Ford Power Stroke©

Ford Power Stroke©

At Reckless Diesel we specialize in light and medium duty diesel engine repair and maintenance. One of the most popular of these engines is the 6.0L Power Stroke. We have found, though, that the 6.0L Power Stroke has developed a bad reputation because of three main issues; failing Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) coolers, head gasket/head bolt design flaws and pattern-failures of the Engine Oil Cooler. The first two of these issues are actually interrelated and both can be attributed to failures of the oil cooler, which we will explain below. These design flaws have led to the frustration of many 6.0L Power Stroke owners but, factory parts can be updated and/or improved as long as you are working with the right mechanic. It has come to our attention that too many mechanics misdiagnosis these issues with the 6.0L Power Stroke. As diesel specialists, 6.0L Power Stroke owners know they can rely on Reckless Diesel for reliable diagnoses and repairs that can get these engines performing far above factory acceptable levels. If you think you are experiencing troubles with your EGR cooler, call us today at 817.939.9629. ISSUE 1 – FAILING EXHUAST GAS RECIRCULATION (EGR) COOLERS

Symptoms of a Bad EGR Cooler
1. You are losing coolant from your degas (overflow) bottle and/or cooling system. This can result from your EGR cooler leaking coolant into your exhaust system rather than outside of the engine. Many owners will miss this symptom because they will not be able to identify the actual leak. Ignoring this symptom, though, can be an expensive mistake because the more coolant that leaks, the more problems that can ensue. The result of ignoring this leak will lead to the second most common symptom.
2. White “smoke” is escaping from your tailpipe. This “smoke” is actually steam resulting from the vaporization of the coolant leaking into the exhaust system. The liquid turns to steam which is released from your tailpipe.
3. Coolant spewing from your degas bottle. While the cause of this symptom is actually most likely a plugged engine oil cooler, the result is the need to replace your EGR cooler. When your engine oil cooler is plugged, the flow of coolant to your EGR cooler will become restricted. If your EGR cooler does not get enough coolant, the coolant inside will boil. The boiling coolant creates high-pressure pockets of steam which are released, or ‘spewed’, from your degas bottle. This situation will cause your EGR cooler to overheat and fail; therefore you will need to replace your EGR cooler.
Why Does the EGR Cooler Fail in the 6.0L Power Stroke?
To understand why the EGR cooler fails, owners must first examine what the EGR cooler does. The EGR cooler works to control emissions by producing clean exhaust. Coolant constantly runs through your EGR cooler. The EGR cooler uses this coolant to cool exhaust taken from your turbo up-pipe. It then re-routes the cooled exhaust to the EGR valve. As the valve opens, fresh intake air mixes with the now cooled exhaust, thus producing cleaner exhaust.

2 Issues with the 6.0L Power Stroke EGR Cooler
There are two main issues with the design of the EGR Cooler:
1. As the system is working, it adds soot to your intake which builds up on your EGR valve. The soot can cause the EGR valve to stick. When the EGR valve sticks, instead of opening and releasing the mix of cooled exhaust and fresh intake air, it produces a black smoke condition which results in low boost. This issue is more likely to occur when a programmer has been installed.
2. The design of the EGR cooler leads to a situation where your exhaust temperatures can directly affect your coolant and therefore oil temperatures. As your coolant runs through your EGR cooler it can be heated by your exhaust, which can reach 1400 degrees. When the heated coolant interacts with your engine oil, your oil temperatures will be raised.
What if Your EGR Cooler Fails?
When your EGR cooler fails it will leak coolant into both your exhaust and intake. To combat the increase in temperature, your engine will constantly emit antifreeze which will lead to a hydro lock of your engine. This will result in excessive cylinder pressures which will lead to your head gaskets failing. In fact, this is the most common cause of head gasket failures.

How to Diagnose a Bad EGR Cooler
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above of a bad EGR cooler, then this quick test should be able to confirm a diagnosis.
Step 1 – Turn off your rig
Step 2 – After your engine has cooled down remove the EGR valve
*Your EGR valve can be found between your alternator and oil filter. The valve has wires going into it and looks about the size and shape of a 7oz. can of beer.
Step 3 – Look inside the valve with a flashlight
— If the inside of your valve looks wet, gooey or as if it has been steam-cleaned, you are probably experiencing EGR cooler problems

Your EGR Cooler is Bad…Now What?
If you suspect that your EGR cooler is experiencing problems, call us at Reckless Diesel today! Do not wait and allow the problem to become worse. We must also advise against attempting any self-repairs. Too often, owners come to us after having tried one of the two following methods and are still experiencing problems.
1. Using an EGR Delete Kit. EGR delete kits actually re-route your engine coolant back into your engine. These kits offer a new exhaust up-pipe. Your new up-pipe will not feed into the EGR cooler. While this solution may temporarily alleviate your problem, you will soon be faced with insufficient emissions.
2. Installing a new EGR cooler with a new core. While these replacements are effective at preventing the failures of the original EGR cooler, they do not address the coolant temperature affect. To deal with this issue you would have to install a new oil cooler system that will relocate the oil cooler to the front of your truck. This setup can work well but is unnecessarily costly.

ISSUE 2 – HEAD GASKET/HEAD BOLT DESIGN FLAWS
The issues with the 6.0L Power Stroke head gaskets or head bolts can be attributed to poor design but, as we mentioned earlier they can also be directly related to a failed or failing EGR cooler. That being said, we cannot overlook the design flaws which are that there are only ten big head bolts per side. These head bolts are torque-to-yield which means that they are stretched during installation and are prone to stretch more during use. If the cylinder pressures become excessive, as will happen when your EGR cooler goes bad or for any number of reasons listed below, these head bolts will fail.
Other Causes of Excessive Cylinder Pressures
1. Your turbo vanes can stick and cause high boot pressure
2. Fluids from several sources, such as a failed injector cup, copper washers or a leaking valve stem seal, can leak into your cylinder
3. Power adders, such as power boxes, programmers or chips, that are designed to add more horsepower
Solutions to Head Bolt Issues
ARP Studs – studs will provide a stronger clamping force and reinforce your head gaskets to ensure that they will last under increased cylinder pressure
Ensure Cylinder Heads are Flat – if your head surfaces are not flat, you will experience repeated gasket failures. You should rely on a good machine shop with technicians who have plenty of experience in the 6.0L Power Stroke, such as Reckless Diesel, to resurface your heads.
Now that you understand the issues with the 6.0L Power Stroke EGR coolers and head gasket design flaws, your question should be:
Can you afford not to fix it all at one time?
Our answer is, No! One of the most common calls we get at Reckless Diesel relating to the 6.0 is from owners who say, “I’m losing coolant but, I don’t see any leaks.” After reading through the information above, you can now understand why I reply, “Don’t continue to drive it, bring it on down and let me check it out.” Don’t put off the problem. What is probably only a failed EGR cooler now can quickly lead to blown head gaskets. If you own a 6.0L Power Stroke and are losing coolant, bring it to us now so that we can repair the EGR cooler and modify your head bolts before your problem gets much worse and much more expensive to fix. Call Reckless today, 817.939.9629.

ISSUE 3 – PATTERN-FAILURES RELATING TO THE 6.0L OIL COOLER
The issues with the 6.0L Power Stroke Oil Cooler have been well known for some time now. Supposedly, Ford updated their cooler. Did they really improve the 6.0L OEM Oil Cooler, though? A common thread among pattern-failures of the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke seems to be the ‘improved’ engine oil cooler.
Issues Relating to the Oil Cooler
– EGR cooler failure
– Blown head gaskets
– Engine oil temperature overheating
– Turbo failure
– Injector failure
– High-pressure oil pump failure
What is the problem with the engine oil cooler?
The problems that result from the engine oil cooler arise initially from the too-tight passageways of the cooler. These pathways are in fact so small that large particles flowing through in the coolant can block them. Typically, in as little as 50,000 miles, these passageways become so blocked that coolant can no longer flow through them. This results in a lack of coolant directed into your EGR cooler. The result:
– Ruptured EGR cooler
– Higher engine oil temperatures
– Overheated fuel injector
– Rupture engine oil cooler

What Should You Do?
We do not recommend replacing your bad engine oil cooler with another of Ford’s engine oil coolers. In doing this you can only expect a temporary fix that may last another 50,000 miles at most.
Your best bet will be upgrading your original engine oil cooler to the Bullet Proof Engine Oil Cooler. We recommend the Bullet Proof Engine Oil Cooler over any other brand because of these several advantages:
• It is most effective at cooling engine oil
• It guarantees improved cooling of your EGR cooler, increasing its longevity
• It reduces engine oil temperatures
• With an add-on oil bypass filtration kit, you will experience improved engine oil filtering
• It will eliminate the possibility engine oil leaking in your coolant
• The cooler, better-filtered oil it produces will prove beneficial to your injectors and High Pressure Oil Pump
Trust Reckless Diesel as your source for all diesel engine issues, repairs and maintenance. Call us today for a free estimate.

Reckless Diesel’s Vehicle Specializations:
– Dodge Cummins
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– Ford Power Strokes©
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