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Old 08-05-2009, 11:07 AM   #1
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Calling All Ford 6.0 PSD Owners!!!

I usually stay in the travel trailer part of this forum, however this is one subject I believe needs to be addressed with all Ford owners with the 6.0 Power Stroke Diesel engine.

As all of us 6.0 owners know, the engine isn't exactly the most reliable in the world. Poor engineering of certain components is certainly to blame. For example, the oil cooler is prone to clogging and failure, which leads to EGR cooler failure. The EGR itself can get coked up and fail as well. The Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) system is abysmal and spits oil back into the turbo, causing oil coat the silicone boots and dribble down the Charge Air Cooler (CAC) tube, to the Intercooler. The Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) can get coked up from the CCV, causing the vanes of the turbo to stick, which can cause underboost, overboost or turbo failure. The coolant bottle (better known as the Degas bottle) spews coolant out from the cap and all over the engine compartment. Heads warp and fail. Wiring harnesses tend to chafe, causing all sorts of gremlins to appear, i.e.: no start conditions, surging, sudden shut-off, etc...

One of the best ways to begin alleviating these failures is to look at the source of the problem. Since I'm no engineer, but a certified rotary wing aircraft mechnic, I like to look at things in what I call the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), so please don't think I'm talking down to you...it's just how I understand things. Let's start with the cooling system.

The cooling system is filled at the Degas (should actually be De-gas...sounds too much like a French painter) bottle, and fills the radiator. The coolant flows from the radiator into the engine, through the oil cooler, up to the EGR cooler, around the engine and back into radiator to be cooled, and the cycle starts all over again. Easy, right? Well, here is where Ford and Navistar (aka International Harvester) cut corners, in my opinion.

When Navistar cast the engine blocks, casting sand was left in the engines. This casting sand proceeds to find its way around the cooling system, clogging the first thing it encounters, which is the oil cooler. This is what leads the oil cooler to overheat and fail. The heat melts the solder, and leaks into the oiling system. This first failure leads to a secondary failure, the EGR cooler.

Since the oil cooler is clogged with casting sand, not enough coolant is getting to the EGR cooler. The heat from the exhaust, which is delivered via the up-pipe from the exhaust manifold, is anywhere from 750* to as high as 1300*, depending on what the truck is doing, i.e.: regular driving, towing, hot-rodding, etc... The exhaust heat melts the solder in the cooling fins inside the EGR cooler, causing what coolant there is to leak out into the intake system, causing the engine to hydrolock. Keep in mind that the oil cooler does not have to be clogged, for the EGR cooler to fail. The exhaust heat can still cause the solder in the cooler to melt. One failure will lead to another, but it doesn't necessarily have to fail in order for the other to fail (I hope that made sense!).

In the first years of the 6.0, many owners experienced these problems and promptly took their vehicles in to their Ford dealers under warranty. What we saw was a lot of 6.0s getting their heads replaced. The theory was that the Torque To Yield (TTY) bolts, which hold the heads to the engine block, were failing under extreme use (towing, or programming). Ford replaced many heads, as a result, but it is now believed that the culprit was actually the cooling system, not the TTY bolts. This isn't to say that TTY bolts are the cat's meow...they're not, but we'll talk about that later.

So, what do we do to remedy our cooling system problem? The first thing I would do is flush my cooling system completely. Refer to TSB 08-23-1 for a step-by-step process on how to do this. The instructions are simple and very effective.

After your cooling system is thoroughly cleaned and still empty (do not refill with coolant yet!), install a coolant filtration system. I bought mine from www.dieselsite.com and total cost was around $170, which is cheap insurance vs paying for a new oil cooler, EGR cooler, engine, you get the idea. If a dummy like me can install the coolant filtration system, anyone can. It took me about an hour to get everything installed and was very straightforward.

Once you have the cooling filtration system installed, you can now refill your cooling system. Do NOT, I say again, do NOT fill it back up with Motorcraft Gold Coolant (aka VC-7). Instead, refill the system with Fleetrite Extended Life Coolant (ECL). This is what International Harvester uses in their VT-365 engines (aka 6.0 PSD for Ford owners). This coolant is cherry red in color and is good for 300,000 miles for passenger vehicles and 600,000 for Over The Road (OTR) truckers. Once your cooling filtration system is installed, make sure you change the filter after 500 miles of use, then change again at 1000 miles of use, then change again after six months of use and then just change yearly after that. The filtration system will get all of the casting sand out of the engine left by Navistar.

So, will this eliminate cooling system problems? Well, it will go a long way, but in my opinion it will not eliminate it completely. The next step is to eliminate the EGR and the EGR cooler completely. If you're a law-abiding citizen, ignore what I just said, but keep in mind that you're trying to make this engine bulletproof.

I bought my EGR delete kit from www.rivercitydiesel.com after doing my research. There are many companies out there who make this kit (gee, I wonder why?) but, in my opinion, River City Diesel's design is superior to the others, because it eliminates the possibility of leaks due to vibration. I had my local modification-friendly diesel shop do the installation, and it ran me $570 out the door. The kit includes a new stainless steel up-pipe, to ensure that there are no exhaust leaks, as well as a stainless steel cap for the hole where the EGR sits.

If you want to leave the EGR in place for asthetic reasons (and to make it look like you're legal), you can do that too, just make sure the EGR is unplugged. CAVEAT: Some year model 6.0s will display a Check Engine Light (CEL), after unplugging the EGR. A programmer like the SCT will shut that light off for good. It has been my experience that the 2004 6.0 models do NOT display a CEL, after unplugging the EGR.

Okay, since we're now outlaws, the next thing to do is to gut the catalytic converter. My local mod-friendly diesel shop charges $150 to do this. What they do is cut the converter from the exhaust system, gut the innards of the converter and weld the shell back on the exhaust system. But, Frederic, what does this do, you might ask? Well, it will increase your MPGs, is what it will do. Figures vary, but my mod-friendly diesel mechanic has seen 6.0s get 3MPGs more. I know, the green peace-loving hippies are calling me all sorts of names right now, but I have personally seen a 6.0 truck with these modifications done burn cleaner, than a gasoline engine with all of its emission controls on and intact, on an emissions sniffing machine. I don't buy into the fact that, if the government tells me to do it, it's for my benefit. It's for the money folks! But I digress....

Another area to look at is those pesky TTY bolts, which hold the heads on the engine. For peace of mind, I would replace these with head studs. ARP and A1 make a great product, though A1 H-11 head studs are rated for a higher PSI strength than ARP. Price for head studs varies, but you can look at spending around $500 for a set. Installation cost will vary as well...I've seen prices as low as $1700 and as high as $3000...shop around. Is this a necessity? Well, that all depends on your driving habits. If you tow everyday, or if you have a programmer on your engine, I would say that, yes, it is definitely a necessity. If you do everyday normal driving, then probably not.

What we need to understand about the 6.0 is that, while it is almost identical to its International Harvester VT-365 brother, Ford had Navistar push the programming limits of the engine to its breaking point, in order to win the peeing contest of Horsepower (HP) and Torque (TQ) against Duramax (Chevrolet) and Cummins (Dodge).

The 2004 6.0 puts out 325 HP and 565 lb/ft TQ, compared to the VT-365, which put out 300 HP and (don't quote me on this) I believe 500 lb/ft TQ. That might not sound like a lot, but when you're dealing with precision engines, it's a world of difference.

Ford won the HP/TQ peeing contest, but only for a few months in '04, until Cummins up'd the ante with its 5.9 610 engine (325 HP/610 lb/ft TQ). So we now get to reap the sorrow of those short-term bragging rights.

If you do have problems with your turbo lagging or surging, and you're out of warranty, then follow TSB 07-21-4 and you might save yourself one helluva repair bill.

The last thing I'm going to say about this engine (because my fingers are starting to hurt and my mind is starting to think about brunch) is that I would NEVER EVER put a power programmer on it, for the simple reasons I stated in the above paragraphs, unless you really want a $15,000 boat anchor on your hands.

What I have written is not intended to diagnose any problems you might have with your engine. It is also the understanding of the persons reading this post that deleting your EGR and your catalytic converter is against the law and will void any warranty you might have. If you live in an area that doesn't have emissions, then I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I hope this long-winded post helps someone out there frustrated with their 6.0 engine.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:17 AM   #2
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any similar problems with the 6.4?
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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Man! If I didn't want to buy a Ford Diesel before, I'm certainly convinced now.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #4
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Bob,

The only problems I've heard of and seen with the 6.4 is a bunch of radiator failures. I don't know the cause of this problem, but I would suspect it's either a design flaw, wrong construction material or the radiator isn't big enough to cool. From what I've heard (and I cannot confirm this), Ford has been replacing the radiators with larger models from, I believe, the F450 or F550.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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thanks, I only have 3700 miles on it and other than 11 mpg I have no complaints.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:57 AM   #6
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Man! If I didn't want to buy a Ford Diesel before, I'm certainly convinced now.
Well, Steve, I'm with you on that one. The one thing to remember, though, is that every diesel engine has its flaws, even the mighty near-indestructible Cummins. I've owned a 2001 and a 2005 CTD. The '01 had serious fuel pump issues, which eventually led to Injector Pump failure. The Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (APPS) was also prone to failure. Granted, these are pretty reasonably fixed problems, but they still cost money to fix. The '05 had CP3 Injection Pump problems, and both models were prone to exhaust manifold cracking, due to excessive heat.

The way I look at it, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. If I can eliminate the possibility of failure in my 6.0 PSD and keep it running reliably for a long time, then I'm going to do what needs to be done. Realistically, I only have about $1200 of parts and labor in the truck, to make it reliable. Personally, I'm a fan of the Cummins, and when we get the money down the road, I will probably take the truck to www.autoworldmt.com to have a Cummins transplanted in place of the PowerStroke.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:58 AM   #7
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thanks, I only have 3700 miles on it and other than 11 mpg I have no complaints.
Bob, you might want to consider an EGR and DPF delete for your truck, to boost your MPGs. If you haven't visited this site yet, you might want to take a look at it and research your options: www.thedieselstop.com

Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:02 PM   #8
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I had a 2004 6.0 SRW that blew the head gaskets and oil cooler at 60,000 miles. Since I had a Banks system on it Ford voided the warranty and it cost me about $10,000 for a cab-off repair. Just a couple of months later DW put the truck over on its side (she's fine) totalling it. We replaced that truck with a used 2006 6.0 DRW (gluttons for punishment). Less than a 1,000 miles after purchase, at 39,000, the check engine light came on. "Foreign metal object in cylindar eight." Ford replaced the motor under warranty. I've got about 20,000 miles now since the replacement.

Its a great truck with an unreliable motor. The warranty is good to 100,000 if you don't do anything to void it, which is just about anything. Even the aftermarket reusable air cleaner systems will void the warranty. I'm keeping it bone stock to 100k and when the next motor replacement time comes it'll be a Cummins.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by StingrayL82 View Post
Bob, you might want to consider an EGR and DPF delete for your truck, to boost your MPGs. If you haven't visited this site yet, you might want to take a look at it and research your options: www.thedieselstop.com

Good luck.
thanks for the advice, I am just afraid to change anything until the warranty runs out, which will be a few years at the rate I am putting on the miles, I have had it 5 months and only 3700 miles.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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Somewhere I read that the next motor to be installed in a Ford is an inline 6 Diesel made by Volvo, anyone else know or here anything on this subject..? If it's true there's a chance I'll drive a Ford again. But untill that happens its a Dodge in my driveway.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:32 PM   #11
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Since I seem to be among Diesel "experts" here, what is the opinion on the GM Duramax Diesel?
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:37 PM   #12
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While I admit that some have had problems with this engine, I've yet to have a single problem with the Ford/Navistar 6.0L PSD. The only problem I've had with the Excursion is that the A/C has failed twice, once under warranty and once not under warranty.

Another thing to consider is that Ford didn't take hand outs from the Government like Chevy and Dodge.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:39 PM   #13
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Somewhere I read that the next motor to be installed in a Ford is an inline 6 Diesel made by Volvo, anyone else know or here anything on this subject..? If it's true there's a chance I'll drive a Ford again. But untill that happens its a Dodge in my driveway.
Stu, the next Ford diesel is going to be an in-house engine, designed by Ford engineers. Ford and Navistar parted ways due, in part, to all of the lawsuits resulting from the failures of the 6.0. It will house compond turbos in the valley of the engine.

Here is an exerpt from another website:

"Sources say Ford continues to make good progress testing its upcoming in-house-designed 6.7-liter V-8 diesel engine. The new engine will replace the Navistar-sourced 6.4-liter V-8 Power Stroke diesel engine in Fordís heavy-duty pickups by 2011. Code-named Scorpion, the new motor is said to pack plenty of sting ó plus a few other surprises.
The latest power targets are said to be more than 390 horsepower and 720 pounds-feet of torque. Todayís Power Stroke diesel is rated at 350 hp and 650 pounds-feet.
Scorpion fuel economy is expected to improve by 3 mpg or more compared to the current Power Stroke. Helping the Scorpionís mileage will be a new six-speed automatic transmission, like the 2009 Ford F-150 will have.
How important is this motor? The move is expected to permanently end Fordís longtime use of Navistar-built diesel engines in its heavy-duty pickups, due to an ongoing legal battle between the two companies over warranty and cost issues related to the old 6.0-liter V-8 Power Stroke (model years 2003-07). Ford has used Navistar diesels in its F-Series trucks since 1982.
Itís not yet known if the Scorpion will continue to use the Power Stroke name or if Ford will create a brand new label for the engine.
Hard to believe but from the looks of this mule, the Super Duty may grow a bit bigger than the current truck to accommodate the larger displacement Scorpion diesel. Its raised hood is taller across almost its entire width and it has an overbite, hanging slightly over the current modelís big chrome grille."

It will be interesting to see how this engine performs.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:44 PM   #14
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Since I seem to be among Diesel "experts" here, what is the opinion on the GM Duramax Diesel?
Steve, I'm not very versed on the Duramax, other than what I've heard from mechanics. The early versions of the Duramax were prone to high heat, causing the intake manifold to warp slightly and blowing the manifold gaskets. I know that one Duramax owner initiated a lawsuit against GM and introduced video proof of an early to mid 90's Cummins 12V motoring by his new Chevrolet Duramax, while towing a 36' 5th wheel uphill. The Duramax was towing a smaller trailer and you can see the engine temp gauge pegging out and the idiot light coming on. The Duramax could not accelerate past 62MPH either.

I do know that there are/were two versions of the Duramax, the LLY and the LB7, though I don't know what the differences are.

As far as "expert", I rely solely on my experiences. I was very ignorant of the 6.0PSD, until I bought one....big mistake on my part. Then again, if I weren't so damned stubborn, I would still have my 2005 2500HD Ram CTD.
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