6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler & Pipe Upgrades
Zach is one of the founders of 8020 Media and a lead writer for DieselIQ. He’s been in the automotive industry for over a decade and has published more than 400 articles for DieselIQ, TuningPro, BMWTuning, & more. His blend of automotive knowledge, writing & research skills, and passion make him an excellent resource for fellow diesel owners. His expertise goes beyond writing and includes a deep knowledge of Cummins and Powerstroke engines, as well as nearly 10 years of DIY experience. Zach is also experienced with tuning and has a wealth of technical knowledge that he brings to every article he writes.
The Ford 6.7 PowerStroke is an excellent turbodiesel engine that delivers great performance from the factory. However, upgrades can push the 6.7L diesel to more power & torque, better fuel economy, and better reliability. On the list of the best 6.7 PowerStroke mods lies an intercooler and intercooling pipe upgrades. In this article, we discuss the best 6.7 PowerStroke IC upgrades, hot & cold side pipe upgrades, benefits, and more.
*MPD 6.7L PowerStroke Intercooler Piping Kit pictured above
Ford 6.7L PowerStroke IC Pipe Upgrades
6.7 PowerStroke intercooler pipe upgrades are common due to potential failure of the stock piping. IC pipes aren’t likely to provide any notable power gains, so reliability is the main benefit. Some claim that intercooler pipe kits will show 10-30 torque gains. However, we don’t fully agree with the claims and most 6.7L diesels likely won’t see much, if any, power or torque benefit.
Note: The intercooler pipes may also be referred to as charge pipes.
Hot Side vs Cold Side Piping
The cold side piping is the weak point of the 6.7 intercooler pipe design. The factory cold side pipe is known to fail once you begin modding the 6.7 PowerStroke. Heck, sometimes the pipe even fails on completely stock trucks. Cold side piping gets its name since it’s the piping after the intercooler once the air is already cooled.
On the other hand, the 6.7 PowerStroke hot side intercooler pipe is located between the turbo and intercooler. This pipe carries the hot air to the intercooler once it leaves the turbocharger. Hot side pipes are much less problematic, so it’s not as common to upgrade.
That said, the above image shows an MPD intercooler piping kit and we think it looks amazing. A full 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler pipe kit might make sense if you’re after looks. However, if you’re simply looking to improve reliability then it’s best to just upgrade the cold side pipe and save the money.
Best 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Pipe Upgrades
Upgrading the 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler pipe is simple since it isn’t a true performance mod. The main things to look for are an aluminum or silicone design, quality fitment, and smooth interior and bends. Otherwise, picking the right Ford 6.7L diesel IC pipes mostly comes down to looks and personal preference.
Let’s jump in and discuss some of the best 6.7L PowerStroke intercooler pipe upgrades. We will go over a couple cold side only options as well as a couple complete pipe kits for those who want a bit more. Please note – this isn’t an exhaustive list. Instead, we’re sticking with a few options that we believe offer the best balance of price, quality, and fitment.
1) Rudy’s Diesel 6.7L Cold Side IC Pipe
Buy Here: Rudy’s Diesel 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Pipe
First up is a cheap but effective solution for the 6.7 PowerStroke cold side intercooler pipe failures. At $120 it’s one of the cheapest options around. It’s made from mandrel bent aluminum which is all you need for a durable cold side pipe. The design also allows you to keep all your factory emissions parts.
The Rudy’s Diesel intercooler pipe has great reviews and provides excellent value. It’s not a great looking setup but if you’re looking for a reliable option on a budget then look no further. Better looking upgrades exist so the cheap pipe isn’t for everyone, but it’s hard to pass up on the value if you’re just after a reliable aluminum IC pipe.
2) Sinister Diesel 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Pipe
Buy Here: Sinister Diesel Cold Side Charge Pipe (2011-2016)
2017+ 6.7L PowerStroke Cold Side Pipe Upgrade
If you’ve been around the 6.7 PowerStroke (or other diesel engines) for a little then you’ve likely come across Sinister Diesel. At almost $335 the Sinister Diesel charge pipe is quite a bit more expensive than the above Rudy’s option. However, Sinister builds some awesome looking and high-quality products.
Sinister Diesel uses 6061 aluminum for the intercooler pipe. The pipe is TIG welded and polished powder coated Sinister Blue for the awesome look. Quality is definitely there with this product and it looks every bit of it. They also offer the 6.7 PowerStroke hot side intercooler pipe, but that brings the total to just under $700 if you want both pipes. Anyway, this is a great option if you’re willing to spend a bit more for an awesome looking, top-notch product from a great company.
3) MPD Ford 6.7L Intercooler Piping Kit
Buy Here: MPD 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Pipe Kit
The price tag here will surely scare a lot of PowerStroke owners away. That’s especially true considering the colors are an additional $400 if you pick your own color (other than black which is only $200). There are a number of other options on the MPD 6.7L diesel IC kit that can take the price over $2,000. Fortunately, this complete kit does come with a lot of piping and upgrades for that price, including an intake upgrade.
Again, the Ford 6.7 intercooler pipe failure generally only affects the cold side pipe. As such, this is a lot of money to spend if your main goal is simply improving reliability of the crappy OEM pipe. It is an incredible looking kit, though. There are a couple other options out there that are similar to MPD and also look great.
6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Details
Many turbo and supercharged engines use traditional air-to-air intercooler designs. However, the Ford 6.7 PowerStroke uses a more efficient air-to-water IC. This design is becoming more popular now days as the use of forced induction becomes increasingly popular too.
Upgrades for air-to-air intercoolers are very common. Simply increasing the surface area and core size can promote better cooling, lower intake air temperatures (IAT), and increase power. What about for air-to-water IC’s, though? Are they as worthwhile to upgrade?
6.7L Turbodiesel Air-to-Water IC
Both intercooler designs have the same goal – cool the charge air and reduce IAT. Air heats up as it travels thru the incredibly hot 6.7L diesel turbocharger. Air also naturally heats up as it’s compressed. In essence, there’s a dual effect that leads to very hot air coming out of the turbo; the air exiting the turbocharger is often around 200-300°F.
Of course, hot air is less dense than cooler air. Not only is hot air bad for power and performance but it can also increase the chance of engine knock. Enter intercoolers.
An air-to-water intercooler utilizes a separate cooling system with a heat exchanger. Coolant passes thru the intercooler to cool the IAT and then passes thru the heat exchanger (essentially a radiator) to cool the coolant. Heat transfer is more efficient compared to air-to-air intercoolers. The intercooler can also be mounted closer to the engine which reduces the length of the intake tract and in turn delivers better response.
The stock 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler is very efficient. Upgrades are generally $1,000+ and likely aren’t worth the cost for most 6.7L diesel owners. There are much better mods for the money. However, there still are a number of benefits to intercooler upgrades that may make it worthwhile for some.
Benefits of 6.7 Diesel Intercooler Upgrade
A few benefits of upgrading the Ford 6.7 Powerstroke intercooler include:
- 10-40wtq gains
- Possible power gains
- Faster turbo spool
- Less turbo pressure loss
- Lower IAT & EGT
Peak torque gains for an IC upgrade usually fall around 10-20wtq. However, you can pick up 30-40+ torque on the lower-end due to the quicker turbo spool from a higher flowing intercooler. Power gains are generally minimal but some 6.7 PowerStroke’s may see about 5-10whp peak power gains.
A more efficient IC core also helps reduce pressure loss. As charge air enters the intercooler it expands, which means you lose a little bit of boost pressure. Good 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler upgrades should lose less pressure and you’ll see about 0.5 to 1.5psi higher boost.
Lastly, you may also notice slightly cooler IAT and EGT. Again, the factory intercooler is very effective so you might not see any notable temperature decreases.
Best 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler Upgrades
Ultimately, intercooler upgrades might not be worth it for most Ford 6.7L diesel owners. Despite the number of benefits, there are generally better mods for the price as the factory IC is very effective. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler then below are some of the best options.
Please note – this isn’t a completely exhaustive list. A handful of quality IC upgrades exist and there isn’t time or space to cover every option in this article. Instead, we’re focusing on a couple intercoolers that we believe offer the best balance of price, quality, and performance.
1) Mishimoto 6.7L Diesel IC Upgrade
Buy Here: 2011-2016 6.7 PowerStroke IC
2017+ 6.7L PowerStroke Intercooler Upgrade
Mishimoto was established in 2005 and is a world leader in performance cooling products. They put a lot of time, testing, and R&D into all their products and the same is true for the 6.7L PowerStroke IC upgrade. An old forum thread shows a small portion of the time and effort that went into designing the Mishimoto 6.7 diesel intercooler.
The intercooler for 2011-2016 models linked above doesn’t include the cold side pipe, but the product option is available if you also need the piping. Oddly, the 2017+ intercooler only appears to be an option with the cold side pipe included. The intercooler flows about 22% more than the OEM unit. Anyway, Mishimoto is a leading company when it comes to cooling products and their 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler is sure to deliver.
2) No Limit Fabrication 6.7 PowerStroke Intercooler
Buy Here: No Limit Fab Intercooler Upgrade
Next up is the 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler from No Limit Fabrication. The company started back in 2011 and has become a leader in diesel performance parts, especially for the 6.7L Powerstroke. No Limit Fab claims this intercooler increases flow by 32% over the stock unit, which indicates even better flow than the Mishimoto option above. It’s also good for an increase of about 1-1.5psi due to lower pressure drop in the IC.
Ultimately, this is a quality intercooler for a solid price. It comes it just under $1,150 which makes it over $100 less expensive than the Mishimoto option. No Limit Fab doesn’t have quite the same reputation when it comes to cooling products, but this is still an excellent option overall.
Ford 6.7 Diesel Intercooler & Pipe Summary
Intercooler related mods are a common topic on the Ford 6.7 PowerStroke diesel engine. However, most intercooler discussions relate to 6.7 intercooler pipe failure on the cold side rather than intercooler upgrades. The stock cold side intercooler pipe is prone to cracking and leaking. This is especially true when modding the diesel engine, but failures can even happen on stock trucks.
Upgrading to an aluminum or silicone intercooler pipe is a great mod to improve reliability. Rudy’s Diesel offers an inexpensive option if reliability is your primary reason for upgrading. Those who want a better looking pipe should consider Sinister Diesel. Otherwise, full intercooler piping kits like the MPD kit are expensive but look truly incredible and include tons of piping.
Ford opted for an air-to-water intercooler design on the 6.7L PowerStroke. These intercoolers are very efficient from the factory, which means upgrades likely aren’t worthwhile for most owners. However, if you’re looking to maximize performance and cooling then an IC can be a great upgrade. Mishimoto and No Limit Fab both offer some great options, but they’ll set you back $1,100+.
What’s your experience with 6.7 PowerStroke intercoolers & piping?
Leave a comment and let us know!