October 20, 2018

6.0L ford diesel problems

6.0L Ford Diesel Problems


The 6.0L Ford is a commonly misunderstood diesel engine. It is thought to be unreliable, worthless and not worth owning.

I personally don’t mind this engine one bit. I have owned 7.3L Fords, I have worked on countless 6.4L Fords and I personally own two modified Cummins powered Dodges.

But after years of working on, repairing and upgrading the 6.0L Ford Powerstroke  I decided it was time to get myself one to tinker on. I actually enjoy working on the 6.0L. They are very easy to tear apart and the few problems they do have are easily fixed with a couple of high quality aftermarket parts that we not only carry, but we find ourselves installing almost daily.

The bottom line is due to the bad public image these trucks have received, they can be picked up fairly cheap now days. Which means there is plenty of extra money left over to make sure they are reliable. This is exactly how I went about purchasing my current 6.0L I found one that the owner was fed up with. They had nothing but problems with it and of course the dealership was sticking them for every last cent they could get out of them.

I picked the truck up with a little over 100,000 miles on it. It was on its second factory turbo, third EGR cooler, second set of cylinder heads ect. You can imagine why the owner was ready to be done with the truck.

Had he taken it to a good performance shop, that actually knew what they were talking about. He wouldn’t have gotten screwed around so badly.

Lets go over the basics.

Problem number 1:

We know the head gaskets are prone to popping. Why? Because there are only 4 head bolts around each cylinder. These torque to yield style bolts stretch under pressure and allow the cylinder heads to lift. The cooling system has some design flaws and people don’t properly service the cooling system.

The Fix:

Install a $550set of ARP head studs. This isn’t a weekend warrior, do it in the shop behind the house kind of an install. The heads need to be surfaced flat, anyone that tells you the heads don’t need machined, doesn’t know what they are doing. This is not a job you want to do twice, do your research and find a shop that knows what they are doing. Here at Lead Foot Diesel Performance we complete around 450 6.0L head gasket jobs a year. We have been doing the same package deal for 9 years now, there are a few things we learned the hard way. We have a solid process using only the best parts.

Problem number 2:

EGR Cooler. The EGR cooler is a dual walled chamber, the one chamber flows spent exhaust gasses through it into the intake manifold, the other chamber is filled with coolant that cools these exhaust gases before they re-enter the engine. Due to traces of casting sand not properly cleaned from the block after casting, the coolant filled section of the EGR cooler becomes clogged and builds up pressure until the internal welds fail. This causes coolant to either pass into the exhaust system which will result in white smoke (steam) out of the tail pipe. Or, you will get an internal coolant leak which allows coolant to run through the intake system.

The simple fix, upgrade the EGR cooler with an aftermarket unit. You can install a coolant filter to help cut down on clogged up coolers. The coolant filtration kit will not only ensure your EGR cooler never becomes clogged again, but it will also avoid the casting sand from getting through your factory oil cooler, radiator and transmission cooler. If you want to really be on top of things, I recommend having the cooling system professionally flushed once a year. Yes, that is way overkill, but it will ensure you are no longer dealing with pressure build up in the cooling system.

With the coolant filtration kit installed you can then install a new factory or high flow aftermarket EGR cooler making your truck 50 state CARB compliant and no more issues with cracked EGR.

You should install a new or aftermarket oil cooler once the coolant filtration kit is installed as your factory oil cooler is most likely clogged or partially clogged which will most certainly result in a turbo failure down the road.

Also make sure you flush and clean the entire cooling system before refilling your truck with new coolant.

These are the main issues we constantly fix at our shop. Once fixed the 6.0L Ford is just as reliable and fun to own as any other diesel light duty pickup on the road today.

High Pressure oil pump failures are fairly common on the 2003 and 2004 6.0L but easily fixed. We can get an aftermarket style HPOP that will not have the same issues as the factory aluminum style pump.

Injector failures are also fairly common, but that isn’t specific to the 6.0L Ford. Diesel engines have always been hard on injectors due to faulty fuel supply and filtration. FASS makes an excellent pump that will solve these injector failures. BUY ONE! If you don’t the injector repair will cost you thousands.

Im sure if you are reading this you will have more questions. Email us, if you have called around asking what to do to your 6.0L Ford and have gotten the answer “Buy a Cummins” get ahold of me directly. I hate this answer and you will never get that kind of horrible customer service from me or the rest of our staff here at Lead Foot Diesel Performance. We know you are proud of your truck and that is why we have made it our job to not only carry, but also install the parts to get you back on the road! 770-267-3322 sales@leadfootdiesel.com

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