6.0L Power Stroke Maintenance Tips

Recommendations to Increase the Reliability of The 6.0L Power Stroke

The 6.0L Power Stroke shares a love-hate relationship with owners. It is loved when it provides a reliable means of transportation, and hated when it lets you down. Despite the magnitude of problems owners have experienced with this engine, there are steps that owners can take to ensure the truck remains reliable and trouble free. The 6.0L came from the factory with many gremlins, but Ford has updated most of the sensors and components that are known to be problem prone. For 6.0 Power Stroke owners, maintenance is of the utmost importance. Some of the most simple procedures can, when skipped or neglected, have a terrible impact on the engine's operation. Below, you'll find a list of maintenance tips and suggestions for 6.0L Power Stroke owners.


Negligence will haunt you - Routine service is a no-brainer in the realm of automobiles, but it's worth mentioning that the 6.0L Power Stroke is particularly sensitive to neglect. Follow Ford's recommendations religiously to ward off unnecessary problems in the long run. Certain aftermarket products, oils, and additives promise increased service intervals; this is one engine where these claims are irrelevant.

Severe duty service intervals are a requirement, not a recommendation - If your activities include heavy towing, excessive idling, or driving primarily in heavy traffic, you fall under the "Severe Duty" maintenance category, which requires more frequent service intervals. Understand and follow the maintenance schedule which properly protects your driving conditions.

Switch to a synthetic engine oil - Synthetic motor oil is superior to conventional oil in every way, shape, and form. Its only drawback is its price, which can be considerably higher. The extreme pressures exerted on the engine oil via the high pressure system accelerates the effects of thermal and mechanical breakdown. Synthetic oil is more resilient to breakdown, helping to maximize protection between oil changes.

Use an oil additive to combat stiction - Thus far, we've had the best success with Archoil AR9100 friction modifier, but there are several available on the market and we advise you to experiment on your own. In a nutshell, stiction is the result of oil break down and the build up of carbon deposits within an HEUI injector. Stiction is a leading cause of misfires and hard start conditions for the 6.0L Power Stroke. An additive specifically designed to combat stiction can also help prevent it. If the additional cost of an oil change has you worried, use an additive every other time the oil is changed; some protection is better than no protection. Don't use just any oil additive; stick to popular additives specifically designed to combat stiction.

Service the EGR valve every other oil change - The EGR valve can be cleaned and reinstalled with new o-rings. Become familiar with removing and cleaning the EGR valve rather than wait for it to become clogged or stuck in one position. When the EGR valve clogs, your fuel economy and performance can suffer. Worse yet, a clogged EGR valve can cause an engine to run hotter than normal, which contributes to head gasket failures. Taking the extra half hour to service the EGR at least every other oil change is time well spent.

Clean Fuel Filters are cheap Insurance - The cheapest part of the 6.0L Power Stroke injection system is the fuel filters. The fuel filters need to be changed and water separator drained every 15,000 miles. There are two filters, one engine mounted and one chassis mounted (in the fuel-water separator). The HEUI injection system is rather sensitive to dirty fuel and the filters are a fraction of the cost you could spend on injectors.

Use a quality fuel additive - There seems to be a misconception that fuel additives are only for older diesel engines that predate the introduction of ULSD. The truth of the matter is that diesel fuel quality in the U.S. is inconsistent and often terrible. Most fuel on the market doesn't even meet manufacturer recommended cetane rating specifications. Ford recommends using a fuel additive that increases the cetane rating of diesel and provide additional lubrication to the fuel system. Motorcraft produces its own specifically for Ford diesels, but there are many quality, affordable brands on the market as well.

Excessive idling is wasteful - Excessive idling is not going to bring your engine up to full operating temperature, but it is going to contribute considerable to fuel dilution of the engine oil. Fuel dilution occurs in every engine and is completely normal. However, excessive fuel dilution is cause for concern as it modifies the properties of the engine oil. In extremely cold weather, it may be necessary to let the engine idle for up to 10 minutes before driving. In warmer conditions, 2 to 3 minutes is completely adequate. Driving is always necessary for the engine to reach full operating temperature, and a brief warm up is only recommended to ensure that oil pressure has stabilized and moving components of your engine have had a chance to warm up; different materials expand at different rates, so you never want to put a load on a dead cold engine. In temperatures below freezing, you may consider using a block heater per Ford's instructions.

Drive it like you stole it...sometimes - The 6.0L Power Stroke is equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), which means it has moving vanes in the turbine housing that control exhaust flow across the turbine. Overtime, soot accumulates on the vanes and can restrict their movement. If you notice the vanes become stuck, which usually results in excessive turbo lag, you don't need to take the turbocharger apart to clean it. With the engine warm, drive it wide open for a few short bursts and the vanes should loosen up.

Cool down before shutdown - Always idle for at least 30 seconds before shutting off the engine. This gives the turbocharger an opportunity to cool, preventing oil from cooking once the engine is shutdown and oil stops circulating through the turbocharger.