Powerstroke Central

Ford's 7.3 Liter Powerstroke.  This engine is considered by many to  be one of the best diesel engines ever to be placed in a pickup truck.  This engine came out in 1994 and was a big change from the current Indirect Injection (IDI) 7.3.  The all new Powerstroke is equipped with electronically controlled Hydraulic actuated unit injectors, or electronic "Hueys" as they are affectionately known.   The Hueys make use of a high pressure oil system to move a plunger inside the injector to create high enough fuel pressure to open a pintle inside the injector tip, doing so allows the fuel to leave the injector as atomized mist.  The fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber which is more efficient than the IDI was.   As previously mentioned, the injectors are electronically controlled.  Using inputs from various sensors on the engine the PCM and IDM adjust injection timing and duration.  Some issue arise with this engine due to lack of oil change.  Since the engine oil is used to actuate the injectors it is vital to use quality oil and to change the oil at regular intervals to prevent contaminants from ruining the High Pressure Oil Pump or Fuel Injectors.  It is also important to use proper

 coolant. The every day green coolant does not have proper additives for a diesel engine, over time foaming will occur.  This foam causes cavitation on the cylinder walls and eventually will ruin an engine.  Also not changing the coolant regularly can lead to corrosion inside the cooling system that over time eats away at the injector cups which will allow fuel to over run the cooling system ruining  anything made of rubber. Another important, often overlooked, maintenance item is the air filter.  If not serviced regularly the air filter becomes restricted causing a vacuum on the compressor side of the turbo, this vacuum sucks oil through the crankcase vent and leads to oil leaks from the cold air charge  tubes and eventually tube failure, and excessive oil consumption.  I highly recommend Oil changes every 5000 miles, a fuel filter every 15,000 miles and air filter service every 20-30,000 miles.  Coolant should be inspected and or changed at minimum every 30,000 thousand miles with green coolant and 60,000 miles with gold coolant.  I could go on for page after page about different issues that this engine does or does not have.  Overall if this engine is properly maintained and not abused horribly it is fully capable of lasting to 300,000 miles and beyond.

 

Many people know the 6.0 Powerstroke to be a problem.  I hear from customers all the time "I'm afraid 

of that 6 liter".  The fact of the matter is I have seen many 6.0 powerstrokes past the 150,000 mile mark that have had little to no repair required. The first key of owning a powerstroke is care and maintenance.  Quality clean fuel is vital for a clean running 6.0 change your fuel filters every 15,000 miles and drain the water fuel seperator every oil change.  The 7.3 and the 6.0 are different than Cummins and Duramax because they use a high pressure oil system to pressurize and fire the injectors, therefore it is vital to change oil in these engines every 5,000 miles or every 3,000 for engines with excessive idle time.  Possibly the most important part... the cooling system, from the factory 6.0 diesels come with coolant rated at 5 year 100,000 miles.  That means 5 years 100,000 miles only in perfect ideal conditions.  I reccomend flushing the cooling system every year or every 50,000 miles wichever comes first.  When flushed I recommend Motorcraft Iron Cleaner be used.   It helps remove iron from the cooling system which is what causes the notorious resticted oil cooler which in turn causes the notorious EGR cooler leaks which can lead to head gasket or engine failure.  Often overlooked is the air filter.  On the 6.0 the air filter is encased in a large plastic housing and it is difficult to visually inspect. There is an air filter minder attached to the housing to alert the driver that the air filter is restricted but I recommend the air filter simply be replaced every 30,000 miles to avoid all kinds of issues.  When the air filter becomes restricted it puts a stronger vacuum on the intake system at idle.  This vacuum pulls oil past the compressor seal in the turbo and soaks the silicone cold air charge tubes causing leaks.  Also burning the excess oil can lead to coking and sticking turbo vanes.  Turbo vanes are what the 6.0 uses to control boost levels the movable vanes are located inside the the turbine (exhaust) side of the turbo, you could also say they act like a wastegate.  When the vanes get stuck due to rust, corrosion or coking it will cause either no to little boost (major lack of power)  or over boost.  The over boost condition might sound like a good idea (more power right)  but the engine control systems do not allow enough fuel for the amount of boost resulting in less power, also over boost is the most common cause of head gasket failure due to over pressurized combustion chambers.  Even with the best possible maintenance things can still break and when they do we are ready to make factory repairs or upgrade with a combination of aftermarket and updated Ford parts.

 

The 6.4 Liter Powerstroke.  First You may notice that this engine is crammed into a tight space even worse than previous Powerstrokes.  This engine has become well known for forcing technicians to remove the cab to service many parts of the engine.  All of the parts are technically serviceable without removing the cab (I personally have replaced the entire fuel system without cab removal), However it is highly recommended to remove the cab.  Once the cab is removed the technician has easy access to pretty much anything on the engine.  One of the first differences many people will notice when jumping from 7.3 or 6.0 to the 6.4 is the sound of the engine.  It sounds somewhat quiet and smooth when compared to its predecessors.  This is thanks mostly to a common rail fuel system with electronically controlled piezo crystal injectors.  These injectors are so precise and the computer technology is so fast that they actually inject fuel up to five times in one injection cycle.  Next you will notice two turbos on top of the engine, one is high pressure the other is low and one of them uses variable geometry.  Using these two turbos together allows more power with virtually no turbo lag.  If you look underneath the truck you may notice a very large intimidating exhaust system with a fancy dual tip at the rear.  This large hunk of metal and sensors is know as a Diesel Particulate Filter.  As fuel and oil are burned various exhaust gases and soot are made, previous models blasted all of these gases and soot into the atmosphere, this one tries to catch as much of it as possible.  The particulate filter has a "soot trap"  it catches as much soot and diesel particulate matter as it can and stores it.  There is a differential pressure sensor attached to  the front of the soot trap, the computer monitors this sensor to tell how "plugged" the exhaust is, or how full the soot trap is.   When it starts to fill up the computer will start a Regeneration cycle.  The computer will inject fuel on the exhaust stroke to put raw fuel into the exhaust, this super heats the soot and particulates and they are literally burned away.  The regeneration works well for emissions purposes but it is horrible for fuel economy.  Just like previous power stroke engines the 6.4 has a sensitive cooling system and maintenance is vital to keep this engine in good condition for years to come.  If the coolant level gets low (say from a leaking radiator)  the horizontal EGR cooler is starved for coolant and it overheats causing a bad leak, exhaust gasses in the cooling system, and an angry customer.  Ford has made updates to the Radiator, Radiator Hoses, Thermostats, Coolant Degas Bottle, Coolant Cap, and Control Software to prevent this from happening.  The new fuel system runs extremely high pressure, almost thiry thousand psi, so it is extremely sensitive.  Absolutely no water can be allowed to enter the high pressure fuel system and proper fuel filter maintenance is key to keeping this system in good condition.  I strongly recommend fuel filter replacement every 15,000 miles, and coolant replacement every 50,000 miles.  This is a very nice running engine with decent power and huge capabilities for performance tuning, keep in mind that repairs with this engine are usually very costly.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.  I would just like to add, there are a lot videos, forums, and blogs on the internet.   They are put out by all sorts of people, and it is obvious that some of those people should not be allowed to do so.  (please do NOT install an Advanced Auto Parts degas bottle cap on your super duty)  If you ever have any questions about something I've written or that you have seen or heard on the internet, don't hesitate to call me and chat.  My name is Carson Miller you can call me at 330-473-7292.  Thanks again.

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