problem definitely in the technique; i gotta admit that I've never seen a front 180 look so forced. the thing with the fs 180 is that it's soooo easy to cheat on it and then you develop all sorts of bad technique & that becomes part of your muscle memory and mentally ingrained, too. Basically the (wrong) technique that I developed on the fs 180 is without any upper body rotation at all. I see a lot of people do this because it's so easy to just pop off the lip with your back leg initiating the frontside spin and down you go. Easy fs 180 with no/minimal upper body rotation. You don't need to "spin" to do a fs 180. That said, I've since learned that this bad habit really impeded my progress so I'd steer clear of that technique, too.
You definitely do need to initiate the spin with your upper body, not necessary on 180s but if you work on making that a habit, it will definitely make it easier to progress to 3s and 5s in the future because you'll have better fundamentals. Keep your head turned, you should be blind to the fall-line most of the rotation on a front-3; if you're looking down the fall-line there's a 99% chance that your head is no longer looking over shoulder in the direction of the spin and that will cause you to open up early & stop your rotation, probably at the 90 degree mark although you might be able to force a 180 out of it you won't go any further.