The 5 Most Common Ford 6.7L PowerStroke Diesel Engine Problems
6.7L PowerStroke Turbo Diesel
Ford’s 6.7L PowerStroke engine is the fourth generation of diesel engines powering Ford trucks. However, the 6.7L V8 is actually the first PowerStroke manufactured by Ford directly. Previous engines were from Navistar International. Currently the 6.7 diesel is on its 3rd generation and offers best in class power and torque. It’s an excellent engine with its 475 horsepower and 1050 torque. However, all engines are prone to problems, and the Ford 6.7 PowerStroke is no exception. In this article, we discuss a few of the most common issues on the Ford 6.7L PowerStroke engine.
6.7L Power Stroke Generations
We’ll write an in-depth post about the various gen 6.7L engines in the near future. However, it’s an important topic to discuss briefly before diving into common problems. We’ll give a quick breakdown of the 3 gens below.
1st Gen Ford 6.7L Diesel V8
Again, this was Ford’s first internal build of their PowerStroke engine series. The 1st gen 6.7L PowerStroke is known as the least reliable of the three. It makes sense given it was Ford’s first variant of the PowerStroke engines. Almost every early model engine by any company has some early kinks to work out. That’s not to say the 1st gen is a horrible engine. However, if you’re concerned about reliability and it’s in the budget then you may consider the 2nd or 3rd gen options.
2nd Gen 6.7L PowerStroke
Ford’s 2nd gen 6.7L has some notable upgrades over the original engine. A few of the updates include:
- IROX coating on lower main bearing
- Heavier crankshaft damper
- Fan clutch update
- Turbo updates to support additional power and torque
- EGR cooler flow
This isn’t an exhaustive list of updates for the 2nd gen engine. However, as you can see, there were quite a few important updates for the 6.7L PowerStroke. Some of them are intended to improve reliability over the initial 6.7L. A few of the updates are also focused on improving torque and performance.
3rd Gen Power Stroke 6.7
The 2020 PowerStroke update is another good one. As of its release the engine offers best in class power and torque. However, the engine is still brand new so it’s hard to say how reliable the 3rd gen 6.7L PowerStroke is in the long-run. Nonetheless, we suspect it should be an improvement over the previous engines.
We’ll leave it at that for now since the engine is still too new to tell. Again, we’ll address the generations in greater depth in another post and link to it here.
6.7L PowerStroke Common Problems
A few common faults with the 6.7 PowerStroke include:
- EGT Sensor Failure
- EGR Cooler Clogging
- Injection Pump Failure
- Radiator Coolant Leaks
- Turbocharger Problems
This is not an exhaustive list of anything that can go wrong. It’s also important to note – just because something is on this list does not mean every 6.7L PowerStroke will have these problems. Nonetheless, these are a few common flaws with the 6.7L diesel V8 from Ford. We’ll dive into each of these problems below and sum up the post with overall thoughts on how reliable is the 6.7L Power Stroke.
1) 6.7L PowerStroke EGT Sensor Failure
Exhaust gas temperate (EGT) sensor problems are among the most frequent issues on the 6.7 PowerStroke engines. The 6.7L V8 uses a total of 4 EGT sensors, so there are quite a few areas for potential failures. Ford issued a warranty extension to cover the EGT in the event of failure. Hopefully you’re under the extended warranty otherwise you’ll be paying out of pocket. Even after initial replacement the 6.7L EGT sensors may fail again. EGT sensors 12 and 13 (the middle two) seem to be the most common failures.
Some also opt to delete the EGT sensors since they can be so problematic. Prior to 2015, these issues could potentially leave you stranded. Fortunately, in 2015, Ford issued a service bulletin to update the PCM to reduce the possibility of being stranded with a simple EGT sensor failure. Even then, it may be a good idea to carry an extra sensor around in the truck.
PowerStroke 6.7 EGT Sensor Symptoms
A few symptoms that may indicate EGT sensor failure include:
- Check engine light
- Fault codes
- Failed emissions test
Once the PCM sees an EGT sensor problem it will usually set off the check engine light. You’ll also likely get a fault code (DTC) that points you in the direction of the sensor in question. P0544, P2031, P2032, P2033, P2084, P242A, P242D, P2471, and P246E are among a few of the common fault codes the 6.7L Power Stroke may throw. Prior to 2015, EGT sensor 13 was the one that typically caused limp mode and an inability to drive the truck. Some have run into this issue even after the PCM update.
6.7L Power Stroke V8 EGT Sensor Replacement
If one of these sensors goes bad check to see if you’re under the extended warranty or original factory warranty. However, some under warranty still elect to carry an extra sensor and do this job on their own. 6.7L Ford EGT sensors run along the exhaust and are pretty easy to access. Most can likely knock the job out in 15 minutes, and the sensors are only $35-50.
Ensure the exhaust isn’t too hot to work on. Otherwise, it’s about as straight-forward as a repair can be. This is why many elect to carry an extra sensor or two around. For some it may be too much of a hassle to bother going to the dealer for warranty work.
2) 6.7L Power Stroke EGR Cooler Clogging
EGR cooler problems is also one of the most common on the Ford 6.7 Power Stroke. It’s not as common as with the previous 6.0L and 6.4L engines, though. Ford actually changed the design of the EGR system on the 6.7L engine. The valve lies in the hot side now. EGR flows from the exhaust, to the valve, then into the EGR cooler if the valve is open.
However, the new design for the 6.7L Powerstroke comes with problems of its own. Carbon deposits can build up on the EGR cooler core and cause it to become completely clogged. The good news is – replacement of the EGR cooler is a lot simpler than on previous Power Stroke engines. As with the EGT sensors some 6.7L owners opt to delete the EGR system.
EGR Cooler Clogging Symptoms
Look out for the following symptoms of Ford 6.7L Power Stroke EGR cooler problems:
- Fault code P0401
- Check engine light
A check engine light and DTC code P0401 point to a likely issue with the EGR cooler. You may also notice over-heating as the exhaust gas recirculation system may not effectively cool the gases when clogged.
6.7L PowerStroke EGR Cooler Replacement
Once an issue with the EGR system pops up some decide to simply delete the entire system. EGR delete kits may be found for about $300-400. However, this may create issues passing emissions tests down the road.
Otherwise, replacement is straight-forward compared to previous Power Stroke engines. The EGR cooler kit for the 6.7L Powerstroke runs about $200-300. Intermediate DIY’ers shouldn’t have an issue knocking out the EGR cooler replacement. However, it may take a few hours to complete.
3) PowerStroke 6.7L Injection Pump Failure
Alright, this is our final somewhat lengthy topic. We’ll speed things up on the next topics. Injection-Pump (HPFP) failure may be a concerning problem for many 6.7L Power Stroke owners. This problem may be blown out of proportion, but it’s something to be aware of. The HPFP is a Bosch CP4 and is known to fail due to metal on metal contact within the pump. What’s concerning is this – metal contamination in the fuel system can take out many other components with it.
Some have ended up needing to replace a bulk of the fuel system when the pump problems occur. Everything from the 6.7 Power Stroke injectors, regulators, and fuel lines may require replacement. There were even some class action lawsuits floating around for these problems. Fortunately, Ford is using a new pump on the 3rd Gen 6.7 PowerStroke.
Power Stroke HPFP Failure Symptoms
A few symptoms of 6.7L Power Stroke injection pump failure include:
- Long crank or no start
- Rough idle / stuttering
- Severe loss of power
Once the pump fails you’ll have a lack of fuel flow which may result in the engine stalling. Once shut off the engine may experience issues cranking over and it may not start at all. Insufficient fuel flow may also result in rough idle, stuttering, and a severe loss of power. This all assumes the 6.7L pump is still flowing just enough fuel to keep the engine operational.
Ford 6.7L PS Injection Pump Replacement
Some 6.7 Powerstroke owners report spending upwards of $10,000 to fix the HPFP problems. This is due to the metal shavings from the pump ruining many other fuel system components. Ultimately, almost the entire fuel system must be replaced in this scenario.
If you’re lucky you may catch the problem quickly and prevent further damage. The pump may also fail in other ways that are not caused by metal-on-metal contact. In this case, the pump itself is still pretty expensive. Nonetheless, consider yourself lucky as it beats replacing the entire 6.7L Powerstroke fuel sytem.
4) Ford 6.7L V8 Radiator Coolant Leaks
We promised we would speed things up some, and this is a pretty basic problem to discuss on the 6.7 Power Stroke. There are a few other coolant leaks that may pop up, but the radiator is among the most common. We should note – the 6.7L engine actually uses two radiators. The primary radiator is the more common problem.
We’ll skip doing a section for symptoms as it’s straight-forward. Look for potential coolant leaks up-front by the radiator. You may notice low coolant or overheating if the leak is bad enough or left alone for too long.
Ford PowerStroke 6.7 Radiator Replacement
It can’t hurt to upgrade if the OEM radiator gives out on the 6.7L PowerStroke. There are some great options out there, but depending on brand can be twice as expensive as the OEM option. Ford’s 6.7 engine uses a CSF radiator as OEM and they can usually be found for under $400.
Replacement isn’t too tough, but it’s a bit more complicated due to the use of two radiators. It takes some time and patience but DIY’ers shouldn’t have an issue knocking out the primary radiator replacement on the 6.7L diesel.
5) Ford PowerStroke 6.7L Turbocharger Problems
Turbo issues primarily affect the earlier 1st gen 6.7 Power Stroke diesel engines. Failures occasionally occur with the turbo bearing. Many suspect the failures to be attributed to Ford opting for a turbo too small for the boost and torque requested. As such, failure may occur a lot sooner for those planning to mod their 6.7L Power Strokes for more power.
The 2nd gen receives an updated, larger turbo to assist in making the additional power and torque. Turbo failures seem to be less common on these later model 6.7’s. However, a turbo does take a lot of abuse through its life. This is especially true on turbo diesel engines like the 6.7L PowerStroke as they often have such a long lifespan. Modern turbos can usually last the lifetime of an engine, but this isn’t always the case with diesels that can run well beyond 200,000 miles.
It’s not really fair to call it a common problem in those cases when the turbo reaches the end of its natural life. Nonetheless, the point remains. Turbos are wear and tear parts and can fail on any generation 6.7L Power Stroke. Turbo lifespan may also reduce significantly on modded 6.7L engines.
Symptoms of 6.7L Turbo Failure
Look out for the following symptoms that may indicate the 6.7L PowerStroke turbo is having problems:
- Excessive smoke
- Oil loss / oil in exhaust
- Turbo not reaching target boost
- Whining turbo sounds
- Power loss
When a turbo fails suddenly it will often dump quite a bit of oil into the exhaust causing oil loss and excessive smoke. We ran into a sudden turbo failure on one of our gasoline cars and it was quite dramatic. Also, listen for whining or unusual turbo sounds. Boost under target and power loss may also indicate the turbo is tired and on its way out.
6.7 Power Stroke Turbo Replacement
Exact replacement depends on the generation of the 6.7L Powerstroke engine. However, turbo replacement often runs north of $2,000. Some opt for an upgraded turbo if or when the OEM turbo gives out. Even if you’re not looking for extra power a larger turbo will take less abuse and should hold up better in the long-run. Of course, the trade-off being slower turbo spool if you go with too large of a turbo.
Is the 6.7L Power Stroke Reliable?
Yes and no. The Ford 6.7L engine certainly has its fair share of problems, especially the 1st gen example. 2nd gen 6.7 engines are an improvement, but still have their share of problems. We suspect the same case for the 3rd gen, but it’s too new of an engine to say positively. That’s not to say the 6.7L Power Stroke is a horrible and unreliable engine, though.
A lot of the problems stem from emissions related components that some decide to delete once problems crop up. There are a few things we didn’t mention like SCR and DEF. Of course, there are the legal aspects to consider upon deletion of OEM emissions equipment. Nonetheless, these 6.7L engines certainly run better and more reliably with deletion of some of these emissions systems.
The 6.7L Power Stroke does have a few other non emissions related issues. Notably the HPFP problems may be concerning due to the extensive damage that may occur. Primary radiators are known to develop leaks as they age and turbos can be problematic on the early 6.7L engines.
6.7L PowerStroke Common Problems Summary
Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke may not be the most reliable diesel engine around, especially compared to some older diesel engines. Part of it is the nature of modern emissions equipment from the factory. Ford isn’t alone in running into issues with some of this newer, complex emissions stuff. EGT sensors and EGR coolers clogging are among the most common problems on the 6.7L PowerStroke.
These systems (along with some other emissions systems) can be deleted and the 6.7L engine becomes a lot more reliable. However, there are legal and emissions related concerns alongside deleting these systems. Otherwise, look out for potential problems with the fuel injection pump as the failure may turn catastrophic quickly. Radiators are another common problem and early model 6.7L Power Strokes run into occasional turbo issues.
Take out the emissions systems and the 6.7L Powerstroke is a very reliable engine. Even with the few common problems the 6.7L Power Stroke should be good for 250,000+ miles. Maintain your Ford 6.7L engine well and chances are it will reward you with a great overall experience.
What’s your experience with the Ford 6.7L PowerStroke? Are you considering buying one?
Drop a comment and let us know!