Cylinder deactivation is a relatively new technology introduced by Ford after other automobile makers like General Motors in their pickup trucks.
Does Ford F-150 Have Cylinder Deactivation? 2021 Ford F-150 is the first model of the pickup truck to get the cylinder deactivation feature. It is available with a conventional 5.0-liter V8 Coyote gasoline engine for high towing and payload applications with better mileage. The truck automatically detects when it does not require power and deactivates half of the cylinders seamlessly.
Its purpose is to make the vehicles fuel-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fulfill federal regulations to avoid sanctions.
Does Ford F-150 Have Cylinder Deactivation?
I will discuss my experiences of driving a 2021 Ford F-150 with the cylinder deactivation feature and its effect on the performance and fuel efficiency of the truck.
Ford has offered 6 different engine options having variable numbers of cylinders, engine size, and performance parameters.
The 5.0 liter V8 Coyote engine is one of the biggest and conventional designs with 8 cylinders.
Due to its larger size and lesser fuel ratings, its company has announced cylinder deactivation features for this particular engine to improve the fuel efficiency up to 10-15%. Moreover, it also works well with larger engines for sports cars and pickup trucks.
How does cylinder deactivation work?
An electrically operated solenoid with other parts in the engine activates the cylinder deactivation.
The engine computer senses that it doesn’t need all 8 cylinders firing. So it closes the 4 valves, stops sending fuel into 4 cylinders, and closes the air intake and exhaust.
It reduces the engine work to pump and expel air from the disabled cylinders. Engine Control Unit (ECU) automatically controls the balance and air pumping losses from active cylinders.
ECU keeps on sensing various engine parameters and enables its deactivation seamlessly.
In this way, you will get better engine performance and reduced fuel consumption by operating a reduced number of cylinders.
Benefits of cylinder deactivation
Cylinder deactivation is necessary for V8 or larger engines as a federal requirement.
Therefore, Ford has adopted this technology for the Ford V8 engine. It intends to improve the engine’s fuel efficiency and reduce Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions.
Better fuel economy
It reduces the pumping losses of the engine under low power requirements by deactivating 4 of the 8 cylinders.
You can expect to get a 10-15% improvement in fuel economy with this feature. However, to testify to those claims by Ford,
I have tested the Ford F-150 with this feature for several real-world scenarios to check the miles per gallon (mpg).
I have observed a 2-3 mpg improvement in fuel efficiency with usual driving on a highway. The improvement was 4-5 mpg for mostly on-road driving with auto start-stop feature active in ECO mode.
I have obtained even better figures with 7-8 mpg improvement in mileage by activating cruise control at 75 mph speed and highway driving.
Cylinder deactivation takes place during loading conditions when the engine needs lesser power. Moreover, the whole operation of the enabling and disabling valves is computer-controlled, taking milliseconds.
Therefore, it has benefits of fuel economy without any impact on the performance of the engine.
For loading applications or heavy torque requirements, it operates in V8 mode by employing all 8 cylinders as the engine won’t go into cylinder deactivation mode.
Cylinder deactivation stops the excess engine overflow by disabling half of the cylinders and increasing air exhaust temperature from the remaining ones.
Therefore, particulate matter and pollutants in the exhaust gases have a better conversion in the catalyst.
It significantly reduces nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and other greenhouse gases. Therefore, this feature is essential for automakers to fulfill EPA requirements regarding clean emissions.
How Ford solve the problems faced by other automakers due to cylinder deactivation?
General Motors (GM) and Ram have added the cylinder deactivation feature in earlier models of their trucks.
However, owners have complaints regarding excessive oil usage by trucks. In addition, it resulted in increased maintenance costs.
Therefore, Ford has redesigned the oil pump and upgraded it to provide oil during cylinder deactivation.
Secondly, they have upgraded the ring packs to give better results in high compression applications by keeping compression longer.
GM has dynamic fuel management cylinder deactivation with complex calculations to determine the number of cylinders to shut down.
However, Ford has kept it simple by allowing only two modes that are 4 and 8 cylinders.
Therefore, this system is less likely to develop any excessive oil consumption or vibration problems faced by GM trucks.
Can cylinder deactivation in Ford F150 be turned Off?
Turning OFF the cylinder deactivation feature is undesirable because of the concerns regarding harmful emissions to the environment.
However, it is an excellent feature to improve the mileage of your truck.
You will likely get a warning from police or any other authority on the road if you disable it. However, there are methods available to disable it in case of some fault.
To turn OFF, you can use a simple and free trick available.
You can do it by unplugging the small cable hooked to the battery’s negative terminal via a connector.
It disrupts the battery monitoring system and other functions for fuel economy. However, there are some drawbacks to this method.
For example, you will get a warning message every time you start the Ford F-150 regarding battery service due soon. Moreover, it won’t be able to detect the failure of the alternator to charge the battery.
The second method will be using the FORScan software to change the programming of the truck ECU to disable it.
However, you will need to hire some expert services and spend some money to disable this feature.
The engine automatically detects the power requirements to switch from 8-cylinders mode to 4-cylinder mode.
It does so seamlessly without any indication or observable difference from a regular operation.
However, I have found the engine sounds slightly louder during cylinder deactivation that can go undetectable due to minor differences.