History of the 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel Engine

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The 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel engine is notorious among the work truck force. International put its name out there based on this engine when it partnered with Ford and blazed a new trail. Emissions regulations kept International on its toes, as the 6.0L came out of the demise of the 7.3L Powerstroke.

7.3L Fails

The 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel met its demise when new emissions guidelines demanded cleaner, more efficient burning with diesel engines. Performance restrictions also had an impact on the changes made and the introduction of the 6.0L edition. The 6.0L also offered better fuel mileage and performance. Though both engines were available in 2003, the 7.3L was officially phased out during that year, making only the 6.0L available from 2004 on.

6.0L Production Rush

Because a wide variety of changes were being made to get this engine in trucks for the next year, Ford was pressuring International to get the job done as quickly as possible. The first engines off the line had problems with the software, resulting in problems with the injection system. Because of this, the emergency vehicles with the new 6.0L were unreliable. This caused a huge problem and lawsuits were filed against the Ford Motor Company. One of the problems found were the technicians weren’t trained properly to work on the new engines, and therefore couldn’t solve the problems adequately.

What Went Wrong

Most of the problems drivers and owners experienced was contained within the emissions system. This was specifically the recirculation of the exhaust system and the inefficiency of the EGR to recirculate properly. This caused clogging, resulting in the system running too hot. Over time this led to much larger problems, like the failure of a head gasket.

Poor Planning

The problem came from poor planning. The 6.0L Power Stroke was based off the incredibly popular International VT365, which was designed for light to medium duty vehicles. Passenger vans and delivery trucks generally fall into this category. When the design for the 6.0L came together, it wasn’t taken into account that the light duty and the heavy duty diesel engines were held to different emissions standards and therefore needed different setups for the EGR to work effectively.

The Fallout

International is a well-known and well-liked name, so it was able to redeem itself, for the most part. However, the Ford Motor Company and Navistar (another division of International) took the brunt of it with lawsuits and lemon law filings. Lawsuits also took place between the two companies over which would pay for the claims. Eventually the two went their separate ways. Though lemon laws allow dealerships to repair the engine a certain amount of times before the manufacturer takes the vehicle back, the untrained automotive techs weren’t up to the job in most situations. As a result of all the drama and lessons learned, Ford no longer manufactures its Power Stroke Diesel engines in-house.

While the road for the 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel engine may have been rocky, it was largely glorified and loved by owners. Properly maintained, the engine is a workhorse like no other and upgrades can be made to eliminate the problems altogether.

(Click here to join the 6.0L Power Stroke conversation at Ford Truck Enthusiasts’ Forum!)

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