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Old 10-27-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
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1978 31' Sovereign
Jackson County , Missouri
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Ford 6.0 Powerstroke engine problems & fixes

It was my turn to discover the many problems with the 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine that pulls my 78 Sovereign. I bought my 2005 F250 new and just tipped 65K on the odo. Pulling a long hill @ 70 mph & 25 lbs boost, I got the ding-chime that drew my attention to the gauges. The engine temperature had SOARED to max-gauge. I got off the pedal and rolled the truck & trailer off-boost, hoping to drop the temperature and knowing not to shut-off the engine yet.

That was my first experience in temperature gauge pegging on this 6.0 Powerstroke. I discovered the radiator low by 2 gallons! I filled with water to get me home and continued down the highway. If I stayed out of heavy load hills with full-boost, I could avoid the temperature climbing again.

Clearly there was a problem. When I researched the 6.0 Powerstroke engine, I learned the 6.0 replaced the 7.3, with turbo and many new mechanical devices on the engine that proved problematic. Here is a typical web address that addresses the many flaws:

Every Ford 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel Issue Solved - Four Wheeler Magazine

I have learned I have about four or five THOUSAND dollars of repairs to be made to my engine. :-( I also learned just about EVERY 6.0 Powerstroke will be plagued with these design failures and require repair or update.

Some of these issues were addressed with Ford factory recalls, like the FICM (fuel injection control module). Other problems are secondary, like a blown head gasket, caused by a backed-up oil-cooler & EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) cooler. There are many expensive problems to fix.

You cannot really trade-off these trucks to get rid of the problems in the engine. EVERY car\truck dealership knows the truth about these engines and don't want the trade.

The bright-side is these problems ARE fixable and the 6.0 Powerstroke engine can be made to run very good and last a long time ... so they say.

There is a cottage industry cropping-up in mechanics dedicated to working on these Powerstroke engines. One common method of repairing this engine involves taking the cab OFF the frame to access the engine. Some mechanics dismiss this option, saying it causes squeak road noise problems later.

I have learned there are fancy upgrades to this engine that raise the costs or repairs considerably. Also, some of these high-dollar upgrades are not necessary to make the engine work good in a stock configuration. (ex: fuel pressure modulator & dead-head injection)

I usually wrench my own stuff. I'm booked right now, so I'm handing-off wrench to expert Powerstroke mechanics. Stay tuned. I'll document.

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Old 10-27-2013, 09:18 PM   #2
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One important thing I learned is this: If you have a 2003-2007 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine, you already have problems happening that need to be fixed before they cause major engine damage, like the blown head gasket (common).

First and foremost is the antifreeze\oil cooler. They suffer from manufacture flaws and get clogged-up with sand, grit & solids from the antifreeze. This blocks coolant flow and gets to the EGR cooler, where further damage is done. The EGR coolers often fail, by boiling the antifreeze and splitting their seams, letting antifreeze leak into the exhaust. Both units need to be replaced. There are two options regarding the EGR cooler: EGR upgrade replacement or EGR delete option. There are pros & cons to each way and up for discussion later.

FUEL FILTERS:
Always make sure you are replacing the fuel filters (there are TWO) every 5 thousand miles or so. (Check service manual for actual recommendation) Drain the "horizontal fuel conditioning module" monthly to get the water out. A hex Allen wrench is used.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:18 AM   #3
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Yes indeed, welcome to the world of 6.0 ( and 6.4 ) PS ownership. You are right about the resale value of these trucks being effected by their reputation, so once you have bought one, you effectively "own" the issues until they are fixed.
Since you got the water temp very hot under high boost, there is a fair chance you have warped the heads. When it's apart, this will of course need to be looked at carefully.
The cottage industry you refer to "growing up" around these trucks is pretty well established now since these have been around for so long now. I have no way of knowing what the numbers and percentages are, but I would bet that good percentage of these trucks that were bought for commercial use have now been retired out of the fleet, so in the coming few years, I suspect we will see a dramatic decline in the reported problems, since the number of the trucks remaining in service will fall off. Many companies who owned them simply bailed out on them because they could not afford the downtime.
Ours has suffered many of the normal failures, and it ( '06 model ) only has 40K miles. The good news of it was that most of the failures occurred while it was still under warranty. The bad news is it is now of course out of warranty, so the issues are now on our nickel.
Again, though there is some good news, and that is, when it runs, it pulls 14K pounds well.
Body integrity on ours is rather questionable as well, but hey, if it will just run so we can keep pulling the horse and equipment trailers, I can live with rattles and rust.
It's too bad Ford doesn't build with the same attention to detail and quality that Nissan and Toyota do. My daily driver Nissan Frontier ( same year as the F350 ) has twice the miles, is also used to pull a small horse trailer or my camper, and still has no rattles, no rust, and literally still looks almost new.
Bottom line is, I won't buy another Ford product, based on this ownership experience. Having said that, I have a buddy with a new 6.7 powerstroke, and so far his has been troublefree.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:31 AM   #4
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We love the truck, but the engine issue is pretty annoying. We haven't done anything to fix ours yet. I wish I'd realized how bad this issue was when doing the research before buying it.

Also, there's already a fairly long thread here about this issue.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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The guy across the street had the blown head gasket and they told him the best way was to take the cab off. That was a ford dealer. He drove it over to Car max and they gave him a # he was happy with and has a new truck now.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater View Post
We love the truck, but the engine issue is pretty annoying. We haven't done anything to fix ours yet. I wish I'd realized how bad this issue was when doing the research before buying it.

Also, there's already a fairly long thread here about this issue.
And I certainly do not mean to turn this into a Ford bashing thread. When it comes to driving this dually, I will admit I enjoy the truck. What the heck, I even like all the noise it makes. The new 6.7 is so quiet, you almost can't tell it's a diesel. How much fun is that ?
I'm not a fan of automatic transmissions ( my Nissan is a manual ), but even I, the guy that hates automatics will admit the Ford 5R110 is a nice trans, that works well. Running around empty, it is kind cool that it steps up thru the gears and is in fifth gear by 33 mph.....all while keeping up with traffic. 4.10 gears allow the upshifts to come quickly.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geezernbabe View Post
The guy across the street had the blown head gasket and they told him the best way was to take the cab off. That was a ford dealer. He drove it over to Car max and they gave him a # he was happy with and has a new truck now.
Heh, heh......yeah, in that case, he was "happy with taking it on the chin" then. Guarantee they (carmax) low-balled that deal. At the point of failure, a lot of folks just want to bail out and chalk it up to experience. I can appreciate that, but it's just not in my nature to throw stuff out and lose money in the process.
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
What the heck, I even like all the noise it makes. The new 6.7 is so quiet, you almost can't tell it's a diesel. How much fun is that ?
I came from a Ford 460 in the B190. Those things are mechanical music, and it always felt like that engine was raring to go - I'd fire it up, tap the pedal, and just listen to its roar. (I'm not talking about exhaust sound...I'm talking about engine sound.) I don't think I'll ever truly get used to the noise of the 6.0L.

On the other hand, towing the Airstream up the Allegheny Mountain tunnel on the PA Turnpike and realizing I'm doing 70 mph is quite nice, too.

Quote:
I'm not a fan of automatic transmissions ( my Nissan is a manual ), but even I, the guy that hates automatics will admit the Ford 5R110 is a nice trans, that works well. Running around empty, it is kind cool that it steps up thru the gears and is in fifth gear by 33 mph.....all while keeping up with traffic. 4.10 gears allow the upshifts to come quickly.
I bought an aftermarket warranty for ours specifically because I've had so much trouble with automatic transmissions - two GMs and one Ford (the E4OD in the B190). Looks like the transmission wasn't the issue with this truck. Sigh.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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I drive a 6.7 Dodge myself, but recently came across a guy in Culpeper, Va that "bullet proofs" 2-3 6.0's a week. Once done, the 6.0 is a fine engine. He machines the heads, does all the right stuff. If anyone needs the name shoot me a PM. He is good, really good.

And yep, he takes the cab off.

John
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:48 PM   #10
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We had one of these trucks as an ambulance.

The so-called fixes did not turn out to be as permanent as one might be lead to believe.


Where I in the same shoes, I think i would take the hickey and walk away.


There is nothing more miserable than sitting beside the road in a rig one was worried about in the first place.

Regards,

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Old 10-28-2013, 07:50 PM   #11
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Experience is a great teacher. I have owned two 7.3 diesels with exceptionally good results. I bought an '06 model F-250 with the 6.0 mistake for an engine. With just over 87,000 miles the temp pegged and warning light said check engine temp. I carried it to the dealer and they replaced the oil cooler and the EGR cooler for a price of $2100.00 of which I paid $1400.00 and FMC paid $700.00. I thinking perhaps everything was OK pulled my Airstream about 400 miles round trip. On the way home the check engine light came on again. It reset when the engine was stopped and restarted. I came to the dealer and traded for a 6.7 F-250 and drove it one year (24,000 mi) with no problems. I traded for another 6.7 F-250 and have had it 11 months (23,000 mi) and have nothing but good to say about the new Ford diesels. The new transmissions are great as well. I do a lot of pulling in the mountains and I could not be better satisfied with my tow vehicle.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:52 AM   #12
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Skater: I searched airstream forums first and did not find any info on the 6.0 before I decided to start this thread. Certainly redundancy is unnecessary. I looked in "tow vehicles" sub-dir, and used the search keywords "ford" and "6.0 powerstroke". Nothing popped-up for me that had any information, except for an old thread I had started back in 2009, when my engine was running good. That is why I decided to start this tread and share my experiences as I go through the repairs that are needed and consider the upgrades that really cost a ton of money. (I drive & tow in stock-trim.) If there is indeed another long-thread on the 6.0, could you give me the link?
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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Here it is.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:54 AM   #14
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EDGE JUICE (with "attitude") off the shelf tuner-chips experience:

I purchased this product several years ago and paid $1000.00 for it. (don't laugh, please) The promise was better performance, more power, better fuel economy, etc. None of those things happened. (The gauge-pod is cool. It displays many things.) After several months with this device on the truck and no performance or fuel economy gains, the truck stopped running. All the typical causes were mentioned: FICM, fuel pressure, ICP, HPOP etc. It was the EDGE tuner box. I yanked-it and my truck ran with no problems after that for years.
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