One of the biggest challenges with the 6.7 Powerstroke is the addition of advanced emissions equipment. It’s one of the reasons that I still prefer a classic pre-emissions diesel for reliability purposes – but they just don’t produce the power that these newer versions do.
The 6.7 Powerstroke has a few common problems relating to emissions components, injection pumps, and turbochargers. Through our personal experience owning Powerstroke diesels and talking with many Ford Master Technicians, we’ve compiled a list of the five most common problems the 6.7 Powerstroke engines face.
There are 3 different generations of the 6.7 Powerstroke. It’s been around since 2011 so naturally there have been a number of revisions and changes over the years. This is important to discuss as some of the problems these diesels experience is specific to the generation of the engine.
First, let’s talk about the major changes each generation went through. We’ll make sure we note which generation is affected by each of the common problems discussed below.
1st Gen: 2011-2014
Ford took over engine production from Navistar, having designed and manufactured the 6.7 Powerstroke Gen 1 100% in house. As is expected with a brand new engine, the first generations have the most problems and are the least reliable.
I don’t mean this in the sense that the 2011-2014 Powerstroke’s are bad engines. They just have more problems and reliability issues than the 2nd and 3rd gens, which makes sense. I would recommend sticking with a 2015+ model if it is in your budget.
2nd Gen: 2015-2019
Ford’s 2nd gen 6.7 diesel 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. Some of them are intended to improve reliability over the initial 6.7L which did experience common turbo and EGR issues. A few of the updates are also focused on improving torque and performance.
The second generation mostly fixed the turbocharger issues experienced by the first gen. 2017+ versions got better fueling and tend to be some of the most reliable for Gen 2.
3rd Gen: 2020-Present
The 2020 Powerstroke update was brought about to provide additional power and torque and address some weaknesses of the previous generation.
According to ProSource Diesel, a replacement and performance parts reseller, the third generation 6.7 Powerstroke fixed just about all of the previous generation problems. Furthermore, my own research digging through forums and Powerstroke owner groups hasn’t surfaced any problems that are consistent enough to be considered common problems.
Common 6.7 Powerstroke Problems
- 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 engine will have these problems. Nonetheless, these are a few common flaws with the 6.7L diesel. We’ll dive into each of these problems below and sum up the post with overall thoughts on how reliable the 6.7 Powerstroke is.
If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our Ford 6.7L Powerstroke Common Problems video below:
1) EGT Sensor Failure
Exhaust gas temperature (EGT) sensor problems are among the most frequent issues on the 6.7 Powerstroke engines. The engine uses a total of 4 exhaust gas temperature 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 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 exhaust gas temperature sensor failure. Even then, it may be a good idea to carry an extra sensor around in the truck.
- 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 Powerstroke may throw.
Prior to 2015, exhaust gas temperature 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.
EGT Sensor Replacement Options
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. 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) EGR Cooler Clogging
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler problems are also one of the most common on the Ford 6.7 Powerstroke. 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 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 engines. As with the EGT sensors some owners opt to delete the EGR system.
EGR Cooler Clogging Symptoms
- Fault code P0401
- Check engine light
A check engine light and DTC code P0401 point to a likely issue with the exhaust gas recirculation cooler. You may also notice over-heating as the exhaust gas recirculation system may not effectively cool the gases when clogged.
Once an issue with the exhaust gas recirculation 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 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) CP4 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 Powerstroke 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 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 engines.
HPFP/ Injection Pump Failure Symptoms
- 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.
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 fuel system.
4) Radiator Coolant Leaks
The radiator is the most common coolant leak on the 6.7 Powerstroke. We should note – the 6.7L engine actually uses two radiators. The primary radiator is the more common problem.
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.
It can’t hurt to upgrade if the OEM radiator gives out on the 6.7 Powerstroke. There are some great options out there, but depending on brand can be twice as expensive as the OEM option. The factory OEM radiator is made by CSF 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.
5) Turbocharger Problems
Turbo issues primarily affect the earlier 1st gen 6.7 Powerstroke diesel engines. Failures occasionally occurs 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 modify their engines 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 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 6.7 Powerstroke. Turbo lifespan may also be significantly reduced when modifications and tuning are added..
Symptoms of Turbo Failure
- 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.
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 6.7 Powerstroke Reliable?
Yes and no. The Ford 6.7L diesel engine certainly has its fair share of problems, especially the 1st gen example. 2nd gen engines are an improvement, but still have their share of problems. 2015+ models are considered more reliable than the 2011-2014’s and 2017+ models are considered more reliable than the 2015-2016 models. So far I haven’t been able to find any research suggesting the 3rd gen 2020+ models have any serious problems, making them the most reliable.
A lot of the 6.7 Powerstroke 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 engines certainly run better and more reliably by deleting some of these emissions systems.
The engine does have a few other non emissions related issues. Notably the injection pump 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 engines.
Ford’s 6.7L Powerstroke may not be the most reliable diesel engine around, especially compared to some older diesel engines like the 5.9 Cummins or 7.3 Powerstroke. 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 6.7 Powerstroke and F250/F350 trucks.
These systems (along with some other emissions systems) can be deleted, making the engines a lot more reliable. 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 Powerstroke’s run into occasional turbo issues.
Take out the emissions systems and the 6.7 Powerstroke is a very reliable engine. Even with the few common problems these engines should be good for 250,000+ miles. Maintain your engine well and chances are it will reward you with a great overall experience.