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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone heard of 5 of 6 piston skirts failing due to a tuner? I am currently dealing with an engine failure/replacement right before the end of the warranty (THANK GOD)!! Any guidance would be appreciated. My truck is a 2018, 3.5. I had the 5 star tuning with 91 Tow/Performance and 93 octane Tow/Performance. I just want to make sure that this wasn't caused by the tuner.
 

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If you are positive no debris had entered the system - yes the tune may have been the culprit. It’s hard to really say. There are too many variables ( excessive CHT, incorrect fuel mixture, over-revved, oil thinned, etc.).

The fact 5 out of 6 failed leads me to believe it was the tune. If 1 out of 6 failed then you’d be looking at a manufacturing flaw.

Now I’m not blaming 5* directly but keep in mind even stock engines blow.
 

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Ingot 2014 Boost> 5* tuned since 2015.....and no way those tunes contributed to your pistons shelling. They are one of the safest tunes out there-IMO.
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But.....I agree with Srp as well. Stock motors let go as well. It's possible that the added performance stressed the motor more so than the stock tune.
I can tell you that my truck sees 100mph mergings a handful of times a year-lol
But, 5 of 6 pistons coming apart? Never heard of that...
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Can't say what the cause might be but I think the tune might be a strong possibility. That said, I think Ford would deny warranty claims in a New York minute in a situation like this.
 
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Can you get 93 in Wyoming?

I had 5Star tow tune and used it for a very long time. Great tune for towing because of how well the had tuned the transmission and engine. But after I warped a stock exhaust manifold towing, and then warped a CRP manifold towing, I stopped using them. I think they lifted some of the limiters out of the way that would have protected the manifolds from excessive EGT's and I was pushing my truck too hard.

What is weird to me is that you only have tow tunes and that they would have caused such destruction. I could see an all out performance tune blowing something up but towing tunes are supposed to be mild. I would be curious, since you are in Wyoming, how the truck was compensating for high elevation. I have had another tuner(not 5Star) who clearly didnt know how to keep the turbo airflow limiters in place to keep the turbos safe at high elevation on my truck.
 

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We are talking about broken skirts, right? Has the rev limiter been increased with your tune? Did it run warm?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Can you get 93 in Wyoming?

I had 5Star tow tune and used it for a very long time. Great tune for towing because of how well the had tuned the transmission and engine. But after I warped a stock exhaust manifold towing, and then warped a CRP manifold towing, I stopped using them. I think they lifted some of the limiters out of the way that would have protected the manifolds from excessive EGT's and I was pushing my truck too hard.

What is weird to me is that you only have tow tunes and that they would have caused such destruction. I could see an all out performance tune blowing something up but towing tunes are supposed to be mild. I would be curious, since you are in Wyoming, how the truck was compensating for high elevation. I have had another tuner(not 5Star) who clearly didnt know how to keep the turbo airflow limiters in place to keep the turbos safe at high elevation on my truck.
I only used the 93 octane tunes when I would travel to Kansas. Most of the time the truck was in the 91 perf/tow while in Wyoming. I have since removed the tuner and will not be re-installing it after this issue! Ford is going to warranty the "short block" for now and the rest of the warranty will expire at 60,000. Not sure how much longer I will have the 3.5!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We are talking about broken skirts, right? Has the rev limiter been increased with your tune?
Broken skirts and cracked pistons! 3 had missing parts on the skirts and the other 2 were cracked all the way to the rings. I am not sure if the rev limiter was increased. Nothing that was noticeable from my end but I'm not sure how to check that at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you are positive no debris had entered the system - yes the tune may have been the culprit. It’s hard to really say. There are too many variables ( excessive CHT, incorrect fuel mixture, over-revved, oil thinned, etc.).

The fact 5 out of 6 failed leads me to believe it was the tune. If 1 out of 6 failed then you’d be looking at a manufacturing flaw.

Now I’m not blaming 5* directly but keep in mind even stock engines blow.
I do have concerns with there being 5 failures. The whole situations was a little fishy. I took the truck in for the cam phaser re-flash and the noise was increased. I then took the truck back to let them know that I can now hear it in the cab. they replaced the phasers. While the motor was running after the replacement it started knocking even louder. That caused the dealer to pull apart the motor. I have been a mechanic for 18 years and have not heard of anything like this! I am starting to think that something was dropped/missed during the phaser replacement. They also told me that they have already sent all of the parts off to Ford for analysis so I can't inspect them myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I really appreciate all of the quick responses!! I have been trolling this site for over a year now and there is always great information. This whole situation just stinks right now since I have now been without my ride for two weeks and it is still over a week out for parts and maint.! I will make sure to post anything else that might come up with my conversations with Ford. The fact that they have not even talked to me about possible payment makes me believe that there is more to the story.
 

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I believe the more common reasons why skirts crack are engines that are over-revved (I think not likely unless the rev limiter was lifted it was really being pushed hard) and engines that have enough heat in the cylinder to allow the skirts to collapse slightly and then cause piston slap. Wish we knew what the real culprit is.

I think you're fortunate to have rubbed shoulders with your particular dealer. I think there are a lot of dealers that would simply say no due to the tune.
 

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Has anyone heard of 5 of 6 piston skirts failing due to a tuner? I am currently dealing with an engine failure/replacement right before the end of the warranty (THANK GOD)!! Any guidance would be appreciated. My truck is a 2018, 3.5. I had the 5 star tuning with 91 Tow/Performance and 93 octane Tow/Performance. I just want to make sure that this wasn't caused by the tuner.
If power enrichment AFR was too much fuel for proper combustion the fuel can pull oil away from the cylinder walls causing "bore wash" and increase friction between the skirt and wall. This could have caused that especially since it was 5 pistons. Best AFR depends on a lot of factors too so I cannot answer that if you ask me.
 

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I thought about cylinder wash but if I'm not mistaken that usually causes piston scoring and at times seizing as opposed to actually breaking skirts.
 

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I think that's what I was trying to say. Scoring as opposed to breaking.
 

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Probably not applicable, but the Porsche flat6 in the 2005-2009 Era (and still possible until 2012) was notorious for bore scoring and it supposedly is caused by the rich fuel circuit for coldstarts washing the cylinders and then the skirts would gauge and destroy the cylinder coating. If the damage requires a rebuild, the cylinders are replaced with "Nickies".

The preventive measure that most recommend is to NOT let the car sit and idle when it is a cold start, but rather to drive it while it is warming up, keeping below 4000 RPM.

The only reason I mentioned this is the relationship between rich fuel conditions washing cylinders and thus introducing ALL the piston skirts into a stress/wear environment.

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Probably not applicable, but the Porsche flat6 in the 2005-2009 Era (and still possible until 2012) was notorious for bore scoring and it supposedly is caused by the rich fuel circuit for coldstarts washing the cylinders and then the skirts would gauge and destroy the cylinder coating. If the damage requires a rebuild, the cylinders are replaced with "Nickies".

The preventive measure that most recommend is to NOT let the car sit and idle when it is a cold start, but rather to drive it while it is warming up, keeping below 4000 RPM.

The only reason I mentioned this is the relationship between rich fuel conditions washing cylinders and thus introducing ALL the piston skirts into a stress/wear environment.

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I never have warmed up any of my vehicles.
 
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