Having a bad reputation is one thing, but having such a bad rep that everyone steers clear of an engine is something else entirely. The 6.0 Powerstroke engines are of the latter category. The 6.0 Powerstroke years to avoid are-
- 6.0 Powerstroke 2003
- 6.0 Powerstroke 2004
- 6.0 Powerstroke 2005
- 6.0 Powerstroke 2006
- 6.0 Powerstroke 2007
The 6.0 are this bad due to having some glaring issues. The problems that plague the 6.0 Powerstroke are failing TTY head studs and head gaskets, faulty FICMs, and issues regarding the oil and EGR coolers. People have also faced issues like faulty EGR valves and turbochargers, problems with the HEUI injectors, failing HPOPs, and cracks in the degas bottles that are made of plastic.
However, there is a silver lining even after all these issues. Once the problems have all been solved, the 6.0L Ford engine can turn out to be quite reliable. But whether it is worth facing all these problems when the engine itself can be avoided is another topic.
6.0 powerstroke years & most common problems
The 6.0 Powerstroke has the unenviable reputation of being the single worst engine out there. It is riddled with so many major issues that people are recommended to avoid this engine altogether. This engine was an apple of discord between Ford and the manufacturing company, Navistar.
Before the 6.7 V8 engines, Ford didn’t manufacture their engines. Instead, Navistar was the company that produced all of Ford’s engines. After the 6.0’s historic failures, Ford blamed Navistar for purposely sabotaging their engine. After a thorough investigation, it was found that it was Ford who was at fault.
When tests were conducted on the 6.0, Ford received reports of test results that were not up to the mark, yet they chose to ignore them. As a result, the 6.0 were manufactured with a faulty design. So, what are the problems with the 6.0 Powerstroke that arose due to this?
Let’s take a look:
One of the biggest problems with the 6.0 Powerstrokes is their faulty TTY or Torque-To-Yield head studs. When the pressure on the cylinder head goes beyond the capacity of the TTY head studs, it causes the head gaskets to blow. This also results in the cylinder head cracking down the line.
The FICM or the Fuel Injection Control Module is a computer whose job is to keep the fuel injectors under control. The engine is a source of huge amounts of heat and vibrations. When this heat and vibration go beyond the FICM’s capacity, it fails. But these are not the only reasons for the failure of these modules. When the car battery fails or the alternator doesn’t provide the necessary output, it also causes the FICM to be damaged.
When a FICM fails, the engine doesn’t get sufficient voltage (12-48V) which is needed for it to start. As a result, the engine either does not start at all or has difficulty starting. It will also not receive sufficient power to go on. When a failing FICM is diagnosed, it is best to replace it as soon as possible.
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The function of the EGR coolers is to decrease the temperature of the exhaust gas. After being cooled down, the gasses are then reintroduced back into the engine. When this EGR cooler fails, it spells disaster for the engine. The engine temperature soars, and coolants boil, resulting in damage to the engine. This is not all, as coolants leak out and fall inside the intake manifolds. This causes coolant loss and the emission of white smoke.
The failure of the EGR cooler alone doesn’t make the 2003-2007 6.0L Ford diesel engine years to avoid. The EGR valve of this engine is also very prone to damage. The function of the EGR valves is to make sure the exhaust gasses’ quantity is regulated when they are being reintroduced. When the EGR valves fail, the exhaust gasses enter the engine in a larger amount than needed, which heats the engine.
As for when the EGR cooler and the valve both fail, replacing them quickly is the best way to go.
The root of most problems that the 6.0 Powerstroke faces is its faulty oil cooler. The 6.0 needs its oil temperature to be a lot lower than other truck engines. But due to particles like sand clogging up the cooler, the oil doesn’t get to be as cool as needed. As a result, the engine heats up pretty quickly.
The turbochargers that the 6.0 Powerstrokes useare called VGT (Variable Geometry Turbo). These VGTs were intended to decrease the turbo lag and make the throttle response even better. But things didn’t pan out the way Ford intended, which is a running theme when it comes to the 6.0. It was seen that carbon deposits could easily build up inside these turbochargers.
When the turbochargers have carbon deposits inside them, the vanes in the VGT are kept open. As a result, the throttle response takes a hit. When a VGT fails, cleaning it after removing it from the engine solves the problem.
The 6.0 Powerstrokes, like the 7.3 Powerstrokes, are equipped with HEUI (Hydraulically actuated electronically controlled unit injectors), but this is where the similarities between these two engines end. The HEUI of the 6.0L Ford engines is very susceptible to damage when the fuel and oil quality is bad. Due to this bad quality of fuel, soot and sludge build up on the HEUI. When that happens, the friction and stiction cause black smoke to be emitted.
The engine also faces various issues when the HEUI goes bad. It takes time to start, the RPMs will fluctuate. All in all, driving the truck will not be a smooth experience.
The oil pressure in the 6.0 Powerstroke engines needs to be pretty high, which is why the engines are equipped with HPOPs or High-Pressure Oil Pumps. When the HPOPs fail, oil leaks out. Replacing the faulty HPOP is the correct way to solve this issue.
The degas bottles used in the 6.0 Powerstrokes are made of plastic. As a result, it is prone to having leaks and cracks on it which causes coolant to spill out. The best way to deal with a cracked degas bottle is to get rid of the plastic ones and install degas bottles made of aluminum.
As seen earlier, from 2003 to 2007, all 6.0 Powerstroke engines are bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. But some improvements were made to the 2005-2007 Powerstrokes such as having coil springs in front of the car.
But other problems such as leakage of oil have persisted in these models too. So, the 2005-2007 Powerstroke years are not recommended as well.
frequently asked questions (FAQs)
After the disastrous failures of 2003 to 2005 6.0 Powerstrokes as well as the lawsuit against Navistar, Ford took the initiative to make improvements to the engine. So, they improved the 6.0 Diesel from 2005 through 2007, but these improvements were insufficient. So, it’s safe to say that Ford never did fix the 6.0.
In short, the 6.0 is not a reliable engine at all. One can only rely on it after performing proper maintenance and replacing all the faulty parts. But the maintenance of the 6.0 is a tiresome job, and even after proper maintenance, the engine troubles the drivers from time to time.
It takes something special to be not recommended by every expert in the world. The 6.0 Powerstroke is one such engine. The 6.0 Powerstroke years to avoid are every year of its production, which is from 2003 to 2007. Although some improvements were made to 2005, 2006, and 2007 models, they were insignificant.
The problems of the 6.0 include issues with the oil cooler, EGR cooler and EGR valves, fuel injectors, and turbochargers among others. The truck can run better if maintenance is made, but even then, it is not good enough.