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Hey so I just had a brief question about the blocks , how much can a stock block handle with out headstuds, and what’s the crankshafts max output only because I want to push the car 10-20 hp more and I’m about 370-380 to the wheels right now I was wondering what the danger zone is and how to stay out of it
 

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The stock block can easily handle a maxed out oem turbo, which is known to be around 400-425whp with meth IIRC. But someone here can correct me if I’m wrong
 

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Looks like 400hp on the engine to be safe and 425ish ftlb of torque until you start seeing clutch slippage
 

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The stock block can easily handle a maxed out oem turbo, which is known to be around 400-425whp with meth IIRC. But someone here can correct me if I’m wrong
Okay because right now I’m on e30 and my vd says 380
 

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The clutch can handle 520+ / 560+ as per the ill fated Mountune M520 kit. Which still uses the standard clutch and OEM head studs
 

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Hey so I just had a brief question about the blocks , how much can a stock block handle with out headstuds, and what’s the crankshafts max output only because I want to push the car 10-20 hp more and I’m about 370-380 to the wheels right now I was wondering what the danger zone is and how to stay out of it
The weakness is between cylinder 2 & 3 which has to be addressed if you push it up to beyond 400-425HP or KABOOM. The chassis/suspension is good well beyond 500+ ponies.
 

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I'd be more worried about the rods letting go before the block.

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Nobody (that I've seen) has pushed a stock car with the updated head gasket on an aftermarket turbo, so we don't know.

The stock block and stock internals will take all that the stock turbo can give it. That's ~420hp with supporting mods.
 

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Nobody (that I've seen) has pushed a stock car with the updated head gasket on an aftermarket turbo, so we don't know.

The stock block and stock internals will take all that the stock turbo can give it. That's ~420hp with supporting mods.
Pretty much this. Everybody got scared off of pushing the platform on stock internals from the headgasket issues, and seems nobody has really pushed since, they just got straight to an engine build if pushing beyond the stock turbo.
There was one supposed stock block car that hit 540whp and ran 11.3, but who knows how long it held, I'd assume at that power level it would be a matter of when, not if it let loose. Not a ton of info on that car out there.
 

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Pretty much this. Everybody got scared off of pushing the platform on stock internals from the headgasket issues, and seems nobody has really pushed since, they just got straight to an engine build if pushing beyond the stock turbo.
There was one supposed stock block car that hit 540HP and ran 11.3, but who knows how long it held, I'd assume at that power level it would be a matter of when, not if it let loose. Not a ton of info on that car out there.
My comment is with the assumption that the head gaskets have been addressed by the Ford Technical bulletin. I could not take my new '17 RS purchased on 04/18 until that procedure was completed. I bought it with 10 miles on the odometer and it was delivered to me with 220 miles (part of the procedure).
Changing topics, The Ford GT circa 2006 came rated stock with 550HP (5.2L) but yet with a simple pulley change on the supercharger, guys were pushing 1000+HP without any additional mods to the block or heads.
Don't get me wrong, I love the RS (my company car) but one must know it's limitations before modifying it for more ponies and torque. The stock RS is a wonderfully engineered motorcar by Ford.
Moderation is the key. The best investment you can make is in yourself. The RS Adrenalin Academy school taught me a lot!
 

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With or without the head gasket issue, what many tuners and you tubers did was the following :

1. Take a Focus RS MK3
2. Add a bunch of mods a la Subaru/Mitsubishi
3. Shake but not stir
4. Ignore the clear signs that this is not a JDM ricer
5. Clickbait for hits and call out that the car is crap and the club can’t handle it right now. All must buy forged and redo the engine !






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curious why you say rods. Our RS motor uses full forged internals
Just because they are forged doesn't mean that they are rated to take 500hp.
They would be rated for OEM power levels.


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this was shared in a whatsapp group yesterday. claims 500whp for 30k miles and stock engine. 🤷‍♂️

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Damn I love this thread, very informative. Yes I admit, I'm one of those people afraid to push this motor further cuz of all the issues discussed in this forum/worldwide, and have experienced issues including rod knock. Ford was kind enough to give me a new 2018 engine. About 2-3k miles in, it's running strong and no issues, leaks resolved, etc. (woohoo! Thanks to the two techs that owned an ST and an RS they know their ****!). Keep it up guys I wanna know what's the best, cost effective route to push this engine up to 380-400whp.
 

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The Ford 2.3 Ecoboost block is good. Always has been always will be.

2.3L Block cracking / Headgasket update. This is going to be VERY long, but worth the read.

I have posted about this before, and we have came up with a “fix” for the 2.3L block cracking along the head stud bosses on the side of the block. However this is STILL not a fix for the block cracking issue. After further investigation and testing, we have determined the cause of the factory blocks cracking on the 2.3L variants.

Deep breath, time to mash the keyboard

It has been believed that the cause of the blocks cracking have been the fact that the head stud bosses are weak and/or have casting flaws. The upward force from compression/big boost on the cylinder head has been putting stress on the side of the block and causing a stress crack as shown in PICTURE 1 below (factory engine, not built).

This is not the case, in fact in nearly every instance of a block cracking a blown headgasket has accompanied it. I say nearly because not everyone has been documented accurately. On the Focus RS side of documentation there have been mentions of the block being cracked, but never mentioned if the headgasket failed as well. Most of the time when a dealer gets a cracked block Focus RS/Mustang in their shop they simply pull and install a new OEM longblock. Obviously if you follow the Focus RS pages and many blog post you know there is a headgasket problem with the Focus RS.

This blows my mind as I have mentioned it as a problem on the Ecoboost Mustang side, instead people want to blame engine failures on the Mustang 2.3L side on the tune or simply because Ford cheap on the rods/pistons. There are no differences between the Ecoboost Mustang and Focus RS block. The only difference is the block has a machined provision for the PTO/PTU on the Focus RS and the Mustang uses the provisions to mount the engine. (Cylinder head gets different exhaust valve springs, otherwise the same)Yet, it is a HEAVILY documented issue on the Focus RS side but not the Mustang side. Reason? The Focus RS is a limited production vehicle, and nearly every owner is an enthusiast, nobody really buys a Focus RS just because they liked the way it looked on the lot. If they did, they would have just bought a Focus ST. RS Owners are a tight nit group, and as we all know Enthusiast’s love Forums and Facebook groups. So, it gets documented. The Mustang is massed produced, some people just drive their cars and enjoy it and never mod them. So when a failure comes a long it is either documented with a false reason or just not documented at all. So let’s thank the Focus RS group for being logical and sticking together to make sure it is documented (See link below for documented cases)

RS Failed/Leaking Head Gasket Data Collection

Since the Ecoboost Mustang came out it has received 5 part number changes/revisions. Some say it is because Ford changed suppliers, some say it is small minor changes to increase efficiency in the manufacturing process. Or maybe it is because Ford was chasing their tail on trying to solve engine/headgasket failures?

Back on topic, so whats happening?

Multiple things, but the root cause (In my opinion) is the headgasket. When the headgasket fails it fails in two parts. This is based on my personal research from the different engines we have disassembled and cars we have had failures on. The gasket fails between cylinder 2 and 3, and it is looking like the headgasket fails majority on the #3 side. When it fails it pushes coolant into cylinder 2. Now there have been multiple symptoms of a headgasket failure. If it fails during normal driving you start to get misfires and smoke out the exhaust. If it fails under load you can have the same symptoms or even worse an engine failure. Going back to blaming Ford for using cheap rods/pistons, this is true, they are cheap, but this is an economy oriented engine and it was never meant to see high horsepower. With that said, when the gasket blows under load the cylinder pressures are increased from detonation and the fact that coolant is non-combustable. So the weakest point loses, and in some cases that is the rod and it shoots out the side of the block.

So, why is the block cracking?

If you don’t chuck a rod, when the second stage of the gasket failing happens all the pressure from the cylinder goes out into your coolant jackets surrounding your cylinders. We are talking an EXTREME amount of cylinder pressure especially if there is detonation from coolant being in the cylinder. The coolant system only sees about 20psi during normal operation, so seeing 1000psi+ of cylinder pressure is extremely stressful on a system not designed for it (Coolant system).

In this case the weakest point is where the cylinder head bolts/studs go into the block. See PICTURE 2 and 3 below, you will see that where the block cracks is located on the exhaust side of cylinder #2. Besides this being a weak spot based on casting design alone this is also the highest area on a block when in operation. This is where the TURBINE side of your turbo sits. So when the recipe for disaster was already at a critical point, we sprinkle a little bit of 1500°F+ into the mix. So the material here is thin, and soft from the heat of the turbo charger. There is a heatshield on the turbine housing on the OPPOSITE side of the block so the heat is being retained in this area.

Now that we went over why the block is cracking, lets go over some headgasket fun.

In pictures 4-9 you will see the revised gasket from Ford on top of the previous gasket that was in the Focus RS. Mustang guys, you have the previous gasket still to this date. I have not disassembled a 2017+ Engine yet to see if the gasket is different but as of recently the 2016 engine had the gasket shown on the bottom (4 pieces).

Picture 4: Shows original gasket versus revised gasket

Picture 5: Shows layers held together by Brass Rivets versus a dimple press. Brass rivets are a MUCH better way of assembling layers on a gasket. Just watch out in swap scenarios where the brass rivet might sit on the block and head mating surface.

Picture 6: Showing the original gasket has more coolant holes than the revised gasket. The revised gasket is has blocked off these ports from flowing coolant from block to head and vice-versa.

Picture 7: Showing the original gasket has two coolant relief holes on both the intake and exhaust side (Exhaust side hole is covered by the revised gasket). Revised gasket only has one MUCH larger hole on the exhaust side.

Picture 8: Showing both gaskets disassemled

Picture 9: Showing what I believe the cause of the failure is on the original gasket. This thin layer that sits between the layers is obviously only “working” near the bore. This layer is .0015″ thick, and the relief holes are also present in this layer. This means the material between the HIGH pressure of the cylinder and the coolant relief is only .0015″ and .1345″ wide.. Not much sealing surface to do such a strenuous job. The revised gasket does not have this layer, instead it has a full-size layer that is 3x and thick doing the job and the distance between relief hole and cylinder is doubled, and eliminated on the intake side.

The original gasket I pictured below came off an engine that showed signed of seeping in cylinder 3. Luckily we caught it before it completely failed. The revised gasket came off the engine with “ORANGE” pistons in it. That orange is from race-gas, so that tells you the engine was ran pretty hard and it did not fail. The revised gasket is doing it’s job, so far. This is also the gasket that is present on Arthur Bianchi’s car that we made 520whp/500wtq with. His engine was built before we had our hands on JE gaskets. So again, so far so good.

Now, previous fixes, and fixes moving forward.

As most of you know we use 2.0 blocks for all of our builds for the Focus RS. The 2.0 block is robust in this area of cracking, and on the entire side of the exhaust side of the block. Though it is a 2.0L block, the displacement is 2.3L just like factory as we use all 2.3L internals. This completely eliminates the block cracking issue, and gives us a closed deck block versus an open deck block. For the 2.3L blocks, middle of 2017 we started welding the blocks in the area of failure to hopefully eliminate the cracking issue. However, this was wrongly diagnosed as the mountain of text above disclosed. So welding on the bolt/stud bosses did not fix the issue.

See PICTURE 10 below, this was Version 1 proposed fix. We welded the void under the bosses and the bosses themselves.

PICTURE 11 and 12 below shows that with Version 1’s fix the block still gets hairline cracks on the SIDE. So we just moved the failure point, so this is not a fix.

Picture 13 shows Version 2 proposed fix. This is a SOLID option, however it does not address the sides of the bosses that also crack as shown in Picture 11/12.

Below is going to get into TunePlus, Inc customer territory, so if you aren’t a customer or have no desire to be a customer (Steve Tabe, hate you) stop reading here unless you want to see what we are offering

All of the above proposed fixes were for something that wasn’t even the root of the problem. Not to mention it was just moving the point of cracking to the next weakest area. The problem is the headgasket itself, keep the headgasket from failing, and your golden. However, as an extra step of precaution we are also going to start using 2.0L blocks in the Ecoboost Mustang as well. We will be making a jig that holds a 2.3L Block just like the factory mounts do, then mocking up the 2.0L block and building mounts for it to drop in without any fabrication on the customers end. This eliminates the need to replace the 2.3L block if you magically pop a JE Headgasket (to date, no JE gaskets have failed, even beyond 600whp) and crack the block and the added benefit of a closed deck block.

So, while it does suck that we had to build a few engines in late 2016, early 2017 with OEM gaskets, we had no choice as there were no other option available on the market. Blaming the fact that the block wasn’t welded isn’t going to fly as you can see. So for any customer that has a built engine by us with a OEM gasket we will send you a JE Gasket for F-R-E-E. If your OEM gasket failed on your built engine and cracked the block we will build you a new 2.0L (2.3 Displacement) shortblock 100% AT COST. If you ship the car to us we will give a significant discount on labor as well. Other companies would just say “Ford’s Fault, we built with what we had available”. While that is true, we never want anyone to regret any purchase decision they made so we are offering to get you up and running for as little cost out of pocket as possible.

If it weren’t for the Focus RS group having shared their different types of failures it would have taken us longer to come up with what we think is the linked cause of failure. So shout out to those guys/gals!
 

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The Ford 2.3 Ecoboost block is good. Always has been always will be.

This is not the case, in fact in nearly every instance of a block cracking a blown headgasket has accompanied it.
So, why is the block cracking?

If you don’t chuck a rod, when the second stage of the gasket failing happens all the pressure from the cylinder goes out into your coolant jackets surrounding your cylinders. We are talking an EXTREME amount of cylinder pressure especially if there is detonation from coolant being in the cylinder. The coolant system only sees about 20psi during normal operation, so seeing 1000psi+ of cylinder pressure is extremely stressful on a system not designed for it (Coolant system).

THIS!!!! We are talking an EXTREME amount of cylinder pressure especially if there is detonation from coolant being in the cylinder.
We are talking an EXTREME amount of cylinder pressure especially if there is detonation from coolant being in the cylinder.
Great Read!!! Thank You.
I had no idea the head gasket was the cause of the Block Cracking. I thought it was because Cylinder 2 and 3 are weak and it's an Open Deck design
and the engine just can't handle more than 500hp at the crank. But now.....who knows how high you can really go with the correct gasket.

I saw a video somewhere on YouTube of a stress test on an ST Block (Closed Deck). It finally blew up on the engine dyno at around 770hp. I've been looking for that video but can't seem to find it.



I bought it with 10 miles on the odometer and it was delivered to me with 220 miles (part of the procedure).
You've got to be kidding me. 210 extra miles for the "head gasket procedure debacle"? Dealer Mechanics do things different I suppose to get the same result.

They put 6 miles on mine after installing the head gasket AND a new head and said "You're all set. Here you go. Good as new. Have a nice day.". I've had no issues since.
 
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