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Our approach to bulletproofing the 6.0L Ford/International Powerstroke

As mentioned in other places, we have had a number of issues with our 2005 engine over the years, from a stuck valve, to a blown snap-to-connect (STC) fitting in our high-pressure-oil-pump (HPOP) that left us stranded. Following the latter, I spent a couple years (while we dealt with having kids and did not use our van much) researching what commonly failed in these engines, and what I could do to reduce the likelyhood of us having another case of a completely dead vehicle.


Updated Oil Cooler  : This kit includes a new oil-coolant heat exchanger, the required gaskets and seals, and a new oil-drain screen.

The stock oil cooler has a reputation for clogging up on the coolant side, leading to insufficient coolant flow through the EGR cooler, and eventually coolant leaks into the intake tract (that's bad). The updated cooler has larger coolant passages to reduce likelihood of clogging.

Updated Powerstroke 6.0 Oil Cooler

Ford 6.0 Fuel Pressure Regulator Kit : This kit includes a new fuel pressure regulation spring that is significantly longer and stiffer than the stock spring. This increases fuel pressure about 10-20psi at idle, pending the state of your old spring, and does not let it drop off as quickly as throttle is used.

Low fuel pressure caused by the stock regulator spring can reportedly lead to damaged fuel injectors, which are expensive, difficult to access (especially in a van), and have myriad confusing symptoms.

Knippex Pliers Wrench

STC HPOP Fitting Update Kit: This is the newest version of a part that has caused a LOT of trouble (including for us). The branch at the lower left of the picture use to be made of a couple pieces, with a joint between them. The O rings in the joint could degrade and cause hard-starting, or a complete loss of the high-pressure oil system (which drives the injectors and lets everything run). Failure of this part could also cause some rather catastrophic damage in the HPOP area as the top could come free and bounce around.

The latest version makes the branch fitting a single solid piece, with no opportunity for failure or leakage.

6.0L Powerstroke HPOP STC fitting update kit

Turbo Oil Feed : The tube for feeding oil to the turbocharger bearings has been updated to be a solid metal tube without any flexible rubber center section.

Reports of the rubber in the central part degrading from heat, leading to sticky turbo vane actuation, and too many flow restrictions seem to be the reason for the changes.

Updated Powerstroke 6.0 Turbo Oil Feed
Turbo Oil Drain Tube : The tube for draining oil from the turbocharger bearings has been changed to be larger in diameter, with smoother bends. Supposedly this allows heated oil to drain away from the turbo quicker and have less chance of burning in the extreme heat of the turbo bearings. Updated Powerstroke 6.0 Turbo Drain Tube
Powermax Turbocharger : Made by the same folks who made the originals, it has a slightly larger compressor wheel, and some internal updates to reduce corrosion formation around the unison ring in the exhaust side. It makes, and can support, a bit more HP than the stock turbo, is new (rather than remanufactured at the same cost + core), though it is a bit laggier than stock if not coupled with a custom ECU re-flash. 6.0L Powerstroke Powermax Turbocharger
EGR delete kit : To reduce the chance of the EGR cooler rupturing and leaking coolant into the intake manifold, the entire EGR cooler can be simply eliminated... This also removes the source of soot into the intake that often clogs up EGR valves and causes problems when they stick open. 6.0L Powerstroke EGR delete kit
Coolant Filtration Kit : In an attempt to reduce clogging in the oil cooler, a bypass filter arrangement can be used to pass some coolant through, hopefully catching any debris in the cooling system (rust, scale, casting sand, precipitates) before it catches elsewhere. Powerstroke Coolant Filter Kit

REV-X Engine Oil Treatment : One of the biggest sources of complaint on the 6.0l Powerstrokes as the are getting older seems to be due to spool-valves in the injectors sticking. At a few hundred dollars each, this can be very expensive, and difficult to track down. Some oil additives have proven to be rather good at resolving the symptoms that many people have (hard starts, rough idle, bucking under load).

Engine Oil Additive

ARP Head Studs : One of the common complaints in the early days of the 6.0l engine was that of blown head-gaskets. Although the causes seemed to vary a bit (tuners being over-eager, EGR coolant leaks causing high cylinder pressure, weak stock head-bolts, etc) the solution often is to replace the head-bolts with ARP head-studs which are much stronger and can be torqued down much tighter (210ft-lb).

Installing these in a truck can be done in-place. Doing this in the van is more tricky.

6.0L powerstroke head studs
Crossover line : A fuel line between the rear of the cylinder heads, where the fuel rails are blocked off by plugs, can allow a balance of fuel pressure between the heads at the back, where the rear injectors can be somewhat starved of fuel pressure due to the cylinder firing order. Also a good place to put a fuel-pressure sensor.  
Fuel Pressure gauge  

ICP sensor : Seems to have an unusually high failure rate.

We carry a spare.


EBP sensor : Seems to have an unusually high failure rate, though it could just be the tube from the exhaust manifold to the sensor plugging.

We carry a spare.

Turbo CAC boots : There are a number of reports of these blowing off, or, worse, rupturing. We carry a spare set.