F-150 and Mustang Coyote Engine Comparison

F-150 and Mustang Coyote Engine Comparison

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | Meghan Drummond

The F-150’s Coyote tends to be less expensive to purchase, so people frequently wonder about whether or not it would be a good crate engine candidate for a Coyote Swap. The answer, unfortunately, is a little more complicated than you might expect.

Though both the Ford F-150 and Mustang are available with a Coyote V8 engine, these Coyotes have some differences that are important to understand if you’re considering using an F-150 sourced Coyote. It’s a city-coyote and country-coyote problem.

Despite being released the same year, having the same displacement, and sharing a name, these two coyotes just don’t run in the same packs. That doesn’t mean that an F-150 or Mustang Coyote is necessarily “better” and either can make for a great Coyote swap as long as you know what differences you’re likely to encounter.

An F-150 driving off-road

Performance Differences

In terms of performance, the Mustang’s Coyote has more horsepower and the F-150’s Coyote has more low-end torque, hitting its peak torque at around 3,850 RPM instead of 4,250 RPM like the Mustang. Ford knew that this engine was going into a pickup truck and that it would be made to tow things, to go off-road, and in general, perform all of the duties people expect their trucks to be capable of.

Earlier F-150 and Mustang Coyotes also had a lower compression ratio, but that’s been changed for the third generation of both, which started in 2018. Now, you’ll get a 12.0:1 compression ratio in either Coyote, which means better fuel economy. The higher the compression ratio, the more power you’ll be able to achieve with less fuel.

Coyote Engine Comparison
EngineHorsepowerTorqueCompression Ratio
F-150 First Gen Coyote 385 hp @ 5,750 RPM 387 lb-ft @ 3,850 RPM 10.5:1
Current Gen F-150 Coyote 395 hp @ 5,750 RPM 400 lb-ft @ 3,850 RPM 12.0:1
First Generation Mustang Coyote 412 hp @ 6,500 RPM 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM 11.0:1
Current Gen Mustang Coyote 435 hp @ 6,500 RPM 400 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM 12.0:1

Mechanical Differences

Since there’s a performance difference between the F-150 and Mustang Coyotes, it’s safe to assume that there are several mechanical differences between the two that cause them to have different strengths and weaknesses.

The F-150 Coyote has a cast iron exhaust manifold in contrast to the Mustang’s stainless steel exhaust manifolds. Cast iron is strong but heavy, stainless steel is less strong but substantially lighter. This makes the F-150 Coyote more durable, but less fast than the Mustang. The stainless steel exhaust manifold is also more resistant to weathering and rust.

The stainless steel exhaust manifold is an important feature for the Mustang. When you’re in a pony car, you tend to ride lower to the ground, and that means more rain, road salt, and every other grimy thing that you encounter.

Four different Coyote intake manifolds in a row
These intake manifolds all came out of Coyotes and they’re all very different.

The camshafts between the two are also different. The Mustang has long-duration intake cams while the F-150’s are substantially shorter. The earlier the intake closes the greater the cranking pressure, which is necessary for low-end torque.

Exhaust manifolds and camshafts can be easily changed, so neither of these should be deal-breakers, and if you were already planning on changing from your stock exhaust manifold to a set of long tube or shorty headers, then buying an F-150 Coyote will save you some money.

The F-150 Coyote also has a front-mounted oil cooler, less robust oil pump gears, and no windage tray. The timing cover is less ribbed, and the alternator location is different as well. This is all to say that if you’re planning on doing other substantial performance enhancements, like a supercharger installation, you will want to be very aware of this and evaluate the differences between the superchargers available for the F-150 Coyote as well as for the Mustang Coyote. Superchargers, in particular, have very specific requirements for where things are located and how much space they require.

This means that Coyote swaps with F-150-sourced Coyotes may require more fabrication as well since they aren’t designed for the Mustang’s engine compartment specifically.

Coyote Swapping with an F-150 Coyote

F-150 Coyotes are less performance-focused and less easy to significantly alter than Mustang ones, but given the price differences, there’s no wonder that people are interested in using them for Coyote swaps. The F-150 is the number one pickup in America, and are subsequently relatively easy to find in junkyards, often with Coyotes that haven’t even accumulated many miles.

As long as you’re aware of the differences between the two Coyotes and have decided whether you’re okay with the F-150’s performance specs or are comfortable doing a cam swap, then there’s really no reason not to at least consider an F-150 sourced Coyote.

Slightly used Coyote in back of truck

Different Engines for Different Vehicles

Ultimately, the modular design of the Coyote means that it’s relatively easy to modify in order to accommodate the needs of different vehicles. The abundance and cost of the F-150 Coyote make it a desirable choice, despite the drop in horsepower.

The great thing about either Coyote is that it can be further modified with bolt-ons that will allow you to increase the performance even more. Just remember, if you have an F-150 engine, you’ll need to look at F-150 bolt-ons. The Mustang Coyote is just different enough that it needs its own modifications.

Source:Coyote Swaps: Picking the Right Engine for Your Project, Ford Muscle | An In-Depth Look at the Evolution of the Coyote Engine, MotorTrend | Coyote F-150 Intake Test, SVT Performance | Ford F-150 Review, Car and Driver | Image Credit: Ford | Ford Muscle

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