6.0L Power Stroke Diesel Servicing
The 6.0L Power Stroke has an infamous reputation as a plague to Ford Truck owners. The engine was only produced for five years between 2003 and 2008, but truck buyers still steer away from purchasing diesel trucks with that engine.
Why Did International Stop Producing the 7.3L Diesel Engine?
The 6.0L was brought into existence to meet with EPA emissions laws. Even though the 7.3L was reliable, it couldn’t pass the new diesel emissions laws for 2004. That being said, the 7.3L was also designed to meet diesel emissions standards but just not as tight standards. In 2004, the EPA required diesel motors to reduce the amount of nitrogen-oxide in the exhaust. The only way to accomplish this was with an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), but adding an EGR valve causes the motor’s power to drop significantly.
When incorporating an EGR valve into a diesel motor, the exhaust gases are brought back into the intake manifold to be re-burned. The problem with this is that the combustion temperature drops, due to lack of a complete burn, and that creates soot which clogs everything up. Since exhaust gas in a diesel engine can reach upwards of 1000°F, exhaust gas must be cooled using an EGR cooler before it is used again. Exhaust gas travels from the intake manifold to the cooler, which cools it using coolant from the engine, back to the intake manifold to be burned again. One of the 6.0L ‘s problems was that the EGR cooler didn’t last very long. Over time, the pipes would break and leak coolant onto the exhaust pipes making steam when the truck stopped. When left unattended, the EGR leak could damage flood the motor with coolant through the exhaust system, and when attempting to turn the motor over, connector rods could get destroyed.
Powering Up the 6.0L Power Stroke
One of the 6.0L’s greatest challenges was to make as much power as the 7.3L with less motor. This was accomplished using a Variable Geometric Turbo system. The big problem with using turbo to compensate for engine power loss was that the bolts used to fasten the cylinder heads would over-stretch the bolts causing the head gasket to leak. These bolts had to be replaced many times throughout the life time of the vehicle.
Having a variable geometric style turbo also meant trouble. The turbo itself was a great addition, but the soot from the ERG valve caused the turbo to get clogged up and stop working throughout the full RPM range of the vehicle.
Another problem with making the motor smaller is finding ways to place things on the engine. For example, the oil cooler on the 7.3L was externally mounted, in an easily accessible place so if something went wrong, it could be fixed quickly. On the 6.0L, the oil cooler is inside the motor underneath the filter. This can cause a major problem since the cooler gets clogged over time causing oil temperature to rise, and damage components in the turbo and engine block.
With the help of some aftermarket upgrades, the 6.0L can be turned into a very reliable motor. The EGR cooler can be either deleted from the system completely or upgraded to a higher quality cooler. Either choice will take four to five hours of work to complete. While fixing the EGR cooler, it is also a good idea to upgrade the oil cooler as well. Depending on how much longer the truck will be in service, you can replace the cooler with an OEM oil cooler or an aftermarket one. Since the turbo has to come off to remove the EGR valve, you might as well clean the turbo thoroughly while you’re at it. Take careful notice of how the turbo goes together as you take it apart. When replacing the head gaskets, make sure to use stronger bolts so that they stretch slower. Also, if the previous head gaskets left imperfections on the engine block, you can instal graphite gaskets to seal the imperfections.