Engine-Swapped Ford Maverick Proves 2.3L EcoBoost Is ‘Plug and Play’

The most serious Maverick street truck build so far puts the gap on Mustang GTs thanks to its bigger power plant and tuning.

byJames Gilboy|
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Ivan Gonzalez
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The builder of the world's quickest Ford Maverick isn't resting on his laurels. After breaking into the 12s with self-made bolt-ons and a tune, Ivan Gonzalez set his sights even higher—or lower, if you will, because he's targeting 11s. But one day while waiting for a part, he got to wondering: Would the 2.3-liter EcoBoost fit too? As it turns out, not only does the Ford Ranger's engine fit, but it's basically plug-and-play, opening up whole new horizons for Ford's smallest pickup truck.

Speaking to The Drive, Gonzalez explained how his 2.3-liter curiosity arose out of happenstance. He was shopping for a spare stock 2.0-liter EcoBoost when he noticed that 2.3s aren't much pricier. He put in a lowball offer on one out of a 2020 Lincoln Corsair, and to his surprise, won it. At first, he meant to use this engine to develop parts, but a day came when he had his drivetrain mostly disassembled, and inspiration hit. There'd never be a better time to figure out if the 2.3 fit.

2.3-liter Ford EcoBoost engine next to a 2.0-liter EcoBoost. Ivan Gonzalez

And it did, as Gonzalez described the installation as "pretty much plug-and-play." The stock engine's wiring harness even carried over almost perfectly, because "99 percent of the plugs were identical." The only difference was the location of the coolant temperature sensor, but that was easy to accommodate. Cranking it for the first time lit up the Ford's dash like a Times Square marquee, but resetting the truck's CAN bus cleared all the codes. Now, it runs fine.

Better than fine, actually, because it's loaded with many of the parts he developed for the 2.0-liter. It has a ram air intake that feeds a 57-millimeter turbo from a Ranger, which is packaged slightly differently than the Corsair's but is cheaper and more widely available. Its intake charge flows through 2.5-inch piping and a custom front-mount intercooler before swirling into a long block that's still totally stock—minus a tune from the respected Livernois. Once spent, it all tumbles out through a three-inch downpipe and catback exhaust.

Ivan Gonzalez's 2.3-liter EcoBoost swapped Ford Maverick. Ivan Gonzalez

Even with the rest of the drivetrain remaining stock, it's holding up to the amped-up EcoBoost. So far, Gonzalez's best quarter-mile with the new setup has been 12.4 seconds at 112 mph. He says it'll pull almost a car length on a Ford Mustang GT, and compare handily to a Dodge Charger Scat Pack. At this point, all it needs is brakes that are up to scratch, and those are in the works too. He's waiting on brackets to fit the Brembos from the Focus RS.

Gonzalez's goal is to break into the 11s by the end of the year. He hopes to hit that mark at The Red List Series drags on Dec. 9 in Bakersfield, California. It shouldn't be an issue, provided his fueling can keep up with what performance is left in the Ranger's turbo. And when he finally finds the Maverick's breaking point? He'll just fix it and go even faster.

Ivan Gonzalez's 2.3-liter EcoBoost swapped Ford Maverick pulling a camper. Ivan Gonzalez

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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