Is the Ford 6Ltr Powerstroke really that bad???


11 replies to this topic
  • flyin vee

Posted February 09, 2011 - 05:32 AM

#1

I'm in the market for a motovan and have about 8-9 thousand (or less depending on the deal) to spend. I do a ton of driving for my sons hockey in the winter months and motocross during the warmer months and tow a small 6x12 trailer to the races. I have decided I would like to get a diesel van, (more of a want than a need). But anyway, I've done the searches and have read many posters problems with the 04-05 6L Powerstrokes. My questions are once the vehicle gets to around the 80,000 mark are all the bugs worked out? What was going to go wrong with the engine would it have appeared by then?

I already know the merits of the 7.3 Powerstroke and understand the "bullet proof" nature of the engine. I am sure that if I can find a nice van without 400000 miles on it and a 7.3 PS I would pull the trigger. But should I expect problems with a drive train that is 9 or 10 years old with 150000 miles on it and becomming a huge pain in the ass? I am crazy about maintenance and take extreme care of my vehicles and toys so anything I buy will be be looked over with a fine toothed comb.

I would also consider anything from GM. What are the best diesel motors with that line? I have read about problems with the 6.5. Any help is greatly appreciated. Looking over my post I failed to mension that I want an extended van be it 15 passenger or cargo. Thanks again, Kris

  • Jo_nathan

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:34 AM

#2

I would steer clear of the 6.0l diesel vans. I like the 6.0l powerstroke after it gets the appropriate mods to make it reliable, but to do them in a van means pulling the motor. More of a hassle than I am sure you want to deal with. I would look at the duramax in a gm van. Proven motor with a well known 4l80e transmission behind it. Lots of aftermarket for both. The duramax will get hot in a van if you decide to modify it so be warned. I've driven all three and like the 6.0l the most, but was afraid to own one because I dont' have the means to properly fix it (headstuds, egr deletes,). The old 6.5 vans were dogs. Good luck with your search.

  • sniper_101

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:49 AM

#3

I would steer clear of the 6.0l diesel vans. I like the 6.0l powerstroke after it gets the appropriate mods to make it reliable, but to do them in a van means pulling the motor. More of a hassle than I am sure you want to deal with. I would look at the duramax in a gm van. Proven motor with a well known 4l80e transmission behind it. Lots of aftermarket for both. The duramax will get hot in a van if you decide to modify it so be warned. I've driven all three and like the 6.0l the most, but was afraid to own one because I dont' have the means to properly fix it (headstuds, egr deletes,). The old 6.5 vans were dogs. Good luck with your search.


I'm a pretty big fan of the Powerstroke's, but Jo_nathan hit the nail right on the head. Any potential problems aren't worth the risk, plus cost of repair. A 7.3 or GM van would be a better choice sadly, IMO.

Edit - While the other's have issues, they're a bit less likely, and less expensive to repair if you run into the "common" quirks of the other choices.

  • wlfdgs

Posted February 09, 2011 - 05:41 PM

#4

The main problem with the 6.0's pulling head studs is a simple one- Ford never cleaned the block castings well enough of all the sand from the foundry leaving a very small amount in the pores of the iron. Normally this would never cause an issue as the sand would simply circulate in the system and settle out in the far reaches of the cooling system.

HOWEVER, there is a oil cooler on these (and the 7.3's) that will clog from the sand, causing the oil temps to increase. It's a diesel- the pistons are cooled by oil being squirted on the inside of the skirts and dome to help control combustion chamber temps. As oil temps go up the piston temps go up, then the cylinder temps go up until the extra pressure on the cooling system causes the temps to increase the pressures in the combustion chamber higher and it goes on until the head studs pull out. Replacing them with aftermarket studs doesn't solve the issue, it only repairs the damage, and putting them in without addressing the actual problem doesn't solve it, it actually makes it worse when it finally fails.

The fix? Fit a coolant filter inline prior to the oil cooler to catch the foundry trash then replace it as part of your regular maintenance cycle. Of course, this is best done the fewer hours the engine has on it to save the oil cooler.

Buying a used 6.0 or looking at one? Add into your purchase price the cost of a coolant filter and a new oil cooler (use it as an excuse to upgrade to a bigger one).

This fix and adding a EGT gauge and boost gauge are big helps to keep you from cooking the 6.0.

  • sniper_101

Posted February 09, 2011 - 05:48 PM

#5

The main problem with the 6.0's pulling head studs is a simple one- Ford never cleaned the block castings well enough of all the sand from the foundry leaving a very small amount in the pores of the iron. Normally this would never cause an issue as the sand would simply circulate in the system and settle out in the far reaches of the cooling system.

HOWEVER, there is a oil cooler on these (and the 7.3's) that will clog from the sand, causing the oil temps to increase. It's a diesel- the pistons are cooled by oil being squirted on the inside of the skirts and dome to help control combustion chamber temps. As oil temps go up the piston temps go up, then the cylinder temps go up until the extra pressure on the cooling system causes the temps to increase the pressures in the combustion chamber higher and it goes on until the head studs pull out. Replacing them with aftermarket studs doesn't solve the issue, it only repairs the damage, and putting them in without addressing the actual problem doesn't solve it, it actually makes it worse when it finally fails.

The fix? Fit a coolant filter inline prior to the oil cooler to catch the foundry trash then replace it as part of your regular maintenance cycle. Of course, this is best done the fewer hours the engine has on it to save the oil cooler.

Buying a used 6.0 or looking at one? Add into your purchase price the cost of a coolant filter and a new oil cooler (use it as an excuse to upgrade to a bigger one).

This fix and adding a EGT gauge and boost gauge are big helps to keep you from cooking the 6.0.


Also from the use of TTY bolts, and only 4 head bolts per cylinder.

Also, 7.3's have notorious casting sand left in the coolant passages as well. It's a good idea to run a coolant filtration system on just about any liquid cooled vehicle, but especially a heavier duty engine with towing duties.

  • Jo_nathan

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:00 PM

#6

Ive seen lots of things about coolant filtration systems, but never seen anything saying that the 6.0l would lose heads due to it. Any links? I always believed it was the 4 bolts per cylinder, poor emissions compliance, and the lack of flat, properly finished heads. Never had another problem with a a 6.0l after we put arps, redeck the heads, and get rid egr system. Well that is except fuel injectors, but thats a different story. Not trying to start an argument, just really try to stay on top of most "domestic" truck engines.

  • shang

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:17 PM

#7

I don't post much, but being an ex engineer at Edge Products and one of my best friends being the lead Ford calibrator there I felt like I should throw in my 2c worth. Jo_nathan pretty much sums it up, although we found the 6.0 to run hotter than we thought it should while pulling mild loads. Even at cruise.

From what I understand, the 6.0 was originally designed as a edm delivery truck engine. When Cat adapted it for Fords use they upped the output about 100hp higher than what it was originally designed to do. This puts it pretty close to it's limits in stock form.

Some trucks seem to do just fine, while others suffer from some of the problems mentioned above. I would probably steer clear of them. It's too bad because the vans and the Expeditions and the trucks that they power are really nice vehicles.

If you can find a 7.3 in good shape they are a good engine. Usually a shift kit and a torque converter will take care of the drive train.

Or look into something D-max powered, but in that year range your gonna need to keep an eye out on some of their issues too.

  • Monk

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:20 PM

#8

Yes, their that BAD. I have 2 and have blown one of them 2wice and this is the 3rd time on the other. I have GMC's now, best money I have ever spent!

  • sniper_101

Posted February 09, 2011 - 07:42 PM

#9

Yes, their that BAD. I have 2 and have blown one of them 2wice and this is the 3rd time on the other. I have GMC's now, best money I have ever spent!


They're not "bad", there are plenty of stock 6.0's scootin' around with high miles with hardly any problems or none. You being from Alberta of all places should know that . . .

With studs and EGR delete I'd say their on par with 7.3 reliability, without the weak 4R100 that the 7.3 has. It's just the higher risk of failure and cost of repair that detours most people, and I sure as helk can't blame them! If I had the money to stud and EGR delete I would have found a nice 07' Harley or Outlaw Edition instead of my old dinosaur.

shang - It would have been International/Navistar change the engine output, CAT only designed the HEUI system/injectors if I'm not mistaken, and maybe not even for them.

  • flyin vee

Posted February 10, 2011 - 03:00 AM

#10

Thanks for all the great advise guys, It'll make the buying process a little easier for me now.

  • Chickenhauler

Posted February 10, 2011 - 09:22 AM

#11

I don't post much, but being an ex engineer at Edge Products and one of my best friends being the lead Ford calibrator there I felt like I should throw in my 2c worth. Jo_nathan pretty much sums it up, although we found the 6.0 to run hotter than we thought it should while pulling mild loads. Even at cruise.

From what I understand, the 6.0 was originally designed as a edm delivery truck engine. When Cat adapted it for Fords use they upped the output about 100hp higher than what it was originally designed to do. This puts it pretty close to it's limits in stock form.

Some trucks seem to do just fine, while others suffer from some of the problems mentioned above. I would probably steer clear of them. It's too bad because the vans and the Expeditions and the trucks that they power are really nice vehicles.

If you can find a 7.3 in good shape they are a good engine. Usually a shift kit and a torque converter will take care of the drive train.

Or look into something D-max powered, but in that year range your gonna need to keep an eye out on some of their issues too.


Cat didn't adapt any engine for Ford.


As to the OP, I wouldn't touch a 6.0L in a van unless it was with a squirt of ether and a match.

  • shang

Posted February 15, 2011 - 07:26 PM

#12

Sorry you guys are right. It was Navistar. I actually worked on the Duramax stuff sooo... :smirk:




 
x

Join Our Community!

Even if you don't want to post, registered members get access to tools that make finding & following the good stuff easier.

RegisterSign InClose
If you enjoyed reading about "" here in the ThumperTalk archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join ThumperTalk today!

The views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the author, and have not been reviewed or approved by ThumperTalk.