6.0 PowerStroke Problems – Is It That Unreliable?

6.0 PowerStroke Problems – Is It That Unreliable?

August 15, 2022 0 By CarGuy

Are you planning to purchase a 6.0 PowerStroke engine and you are looking to learn what are the 6.0 PowerStroke engine problems? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to learn everything you need to know when it comes to the problems that this engine has.

Doing a proper research before you decide to spend a ton of money on a truck should be one of your top priorities. All trucks run different engines. For example, RAM runs Cummins, Chevy runs Duramax engines, and Ford runs PowerStroke engines.

All of these engines even though are diesel. They suffer from some issues. Some of them are less, while some of them are more. It is up to you to do your own research and determine which of the engines that you plan to purchase is least problematic. We see that you are interested in Ford’s 6.0 diesel engine and this is why we decided to write this article and share with you all this data.

First, we are going to learn what is PowerStroke, then we are going to cover how diesel engines work and what are the pros and cons of running diesel engines. Later on, we are going to focus on the 6.0 Powerstroke problems and learn more about them. So, if you want to learn more about this topic, feel free to follow along.

What Is PowerStroke? – 6.0 PowerStroke Problems

Now before we dive into the 6.0 PowerStroke problems, let’s take a look at what is PowerStroke in general. I bet that there are a ton of people reading this article who are not familiar with PowerStroke and want to learn more about what it means.

As we mentioned in the introductory paragraph. RAM is running Cummins, Chevy and GMC are running Duramax diesel engines, and Ford is running PowerStroke engines.

So, we can say that PowerStroke is the trademark or division of Ford that is dedicated to their diesel engines.

What is interesting to know is that Ford is making their own engines. Under their own roof. So, this means that they are not outsourcing technologies. Which is a good thing because when you need a component for an engine, you know that you will be able to find it at a Ford dealership and not go elsewhere if the engine breaks down by accident. But what are the 6.0 PowerStroke problems? More on that we are going to cover in a bit after we learn how diesel engines work.

How Do Diesel Engines Work?

Another topic that we would like to discuss before we start covering the 6.0 PowerStroke problems is the topic of how diesel engines work. We are talking about this because a lot of people who are not into cars think that these cars function in the same manner as gas-powered cars and trucks. Which is not the case.

If you didn’t know, diesel is a type of fuel that is more energy dense. So, what this means is that with a smaller amount of fuel you can produce a ton more energy. Which is a good thing.

The second thing that makes it different from gasoline is that it is less flammable. This means that diesel fuel burns at a really slower pace than gasoline. It is rather hard to ignite diesel.

This is why diesel vehicles work differently. So, instead of relying on spark plugs to ignite the fuel like in gas-powered engines. In diesel engines, this is done by compression.
The fuel is compressed to such an extent that basically ignites the fuel on its own. For example, the 6.0 engine has a compression ratio of 18.0:1. Which is a crazy amount of compression.

And in order for the engine to be able to tackle this compression. It has to be built tough, almost all the diesel engines are made out of cast iron. This guarantees that the engine would not fail prematurely.

And diesel engines are mainly used for heavy-duty purposes. Like towing, hauling stuff. They are really tough and can handle almost anything you throw at them. But what are the 6.0 PowerStroke problems? More on that we are going to cover in a moment.

Diesel Engines Advantages And Disadvantages

Now let’s cover another topic before we start discussing the 6.0 PowerStroke problems and that are the advantages and disadvantages of diesel engines.

As you probably know, everything has advantages and disadvantages. And so is the case with the diesel engines. Let’s cover them briefly before we start discussing more on the problems of this specific engine.


When it comes to the advantages that diesel engines have. We can say that there are many of them. The biggest advantage of these engines is that they create a lot of torque.

And when it comes to towing or hauling, torque is probably one of the most important aspects because, without it, you cannot do anything. And the most important thing is that this torque is available in the low RPM range.

Gas-powered engines on the other hand create a ton of torque in the high RPM range. This makes them really inefficient since the more RPM you give, the more gas is burned. This is why diesel power rocks.

Another good benefit of having diesel engines is their fuel efficiency. Diesel engines are crazy fuel efficient. They deliver excellent mpg both in the city and on the highway.

This in the long run will save you a ton of money. And when you are running a business, every saving is benefactory if you are asking me. This is why we always recommend diesel engines for work. But what about the 6.0 PowerStroke problems? More on that after we cover the downsides of diesel engines.


Now let’s talk a bit about the downsides when it comes to diesel engines before we start learning about the 6.0 PowerStroke problems.

And frankly, there are a couple of these downsides that diesel engines have. The biggest drawback of diesel engines is probably the pollution. Diesel engines produce a ton of NOx particles that are rather dangerous for people’s health.

This is why on diesel engines there is a ton of catalytic equipment installed. This equipment is rather expensive and can cost an arm and a leg. For example, the DPF filter and the EGR valve are really expensive components.

The DPF has to be removed and cleaned and the EGR valve has to be replaced when it gets clogged up. All this is rather expensive to do.

The next con is the cost of diesel fuel. Diesel fuel tends to be more expensive than standard gasoline. Not a lot, but enough to make you think not to get a diesel-powered truck. But overall, when it comes to trucks, the benefits outweigh the downsides if you are asking me. Now let’s move on and cover more about the 6.0 PowerStroke specs before we cover the problems that this engine has.

Ford 6.0 PowerStroke Specs – 6.0 PowerStroke Problems

Now before we dive into the problems of the 6.0 PowerStroke. Let’s first discuss more about the specs of this engine. As we explained, this engine was in production between 2003 and 2007. It had a very short life because of some issues that it had. But more about them, we will cover in a bit.

The important thing to know when it comes to the specs is that this engine comes in a V8 configuration and has 6.0 liters in displacement. Or 365 cubic inches if you prefer the good old way of measuring displacement.

This engine has a bore of 3.74 inches and a stroke of 4.1 inches. The block as well as the cylinder head is made out of cast iron. The intake manifold is aluminum.

Since it is a diesel, it has a compression ratio of 18.0:1. The heads implement a 4 valve per cylinder design. This means that there are a total of 32 valves on this engine. But the most important component of this engine is the Garret turbo. This variable geometry turbine allows this engine to produce about 325hp and 570lb-ft of torque. Which is plenty for a Super Duty application.

But unfortunately, this engine didn’t stay with us for a long time because of the 6.0 PowerStroke problems. There were too many issues and the engine was discontinued. And more on the problems, we are going to elaborate in the following chapters.

6.0 PowerStroke Problems

Now let’s get to business and start learning more about the 6.0 PowerStroke problems. What problems are bothering this unfortunate engine? Let’s elaborate on them in-depth, so you get a better perspective of what to expect from this engine if you opt to purchase one.

1. Head Gasket Failure

The most common problem on this engine is the issue with the head gasket failure. The head gasket tends to fail on these engines because they come equipped with poor quality torque to yield head studs.

Over time the pressure gets too much for them to handle and simply start to fail. And when they fail, you have a blown head gasket. The solution for this problem is to replace them with ARP head studs. And this should be one of your first mods in order to bulletproof a 6.0 Powerstroke engine. Now let’s move on to the next 6.0 PowerStroke problems.

2. FICM Module Failure

The second problem with this engine is the Fuel Injection Control Module failure. This module basically controls the solenoids that activate the injectors.

So, what happens is that this module is exposed to too much stress and too much heat inside of the engine. And what could happen, is that this module can fail completely. And when it fails you can opt to rebuild it or purchase a new FICM module.

3. 6.0 PowerStroke Oil Cooler Failure

The next in our list of 6.0 PowerStroke problems is the problem with the oil cooler. This engine implements something different. And that is an external oil cooler.

And the downside of this cooler is that it wants to get clogged too often. And when it gets clogged, the whole engine overheats and the engine could fail when this issue is not detected on time. In order to be safe, it is recommended to replace it with an aftermarket Mishimoto cooler.

4. EGR Cooler Failure & Clogged EGR Valve

And since we started discussing about coolers, this engine also has a problem with the EGR cooler. That’s right this engine has an EGR cooler. And this cooler can also leak coolant into the exhaust. And the truck will start to produce white smoke. And when there is no coolant, the engine will simply overheat. So, be really aware of this EGR cooler.

On top of that, the standard, EGR valve issues are present. The EGR valve will get clogged with carbon deposits eventually and you will have to either clean it or replace it.

5. 6.0 PowerStroke Turbo Problems

Now let’s move to the next 6.0 PowerStroke problems and that are the issues with the turbine. The 6.0 features a variable geometry turbo. This turbo is very susceptible to soot buildup.

6.0 PowerStroke Problems

And when there is excess soot, it will stick to the drain tube and completely clog it up. And when this happens, it could cook off the oil inside of the turbo and cause a turbo failure. Ford fixed this issue after 2006 with a bigger oil drain tube.

7. 6.0 PowerStroke Injector Problems

The next in our list of 6.0 PowerStroke problems is the problem with the injectors. Injectors on these engines have a ton of problems.

They are extremely sensitive to low-quality diesel and they break very often. Once an injector is broken, the only way around will be either to rebuild it or replace all of them. So, considering that there are 8 of them, it can get really expensive.

8. High-Pressure Oil Pump Failure

Since this engine features an external oil tank, it also needs to feature a high-pressure oil pump. The standard pump will not cut it out and you need something strong.

But as with other components. The high-pressure oil pump also can fail completely or the seals could start leaking. Either way, not a fun thing to deal with.

9. Degas Bottle Tend To Crack

And the last problem that we are going to cover when it comes to this engine is the Degas bottle. This engine features a plastic degas bottle.

And the plastic bottle can crack and develop leaks. The only way around it is to replace it with an OEM one. Or even better to get an aftermarket aluminum one. This bottle will surely last for a lifetime. As we completed the 6.0 PowerStroke problems, we have one thing left. And that we will cover next.

Bulletproofing Your 6.0 PowerStroke?

If you really love your engine, considering bulletproofing it might seem like a reasonable thing to do. There are a lot of companies that bulletproof these engines. But what is bulletproofing?

Well, this means that the company will fix most of the common breaking points of this engine. For example, they will replace the head studs with aftermarket ARP head studs and a better head gasket. They will add an aftermarket oil cooler and improved oil pump. They will also fix the issue with the turbo. And a lot of other minor stuff.

But all this comes at a cost. And you can pay up to $5,000 to get all this done on your truck. But if you plan to use it for a really long time. I think it’s worth it. Bulletproof it and call it a day.

6.0 PowerStroke Years To Avoid – 6.0 PowerStroke Problems

Another topic that we would want to discuss is the years to avoid when it comes to the 6.0. Which years are the worst when it comes to this engine?

When it comes to this aspect. I would say to avoid 2003 to 2005. These engines are the worst when it comes to problems. All of the issues that we covered can be present in one of these engines.

From 2006 onward, the 6.0 engine received some upgrades. And I frankly think that going after a later model year should be your top priority unless you want to deal with an engine that has a ton of problems and is a true money pit. You don’t need that.

Conclusion – 6.0 PowerStroke Problems

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the 6.0 engine. First, we learned what is the 6.0 engine and what is PowerStroke. Then we learned what is a diesel engine and how diesel engines work. We covered their pros and cons and whether or not you should get a diesel or not.

Then we covered the 6.0 PowerStroke problems and learned all about them. This engine is highly problematic and has issues. So, bulletproofing might be the solution for your problems if you want a good and reliable engine and you don’t want to move on to another platform.