The 6 Most Common Ford 6.4 Power Stroke Engine Problems

6.4 Power Stroke Diesel Engine Problems

The 6.4 Power Stroke only had a few short years in Ford trucks. It’s also the last Ford diesel from International as Ford designed and built the 6.7 Powerstroke in house. Ford 6.4 diesel engines make a solid 350hp and 650tq from the factory. Respectable numbers for the era the 6.4 Powerstroke was released. Some also consider the 6.4L a reliability improvement over the previous 6.0 diesel engine from Ford. However, no engine is perfect and there aren’t any exceptions here. In this article, we discuss a few common problems on the 6.4 Power Stroke and overall reliability.

Ford 6.4 Powerstroke Common Problems

A few of the most common issues on the 6.4 Power Stroke engine include:

  • Radiator
  • DPF
  • Up-pipe
  • Oil cooler
  • Fuel dilution
  • Cracked pistons

We’ll dive into each of these problems throughout this post and discuss them in greater depth. It’s important to note – simply because we’re calling these faults and failures common doesn’t necessarily mean they affect a large percentage of 6.4 diesel engines. Rather, they’re a few of the most common issues. Also, failures we don’t discuss in this article can and do happen.

That said, let’s move into the common 6.4 Powerstroke problems listed above. We will also finish the post with some overall thoughts on Ford 6.4 reliability.

Ford 6.4 Power Stroke Diesel Engine Problems

1) 6.4L Power Stroke Radiator Leaks

6.0 Power Stroke engines occasionally developed coolant leaks due to head gasket failures. However, if you notice a puddle of coolant under the 6.4 Powerstroke the radiator is the likely culprit. The plastic ends of the radiator tend to crack or separate and develop leaks. It’s without question one of the most common issues to pop up on the Ford 6.4 diesel.

If too much coolant is lost the 6.4 Power Stroke may begin overheating rapidly. In this case, it’s important to shut the engine down quickly to avoid further damage. Either way, a radiator leak should be treated as an urgent and important repair. This is especially true if you have a severe radiator leak on the Ford 6.4 Powerstroke.

Ford 6.4 Diesel Radiator Leak Symptoms

Symptoms of a radiator problem on the 6.4 turbodiesel include:

  • Visible leak
  • Overheating
  • Steam from engine bay

It’s normally pretty straight-forward to notice a leaking radiator on the Ford 6.4 engine. Look for any visible leaks under the truck. You may also notice steam from the engine bay if coolant is leaking onto hot parts. Lastly, overheating can occur rapidly if the coolant loss is severe enough.

6.4 Powerstroke Radiator Replacement

If you intend to keep your 6.4 diesel for the long-term we highly recommend upgrading the radiator. Mishimoto radiators are a common option for the 6.4 Power Stroke. However, at nearly $900 they’re certainly not cheap. You can also go for the OE radiator or alternative aftermarket options. Those can set you back about $200-500 depending on the exact radiator. Labor is generally about 2 hours for the radiator so add in a couple hundred bucks for that. All in all, replacement costs for the 6.4 diesel radiator can run about $400-1000+.

2) Ford 6.4 Turbodiesel DPF Clogging

Diesel particulate filters (DPF) have been problematic parts on many modern diesel engines, and the 6.4 Powerstroke isn’t an exception. The Ford 6.4 is the first diesel truck from Ford to use a DPF. A DPF is meant to capture particulates before they exit the exhaust. This helps improve emissions, however it also leads to headaches with the filter clogging.

It’s a common problem on the 6.4 Power Stroke, which is why some choose to delete the DPF. It can cause a number of issues once the filter becomes too clogged. DPF clogging is also harder on the engine and turbo. This is because a clogged Ford 6.4 DPF can cause excess back-pressure. The engine then has a harder time getting rid of hot exhaust gases, which can increase stress on many parts.

6.4L Powerstroke DPF Clogged Symptoms

A few symptoms of a clogged DPF on the Ford 6.4 diesel include:

  • Power loss
  • Long crank
  • Fault codes

As the filter clogs the 6.4 Power Stroke will experience a lot of extra back-pressure. This often results in power loss as the engine struggles to remove exhaust gases quickly. You may also notice long cranks or receive fault codes indicating an issue.

Ford 6.4 Diesel DPF Fix

If you’re DPF is clogged there are a few viable solutions. Often pulling the filter out and cleaning it is the cheapest solution. Though, that won’t stop the DPF from potentially clogging again shortly after. That’s a big reason many 6.4 Power Stroke owners decide to completely delete the DPF. However, deleting the Ford 6.4 DPF may cause legal and emissions testing concerns. Aftermarket diesel particulate filters are another option, but they can be pretty pricey.

3) 6.4 Power Stroke Up-Pipe Problems

The exhaust up-pipe is another common problem on Ford 6.4 Power Stroke engines. Expansion joints on the up-pipes are prone to cracking, especially with age and mileage. The cause of the issues usually boils down to vibration and heat cycles. Up-pipes are a pretty simple but important part of the 6.4 Powerstroke exhaust system.

When the joints crack they can cause excessive soot in the engine bay. You’ll also likely notice a loud hissing noise from the engine bay. This is a pretty simple problem on the 6.4 diesel, so we’ll leave it at that.

Ford 6.4 Up-Pipe Symptoms

Symptoms of up-pipe problems on the 6.4 Power Stroke typically include:

  • Hissing from engine bay
  • Excessive soot in engine bay
  • Power loss

When the joints crack and begin leaking you’ll typically hear a hissing sound and notice lots of soot building up in the engine bay. You may also experience some power loss.

6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Up-Pipe Replacement

It’s a good idea to upgrade to aftermarket pipes once the stock ones give out. Otherwise, you may be back in there fixing the same problem a few years down the road. You can find some solid options for the 6.4 diesel like this for under $400. Labor can be a hassle so it’s definitely a good idea to upgrade to up-pipes that won’t run into the same problems.

4) Ford 6.4L Diesel Oil Cooler Issues

As with the DPF, oil coolers are another problematic area due to clogging. Sometimes EGR failures are incorrectly diagnosed, and the real issue at hand is a clogged oil cooler. The 6.4 Powerstroke oil cooler is responsible for cooling the engine oil – exactly as the name sounds. It uses coolant to cool the oil, and those passages may become blocked over time. When this occurs the engine oil temps may rise higher than normal.

Keep an eye on your engine oil and coolant temperatures. The two should typically remain within about 15 degrees of each others. If you notice the 6.4 Power Stroke temps are deviating too much chances are the oil cooler is on its way out. There’s no way to clean the oil cooler once it clogs, so complete replacement is usually required.

6.4 Power Stroke Oil Cooler Symptoms

Look for the following symptoms that may indicate the Ford 6.4 diesel oil cooler is having problems:

  • Oil/Coolant temp deviation
  • Oil overheating

As mentioned above, the oil and coolant temperatures should remain within 15 degrees of each other. If the oil is consistently getting too hot then the 6.4 oil cooler may be too clogged to operate effectively.

Ford 6.4 Oil Cooler Replacement

The OEM 6.4L Powerstroke oil cooler runs around $350-500. However, if you replace with the OEM part you may be replacing it again in another 50,000 to 80,000 miles. They sometimes last longer, but it’s a risk you must be willing to accept. Otherwise, Mishimoto offers an oil cooler upgrade for a mere $150. It also comes with a lifetime warranty for the 6.4 diesel. That would likely be our first pick.

5) 6.4 Power Stroke Fuel Dilution Problems

Active regeneration is the process that attempts to help keep the DPF clean. The Ford 6.4 diesel does this by injecting fuel during the exhaust stroke. This allows the fuel to exit the cylinder and flow downstream in the exhaust. This helps keep the DPF cleaner and burn off harmful emissions. However, there’s an inherent flaw to the way Ford designed this system.

Some engines use an extra injector to spray fuel directly into the exhaust stream. The 6.4 Power Stroke injects the fuel into the cylinders on the exhaust stroke. This allows small amounts of fuel to deposit on the cylinder walls where it can then contaminate the engine oil. Some fuel dilution of the oil is OK and shouldn’t cause any harm.

However, if too much fuel mixes with the oil that can affect the oils ability to properly cool and lubricate the engine. This could lead to premature wear and tear on the 6.4L diesel internals. Not a good thing for engine longevity.

How to Avoid Ford 6.4 Fuel Dilution

There really aren’t any symptoms or specific fixes for the fuel dilution problems on the 6.4 Power Stroke. Instead, we’ll discuss a few ways to minimize fuel dilution and reduce the risk of it causing premature wear.

First, avoid excessive idle time as the cylinders cool down during idle. This increases the likelihood of fuel sticking to the cylinder walls and diluting the oil. It’s also a good idea to allow the engine to warm up before subjecting the 6.4 diesel to heavy loads.

Lastly, we recommend having an oil analysis done from time to time. It’s pretty cheap and will tell you just how much fuel is mixing into the oil. You can then adjust your oil change intervals to account for the fuel dilution.

6) Ford 6.4 Diesel Pistons Cracking

This is one of – if not – the least common 6.4 Power Stroke engine problems on the list. However, it’s one of the more serious issues so cracked pistons are worth the quick mention. This is most common on higher mileage trucks, especially north of 200,000 miles. However, piston failures can and do occur on lower mileage Ford 6.4 diesel engines.

6.4 Power Stroke pistons simply aren’t that durable. That’s not to say they’re terrible, and this problem may be blown out of proportion to some extent. Nonetheless, the “fuel bowl” in the piston is typically where the cracks first develop. They can then get much worse and lengthen across the entire piston. If it’s bad enough you can begin losing parts of the piston and causing catastrophic engine damage.

6.4 Powerstroke Piston Failure Symptoms

A few symptoms that may indicate piston issues include:

  • Excessive smoke
  • Loss of compression
  • Power loss
  • Misfires

Piston failures on the 6.4 Power Stroke can result in excessive white smoke from the exhaust. You may also notice a loss of compression if you perform a compression test. That can in turn lead to power loss and misfires if the cylinder isn’t building proper compression.

Ford 6.4L Piston Replacement

Since pistons are an internal part of the 6.4 diesel it’s not a cheap replacement. The engine will need to be opened up so it’s a very labor intensive job. There’s also somewhat of a conundrum on higher mileage 6.4’s. If you’re going to open up the engine to replace one faulty piston you’re likely looking to keep the truck for a while longer. At that point, it likely makes sense to replace all 6 pistons and some other parts while you’re in there.

Of course, that can add a lot of costs especially if you plan to upgrade a few things in the engine. It’s a good idea to do this stuff if you intend to keep the 6.4 Power Stroke running. Otherwise, a cracked piston very well may not be worth the cost.

Ford 6.4 Powerstroke Reliability

How reliable is the Ford 6.4 Power Stroke turbodiesel? This is a tough one to discuss. Some swear by the 6.4L diesel and claim it was a massive improvement over the previous 6.0 Powerstroke. Others have had terrible experiences with the 6.4 and dub it one of the least reliable Ford diesel engines. Reality likes falls somewhere in between the two.

The 6.4 Power Stroke isn’t alone here. It was made in an era where emissions equipment was becoming more and more complication. We skipped over a few of those problems in this post that may also be considered common. Nonetheless, a lot of failures like DPF, EGR, oil coolers, etc are due to emissions laws and additional equipment required. A lot of this can be deleted to make the Ford 6.4 diesel more reliable. Though, the 6.4 Powerstroke also suffers from a few unrelated issues like radiators, pistons cracking, HPFP wire chafing, etc.

That said, we’ll give the 6.4 Power Stroke average remarks for reliability. It’s certainly not as reliable as some of the older legends like the 7.3 Power Stroke or 5.9 Cummins. However, it’s a totally different ball game now days with all of the emissions stuff so it’s not a totally fair comparison.

Ford 6.4 Diesel Common Problems Summary

Ford only used the 6.4 Powerstroke for two short years as they quickly introduced their own 6.7L Power Stroke that was built in-house. The 6.4L diesel produces a solid 350hp and 650tq straight from the factory. On paper, the numbers look solid for the era the engine was released. The 6.4 also had the responsibility of following up the 6.0 Power Stroke which did not have a good reputation by any means.

Unfortunately, the 6.4 Powerstroke hasn’t earned the greatest reputation, either. Some consider it a great improvement over the 6.0 while others claim the 6.4 is just as bad. It’s a different era with all of the strict emissions requirements. As such, a lot of the problems with the 6.4 Power Stroke turbodiesel begin with the emissions stuff. However, the engine does also suffer a handful of other issues unrelated to emissions tech.

All that said, the 6.4 Power Stroke earns average remarks for reliability. Sure, it’s not on the same level as the 7.3 PS or 5.9 Cummins, but it’s a different era. Maintain your 6.4 diesel well and upgrade stuff as problems pop up. It might cost a little money, but with the right upgrades you can build the 6.4 Power Stroke into a much more reliable engine.

What’s your experience with the Ford 6.4 diesel?

Drop a comment and let us know!

Or check out our post on 6.7 Power Stroke common problems

 6.7 Cummins Diesel Engine Problems

The 6.7 Cummins diesel engine is the latest of the B series engines. It’s a straight-six, 24 valve turbodiesel released for Dodge Ram trucks in 2007. The B6.7 Cummins still lives on in Ram 2500 and 3500+ trucks to this day. Though, it’s been through a few updates over the years. As of 2021, the 6.7 Cummins offers an impressive 400hp and 1000tq. Many also associate the Cummins name with some of the best light truck diesel engines ever. However, no engine is perfect and the 6.7 Cummins diesel is no exception. In this article, we discuss the most common problems on the Dodge Ram 6.7 Cummins engine as well as overall reliability.

5 Common 6.7 Cummins Problems

A few of the most common faults on the ISB 6.7 liter Cummins turbodiesel engine include:

  • Clogged DPF
  • Turbo failure
  • Head gasket
  • Fuel dilution
  • EGR cooler

Problems with the Cummins 6.7 often come down to emissions parts. However, the turbos and head gaskets are known to run into occasional failures too. It’s a good time to add a few notes that apply to this article. We’re referring to these issues as the most common. That doesn’t necessarily mean they affect a huge number of 6.7L Cummins diesel engines. Rather, when problems do happen these are a few of the most common.

Dodge and Ram trucks have also been using the 6.7 Cummins since 2007. Certain years may be more prone to these failures – specifically the earlier model year Dodge and Ram trucks. It’s natural for all engines to have a few kinks in their early years. Nonetheless, many of the B6.7 Cummins engines suffer from the above faults. Throughout the rest of this post we’ll discuss each of the 5 problems in-depth and finish off with overall thoughts on Cummins 6.7L reliability.

Dodge Ram 6.7 Cummins Engine Problems

1) 6.7 Cummins DPF Clogging

Diesel particulate filter (DPF) clogging is a common problem on the Dodge, Ram 6.7 Cummins. Initially, Chrysler opted to avoid using diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Without DEF the B6.7 diesel must run a little bit on the richer side to reduce NOx emissions. This in turn leads to more particulates (soot), which can quickly clog the DPF.

These clogging issues were so problematic early on that Dodge rolled out multiple PCM re-flashes in an attempt to reduce the occurrence. In 2013, Ram pickup trucks receive SCR emissions control systems along with diesel exhaust fluid. This helps reduce particulates, so DPF clogging is less common on the later year 6.7 Cummins. However, it still affects many trucks – especially as mileage builds up.

It’s pretty bad for a turbodiesel engine to run with a highly clogged exhaust DPF. This causes a build-up of back-pressure for the 6.7 Cummins, which can lead to more heat and stress on the engine. As such, it’s important to ensure your 6.7 Cummins DPF is functioning properly. Some have success in washing out clogged diesel particulate filters. Others decide to delete the DPF completely.

B6.7 Cummins DPF Clogged Symptoms

Symptoms that indicate the Dodge, Ram 6.7 diesel particulate filter is clogged include:

  • Power loss
  • Long crank
  • Reduced power mode
  • Engine fault codes

One of the main symptoms you may notice is power loss on the 6.7 Cummins with a clogged DPF. If exhaust gases can’t escape efficiently you’ll have a build up in pressure. That causes the 6.7 engine and turbo to run poorly. This is especially true if you end up in low power mode due to the 6.7 Cummins DPF clogging. You may also notice long cranks or an engine fault code.

Dodge, Ram 6.7 DPF Replacement

The DPF is an expensive piece of emissions equipment. Even a refurbished 6.7 DPF can run north of $1,000 while original filters are nearly double that. Dodge and Ram 6.7 Cummins owners have a few options. Aftermarket higher performance diesel particulate filters exist, but those still often come in over $1,000. Some have success in pressure washing the OEM 6.7 DPF. Trying to clean the filter may not work at all, but if it does it’s likely to be a shorter-term solution.

Ultimately, this leads some to go the route of completely deleting the 6.7 Cummins DPF with an aftermarket exhaust. This is definitely the easiest on the budget and most effective long-term solution. However, DPF deletes do come with some legal concerns due to emissions.

2) B6.7 Cummins Turbocharger Failure

Turbo problems or failures are more common on earlier model 6.7 Cummins engines. However, it can happen on any year as turbochargers naturally take a lot of abuse. We titled this section turbo failure, but there are a few issues that may not result in complete failure. A few issues that may occur with the 6.7 Cummins turbo include:

  • Leaking oil seals
  • Worn bearings (too much shaft play)
  • Sticking VGT parts
  • Compressor or turbine wheel damage

As turbos age, leaking oil seals and worn bearings are among the most common issues. B6.7 Cummins turbos run in excess of 100,000 RPM’s. Over time, the 6.7 turbo bearings may wear down and lead to excessive shaft play. If left alone the turbine or compressor wheel may contact the turbo housing and result in complete failure.

Since turbos run off incredibly hot exhaust gases it’s important to allow the oil to reach operating temperatures before pushing the Dodge Ram 6.7 Cummins too hard. Cold oil splashing on hot turbo seals is a recipe for premature turbo seal problems. You should also let the truck idle for a couple minutes before shutting down the engine. This will help cool the turbo.

Turbo problems can pop up at any point, but it becomes much more common north of 120,000 miles. A turbo rebuild may be possible. However, if your 6.7 Cummins is high mileage on the original turbo it may make sense to replace the entire turbo.

Dodge, Ram 6.7 Diesel Turbo Failure Symptoms

Look for the following symptoms that may indicate an issue with the B6.7 turbo:

  • Slow spool
  • Poor performance
  • Excessive smoke from exhaust
  • Whining sounds

There are a few other possible symptoms, too. A sudden failure will typically result in drastic amounts of smoke and oil loss. Moderate smoke will also occur when the turbo seals are on their way out. 6.7 Cummins turbos failing over time will generally make whining sounds, spool slowly, and not reach the target boost.

B6.7 Cummins Turbodiesel Turbo Replacement

New OEM turbochargers come in north of $1,000 and often close to double that price. A remanufactured turbo will run around $1,000 to $1,500. It’s certainly not cheap. You can find some high quality 6.7 Cummins turbo upgrades for around the same price as OEM, if not even cheaper.

Turbo upgrades are a good route to go – in our opinion. It will allow you to extract a little more performance from your Dodge or Ram truck. However, turbo upgrades are still a good option even if you want OEM performance. A larger, more efficient turbo will have an easier job and should in theory hold up longer than the OEM turbo.

3) Dodge, Ram 6.7 Cummins Head Gasket Problems

Head gasket problems on the 6.7 Cummins may not be too common in actuality. However, compared to the previous 5.9 Cummins engines the B6.7 runs into the issue a lot more frequently. Part of it may have to do with the sheer power and torque the Dodge Ram 6.7 makes. High cylinder pressures may be to blame for the head gasket failures.

Chances are head gasket failures are somewhat blown out of proportion. In other words, it’s likely not as common as some may suggest. It’s still worth the mention though since head gasket replacement can be pretty pricey. When the head fails some opt to upgrade the fire-rings and head studs to help keep the head from lifting.

ISB 6.7 Head Gasket Failure Symptoms

Symptoms of a blown B6.7 Cummins head gasket include:

  • White’ish smoke with sweet smell
  • Oil mixed with coolant
  • Coolant mixed with oil
  • Overheating

A blown head gasket will likely allow coolant into the combustion chambers. This will result in white smoke from the exhaust with a sweet smell from the coolant burning. Additionally, blown 6.7 Cummins head gaskets can allow oil and coolant to mix together. Higher pressure in the cooling system can also result in rapid overheating and/or coolant pouring out of the tank.

6.7L Cummins Diesel Head Gasket Replacement

Replacement costs can vary depending upon the year and model of the Dodge or Ram truck in question. Fortunately, there is only one head gasket thanks to the straight-six design. 6.7 head gaskets run in the ballpark of $100-200. Labor is where the costs begin to add up, and the repair can come in excess of $1,000 all in. That’s also assuming you’re not upgrading any parts.

Some 6.7 Cummins owners look to kits like this to avoid any potential issues in the future. The kits expensive especially when you add in labor. It’s a good idea to go with ISB 6.7 Cummins head studs at the least, though.

4) ISB 6.7L Cummins Fuel Dilution Issues

Alright – we’ll speed things up a bit moving through these next sections. Some fuel dilution in the oil is natural on the B6.7 diesel engine. It’s inherent due to the way the engine manages regeneration. This is the process in that particulates are trapped in the DPF and burned for cleaner emissions. The 6.7 Cummins does not use a 7th injector to introduce fuel into the exhaust. Rather, the fuel injectors spray some fuel into the exhaust stream during the cylinders exhaust strokes.

This allows small amounts of fuel to stick to the cylinder wall where fuel can then mix with the oil. Some fuel dilution occurs in almost all diesel engines. However, some 6.7 Cummins diesels seem to have too much dilution. Dodge and Ram state the acceptable limit at 5% dilution.

Anything higher can be an issue since too much fuel can interfere with oils job to properly lubricate and protect the engine. It won’t cause any immediate and severe damage on the ISB 6.7L engine. However, it can result in premature wear for engine internals.

Dodge, Ram 6.7 Fuel Dilution Symptoms

There aren’t usually any immediate symptoms of fuel dilution on the 6.7 Cummins. As such, it’s a good idea to do an occasional oil analysis. This will help you determine the rate of fuel dilution in your specific B6.7 diesel. You can then come up with an oil change schedule based on that information.

How to Avoid Cummins 6.7L Fuel Dilution

A few ways to help prevent too much fuel dilution on the B6.7 Cummins include:

  • Allow engine to warm up
  • Avoid extended idling

Allow the engine to warm up before driving under heavy engine loads, such as towing heavy weights. The fuel is less likely to stick to the cylinder walls on a warmer engine. Additionally, avoid idling the engine for extended periods of time. This somewhat ties into point one. If the Cummins 6.7L diesel is left to idle too long the cylinder temperatures drop. This will increase the amount of fuel sticking to cylinder walls.

5) 6.7 Cummins EGR Cooler Problems

EGR issues are a problem among many modern diesel trucks. The B6.7 Cummins is no exception here. It’s true most modern diesels primarily have issues with a lot of the emissions related equipment. As such, long-term diesel owners are likely well aware of these problems. We’ll keep this pretty short.

The EGR valve and cooler on the 6.7 Cummins is known to have problems, especially with higher mileage. It’s common for owners to simply delete the EGR system when problems do pop up. Of course, EGR delete can have legal concerns due to emissions laws.

Sometimes cleaning the EGR valve will help alleviate issues. Though, it’s usually a good idea to replace or delete the parts – especially if your Dodge or Ram 6.7 is higher mileage.

Dodge, Ram 6.7 Cummins Reliability

Is the Dodge and Ram 6.7 Cummins engine reliable? Yes and no. The B6.7 diesel certainly doesn’t have the same reputation as some of the older diesels like the 5.9 Cummins or 7.3 Power Stroke. However, many modern diesel engines are in the same boat as the 6.7 Cummins. A lot of the emissions related technology can really kill these diesels. DPF and EGR problems are a few of the emissions parts that can cause headaches on the 6.7 Cummins engine.

That said, the 6.7 Cummins is a fairly reliable engine overall. This is especially true if you opt to delete some of the emissions equipment like the DPF and EGR systems. Beware of potential emissions or legal implications, though.

Otherwise, maintain your B6.7 Cummins well and it will likely reward you with a solid, reliable experience. It’s a good idea to perform the occasional oil analysis to confirm fuel dilution. Work out an oil change schedule based on the results. Keep up with other basic maintenance and stay on top of repairs as 6.7 Cummins failures occur.

Again, the 6.7 Cummins may not have the same legendary reputation as some of the older diesel engines. When well maintained the ISB 6.7L should still hold up well beyond 250,000 miles. We’ll consider that pretty respectable longevity.

6.7 Cummins Common Problems Summary

The Dodge, Ram ISB 6.7L Cummins is an impressive diesel engine. It was the first light duty truck to break into the 1,000 torque territory with the 6.7 Power Stroke following shortly after. There’s no question the 6.7 diesel provides plenty of power and torque for almost any owner. However, no engine is perfect and this applies to the Cummins 6.7.

It’s mostly emissions equipment that brings the engine down a little bit. EGR and DPF problems are common on the 6.7 Cummins – as well as many other modern diesels. The sheer torque of the 6.7L engine can also cause issues with the head gaskets failing. Otherwise, turbo problems are possible with higher mileage as they take a lot of abuse. Fuel dilution is also another area that can be an issue, but the occasional oil analysis will help mitigate the risks of dilution of the oil.

Dodge and Ram trucks with the 6.7 Cummins engine are pretty reliable, overall. Sure, it doesn’t have the same legendary reputation as older diesels like the 7.3 PS or 5.9 Cummins. Unfortunately, the emissions parts of the modern day work against reliability in many ways. Nonetheless, maintain the 6.7 Cummins well and it shouldn’t have any issues eclipsing 250,000 miles.

What’s your experience with the 6.7L Cummins straight-six?

Drop a comment & let us know!

Or check out our common problems post for the 5.9 Cummins

 “Bulletproof” 6.0 Power Stroke 

Many 6.0 owners or prospective owners likely come across the term “bulletproof”. It’s not uncommon to see mention on forums or companies offering “Ford 6.0 Power Stroke Bulletproof kits”. The term is somewhat obscure with tons of varying answers as to what exactly it means to bulletproof the 6.0 engine. In this article, we discuss the idea of bulletproofing the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke. We’ll also provide some advice on the best ways to build a reliable 6.0 turbodiesel.

What Is A Bulletproof Ford 6.0L?

The term originates from the company They’re well known for building some great aftermarket parts for the diesel world. However, the term quickly caught on in the 6.0 Power Stroke scene. BulletProof Diesel does offer a few kits for the 6.0 Power Stroke aimed at improving the weak points of the 6.0L engine. Although, the term “bulletproof” more generically refers to upgrading the weak points of the Ford 6.0 to improve reliability.

In this post, we’ll mostly be focused on parts from the company BulletProof Diesel. There are of course plenty of other options out there. However, we’re narrowing it down to discuss which of the “bulletproof” upgrades are worth the cost on the Ford 6.0L diesel.

Ford 6.0 Bulletproof Upgrades

A few of the upgrades many consider part of bulletproofing the 6.0L Power Stroke include:

  • Oil cooler
  • EGR cooler
  • Water pump
  • Fuel injector control module (FICM)
  • Head gasket & head studs

These are a few of the most problematic parts on the 6.0L turbodiesel engine. Some consider these to be the main “bulletproof” items. Some add in more stuff while others believe you should only do a couple of the above. Upgrading all 5 of the above items on the Ford 6.0 diesel can be pretty costly. Is it worth it to tackle all of them? What upgrades should be skipped?

We’ll discuss each of these upgrades throughout the post and provide advice on whether or not they’re worthwhile mods. At the end of the blog we also discuss a few other small upgrades some may consider. Let’s dive right in.

Bulletproof Ford 6.0 Powerstroke Engine

1) Ford 6.0 Oil Cooler “Bulletproof” Upgrade

The 6.0 Power Stroke oil cooler can potentially cause a string of failures. Coolant passages may become blocked on the factory Ford oil cooler. This starves the EGR cooler, which may cause it to overheat and fail. When the EGR cooler fails coolant may enter the intake thereby creating high pressures that cause the head to lift. Point is – the Ford 6.0L diesel oil cooler is a serious reliability issue.

Oil cooler systems from BulletProof Diesel come in around $2,000-2,500. It’s not a cheap upgrade. The EGR cooler is also a problematic area regardless of the oil cooler problems. As such, it’s still a good idea to do the EGR cooler even if you’re upgrading the 6.0 oil cooler.

Is the Ford 6.0 Oil Cooler Upgrade Worth It?

We would probably skip the oil cooler upgrade unless you plan on keeping the Ford 6.0L for a long time. Install can run about $700-1,000 so the upgrade can cost upwards or beyond $3,000 all in. Compare that to a factory Ford 6.0 Power Stroke oil cooler for about $300. Add in labor and you can still replace the factory oil cooler about 3x before the bulletproof 6.0L oil cooler upgrade is worth the cost. Factory coolers usually hold up for about 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

It’s still a great upgrade for peace of mind. Those planning to keep their Ford for the long-run should definitely consider upgrading the oil cooler. Otherwise, simply replace it with the OEM Ford parts.

2) 6.0L Power Stroke EGR Cooler Mod

As discussed in the previous section, the EGR cooler is prone to failure. Some Ford 6.0 diesel owners opt to simply go with an EGR delete kit. It’s a solid option since you can pick up 6.0 EGR delete kits for under $100. However, there are some legal reasons to not delete the EGR cooler. You’ll likely fail an emissions inspection with an EGR delete. It will also set a check engine light, which will require a tuner to remove the CEL.

Enter the Bulletproof 6.0 Power Stroke EGR cooler. This EGR upgrade should last the life of the 6.0 Power Stroke and help avoid the hassle of potential emission problems.

Is the 6.0L EGR Cooler Worth It?

Yes, we believe the EGR cooler upgrade from Bulletproof Diesel is well worth the cost. If your EGR fails and you need a new one then we highly recommend going for the upgrade. However, if emissions aren’t a concern then an EGR delete kit is a good option too.

3) PowerStroke 6.0 Water Pump Upgrade

Water pumps are yet another common problem on the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine. The OEM Ford 6.0L water pump features a plastic impeller prone to failing. You’ll usually notice a puddle of coolant under the truck when the pump fails. It will also cause the 6.0 to quickly overheat if coolant flow is lost.

Water pump upgrades from BulletProof Diesel use an aluminum impeller. They also upgrade the bearing assembly, seal, and housing. It basically knocks out all of the areas prone to fail on the factory 6.0 Power Stroke water pump.

Should You Upgrade the 6.0 Power Stroke Water Pump?

We would skip this upgrade for now if your Ford water pump is still functioning. However, if and when the water pump fails it’s definitely worth the upgrade. The Bulletproof 6.0 Power Stroke water pumps come in at $350. You might also consider their complete cooling system upgrade that knocks out all of the weak points with the 6.0L cooling system.

4) Ford 6.0L FICM Bulletproofing

The Fuel Injection Control Module (FICM) controls the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke fuel injectors. Damaged FICM’s will cause the diesel engine to have trouble starting or not start at all. Other common symptoms include rough idle, stuttering, and power loss.

There are a handful of different options to go with. 6.0 FICM failures are often due to the power supply. However, Bulletproof and others offer full upgrades for the FICM. This includes the actual power supply upgrade with a new Ford OEM logic board.

Is the Ford 6.0L FICM Upgrade Worth It?

We’ll consider the Bulletproof 6.0 FICM option a toss up. The full upgrade runs around $800-1050, so it’s not cheap. Even the power supply alone runs $500. We recommend going for the TechSmart FICM power supply with an OEM cover. At $230 it’s a much better price that won’t break the bank.

5) 6.0 Power Stroke “Bulletproof” Head Studs

We’re circling back to the first topic of oil coolers here. The 6.0 head lifting isn’t really an actually manufacturing defect with the head, gaskets, or head studs. Rather, it was a chain event of the oil cooler failing. This leads to failure of the OEM 6.0L Power Stroke EGR cooler, which can cause the head to lift.

Basically, the head and head studs aren’t the problem here. Make sure you upgrade to the bulletproof EGR cooler or delete it. If this is done the head studs should not be a concern.

Are 6.0 Head Studs Worth It?

Skip the ARP head studs on the 6.0L diesel. The ARP studs come in around $500, but labor is pretty intensive. If you’re in there anyways then it can’t hurt to upgrade the 6.0 head studs if you’re willing to spend on the parts. Otherwise, we’ll skip this upgrade.

Other 6.0 PowerStroke Bulletproof Mods

We wrote about a post here regarding the most common problems on the Ford 6.0 Power Stroke engine. It’s still not a totally exhaustive list. However, there are a few other problems on the Ford 6.0L that aren’t considered a normal part of bulletproofing. As with several of the things on this list, it’s probably not worth it to replace this parts preventatively.

Simply knock out the repairs as they pop up and upgrade when and where it makes sense. A few other upgrades to consider include:

  • Fuel injectors
  • Turbocharger
  • High pressure oil system
  • Cooling system

Again, we wouldn’t go out and upgrade these 6.0 Power Stroke parts unless they fail. We’re just pointing out that there are many upgrades available. If the price is right then upgrade Ford 6.0L parts as they fail.

Bulletproof Ford 6.0L Summary

Ford 6.0 Power Stroke engines didn’t earn the best reputation for reliability. They suffer from quite a few common problems; many of which are due to emissions requirements. Nonetheless, the Ford 6.0L diesel can be a reliable engine. The idea of bulletproof mods took off in the 6.0 world and it became a common term. However, Bulletproof is really a company that makes tons of great upgrades for the Ford Power Stroke engines.

A few popular upgrades to build a bulletproof Ford 6.0 include the oil cooler, EGR cooler, water pump, FICM, and head studs. The bylletproof 6.0L Power Stroke EGR cooler or delete is a great start. However, most of the upgrades don’t make sense to do up front. Simply knock out any upgrades possible – assuming the budget allows – when actual problems pop up.

What’s your experience with the 6.0 Powerstroke? Do you have any bulletproof mods?

Drop a comment and let us know!



7.3 Power Stroke Intake Mods

Intake upgrades are an easy mod to unleash extra power, sound, and efficiency on the Ford 7.3 Power Stroke. Many refer to intakes as cold air intakes or performance intakes. They’re without question one of the best cost effective upgrades for the 7.3L Power Stroke turbodiesel. However, making a decision can be tough with so many options on the market. In this article, we discuss the benefits of Ford 7.3 intakes and some of the best options.

Best Ford 7.3 Power Stroke Intake Upgrades

Ford 7.3 Turbodiesel Upgraded Intake Benefits

A few of the benefits in running cold air performance intakes on the 7.3 Power Stroke include:

  • Power & torque gains
  • Quicker response
  • Fuel economy
  • Lower EGT

Performance benefits are likely among the top reasons most upgrade their 7.3L intake. A free flowing system helps the engine breath in air more efficiently. HP gains with a performance intake come in around 8-15 horsepower. You’ll also likely notice slightly quicker turbo spool and engine response. Another added benefit is an improvement in fuel efficiency. Of course, you probably won’t notice this if you’re using the newfound power on the 7.3 turbodiesel.

Lastly, intake mods generally help lower exhaust gas temperatures (EGT). It’s a great benefit as lower EGT’s help reduce back-pressure thereby making the turbo and engines jobs a bit easier. Oh yeah. We’re not done quite yet. A 7.3L Power Stroke intake upgrade will also improve engine sounds. There may be a few other things we’re forgetting. Point is – 7.3L intakes offer a number of benefits for a good price.

What is a Cold Air Intake?

It’s not uncommon to see intakes referenced as cold air intakes. A cold air intake technically is an intake that pulls air from outside the engine bay at a low point. However, many use it as a general term for any intake upgrades. It’s a fairly meaningless term on a turbodiesel with an intercooler. The air is running through a hot turbo before being cooled by the intercooler.

As such, pulling in colder air isn’t a big factor on the Ford 7.3 Power Stroke engine. What are we getting at here? Well, the volume of air flow is really all that matters when it comes to 7.3L intakes. Ignore the various names you may see for intakes. Cold air intakes, performance intakes, intake systems, etc. They’re all going to effectively offer the same benefits assuming air flow is the same. There is one notable difference though – open vs closed systems.

7.3 Power Stroke Open vs Closed Intakes

We’ll keep this short since it’s pretty basic. An open intake design leaves the filter open to the surrounding air. There is no airbox that encloses the filter. On the other hand, closed intakes are housed inside a box. How does this affect flow?

An open intake will generally flow slightly better, all else equal. However, both systems will function the same on a lightly modded 7.3 Power Stroke engine. If you’re opting for an upgraded turbo or aggressive tunes then you may notice ever so slightly better results with an open intake. That said, let’s move onto a few of the best Ford 7.3L turbodiesel intakes.

Best 7.3 Power Stroke Intake Mods

The above is all there really is to intakes. It’s pretty simple stuff. Nonetheless, intake mods are a popular choice on the 7.3 Power Stroke for good reason. They’re a simple bolt-on mod that are easy to install and come in at a good price for the benefits. Below we’ll list a few of our favorite 7.3L intakes on the market. Please note – this is far from an exhaustive list. There are tons of great options out there and we don’t have time to name them all.

**Most 98-03 models with the 7.3 Power Stroke use a slightly different intake design than earlier models. Ensure fitment prior to purchasing anything.

1) 7.3 Power Stroke S&B Cold Air Intake

S&B Filters is one of the top choices for a lot of 7.3L Power Stroke owners. We use S&B filters on a few of our own cars with great results. They have offerings for 1994-1997 models as well as 98+ 7.3L diesel engines. Both come in at $329.00 and use a closed airbox design with their own in house S&B filters.

This is a proven product that offers excellent quality and results. It’s also a solid price for an airbox design. According to S&B their intake improves airflow by 53% (98-03) and 42% (94-97). If you’re looking for a 7.3 Power Stroke intake the S&B option should definitely be in the cards.

Price: $329.00

Buy Here: 1994-1997 S&B Cold Air Intake

98-03 7.3L Power Stroke S&B Intake

2) Ford 7.3L Turbodiesel K&N 4″ Intake Kit

K&N offers some intake kits of their own, and their filters are well known. However, here we’re focusing on an option from Advance Diesel. It’s somewhat of a DIY intake kit for the 7.3 Power Stroke that uses a K&N air filter. This option is a true open intake with a large 4″ K&N filter, so the airflow improvements will be great.

It is a cut to fit intake kit, however they offer pre-cutting for stock turbos for only $9.99. Add that onto the price of the 7.3L diesel intake kit which is $139.99. It’s tough to beat that price without opting for a true DIY solution. Great choice for 7.3 owners looking for a quality K&N kit at a solid price.

Price: $139.99 ($149.98 with pre-cut)

Buy Here: 7.3L Power Stroke K&N Intake Kit

3) 7.3 AEM Brute Force Intake System

The AEM Brute Force intake is another solid system for the Ford 7.3L diesel. This kit uses a large AEM Dryflow washable air filter and is a semi-open intake design. The intake is open, however there is a small shield around the bottom and side of the intake.

We’re not quite as familiar with AEM products as we are with S&B and K&N. However, this looks to be a great choice for a fair price. Check it out if you’re looking for a 7.3 Power Stroke intake.

Price: $332.99

Buy Here: AEM Ford 7.3L Diesel Intake System

Ford 7.3 Diesel Intake Upgrade Summary

Bolt-on mods like intakes are great ways to extract more power and efficiency from the 7.3 Power Stroke turbodiesel. We believe intake mods should be towards the top of the list if you’re looking to mod your 7.3L engine. They offer considerable benefits like 8-15 horsepower gains, quicker spool and response, lower EGT’s, and better fuel economy. All of that for only about $140-400 depending on which intake system you opt for. Intakes are also easy to install on the 7.3 Power Stroke, so it’s tough to find any downsides.

Tons of great choices are out there for Ford 7.3 Power Stroke engines. Look for an intake kit with a quality, high-flowing filter from companies such as S&B or K&N. Otherwise, most options will offer similar benefits so it can’t hurt to shop based on price and looks.

What intake do you have on your 7.3 Power Stroke? Which are you considering?

Drop a comment and let us know!

7.3L Power Stroke Bolt-On Performance Mods

The Ford 7.3L Power Stroke diesel is a legendary engine. It’s well known for its reliable history and solid performance from the factory considering the era it was released. However, there are many ways to get more performance out of the 7.3 turbodiesel Power Stroke engine. Of course, risks exist when upping the boost and power with engine upgrades. In this article, we discuss a few of the best 7.3 Power Stroke bolt-on mods along with a few of the risks and other considerations.

Ford 7.3L Power Stroke Bolt-on Engine Mods

Best 7.3 Power Stroke Power Upgrades

  • Intake
  • Exhaust
  • Tune
  • Turbo

We’ll dive into each of the 7.3L Power Stroke bolt-on mods throughout the post. These are typically the starting point for getting more power and performance out of the 7.3 diesel engine. The above list represents power upgrades that can directly improve the 7.3’s HP. However, adding power can expose newfound issues. If you want a reliable build it’s important to either keep things modest or spend the money on supporting mods.

7.3L Supporting Mods

  • Injectors
  • Gauges
  • Transmission upgrades

We will also talk about these mods towards the end of the article. This isn’t a totally exhaustive list and building out the 7.3 Power Stroke for lots of power can get pricey. We’ll be quick on these sections when we circle around to the above mods. It’s more a reminder that increasing power and performance can put a lot of stress on other parts like the fuel system, engine, transmission, etc.

1) 7.3L Power Stroke Intake Mods

Intake upgrades are a great addition on almost any engine. However, this is especially true for the 7.3 Power Stroke turbodiesel. Turbos move a lot of air and a performance intake mod helps the 7.3L engine keep up with demands. Air intake upgrades are often referred to as cold air intakes, performance intakes, intake kits, etc. They’re all similar in design and accomplish the same result – getting more air into the engine.

Power gains with an intake come in around 5-15hp and 10-30tq. That’s already pretty enticing. Even more so when you consider Ford 7.3 PowerStroke intakes are cheap and simple to install, too. It’s hard to go wrong with a 7.3L intake upgrade.

Best 7.3 Intakes

  • Banks
  • AFE
  • S&B

This is simply a short list of some of the best 7.3L Power Stroke intake mods on the market. There are tons of great options out there. Look for something with a large, quality air filter. Otherwise, you can shop for price or design as intake upgrades are pretty straight-forward.

HP Gains: 5-15hp (10-30tq)

Cost: $200-400

2) 7.3L Power Stroke Exhaust Mods

Exhaust is another simple, basic bolt-on upgrade for the PowerStroke 7.3. One of the main ways to increase power is to get more air into the engine as efficiently as possible. However, that air also has to exit the engine efficiently. That’s where 7.3L Power Stroke exhaust mods come into play. An exhaust system will reduce back-pressure which helps increase power and reduce turbo spool time.

A catless turbo-back exhaust will offer the best performance gains on the 7.3L turbodiesel. However, there may be emissions concerns in removing the catalytic converter. High-flow catted exhausts for the 7.3 Power Stroke will also offer respectable gains. Catless is the definite way to go if power and performance are the end goal, though.

Expect power gains around 5-15 horsepower. You’ll also notice a solid drop in EGT’s alongside the quicker turbo spool. An exhaust is definitely among the best bolt-on mods for the 7.3L engine.

Best Power Stroke 7.3 Exhausts

  • Banks Monster Exhaust System
  • MBRP 4″ Turbo-Back Exhaust

As with intake mods, this is simply a short list of Ford 7.3 exhausts that we believe offer a great balance of price, quality, and performance. Tons of great options exist. Look for a stainless steel exhaust if you want top quality. Aluminized is a great option too, but some may begin having problems after 5 years or so. Sticking with a 4″ exhaust is also a good idea. Otherwise, simply check out some sounds and prices and see what’s the best balance for your goals.

HP Gains: 5-15hp (10-30tq)

Cost: $400-700

3) 7.3 Power Stroke Turbodiesel Tunes

Tunes likely offer the best bang for the buck on the 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine. You may also see 7.3 diesel tunes referred to as chips, programmers, or modules. They also allow you to get the most out of other mods, such as the intake and exhaust upgrades. If you’re planning to do just one engine mod on the 7.3L engine then a tuner would definitely be our recommendation. A tuner for the 7.3 Power Stroke allows the engine to make more boost.

There are several ways to go about tuning the Ford turbodiesel engine. Tunes like the TS Performance Switchable 6 position chip are simple plug and play tunes. They feature 6 off-the-shelf maps designed to work on any 7.3L engine. SCT X4 tunes on the other hand actually re-program the PCM (powertrain control module). These can control a lot more than simple tuning parameters. Additionally, SCT X4 tunes offer off-the-shelf tunes alongside an actual tuner device to monitor engine performance, read diagnostic trouble codes, etc.

7.3L Power Stroke engines also have the option to opt for custom tunes. Custom tuning options require the use of a flash device like the SCT X4. However, the custom tunes are an extra cost and dial in the tune to your specific 7.3.

Best 7.3L Power Stroke Tunes

  • SCT X4 Flash Tuner Device
  • TS Performance Switchable 6 Position Tune
  • Banks Power

There’s a lot that goes into a proper tune, so we recommend sticking with a reputable, well-known product. The above three are solid starting points, and other good options exist. If you’re looking for the best performance then eventually a custom tune is the way to go. However, if you’re new to tuning and modding the 7.3L PowerStroke it’s best to start with a basic off-the-shelf tune.

HP Gains: 30-100+hp (50-120+ torque)

Cost: $230-500+

4) 7.3 Power Stroke Turbo Upgrades

Turbo mods for the Ford 7.3L diesel are getting into slightly new territory. Intake and exhaust mods are simple bolt-on that offer solid performance for the price. Tunes offer excellent bang for the buck and are essential in getting the most out of your engine. 7.3 Power Stroke turbo upgrades have the ability to take the engine to to totally new heights.

We’ll likely have an upgraded turbo guide coming in the future. In the meantime, we’ll keep this section pretty short (relative to how much goes into turbo upgrades). We recommend doing quite a bit of research prior to upgrading the 7.3 PowerStroke turbo.

Moving on, there are tons of different options for turbos. You can keep things modest and go for a minor turbo upgrade. Or you can shoot for the moon and buy a turbo kit capable of 500+ horsepower. Push things too far and the engine, transmission, etc may not last long.

HP Gains: 50-100+hp

Cost: $600-$3,000+

Ford 7.3L Power Stroke Supporting Mods

7.3 Turbodiesel Injectors

The stock injectors typically max out their fuel flow in the 325-375 horsepower range. You can hit those numbers pretty quickly with an aggressive tune and some basic bolt-ons. Anything much above that ballpark and 7.3 Power Stroke injector upgrades become a must. Costs vary some based on model year and how much flow you need from injector upgrades. However, you’ll likely be shelling out somewhere in the $1,000 to $3,000 ballpark.

It’s not cheap. Injectors are a great example as to why the 7.3 diesel can get expensive to mod heavily. A tune and basic bolt-ons is a good stopping point for most. Going much further may start to add a lot of money.

7.3L Power Stroke Transmission Upgrades

The automatic transmission has a few weak points once you begin modding the 7.3 turbodiesel engine. When you upgrade the transmission depends on a few factors. The 7.3L Power Strokes are getting old so some transmission may need rebuilding anyways. That would be a good time to knock out some upgrades.

Otherwise, it’s generally around the 350-400 horsepower mark where the transmission reaches the limit. Again, we’re right in that area where taking the 7.3 any further gets expensive.

7.3 Power Stroke Gauges

Once you start adding mods to the Ford 7.3 it’s a good idea to pick up a set of gauges. This will help you keep an eye on some important parameters. A lot like to start with gauges that show trans temp, turbocharger boost, and EGT’s. Plenty of other options exist so the sky is the limit. Stick with the important gauges, though. Unless you want to find yourself with a dozen gauges lining half the interior.

Other 7.3L Power Stroke Supporting Mods

We skipped over a few mods that may also be considered power mods. An intercooler is a great addition to the Ford 7.3L Power Stroke engine. However, intercoolers can get pretty expensive. Some opt for the 6.0L Power Stroke intercooler. Used ones can often be found for a reasonable price. Otherwise, an intercooler upgrade can run $1,000+. It’s definitely a great mod to keep charge air temps down and help EGT’s, too.

The list goes on and on. We’ll expand on some more mods in the future for more in-depth builds. Most are probably best off starting with the basics like a tune, intake, exhaust, injectors, and gauges. Once you’re ready to start pushing things further then you should have a solid understanding of what’s required.

7.3 Power Stroke Engine Upgrades Summary

Ford’s 7.3L PowerStroke engine has earned itself a legendary reputation. It’s a great engine that’s still powering tons of trucks even 16-25 years later. They make solid power from the factory. However, some basic bolt-on mods can really wake up the 7.3L diesel and help boost it to the next level. It’s important to keep in mind these trucks are only getting older. Adding power may expose other underlying issues or weaknesses.

Nonetheless, a tuner, intake, and exhausts is a great starting point to unlock more power from the 7.3L with simple bolt-on mods. Those looking for more power may consider turbo upgrades. Though, once you begin nearing or passing the 350 horsepower ballpark the costs can add up quickly. You’ll want to consider supporting mods like injectors and transmission upgrades. Too much power also puts a lot of stress on the engine and may reduce longevity and reliability.

Are you running any mods on your 7.3L Power Stroke? Which are you considering?

Check out our 7.3L Power Stroke Common Problems post

When diagnosing a Hard or No start condition on a 7.3 Power Stroke diesel, one of the first step to take is a Visual Inspection of the engine and chassis.

Visual Engine/Chassis Inspection

This is a visual inspection to check the general condition of the engine and look for obvious causes of a hard start or no start conditions.

Recommended Procedure:

  • Inspect fuel system, including the fuel tank and fuel lines for kinks, bends and/or leakage.
  • Check oil lines and high pressure pump (HPOP) in engine “V” for major oil leaks.
  • Inspect for coolant leaks at radiator and heater hoses and check coolant level.
  • Inspect wiring for correct routing and make sure no rubbing or chafing has occurred.
  • Inspect the in-line 42-way, injector driver module (IDM), powertrain control module (PCM) and sensor connectors to make sure they are completely seated and in good condition.

Possible Causes:

  • Loose or leaking fuel supply lines could cause the fuel system to lose prime.
  • Kinked or blocked fuel supply lines will create a fuel restriction.
  • Massive fuel or oil leaks could contribute to no start conditions.
  • Coolant leaks could indicate serious engine problems.
  • Electronic connectors may be damaged or not installed properly causing a no start condition. The camshaft position (CMP) sensor and the injection pressure regulator (IPR) are the two most critical electronic sensors/actuators to inspect in no start situations.

Tools Required:
Inspection light

Vibration Damper (Rubber)  Inspection  Check the index lines (A) on the damper hub (B) and the inertia member (C). If the lines are more than 1.59 mm [1/16 inch] out of alignment, replace the damper.

Inspect the rubber member for deterioration. If pieces of rubber are missing or if the elastic member is more than 3.18mm [1/8 inch] below the metal surface, replace the damper. 

NOTE: Also look for forward movement of the damper ring on the hub. Replace the damper if any movement is detected.

The procedures given in this section for valve lash adjustment are to be performed at the initial 38,000 km [24,000 mi] adjustment. Subsequent adjustments are to be performed at 77,000 km [48,000 mi] intervals.

With a 15 mm wrench, remove the valve cover.

1/2 Inch Drive, 3824591 Engine Barring Gear

 Locate Top Dead Center (TDC) for Cylinder Number 1 by barring engine slowly while pressing on the engine timing pin.  The barring gear inserts into the flywheel housing and engages the flywheel ring gear. The engine can then be rotated by hand using a 1/2 inch ratchet or breaker bar.

When the pin engages the hole in the camshaft gear, Cylinder Number 1 is at TDC on the compression stroke.

CAUTION: To prevent damage to the engine or pin, be sure to disengage the pin after locating TDC

Feeler Gauge  Intake Clearance: 0.254 mm [0.010 IN]  Exhaust Clearance: 0.508 mm [0.020 IN]  Check/set valves with engine cold – below 60° C [140° F].

NOTE: The clearance is correct when some resistance is “felt” when the feeler gauge is slipped between the valve stem and the rocker lever.

Six-Cylinder Engine Adjustment  

14 mm wrench, Flatblade Screwdriver  

Locate Top Dead Center (TDC) for Cylinder Number 1  Check/adjust the valves as indicated in the illustration (I = Intake, E = Exhaust).  Tighten the lock nut and measure the valve lash again.  Torque Value: 24 N•m [18 ft-lb]   Mark the pulley/vibration damper and rotate the crank-shaft 360 degrees.

CAUTION: To prevent engine or pin damage, be sure timing pin is disengaged.

Adjust the valves as indicated in the illustration.  Tighten the lock nut and measure the valve lash again.  Torque Value: 24 N•m [18 ft-lb]  

With a 15 mm wrench, install the valve covers and tighten capscrews.  Torque Value:  24 N•m [18 ft-lb]

Preparatory Steps:  

  • Remove the air crossover tube.
  • Disconnect the intake and exhaust piping. 

Using a 10 mm wrench, remove the capscrews from the oil drain tube.

Using a 16 mm wrench, remove the oil supply line.

If equipped with a wastegate turbocharger, remove the intake manifold pressure supply line from the boost capsule.

Using a 15 mm and an 11 mm wrench, remove the exhaust clamp, turbocharger, and gasket.  Plug the opening with a clean shop rag to prevent foreign material from entering exhaust system. 

Clean the sealing surface. Inspect the sealing surface and mounting studs for damage.

NOTE: If the turbocharger is not to be immediately replaced, cover the opening to prevent any material from falling into the manifold.

Install a new gasket and apply anti-seize compound to the mounting studs. 

Using a 15 mm wrench, install the turbocharger and new gasket.  Torque Value:  43 N•m [32 ft-lb]

Using a 13 mm wrench, if required, bend the lockplates back and loosen the turbine housing capscrews and position the bearing housing to install the turbocharger drain tube.  

Install the hose and clamps on the turbocharger drain tube loosely. Install the drain tube and gasket on the turbocharger.  Torque Value:  24 N•m [18 ft-lb] 

Using a screwdriver,  position the turbocharger drain hose to connect the drain tubes; tighten the clamps.

Using a 13 mm wrench, punch and hammer, if loosened, tighten the turbine housing capscrews. send the lockplates onto the flats to prevent loosening.  Torque Value:  20 N•m  [15 ft-lb]

Using a 10 mm  wrench, if required, loosen the compressor housing and position the housing to align with the crossover tube.  Torque Value:  8.5 N•m [75 in-lb]

Using an 11 mm Plastic Hammer, tighten the band clamp. Tap around the clamp with a plastic hammer and tighten again.  Torque Value:  8.5 N•m [75 in-lb]


To prevent bearing damage new turbo-chargers must be prelubricated before start-up.  Pour 50 to 60 cc [2 to 3 ounces] of clean engine oil into the oil supply fitting. Rotate the turbine wheel to allow the oil to enter the bearing housing.

Install the exhaust outlet connection.  Do not tighten the two mounting capscrews until the band clamp has been tightened.  Torque Value:  Band Clamp – 8 N•m [6 ft-lb]    Capscrews – 43 N•m [32 ft-lb]

Using a 16 mm wrench,  install the oil supply line.  Torque Value:  35 N•m [26 ft-lb]


When installing oil supply line, be sure line is not in direct contact with turbine housing or line will burn during operation.

If equipped with a wastegate turbocharger, install the intake manifold pressure supply line from the boost capsule.

Cummins diesel engine turbocharger replacement

Install the air crossover tube, inlet and exhaust piping.  Operate the engine and check for leaks.

Troubleshooting Procedures and Techniques

 This guide describes some typical engine operating problems, their causes, and some acceptable corrections to those problems. Unless noted otherwise, the problems listed are those which an operator can diagnose and repair.  See an Authorized Repair Location for diagnosis and repair of problems not listed.

Follow the suggestions below to develop good troubleshooting procedures:  

  • Study the problem thoroughly before acting.
  • Do the easiest and obvious things first.
  • Find and correct the basic cause of the problem.  

 Troubleshooting Symptoms

 Use the charts given on the following pages to help find the cause and correction of a malfunction. Read each row of blocks from top to bottom. Follow the arrows through the chart to identify corrective action.

  • Lubricating Oil Pressure Low
  • Lubricating Oil Pressure Too High 
  • Lubricating Oil Loss
  • Coolant Temperature Above Normal 
  • Coolant Loss
  • Coolant Temperature Below Normal
  • Coolant Contaminated
  • Lubricating Oil Contaminated 
  • Fuel or Oil Leaking from Exhaust Manifold 
  • Exhaust Smoke Excessive Under Load
  • Engine Will Not Reach Rated Speed When Loaded
  • Power Output Low
  • Engine Misfiring 
  • Fuel Knock 
  • Fuel Consumption Excessive  
  • Vibration Excessive
  • Engine Noises Excessive
  • Alternator Not Charging or Insufficient Charging  
  • White Smoke Excessive During Cold Start