6.0L Power Stroke Upgrades

Improve 6.0L Power Stroke Reliability, Address Engine's Fatal Flaws

Upgrading problematic components and systems of the 6.0L Power Stroke can help improve engine longevity and reliability. These upgrades are not necessarily required for a stock 6.0L Power Stroke, but should be considered if you've got an itch to modify your engine with performance enhancers. For stock engines, the combination of these upgrades will greatly improve reliability, durability, and longevity.

EGR Cooler - Upgraded EGR coolers for the 6.0L Power Stroke are readily available. These coolers tend to transfer heat better than the OEM unit and are less prone to clogging from soot build up, which can set off a chain reaction of problems. A square EGR cooler was introduced for the 2004 model year and used until the engine's retirement, while a round cooler was used for the 2003 and early 2004 (2003 engine) model year. The square coolers have proven far more susceptible to failure. When a failure occurs, engine coolant typically leaks into the exhaust stream coming through the EGR cooler. An EGR cooler leak can be detected early on by frequent (every oil change) inspection of the EGR valve - white, crystalline build up on the EGR valve is indicative of coolant leaking into the EGR cooler.

Turbocharger Oil Drain Tube - The turbocharger drain tube on 2003 to 2006 model year Power Stroke's is a "kinked" design, whereas a mandrel bent oil drain was introduced for the 6.0's final production year. The 2007 model year drain tube is favorable due to its smooth transitions, which are said to increase the flowrate of engine oil through the turbocharger. Consider a garden hose that is kinked vs one that is not - water moves freely and at a greater rate than that of the kinked hose; the same concept can be applied with the turbo drain tube. Oil not only keeps the turbocharger bearings lubricated, but it also helps remove heat. Therefore, the greater flow of oil helps dissipate heat from the bearing assembly of the turbocharger. 2007 MY drain tubes are compatible with any earlier 6.0 Power Stroke diesel. This is not an upgrade that makes any noticeable difference in engine operation, but will likely extend the life of your turbo.

Fuel Injection Control Module (FICM) - The fuel injection control module, or simply FICM controls the firing of each individual fuel injector. It is commanded by the PCM to provide 48 volts (ideally) to an injector solenoid when that solenoid needs to be fired. The most prominent problem with the FICM is that it is located on the valve cover of the engine. While it's easy to get to, engine heat and vibration have a tendency to take their toll on the FICM. As a FICM begins to fail or operate out of spec, the output voltage decreases such that injectors will not fire properly. Symptoms of a failing or failed FICM include hard start, no start, rough start, rough idle, low power, and related concerns. Consider replacing failed or faulty FICMs with an aftermarket alternative, preferably with a lifetime warranty. There are many manufacturers and re-builders who have a great understanding of the science behind FICM failures and build (or rebuild) units with much greater resilience. For information on FICM related problems, see: FICM troubleshooting and replacement information

Head Studs - The 6.0L Power Stroke comes factory equipped with torque-to-yield (TTY) head bolts. For a stock engine with all systems working properly, you could argue that the design is sufficient. However, they are prone to stretching beyond their yield limit, fatally resulting in head gasket failure(s). This is of particular concern to modified engines where higher cylinder pressures and a heavier right foot push the limits of the factory TTY design. Replacing the factory TTY head bolts with head studs provides a more evenly distributed clamping force and the material properties of the studs are far superior to those of the factory hardware. If for any reason the cylinder heads are coming off of your 6.0 Power Stroke, you would be ill-advised not to invest in a set of head studs.

Engine Oil Cooler - The engine oil cooler on the 6.0L has a tendency to clog and fail, often resulting in oil contamination of the cooling system. The problem is particularly common on early model engines. Aftermarket coolers address many of the OEM engine oil cooler's inherent shortcomings.

Bypass Oil Filtration - A bypass oil filter adds an extra layer of protection against oil contamination. Particulates in the engine oil is an inherent problem for diesel engines, and while additional filtration is not necessarily required, it's a wise investment that may prolong the life of the 6 liters injection system and turbocharger. Since the system uses highly pressurized engine oil, HEUI injectors are sensitive to dirty oil; a bypass filter virtually eliminates these concerns.

Bypass Coolant Filtration - EGR and oil cooler failures often result from particulate matter in the engine coolant. Coolant passages in the heat exchanger can clog over time, reducing their effectiveness and increasing the chance of compounding problems. A coolant filter keeps particulates out of the cooling system, and isn't a bad investment if you plan on racking up some miles on your 6.0L.

Fuel Additive Regiment - You should be using a fuel additive. It doesn't matter if you own a 1980's IDI or a brand new 6.7L Power Stroke, the quality of diesel fuel in the United States varies considerably between acceptable and terrible. Furthermore, ULSD lacks many of the beneficial properties provided by the previous low sulfur diesel specification. A fuel additive can provide benefits that include lower particulate emission (lower sensitivity to VGT vane and EGR valve clogging), fuel system protection, increased fuel economy, protection against fuel contamination, and prolonged diesel fuel storage life (particularly important for trucks that are driven infrequently). Ford even recommends that you use their fuel additive with every tank! While there is nothing wrong with the OEM additive, there are many high quality, more diverse fuel additives available.

Oil Additive Regiment - In addition to using a synthetic motor oil, you should be using a supplementary oil additive to combat stiction. Stiction occurs when engine oil breaks down under intense mechanical pressure in the injector solenoid, coating the spool valve with a carbon build up typically described as a varnish. Over time, this effect has a tendency to cause an injector to misfire. An engine oil additive, such as Archoil's AR9100, is cheap insurance against stiction related problems and can even alleviate stiction related concerns by removing build up in the solenoid body. If you find yourself struggling to justify the additional cost of an oil additive, we suggest using it at a minimum of every other oil change.