Prior to the 6.8L V10 Triton engine being released in 1999, Ford offered a 7.5L V8 that had been around since 1968. The 7.5 V8 was a fan favorite in the commercial truck space and was a popular gas option in light of the International/Powerstroke diesel engines. Despite the large demand for the V8, the engine had to be produced on a separate assembly line which was not cost efficient, leading to the demise of the 7.5L V8 gas engine.
After the demise of the 7.5, the only non-diesel options for truck drivers were the 5.4 Triton and the 4.6 Triton. However, these engines lacked the power for commercial applications and did not meet the hauling requirements for Super Duty trucks.
In step the 6.8L Triton V10 gas engine. Coming in cheaper and with more horsepower than the Powerstroke diesels, the engines provided highly capable towing capacity at a more affordable price point. However, the downside is the fuel economy faired worse than the diesels and needed premium gasoline.
The 6.8 Triton V10 lasted in production until 2019. Horsepower ranged from 305hp-362hp and with torque measuring from 420-457lb ft.
Ford 6.8 Triton V10 Vehicle Applications
- 1999-2010 Ford F250 Super Duty
- 2005-2010 Ford F350 Super Duty
- 1999-2005 Ford Excursion
- 1999-2019 Ford E250 and E350 Ecoline
- 2005-2019 Ford F450/F550
- 2012-2019 Ford F650/F750 medium duty trucks
- 1999-2019 F53 Chassis (motorhomes)
Common Ford 6.8 Triton V10 Engine Problems
- Spark Plug Blowout (pre-2002)
- PCV Hose Crack
- Exhaust Manifold Failure
1. Triton V10 Spark Plug Blowout
Pre-2002 V10 Triton engines have an unfortunate design flaw within the cylinder head and spark plug designs that can cause the plugs to actually eject out of cylinder head, or weld themselves to it.
The Triton V10 engines used a cast iron engine block and aluminum cylinder heads that have centrally mounted spark plugs. Compared to the aluminum cylinder head, the spark plugs were made out of steel, which has very different heat tolerances compared to aluminum.
The biggest design flaw came with the spark plugs holes in the cylinder head. At only 5 inches of depth, the spark plugs had to be extremely short to fit within their respective wells in the cylinder head. To accommodate for the short depth, Ford shortened the length of the threads, leaving only about 4 threads on the spark plug compared to most traditional spark plugs with 10+. Therefore, there was very little holding the spark plugs into place to start with.
Because of the heat properties, the threads essentially get welded into the head, which weakens the material and the hold. Two things happen when the Triton V10 spark plugs weld themselves to the head:
- You can’t get the spark plugs out when you try to replace them because they are essentially welded in place
- The plugs literally blow out of the head because the material weakens and breaks
Prevent Triton Spark Plug Blowout
There are a few handy tips that can help prevent this issue for OEM plugs, like not over-torqueing the spark plugs, using anti-seize, etc. However, due to the poor spark plug design and metal properties of the head and OEM plugs, the safest option is to use a thread repair kit such as HeliCoil or Cal Van.
These kits essentially require you to re-tap the plug hole and then install a thread insert that will hold the spark plugs in place. The thread inserts are designed so that the materials won’t melt into each other and cause future blowout.
Here is an example of a good Triton Spark Plug Kit: https://www.jbtools.com/cal-van-tools-38900-ford-insert-repair-kit/
2. Triton Cracked PCV Hose
Modern gas engines have a gas recirculating system called Positive Crankcase Ventilation, or PCV. When an engine burns gasoline, it creates waste gasses as a byproduct. While most of these gasses enter the exhaust system where they are burned again, some of these gasses get stuck in the engine.
When the waste gasses get trapped, they make their way down to the crankcase which holds oil below the engine. If the gasses sit in there for too long it can ruin the oil and cause serious engine problems. So the PCV system has a valve within the crankcase that releases these waste gasses and recirculates them back into the intake manifold for them to get re-burned in the engine again.
When the PCV valve releases the gasses back to the intake manifold it does so through the PCV hose. The hose is connected to the intake manifold from the PCV valve.
The PCV hose is made of plastic and therefore is prone to cracking on the 6.8 Triton. When the hose cracks, the intake manifold loses pressure and air can leak out of the intake system, leading to a number of performance related issues.
PCV Hose Crack Symptoms
- Rough idling (most common)
- Whistling or hissing sound from the engine
- Cylinder misfires
- Bad fuel economy
Fortunately, replacement options are as simple as ordering a new PCV hose and installing it. The hose is relatively accessible within the engine bay so DIY’ing this repair should be pretty simple, even for novice mechanics.
3. Triton V10 Exhaust Manifold Failure
Exhaust manifolds bolt up to the engine cylinders and the exhaust system. They transfer used engine air to the exhaust system where it is then released into the atmosphere.
On the Triton 6.8, the bolts or studs that connect the manifold to the engine block are prone to rusting and failing. This generally happens over a number of years and tends to be more prone in areas where salty air is more common. When these bolts fail, it doesn’t cause any catastrophic damage. The manifold won’t fall out from underneath the car when you are driving.
However, the bolts will loosen and therefore create and exhaust leak. When this happens, you lose all backpressure created and therefore can experience a handful of performance related issues.
Exhaust Manifold Leak Symptoms Triton 6.8
- Loud exhaust noise
- Loss of acceleration
- Smelly exhaust (can smell from inside the car usually)
- Bad fuel economy
While rusted out bolts are usually the cause on the Triton, leaks can also be caused by cracked exhaust manifolds. If the manifold itself cracks, you will need to replace the full manifold. If it’s just bad bolts causing the problem, you can buy an inexpensive bolt kit and fix the issue pretty easily.
Repair Kit: https://amzn.to/3b9RPNr
Ford 6.8 Triton V10 Reliability
Is the 6.8 Triton V10 reliable? Overall, this engine is well built and is highly reliable. Outside of the common spark plug blowout issue, there aren’t really any costly problems that the 6.8 Triton is known for. The spark plug issue can be fixed preventatively with a repair kit that costs a few hundred bucks. The only other known common problems are super simple and inexpensive fixes.
The engine block, internals, etc. are all highly reliable and likely won’t cause any engine failure issues before the 200,000 mile mark. Overall, these engines are considered very reliable and can last well beyond the 200,000 mile mark. However, once you start eclipsing that mark you can expect to start experiencing a handful of maintenance-related repairs with things like water pumps, fuel pumps, hoses, gaskets, etc.
The only potential downside to the engine is its very poor fuel economy. You can expect to get 8-10mpg in the Triton V10. If you are a very conservative driver, you may be able to see closer to 12mpg, but nonetheless, the fuel mileage certainly makes this an expensive gas guzzler.
For those who have the 6.8 Triton in a motorhome or who primarily use it for hauling heavy items, just note that problems are likely to occur slightly earlier into the engines life due to additional stress put on the engine from the weight.