Powerstroke
March 27, 2020

Why the 6.0L Powerstroke Replaced the 7.3L

Written By: ProSource Diesel

The Demise of the 7.3L Powerstroke, the Birth of the 6.0L

At the time, the 7.3L Powerstroke was the most powerful engine ever built by Ford and Navistar with improved torque and 275 of horsepower.  However, GM’s Duramax LB7, as well as the common-rail Cummins 5.9L were reaching 300hp or more.  In addition, new legal and regulatory requirements including more stringent NOx emission standards were on the horizon.  As a result, it quickly became clear that the 7.3L wasn’t going to survive.

Ford and Navistar knew that a complete overhaul of the Powerstroke engine was required.  They also understood that an engine redesign of that magnitude would require years of analysis, R&D and manufacturing time.  That’s why they began planning for the release of the 2003 Powerstroke 6.0L all the way back in the late ‘90s when the 7.3L was riding high.

Better… and Worse

The 6.0L Powerstroke made the 7.3L appear to be outdated because of these new features:

  • Four-valve cylinder heads
  • Quick-spooling variable geometry turbocharger
  • Low voltage, high-pressure HEUI injection system
  • Crankcase bed plate for bottom-end strength

Unfortunately, a number of the 6.0L “upgrades” proved to be a disappointment. Problems started adding up. Issues with the EGR, oil cooler, head gasket, high-pressure oil pump (HPOP) and a sticky turbo began to plague the engine.

However, it wasn’t a total disaster for the Powerstroke 6.0L. The sturdy short-block was very durable, it had extra engine power and quick responsiveness and people also liked the 5R110 automatic transmission option which was highly praised for its efficiency and its ability to handle a huge amount of torque.

Opinions of the 6.0L Powerstroke

The Powerstroke 6.0L has been beaten down by people inside and outside the diesel truck industry. Some of those opinions are deserved, others are not.

While it’s true that the 6.0L Powerstroke doesn’t have the durability and problem-free longevity, of a Duramax or Cummins, if you take good care of it with regularly scheduled maintenance and upgrades where recommended, it can be just as reliable as those two engines.

No matter where you stand on the 6.0L, at ProSource Diesel we feel the key to keeping your 6.0 Powerstroke in top condition and to make it last a long time is proper maintenance. That’s why we carry all the reliable and hard to find parts and kits you need to keep your 6.0L truck running trouble free, mile after mile.

The 6.0L Powerstroke was produced from 2003-2007.  In 2008, Ford introduced the 6.4L Powerstroke. We’ll take a look at that engine in an upcoming article.

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