The Ford “Coyote” V8 Engine Is Born
Pressured to compete with the new upcoming engines from GM (6.2L LS3) and Chrysler (6.4L Hemi), Ford needed a better engine in the latter part of the 2000s. The new engine would need to be “modular” to take advantage of the machinery at Ford’s Windsor assembly plant, small enough to fit in the same engine space as the current engine but with a power output to compete with its rivals. In addition, the engine would have to exceed the increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards that the federal government seemed to be modifying daily. When the engineering team indicated that the new engine could produce about 370 hp, Bob Fascetti, the head of Ford’s engine division, instructed them to shoot for 400 hp instead.
The result emerged a few years later when Ford introduced the 5.0L V8 engine dubbed “The Coyote.” The engine was an evolutionary design, producing similar horsepower to its much larger rivals but at a much lower displacement. Ford’s designers utilized the best of the 4.6L modular engine, retaining the same bore spacing, deck height, rod length, and bolt pattern as the previous engine, but made adjustments in other areas to create better power.
Ford began producing the Coyote engine at its Windsor, Ontario plant during 2010, for the ‘11 model year Mustang. The initial Mustang Coyote engine produced a whopping 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Before long, the F150 was following suit with a slightly less powerful version, producing 360 hp. The new 5.0 Coyote engine would go on to power both the Ford Mustang GT and Ford F150, becoming the perennial powerhouse owners have depended on for over a dozen years.
What Made The Coyote So Unique?
Having had some experience with modular engines (the 4.6L engine had been around since 1991), Ford had a good idea of where to go with the new design.
The engineers knew they wanted to use an aluminum engine block to help keep the weight down in the Ford Mustang GT, but they were concerned about the motor’s strength in handling the higher power outputs. Knowing that increasing the chamber wall width would also lead to larger engine dimensions (which Ford could not do), the engineers chose to use extensive webbing during the casting process. The new block design improved the rigidity of the base, providing an excellent platform for building the rest of the engine.
High Flow Heads
The Coyote engine used deep skirting high-flow aluminum, cnc ported cylinder heads with roller finger followers, allowing larger intake and exhaust port sizes to improve airflow. (The intake vales measured 37 mm with 31 mm exhaust ports). Ford strengthened the composite head material, including cross-flow cooling, to handle higher rpm use. The bore and stroke (3.63 in X 3.65 in) were also expanded and lengthened. For added insurance against combustion pressures, Ford increased the head bolts from 11 mm to 12 mm. Enhanced piston jets aided engine temperatures while forged steel crankshafts provided increased durability. Cast iron exhaust manifolds provided good strength as well. The Coyote engines have proven to be a reliable performer over the years, with the ability to push 7,000 rpms consistently.
DOHC and Ti-VCT
The engine utilized a four-valve double overhead cam design by situating the camshafts outward, allowing for increased intake valve angles. In addition, the Coyote engine was the first Ford engine to incorporate Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing, which allowed the Control Module to electronically adjust the intake and exhaust cam timing, further helping to boost power and improve fuel economy.
Ford moved the coolant crossover passages from the intake to the block while increasing pil pumps to help keep the engine temperatures in line. A composite high flow intake manifold improved airflow with an 83 mm inlet opening and 82 mm electronic throttle body.
Ford’s new design required a new coil-on-plug ignition to increase combustion and a new firing order. The base engine used a 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2 similar to the flathead V8 and produced an 11.0:1 compression ratio. With a deep, dry sump oil pan holding 8 quarts of oil, Ford extended the maintenance intervals to 10k miles between fluid changes.
How Has The Coyote V8 Improved Over the Years?
The Coyote engine has gone through four generations since its introduction in 2011. The newest version was this year for the 2024 model Mustang. Over the years, the engine has seen variants for the Mustang and F150.
2011 Mustang and F150
The original Coyote V8 was released in 2010 for the 2011 model year Mustang and F150. For the Mustang, it produced 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Ford offered the 5.0L Coyote on its GT model (The GT500 still used the 5.4L V8), but with 160 mph top speed and a 4.3 second 0 - 60 mph track time, the added power to “raise desire tenfold” as the 2011 Ford sales brochure claimed.
Ford used the 5.0L Coyote in the F150, although it had a slightly lower compression ratio (10.5:1), primarily due to its use of cast iron intake manifolds. The truck’s intakes were heavier than the composite, lighter Mustang intakes, which made the V8 of the F150 less powerful and much slower.
Boss 302 Is Back
It wasn’t long before Ford adapted the new Coyote into the Boss 302 variant (2012). The variant used stronger forged rods and piston heads, along with the use of sodium-filled exhaust valves. The piston cooling jets were eliminated, and other valvetrain components were enhanced. The result was an increase in power to 444 hp. Ford kept the variant Boss 302 for a few years before killing it after 2013.
Direct Injection And Other Improvements
In 2018, Ford improved the 5.0L V8 by adding direct fuel injection. The bore size was increased to 3.63 X 3.66, which raised the displacement to 307 ci. In addition, the engine received enlarged intake and exhaust ports, revised camshafts, and thermally sprayed cylinder liners to reduce friction. The new engine received a power boost to 460 hp with a 12.0:1 compression ratio, enabling the 2018 Mustang GT to blitz down the track with a .98 G lateral acceleration and a 0 - 60 mph time in under four seconds.
The 2019-2020 Bullitt Mustang and 2021 - 23 Mach 1 models used a version of the new 5.0L with improved intake to boost the power even more.
The Coyote V8 Today
In 2023, Ford announced a fourth-gen Coyote engine designed for the seventh generation of Mustang (Model year 2024). The engine is designed to produce between 480 - 500 hp depending on the trim and features further improvements to the intakes and throttle bodies. The new engine posts a slightly better time at 0 - 60 mph (4.1 seconds - Dark Horse trim), but the most significant improvements are in handling and transmission. While the Ecoboost and 5.0L Coyote have a ten-speed automatic, you can only order the six-speed manual with the GT’s more powerful V8.
Even though Ford is committed to electrifying its lineup (Ford execs estimate production of 600,000 EVs in 2024), it seems clear that the company is not ready to give up on the V8. (Ford recently announced that of the 13k pre-orders already on the books, a full two-thirds are the Coyote engine).