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Fixing High Mileage 6.0 Powerstroke Problems

Project Low Dollar Hauler Part Two

So what exactly is wrong with this thing anyways...

In Part Two of the Low Dollar Hauler we focus on the engine and it’s issues.

First thing I did was head to the local fuel station and fill it up. In typical human nature it was nearly on fumes when the previous owners dropped it off at the dealership. A whole bottle of Power Service Diesel Kleen was added to the tank. I know it says it treats 100 gallons, but when you don’t know what is or has been in the tank, a full strength dose is the way to go. The truck seemed to run a little better but didn’t clear up the missing. So out came the scan tool.

A quick scan of the engine using Auto Enginuity gave up a #2 cylinder contribution code. From the way the truck was acting on the test ride with the missing at lower rpms in overdrive, we decided that the we would replace that injector. Now here is where people get all goofy about injectors on the 6.0’s. Do you replace all four on that side or just the one? Well, this is the Low Dollar Hauler, so we opted to do it as least expensive as possible and just replace the one. Besides, we are only talking about two hours tops to change a single injector. (Quit listening to your knucklehead brother in law. The cab doesn’t have to come off, it’s not that much labor, and changing an injector is easy.) Seeing as we aren’t figuring labor on this truck, the best way to go is just to replace the single bad one. If it needs another one later, no big deal. Also, this truck does not appear to have any stiction cold start issues, so the health of the other injectors seem to be good.

We grabbed a D-Tech remanufactured injector off the shelf for the swap. D-Tech injectors are completely rebuilt injectors. The internals are all brand new and the spool valves are replaced. They are pretty much the highest quality replacement injector you can get today. After swapping out the number two injector the truck fired up and ran really smooth. As long as we had to drain the coolant to remove the degas bottle we replaced it with fresh new coolant. A quick test drive proved the miss was gone and the engine ran smooth. It still seemed a little low on power and the turbo seemed sluggish.

As I mentioned in part one I noticed the engine had a Sinister egr delete kit installed. While the Sinister kit is definitely top notch, I completely disagree with installing the egr valve block off plate and removing the valve. When you delete the egr cooler there is no reason to remove the valve period. The exhaust flow is completely blocked off and no exhaust can enter the engine if the valve is left in place and plugged in. Please stop taking them out. This truck is the very good example of why. During the test drive I notice the clutch fan was not working properly. The clutch fans on the 6.0’s run on a duty cycle as they are completely electronically engaged. It varies the rpm of the fan depending on the load and coolant temp until it comes on fully at around 215-220 degrees. On some trucks, for some reason I can’t explain, the clutch fan will not work properly and cause the truck to overheat when the egr valve is unplugged. Remember the coolant stains on the degas bottle when I first looked at the truck? I ran the truck really hard and couldn’t get the truck to puke coolant no matter what I did. I am assuming the reason for the coolant stains is due to the clutch fan not working and causing the coolant to boil and over flow. Also unplugging the egr valve causes the turbo actuator to behave strangely. This could explain the sluggishness of the turbo coming on. I grabbed a used egr valve off the shelf and installed it in place of the block off plate and plugged it back into the factory wiring harness. A quick test drive showed the clutch fan working properly on the scan tool and the turbo was working better.

On the last test drive the truck still seemed slightly sluggish so I figured I would change all the filters and oil since I have no idea how old any of them are. The oil didn’t look terrible, but it had one of those awful engine destroying Napa/Wix oil caps. That got pitched in the garbage in favor of a Ford cap with a factory style cartridge that fits it. Four gallons of Brad Penn 15w40 diesel oil was poured back in. I also dumped in two bottles of Rev X because it seems to really make these trucks run better. The air filter was filthy so it got replaced as well. I grabbed upper and lower fuel filters off the shelf and soon discovered the source of the sluggish running. Some goober didn’t fully tightened the lower fuel filter cap. It was nearly a ¼ inch away from being tight. I am surprised it even ran. We see this all the time and I can’t understand why people can’t seem to tighten them all the way. Not completely sealing the lower fuel filter housing will cause it to suck air and damage injectors. It’s this kind of knot headed stuff that gives the 6.0 a bad name for “eating” injectors.

By the way, you are not suppose to use a pipe wrench on the filter cap to remove it either. Sheesh.

When the service was done I started up the truck and the battery light was on. I had noticed earlier when I had the Auto Enginuity scan tool connected that the FICM voltage was low. It never came above 45 volts. While it was low, I figured I would run it a bit and see what happened. I never thought to check the regular voltage as the alternator was not working at all. So I went over to the shelf and grabbed a new alternator. After it was installed FICM voltage and regular voltage came up to where it should be. I’m afraid that damage has already been done to the FICM though and fully expect to replace it in the next couple of months if it fails.

During the next test ride the truck ran flawless. Plenty of power, very smooth, and great throttle response. I am pretty sure the truck has an SCT programmer installed as I notice absolutely no check engine lights or trouble codes from the egr being deleted as an 06-07 model should. The SCT is one of the only programmers that will let you turn off the egr functions to defeat the light. If I had to guess it has one of the tow programs installed, but the programmer itself is nowhere to be found.

I also charged the A/C and it blows nice and cold now. I drove the truck back and forth to the shop for the next few days and it averaged 19 MPG. It started great and for now I think we have the engine problems sorted out. We will move on to some mild performance modifications in the future to help it haul better, but for now it is a good running truck that anyone would be happy with. In Part Three we will fix up some of the cosmetic aspects of this truck.

Cost so far:

Purchase price: $6,000

D-Tech Injector:249

Oil Filter: 8

Oil Filter Cap: 24

Brad Penn 15w40 (4 gal): 58

Fuel Filters: 28

Air Filter: 34

Rev X: 65

Diesel Kleen: 8

Alternator 140 AMP: 180

A/C Charge 30

Coolant (2 gal):20

Total So Far: $6,704