Ford Authority

2021 Ford F-150 5.0L V8 Coyote To Get Cylinder Deactivation Technology

As we move further and further into the future of transportation, increasing emissions and fuel economy requirements are forcing automakers to become even more clever in their efforts to emit less pollution and burn less fuel. One of the tricks of the trade is cylinder deactivation technology, which in effect shuts down a number of an engine’s cylinders when they’re not needed, so in essence, it behaves like a smaller engine. And this tech is now coming to the 2021 Ford F-150 5.0L V8 Coyote engine, as Ford Authority has learned.

The 5.0L Coyote V8 is the one and only V8 engine available in the 2021 Ford F-150, which is somewhat of a sobering reality. But fans of eight-cylinder engines needn’t fret, because Ford is obviously committed to keeping it around despite every-tightening emissions and economy standards. And according to F-150 engineering manager Dawn Piechocki, this new cylinder deactivation tech is a big part of that effort.

Piechocki told us that this new system is called is called Variable Displacement Engine, or VDE for short. The tech allows the F-150 5.0L Coyote V8 engine to go into four-cylinder mode, thereby shutting off half of its cylinders when they’re not needed. Ford is targeting around one to two percent fuel efficiency gains from this system, and every bit certainly helps. Perhaps more impressively, this system is being developed in-house by Ford, because most automakers outsource it.

Cylinder deactivation provides owners with the best of both worlds – V8 power when it’s needed, and four-cylinder fuel economy and emissions levels when it’s not. Typically, when a cylinder is deactivated, the system closes its intake and exhaust valves. It also stops injecting fuel into the deactivated cylinder. The pistons continue to move up and down, since they’re still connected to the crankshaft, but they aren’t doing anything.

It remains to be seen exactly how Ford’s new VDS technology will operate, but we imagine that it will be similar to existing systems already in use. And for V8 fans, that’s obviously good news for a number of reasons.

We’ll have much more on the new F-150’s innovative features soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Crabbymilton

    Finally some common sense. The turbo V6’s are popular but they should just make the V8 the sole engine in the whole line.

    1. Gregory R Faulkner

      How does it benefit you to see Ford eliminate my favorite engine in the lineup; the 2.7L twin turbo V6 with 400 ft lb torque, graphite composite engine, and up to 22 mpg in the combined rating? I can climb a 5% grade in cruise control at 60 mph and the transmission not even downshift once turning under 1700 RPM. Mine is the previous edition with the 6-speed. The new one is likely even more refined; and not to mention the best seller of the six power trains.

      1. crabbymilton

        That’s what I would do. But that doesn’t mean they would. Sure it’s nice to have a choice of engines. But if you have a V8 that can behave like a 4 by shutting down some cylinders, it would make sense to have one engine as the platform. Most pickups still have the V8 anyway. Not trying to disparage anyone but it makes sense from a cost standpoint. The E SERIES has one gasoline engine. The TUNDRA and TITAN have just one V8.

        1. TheDude

          2022 Tundra will be twin-turbo V6 as top engine choice. May have a V8 option, but probably not the gas-sucking 5.7L.

          1. Barack Trunigger

            @theDude no one cares, none of the parent comments or the article reference your irrelevant comment.

  2. Randy Yauck

    Negatives are long term reliability hasn’t been perfected in other brands, but hopefully Ford engineers will be a better. Of course the best oils and maintenance helps! Cam phasers & electric power steering fall into the same category.

    1. Gregory R Faulkner

      Well this one is not a product offering from the poor quality control folks up in Flint. Dearborn ought to do much better. I mean…look how well twin turbos have been holding up. No one expected that, and as for start/stop, I owned one for twelve years without a hiccup and have had an F150 for five years with start/stop with no problems. Worst thing you have to do is turn it off with a button if you don’t want it to activate. What does so many people prefer to idle their engines; no benefit to it whatsoever except that most people are tempted to ease forward at red lights prompting others to do the same. Maybe start/stop will stop all that nonsense.

      1. Keith

        Careful: Cylinder deactivation is not the same as start/stop. Chevy has cylinder deactivation in my C7 Corvette and it’s awful. Runs on 4 cylinders at speed. Rough engagement when you hit throttle. Just give me the V8 without cylinder deactivation please!

  3. Ryan

    Blah….truck looks like it’ll be nice but I’ll probably end up going for the Superduty to avoid all this garbage. 1% economy savings is not worth the reliability concerns. Same with start/stop

  4. Chris

    I’ve got a neighbor with a GMC with that nonsense. Godawful reliability and uses oil at a alarming rate. WTF is Ford thinking? I was looking to replace my 2016, but now no way.

  5. Keith Gibson

    While I understand the demands for better fuel economy, I’m not seeing cylinder deactivation as a positive situation for the Coyote V8.

    Chevy has had SERIOUS issues using this technology in their V8s so much so their owners have resorted to disabling the technology for increased long-term reliability.

    Bottom line: the Coyote V8 has legendary reliability and performance. Why risk all of that for 1-2% “better” economy in those ridiculous non-real world EPA fuel economy tests?

  6. Gbk2

    It’s all about engineering my friends as long as the bean counters don’t cut corners. Start/Stop works great in city traffic but not so good in other situations. I always thought ford should have given the opportunity to adjust the time for start/stop. But what do I know I’m still driving my 2004 f150 .

  7. Dan Beilman

    There are also Class action Lawsuites against GM for the 8-6-4 technology. I have a friend with a 2018 and it has never ever run right from day one. GM keeps telling him they are working on a fix.

  8. Dan Beilman

    I was going to buy a new 2021 F150 V8 but if they install the deactivation technology i’m not going to. Its on my wifes new Escape and it sucks. She hates it and I do too. The Vibration and humming is very annoying. She seriously thinking of getting rid of the car.My neighbors 2020 GM has been in the shop now 8 times because it gets stuck in 4 cylinder mode and goes through a quart of oil every 1,000 miles or so.He’s in the process of doing the lemon law thing and was going to buy a 2021 F150 but has said hell no if Ford goes to the deactivation.

  9. Mike Stump

    Did Ford fix the rattling, squealing, and knocking problems of the 2018- 2020 5 Liters? Am I the only one that goes to U-Tube?

  10. Jack

    Cyclinder Deactivation. Just one more “technology” to go bad and cause problems.

  11. Dan Beilman

    Not one Auto Manufacture has been able to make the Cylinder Deactivation work correctly nor/or last without issues under warranty or out of warranty. I was going to buy a new 2021 F150 V8. Now it looks like Chevy and Dodge are back in the running. The other worst Engineering issue was making the 4 cylinder a 3 cylinder. The vibration and humming issues are terrible. The Sales of the Escape are way down due to this issue and we have a 2020 Escape SEL and it sucks. The sales of the Bronco and any other vehicle they put this 3 cylinder in will suffer severe sales issues. Ford is designing themselves out of business. What stupid Engineering moves….

  12. steve

    My 2021 V8 – when I put it in Sport mode does the deactivation still apply?


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