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Ford F-Series Powerstroke Diesel Problems



  • Any ideas as to what could be wrong with my 95 F350 powerstroke? It has oil in the coolant. I paid $750 to have the seals on the oil cooler replaced, but it didn't correct it. I hate to have to shotgun the problem by trying different things until it is solved. Is there a test to determine the cause before they start replacing things at random? The engine has 329,000 miles with no problems and no oil burn till this. Thanks in advance, Andy
  • I am in the process of tracking down the same problem with my 96 7.3L. I noticed oil in the coolant and took it to a nearby shop. They began by running diagnostics through the computer. Nothing showed up. Next, they pulled the glow plugs on the driver's side to inspect the cylinders. They found emulsified coolant and oil in number 3. I have no coolant in the oil (crankcase), so it is likely a problem somewhere in the high pressure oil system. Because they found emulsified oil and coolant in number 3, they have tentatively ruled out a problem with the oil cooler. The head has now been removed and sent to a machine shop for magnafluxing. The mechanic who pulled the head thought there may have been a small visible crack, but he couldn't tell for sure. I'm not sure about how it all works, but I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that high pressure oil is fed to the head via a high pressure oil pump and an oil line. Inside the head, high pressure oil helps or causes? the injectors to work, but I don't know how this happens. The oil travels in a high pressure oil galley. If a crack develops, oil can be forced into the water jacket inside the head (I'm not sure if I've got this right). Coolant won't go the other way, i.e., into the oil, because the pressure in the oil system is much greater than the pressure in the coolant system. If I have a crack, it must be very small. There is no blow-by at the oil filler cap and no excessive pressure or "bounce" at the cap of the degas bottle. The mechanic will find out tomorrow or Wednesday whether or not the head is actually cracked.
  • Your truck most certainly needs head gaskets!!!,as a certified ford diesel tech I see these all the time,If you are noticing excessive amounts of white smoke from the tailpipe ou probably need an egr cooler as well,hope this helps you.
  • If your truck is loosing coolant from the coolant over-flow/de-gas bottle then your truck needs head gaskets,this is a very common problem with these engines.
  • HEAD GASKETS,for sure you need head gaskets.
  • If you notice any water or white stains around your over-flow-de-gas bottle cap under the hood then you need head gaskets,these engines are really bad for this...I see it every day.
  • Yes, I have some help and advice for soon as it is repaired, trade it in while it is running and buy a gas engine version of the F-250 or a F-150 with the Triton engine. We had two Ford F-250's. The first was a '99 with the 7.3. We had next to no problems with that truck. We made our big mistake in October 2004 buying a 6.0 F-250 Lariat Super Duty. February 2005, while on a trip and in the middle of nowhere, we began to experience a top speed of 40 m.p.h on I-10. This was with only 4,000 miles on the truck. It had to be towed 85 miles to the closest Ford dealer. We got no rental and had to pay to stay in a hotel overnight. It took all day for them to replace three fuel injectors. We headed again for our destination 250 miles away and only got 100 more miles when the engine began doing the same thing. We limped into our destination at 1 am. The next morning we called Ford Roadside because the truck died 25 yards from where we were staying. It was towed to the local Ford dealer. It took another full day for two more fuel injectors to be replaced. We got a Ford Taurus and had to pay the rental! Ten months later, a Turbo had to be replaced after it quit working. This was with 20,000 miles on it. Two weeks ago, it would not start again. It HAD 36,210 miles on it. We no longer own it. We had all oil changes and required maintenance done at Ford dealers for documentation since we had been warned if we didn't it would void the warranty. We now own a 2007 F150 four door Lariat 4X4. We just completed a 1,000 mile trip and couldn't be happier. It rides super, is very quiet, got great gas mileage(with the bed full of college dorm gear), and is more comfortable than the it starts. I would only own another diesel if someone gave it to me free after what I went through with that 2005 truck.
  • Thanks for all the responses.

    Update: the head was inspected, magnafluxed and pressure tested. No problems of any kind showed up. There was no blow-by at either the oil filler location on the valve cover and nothing apparent at the degas bottle. Current speculation is the oil cooler.

    Currently, we are replacing the head gasket on the driver's side (had to do this anyway, since we pulled the head), the exhaust manifold gasket, the oil cooler, we will have the radiator removed and flushed by a radiator shop, flush and back flush the engine and heater core, replace a sensor that was working intermittently.

    I perhaps should have mentioned that about 3500 miles before the problem of oil in the coolant showed up, a different shop had replaced all glow plugs, updated o-rings on the injectors, repaired an exhaust leak on the drivers side. They had to pull the head to remove one of the glow plugs, as it was stuck in the head. It is possible that the shop did not do something correctly and this caused oil in the coolant. On the other hand, in all fairness to the shop, it is possible that the oil cooler began to develop leaks on its own. We may never know.

    to mackie88, I've heard (anecdotally) that the powerstroke 6.0L has been real pain in the &&& for some folks. It sounds like you got one of the bad ones. A friend of mine refers to them as six-leakers. The 96 and 97 7.3L's have, I understand, a very good track record. I have to fault primarily myself for the current problem in that the shop to which I went to have the exhaust leak fixed did not have significant experience working on powerstrokes. The current shop has many years of experience and also has lots of technical training, specifically for powerstrokes.

    I've replaced lots of parts on this truck, but I expected that. With only about 135k on the engine, it is barely broke in and, with proper care, should continue to do well for another 100k or so. The body and interior are near perfect and it has never been used as a work truck. I realize that the repairs and expensive, but that is a temporary situation and is far less expensive per mile than a new truck ($40,000+).

    Becuase I justify ownership of this truck by pulling a fifth wheel with it, gas is not an option, neither in the F150 or F250 versions.

    Thanks again, to all.
  • tadertader Posts: 1
    I have got a 1997 Ford F350 7.3 LTR Power Stroke. I have got a major oil leak it seams to be coming from the back of the oil pan where it goes around the crank shaft. This gasket is a dealer item only. My question is to replace this gasket does the motor have to be taken out to get the oil pan off or is there an easier way? If it is not the oil pan gasket what else could it be? Rear crank shaft seal? If any one could help it would be great. Thanks
  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    The engine has 59,000 miles on it.
    It loses coolant, but I have not discerned the tell tale exhaust "smoke".

    Since it does not lose coolant when I am not loaded, I am suspecting that it has to do with head bolts which are not properly torqued or bolts which do not have enough strength.

    I noticed a number of posts pointing to head gaskets which (to me) confirms my suspicion about the head bolts not being up to the job. The leakage occurs under full load. Under that condition, the cylinder pressure would be at it's maximum and therefore I come back to the head bolts not being up to the job.

    Due to my insistence, we will be doing a radiator pressure check under load and full heat tomorrow.

    If you have any ideas, I am surely listening because the Diesel "experts" at the dealership don't seem to have a clue.

    I realize that I am grasping at straws, but I need that truck running, not sitting in the shop. If I wanted that, I would move an easy chair into the show room floor and admire all that pretty tin.

    You may contact me at
    I am not worried about trash mail because I preview it with mailwasher pro before I down load it and all junk gets sent back to the sender.

    Thanks to all for any good ideas.
  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    2005 6.0L Ford (International) Engine.
    We are now in stage two of the problem of blown head gaskets.
    In spite of the fact that Ford has sent a bulletin to it’s dealers stating that the 6.0 L engine tends to blow it’s head gaskets, they are denying our claim.
    They are stating that they will not service it under warranty because it has EXTERNAL TO THE ENGINE components which are not made by Ford. Conklin Company proved to John Deere that they can’t get away with that excuse.
    It would appear that what they are saying is that for those who do have this engine, be sure that you do not ask that engine to work like a truck engine and that you should not do something so nasty as pulling your camping trailer with it. It would appear that I made a serious mistake of pulling my triple axle trailer up hill in warm weather. Guess I shall have to find a 1946 Chevrolet with the babbitted bearing 6 cylinder so that I can pull my trailer. I used that car to pull a very heavy trailer all over Colorado and the North central parts of the US. You would surely think that a big Ford V8 was more powerful and tougher than that Chevy straight 6. The Ford made only one trip up a long slope, and the Chevy pulled innumerable hills.
    I surely hope that Ford/International get their act together. We will now go through a certification process covering the components Ford/International used to put the heads on that 6.0L
    “See you in court” seems the path want us to be taking. That is a BAD idea on their part, because “word of mouth” spreads like wildfire these days.
    If you have a similar problem, holler, and I will give you a rather large file of “to do’s”.
    Remember this: Even if a dealer and or regional representative denies your claim, they do have a tacky problem to deal with called the law. When you bought your truck, you have a legal right to expect that it will function in a normal manner for a reasonable amount of time. Does anyone here think that 59,000 miles to failure is reasonable?
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    What gives you the right to expect Ford to be responsible when you take after market components not made by them and attach them to your engine?

    Why don't you try to get the maker of the mod parts to fix your engine....

    Its just amazing. What company has the engineering and money to invest in makeing a diesel engine component better than Fords? Don't think that that if a change was reliable possible, Ford would do it at the factory?

  • First It has about 80,000 miles on it. It started running rough the other day no power at all, shut it off restarted it and it ran fine.Did it again the next day. Today it did it and when I shut it off it wont start back. It acts like it isn't getting fuel. I replaced the fuel filters but that didn't help. Any suggestions?
  • I finally got it to start, but it runs very low rpms and if you give it fuel it does nothing just sits there sputtering.
  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    It did prove to be the head gaskets leaking.
    The truck is still in the shop.
    We did find out that the first sign of the failing head gaskets many times is the failure of the EGR coolant tube.
    They don't want to cover it under warranty.
    Now they have a dilemma because we have requested that they give us a signed refusal with and explanation for the reason they refuse to do it under warranty.
    Sure not like the old days when they stood behind their equipment 100%.
  • cowboy9cowboy9 Posts: 161
    Hey John,

    I guess I missed up in replying to your other email and it didnt come through as i just replied to this one and lost it also, lol.

    Sorry but they already told you that because of what you did with putting on Aftermarket items they are not going to cover it. Why would they do what you want they are Ford with more money than most ever dream of having.

    What all did you do to your truck as far as getting more power out of it ?

  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    The coolant problem was indeed the head gaskets according ot the Ford dealership.
    We went round and round and round as the dealers blamed everything BUT the head gaskets.
    I was asked "How does the engine 'know' that it is pulling a load?"
    The answer is very straight forward.
    The maximum volume of the cylinder is fixed.
    When under light load the cylinder takes on a light load of air/fuel which is compressed into the top dead center volume for the cylinder.
    When under load, a maximum amount of air/fuel is in the cylinder. That larger volume is then compressed into the same volume as the light load was, resulting in MUCH higher pressure.
    Inadequate, under torqued or damaged head bolts allow the head to "bounce" enough to allow compressed grasses to escape into the cooling system and other places.
    Hence the water problems under load.
  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    Ford talks out of both sides of their mouth.
    On one hand they say that they do not void the warranty for after market products.
    They do that because of the the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)says that they can not just off hand deny warranty. They have to prove that the after market device caused or contributed to the failure.
    Since they have had the gasket problems in engines in compartments with only factory parts, they have a problem they don't want to address.
    According to the dealer "Ford has stated that they WILL NOT warranty any engine which is not factory".
    If you call their customer service number they state "Ford does not void a warranty with after market equipment in use".
    So I asked the dealer and zone rep "Did Ford give you that will not warranty in a written document that I can see?".
    "NO they told us that over the phone".

    Now you know how to dance with a broken leg.
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  • I have an 06 F350 with 32000 miles that has been doing the same thing for months. Several dealerships have examined it and replaced this and that; including ALL of the injectors more than once, the fuel pump, the filters and several other things that I am not certain of when reading the printouts that they have given me. Everytime I get it back, everything is fine for a few days, then starts all over again. Usually, I can tell it is about begin by tell-tale puffs of black smoke and slow throttle response before the shuttering and skipping begins. As I write this, it is in the shop yet again. Someone told me to have them check the EGR valve. I am also having them check in the tank for trash and debris blocking the intake screen. Have you found out anything about your problem since your last post?
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