Ford's Predator Engine

Ford's Predator Engine

Last Updated August 30, 2021 | Meghan Drummond

Ford’s been through many versions of its Coyote engine. Even from the very first generation, Ford made two very different Coyote engines so it could power the Mustang as well as the F-150. Since then, there have been many modifications to improve on what was already a very good engine. The Boss’ Roadrunner variant added displacement, and the Shelby GT350’s Voodoo moved to a flat-plane crankshaft, creating a sound that has pleased enthusiasts since its debut.

For the new Shelby GT500, Ford needed to create an engine that was worthy of carrying the Shelby name, and that meant returning to the basics and rethinking the Coyote engine from the ground up. It looks as though the 5.2L Supercharged V8 Coyote variant, codenamed the Predator, is worth the wait.

Considering the time and research that went into the Predator engine, it makes sense that Ford wouldn’t want to confine it to the realm of Shelbys. Though it was developed for the GT500, it looks like the Predator is going into additional Ford vehicles.

The F-150 Raptor is to off-roading pickups what the Shelby GT500 is to pony cars: A nameplate that’s designated only to be carried by the best of the best. While the Shelby GT500 rivals the Hellcat, the Raptor has to hold its own against the Rebel TRX.

The Hellcat and Rebel TRX use the same 6.2L V8, and it looks like the GT500 and Raptor are going to be using the same engine as well. We’ve already evaluated how the Hellcat and GT500 stack up against each other, but here are the specifics that we know about what make its engine so special.

A bright blue Raptor

Developing the Predator

The Predator engine has been in development for years, and in the process, every other Coyote engine has been improved. This is one of the reasons why Carroll Shelby was initially brought on to create the GT350 and GT500. Creating performance vehicles, researching and developing them, allows for insights that trickle down into the other vehicles that Ford produces.

To develop the individual components of the engine, engineers spent a lot of time building and breaking incredible internal components. This helped them to figure out what pieces needed to be upgraded, where it was safe to cut weight, and where they wanted more reinforcements. A fourth layer of steel on the head gaskets was added to help with flexing, copper-lead bearings were found to be the most resilient for the purposes of the Predator, and other developments were made through the research process.

A diagram of the predator engine
Thanks to Mustang6G for a wonderful diagram

The result is a robust engine, build to withstand the heat that comes from a powerful vehicle.

The 5.2L cross-plane crankshaft is making a reported 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to get anyone’s heart pounding, but just in case, its quarter-mile time is under eleven seconds and it can go from 0-to-60 in three seconds.

Predator Specifications
Horsepower 760 hp
Torque 625 lb-ft
Compression Ratio 9.51:1
Firing Order 1-5-4-8-3-7-2-6
Bore 94.0 mm
Stroke 93.0 mm
Intake Valve Lift 38.33 mm
Exhaust Valve Lift 32.5 mm

Building the Engine

Performance engines don’t just come down the assembly line. They’re build by hand, with care and expertise. In the case of the Predator engine, it’s coming straight from Niche Line.

The cleverly named Niche Line has been a part of Ford since 1996, when they crafted the V8 that was installed in the Mustang Cobra. Much like SVT, the Niche Line only emerges to work on serious performance vehicles.

Just to show the degree of care that Niche is putting into these engines, each will have a personal plaque with the engine builder’s signature.

Tremec DCT Transmission

Of course, all of the power in the world isn’t worth much if you can’t get it to the rear wheels, and that’s why the transmission is equally important.

Though most Raptor and GT500 enthusiasts wanted a manual option, it looks like the transmission that will be paired with the Predator is going to exclusively be Tremec’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Dual-clutch transmissions are becoming an increasingly common sight, especially in performance vehicles.

No human foot can shift gears as quickly as the modern DCTs, and when you have an engine that can go from 0-60 in three seconds you want your shifts to be snappy. The DCT can perform a shift in under 100 milliseconds. For those who still want some control though there is a paddle shifter system that can be activated and will allow for manual up and down shifts.

Because of how powerful the Predator is, this transmission is going to be under a fair amount of stress, which Ford is accounting for. The transmission oil cooler will be flat mounted under the front bumper, and it will be strategically reinforced.

Tremec Dual Clutch Gear Ratios
First 3.14
Second 2.05
Third 1.43
Fourth 1.10
Fifth 0.86
Sixth 0.68
Seventh 0.56
Reverse 2.76

Engine Design Features

The result of countless hours of engineering developments, there’s a lot of features in the Predator. While we can’t write about them all, these are some of the highlights of the Predator’s design.

Though Ti-VCT is nothing new, it definitely helped with the power and performance of the Predator engine. Variable cam timing allows for the intake and exhaust valves to move independently of each other. This allows for greater engine efficiency overall.

Plasma transferred wire arc cylinder liner technology allowed for a .006 inch thick composite coating. This composite replaced the cast-iron cylinder liners and reduced the overall weight of the engine by approximately 8.5 lbs.

The front profiles of three GT500s in a row

The Fail-Safe Engine Cooling System is designed to protect the engine from a loss of coolant. If the engine overheats, half of the cylinders will turn into air pumps to cool the other cylinders. This means that there will be limited engine power, and no air conditioning, but it will keep the engine safe until you can get it to service.

Non-standard driving use means non-standard oil life, and if you own a GT500, it’s likely you’ll be driving a little differently than your standard commuter. Because each individual vehicle will have different needs based on usage and environmental factors, the Predator has an intelligent oil life monitor. This will calculate oil-change intervals based on how the vehicle is being used.

The smart charging alternator controls the voltage of the vehicle’s charging system when speeding up or slowing down. This allows for greater engine efficiency, which in this case means consuming less fuel without sacrificing performance.

Naturally, there are several other significant design features associated with the predator engine.

Bright green Shelby GT500

    Additional Predator Features

  • Cast-aluminum wet sump oil pan
  • Remote air-to-oil engine oil cooler
  • Aluminum viscous crank damper
  • Bar-plate style intercooler
  • Forged-aluminum pistons
  • Forged-steel I-beam connecting rods
  • Bulkhead-style piston oil squirters
  • Hollow stem intake valves
  • Sodium-filled exhaust valves
  • 3.6” single-bore throttle body
  • Sequential multiport fuel injection
  • Large inlet oil pump
  • Cast iron block with steel sleeves

Combined with the numerous other features of the Shelby GT500 and the Ford F-150 Raptor, the Predator is the perfect performance-oriented engine for two very performance-oriented vehicles. Though the Predator’s use in the Raptor hasn’t yet been confirmed, it’s an engine-vehicle combination that makes a lot of sense and makes sure that the Raptor can compete with the best off-road pickups.

Meghan Author Photo

About the Author

Meghan is a Classic Mustang geek with a soft spot for four-eyed Foxes. She has over 300 in-depth articles to her credit that have been cited by some of the top news sites in the US. Read full bio →

Sources: Ford Mustang GT500 Predator Crate Motor: Turn Everything Into Prey, MotorTrend | Here's the 2019 GT500's 5.2L Predator Engine, Mustang 6G | Ford 5.2L Predator Engine | How Niche Line Built the Ford 2020 Shelby GT500 760HP Predator, Fast Muscle Car | Image Credit: Ford, Motor1, Mustang 6G, AutoGuide

Ford's Predator Engine

Every variation of the Coyote engine is a little different than the ones that preceded it and the Predator is no exception. There are a lot of new features that make this engine worth paying attention to, even if you’re not in the market for a GT500. In addition to the GT500, it looks as though Ford is planning to use this engine in some of their other high-end vehicles, including the Raptor.