Whether you’re just considering the purchase of a new Powerstroke, you’re eying a used one, or you’ve been driving one for years, you’re probably curious about how many miles you can expect from the engine.
The following information aims to answer that question along with providing tips for you to get the most miles possible from a Ford Powerstroke diesel truck.
Estimated Life Expectancy of a Powerstroke Engine:
6.4L Navistar – This engine rates an entire article of its own given its short factory-equipped lifespan and the resulting emergence of DPF deleting.
Of course, maximum miles require maximum maintenance. Here are some rules you should follow.
1. CHANGE YOUR OIL
Sure, everyone tells you to change your oil, but no one ever tells you why. There are a few reasons. First, your Powerstroke engine has a High-Pressure Oil Pump (HPOP). Running dirty oil can damage that pump causing it to grenade and sending metal debris into the system causing damage to your injectors resulting in costly repairs. So, changing the oil is particularly important in diesel engines running this type of system such as the 7.3L and 6.0L Powerstroke.
Second, not regularly changing your oil can shorten the lifespan of your turbo bearings. Dirty oil leads to increased wear eventually resulting in too much play and the possibility of your turbo exploding.
Third, your engine could lock up. Who wants that? Not only is it a major inconvenience, but fixing it is also a major expense!
So, there are lots of good reasons to change your oil regularly. In fact, it’s the single most important thing you can do to extend the life of your engine. It’s recommended you change your oil every 5,000 miles if you own a 7.3L, 6.0L, or 6.4L Powerstroke. If you own a 6.7L Powerstroke, (or most any newer truck), your dashboard will let you know when you’re due based on use. Newer models are designed to alert you based not just on mileage, but also based on time.
For 2010 and later engines, if you’re using standard oil, you’ll want to use 15/30 weight or 10/30 synthetic.
2. CHANGE YOUR FUEL FILTER
If you want to keep your truck running down the road for hundreds of thousands of miles, change your fuel filter regularly. Fuel injectors are the heart of your engine and they depend on clean fuel to prevent damage and to operate at maximum efficiency. That’s why a clean fuel filter is critical to the longevity of your engine.
OEM fuel filters from Motorcraft or Racor are your best bet. For the 7.3L and 6.0L you should change your fuel filter every 15,000 miles, or every 10,000 in severe driving conditions. For the 6.4L, change your fuel filter every 20,000 miles, or every 10,000 in severe conditions. You can change your fuel filter every 22,500 miles or as indicated by your instrument cluster if you drive a 6.7L Powerstroke.
3. INSTALL A COOLANT FILTER KIT
One of the biggest problems with the 6.0L Powerstroke lies with the cooling system. Navistar built these engines using a sand cast mold when manufacturing the engine block. Over time, residue sand enters and clogs the oil cooler.
The oil cooler lies in the valley of the motor and it is where the heat from the oil is transferred to the cooling system. Because Ford built this oil cooler with tight internal tolerances, it clogs easily which causes a lack of flow and higher than normal oil temperatures. The result is often EGR cooler failure.
Letting this issue go until failure can have a long-term impact on the longevity of your engine. Luckily, you can avoid this serious and costly problem by installing a coolant filter kit, as well as a high flow oil cooler and an upgraded tubular EGR cooler. Luckily, ProSource offers all three of these components individually and in a complete kit that’s easy to install.
4. UPGRADE YOUR HEAD GASKETS AND STUDS
If you own a 6.0L Powerstroke you’re going to experience head gasket failure at some point. And if you have a performance tune, it will happen sooner rather than later. That’s because, unlike the earlier 7.3L Powerstroke engine which has eighteen head bolts per cylinder, the 6.0L Powerstroke only has ten bolts.
The damage done from such a failure can dramatically affect the life expectancy of your engine. How do you know if you’re having an issue? Look for signs of coolant expulsion around the coolant pressure cap or residue around the coolant expansion bottle. But be careful, sometimes this is misdiagnosed as a failing EGR cooler when in fact, it’s a problem with your gaskets. While you can still drive your truck in this situation, avoid adding extra stress to the engine by pulling heavy loads. Most importantly, you’ll want to run thorough diagnostics on your truck as soon as possible by a shop you trust.
The best time to fix the issue is before it happens by installing a new head gasket kit with upgraded Powerstroke 6.0 head studs. TrackTech makes the strongest studs in their class and are competitively priced. They can be bought separately, or in a kit featuring Mahle head gaskets.
There are many factors that can shorten the life of your engine. For example, on 2003 and newer trucks, EGR valves contribute to increasingly dirty oil; on 2007 and newer trucks, particulate filters can create excessive back pressure; and emission control systems can spray and ignite fuel in the engine to burn off soot, creating high internal temperatures. In addition, any of the “3 T’s” can shorten the lifespan of your engine. These include heavy towing, oversized tires, and as we mentioned, a performance tune.
No matter how your truck is equipped, or how you drive it, you want the maximum life from your engine. With the maintenance steps outlined above, and quality diesel truck parts from ProSource Diesel, you’ll squeeze every mile out of your Powerstroke.
Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company