Powerstroke Head Gasket Repair
Here is a complete detailed list of everything I just finished doing to my personal 2004 F250. My wife drives my kids to school and events with this truck so I wanted it to be 100% reliable.
We pulled the cylinder heads off and had them machined perfectly flat, then they get micro polished to ensure a perfectly smooth mating surface for the head gaskets to adhere to. Then we go another step above and beyond what most shops do on these trucks. We have the cylinder heads machined with O rings in the bottom of them. This means the machine shop cuts a very small groove in the bottom of the head around the cylinder opening. They press in a piece of piano wire that ring protrudes .07 out of the head and doubles the clamping force on the head gasket around the cylinder opening. There really is no way the head gasket can blow once this is done.
We use ARP head studs when we put the new OEM Ford head gaskets on which rids us of those worthless factory Ford, torque to yield head bolts.
We install a new upgraded Ford oil cooler. There is no way to ensure the OEM style oil coolers will not fail again but we do the best to avoid oil cooler failures by recommending our customers come back once a year for a complete coolant flush.
The only thing that can cause the oil cooler to fail is either, overheating the engine, or some trash getting clogged up in the oil cooler. As coolant and oil break down with age, those two fluids leave behind thick slime or sludge. That sludge clogs up the tiny little passages inside the oil cooler, causing the oil cooler to build up pressure in it. That increase in pressure forces the seams in the oil cooler to split and then you end up with oil and coolant mixing which makes a thick paste like pancake batter to clog up all of the coolant passages in the cylinder heads and engine block.
While we have everything tore apart, there are some very pesky little critters buried deep under the valve covers called Dummy rail plugs. These little guys are responsible for delivering highly pressurized oil coming from the High Pressure Oil Pump (HPOP) to the oil rails where it is then fed from the oil rails into the injectors.
These Dummy Rail Plugs from the factory use a cheap rubber O ring. These little rubber O rings are trying to hold back oil that reaches over 3500PSI. That kind of pressure eats the O rings up and your engine develops an internal high pressure oil leak, which means the injectors can’t fire and the truck simply wont run. You would be left stranded. When we are putting your truck back together we install the upgraded Dummy rail plugs that come with polyurethane O rings which can hold that pressurized oil without failing. It’s a $40 part but if you had to replace them later, it would be an 8 hour job to get back down to them.
On the 05 and newer 6.0L engines International fixed the casting flaws that they ran into on the 03-04 6.0L HPOP. But when they made the improved HPOP they got rid of the old style threaded high pressure oil line that connected to the body of the pump, and they switched to a quick connect fitting, this fitting is known to crack due to engine vibration and harmonic vibrations created by the pump. That lil sucker is buried under the HPOP cover which sits down under the Turbo. It’s time consuming and hard to replace later on, we install an upgraded threaded fitting that’s called the STC Bracket update kit. You wont have to worry about it failing again.
Many shops will tell you that the intake gaskets, valve cover gaskets and rocker box gaskets are re-usable. This is true, Ford considers those gaskets to be re-usable. We do not re-use any of the original gaskets. You are spending a lot of money with us, the last phone call I want to get when you pick up your truck, is you telling me the truck has an oil leak. We replace all of those gaskets with brand new ones from Ford.
Some shops will either re-use the EGR cooler, or replace it with a new one. Other shops may hammer plugs into the cooler to block it off, calling that an EGR delete. The bottom line is, the cooler, even once plugged, can still potentially crack causing a massive coolant leak which can over heat your engine. We want to do everything in our power to avoid that engine from ever over heating. We went ahead and replaced the EGR cooler.
Everything listed and mentioned above is included with our $5,200 head gasket bullet proof package.
Above and beyond those parts, I can only advise you on things we see fail after that package deal has been done.
I would highly recommend installing a Bullet Proof Diesel 7.3 fan clutch adapter and fan. The reason I recommend installing a brand new fan clutch, living here in Georgia is awesome, the warm weather is nice but it means we are running our AC for 9 months out of the year. As long as the AC is blasting, the fan clutch is engaged. We see these fan clutches fail almost annually with customers that always bring their trucks to us for service. Chances are yours isalready wore out and may be one of the reasons those head gaskets failed. Even if it appears to be working, it may not be working 100% which will cause the engine to run hot. $460 is cheap insurance to ensure you don’t overheat that engine and crack a head.
Another very vital component to your engine, is the water pump. The factory Ford water pump uses a plastic impeller, that plastic is very brittle and they crack. Once the water pump cracks, it is no longer circulating coolant through the radiator. The coolant just sits in the block and boils, again, overheating the engine and possibly cracking a head.
We use a billet aftermarket water pump that can’t crack. It’s $355 and it’s a lot cheaper than a $1,600 head from Ford.
IF you address all of these little issues, the truck will run for a long time without any issues in the cooling system or with the head gaskets.
The only other part you may want to have us replace while we have it all apart, is the IPR valve (Injector Pressure Regulator) the IPR has a very thin metal screen in the end of it that is very finicky. If any trash gets caught in that screen the IPR will fail. When that happens it doesn’t matter if the truck is running 70 mph down the interstate, or idling in the parking lot, it will shut down abruptly and never start again. It’s a $280 part from Ford and it’s no extra labor to install it while we have the engine tore apart.
Injectors are the only thing we can’t fix for you. There are aftermarket parts available to us that will help the injectors last longer, but the bottom line is those injectors were not designed to run on ultra low sulfur diesel. The sulfur that USED to be added into the diesel fuel, is what helped to lubricate all of those tiny little moving parts inside of the injector. When the EPA mandated the use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel in late 2007, that’s when we started seeing mass injector failures in all of the older diesel engines.
We can installed a FASS fuel system which cost $692 to help better filter the fuel going through your injectors, and it will ensure there is plenty of fuel volume which is also key to longer injector life.