKenzie, the Ford Truck Communications Manager, explain that the variable displacement function for the 5.0-liter engine helps save fuel. 

It reduces the number of cylinders that receive fuel at lower speeds and lighter loads. This has been controversial for some consumers. GM owners often complain about oil usage issues, but the Ford system should solve those problems. 

Due to the times and increasing emission regulations, cylinder deactivation may have to be in all V8 engines eventually. This is in order to meet the new Safer Affordable Fuel-efficient (SAFE) Vehicles document requirements. It serves as part of the 2020 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) update. 

How does the 2021 Ford F-150 cylinder deactivation work? 

The F-150 or ECU computer determines when and how to close certain cylinders by closing the intake and exhaust valve. No air is allowed out, and no fuel is injected into that particular cylinder. 

A charcoal colored 2021 F-150 sits on a cliff side.
2021 Ford F-150 Platinum | Ford Motor Company

RELATED: Was Consumer Reports Wrong About the 2020 Ford F-150?

Meanwhile, the piston still moves up and down to turn the crankshaft. The pistons do experience pumping loss due to having to overcome air resistance, but there is no pumping loss when the cylinder is deactivated. The ECU is programmed to balance pumping losses with the cylinders that are still operating. 

Even with having a few cylinders deactivated, the engine becomes more efficient by using less fuel combined with having a reduction in pump losses. However, does it work? We don’t know yet. EPA estimated fuel ratings haven’t been released for the 2021 Ford F-150

Why did GM have trouble? 

GM placed Dynamic Fuel Management technology with 17 different cylinder patterns for turning off cylinders with the engine’s 16 hydraulic valves used to open and close cylinders by restricting oil pressure.

Silver Airstream Flying Cloud camper being towed by a blue Ford F-150 in a forested national park
Airstream Flying Cloud camper being towed by a Ford F-150 | Airstream

Also, the weight of certain Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra models returned with a worse EPA rating. But this could be due to the added weight of the trucks. 

The engine in the Ford F-150 has new technology to prevent burning oil and to improve the fuel economy to meet CAFE regulations. But this isn’t brand-new technology. It’s becoming pretty basic. So there is less risk involved with Ford stepping up to the plate to join what rivals are offering.