Picture this: You are searching through the lot of your favorite Ford dealer shopping for a new or used diesel truck when you spot a newer Super Duty truck. Your eyes widen and your heart paces because you can't wait to get behind the wheel of a quiet purring 800.ft.lb producing monster known as the 6.7L PowerStroke. However, you can't help but wonder if the reliability issues of the previous generation will haunt you. Read more to get an idea of the common problems with this engine.
I have to say that International engines are generally very reliable power plants that have been the driving force behind Ford trucks, and many other vehicles, for many years. That being said, I believe Ford's decision to produce their own diesel engine was an ingenious one. They needed to step away from International a bit to reestablish reliability in the brand. The design changes for the 6.7L are also a huge part of it's success as well as making it harder to work on. The largest change was the reverse flow cylinder heads. This puts the exhaust manifolds and the turbo securely in the center of the engine above the valley and places the intake ports on the outside of the cylinder head. The intake runners that attach to the upper intake are designed into the valve cover assembly.
They also feature advanced glow plugs, additional glow plug control, and injectors that can fire up to 5 times during a single stroke.
Luckily, these engines have been fairly reliable. We do not see a large percentage of engines with serious issues. but they do have a few common problems that are starting to be pattern fixes that I have outlined below.
Exhaust Gas Temperature sensor:
The most common cause of check engine lights and stop safely warnings are the Exhaust Gas Temperature sensor failures. They are so frequent that Ford has issued a warranty extension under a FSA action to cover these sensors. That's good news for consumers since at the dealer we change a few every week. Most of the time these sensors are easily replaced, with some requiring heating the bungle with the aid of the torch and others using a machinist tap to repair the threads. Either way it's a relatively simple fix for most technicians. You could always check out the guide on Changing 6.7L Powerstroke EGT Sensors.
Another hot issue is the new EGR design because the valve has been relocated from the cold side to the hot side. It effectively eliminated the carbon deposits forming on the EGR valve that occurred on the 6.0L Powerstroke and the 6.4L Powerstroke but now the carbon deposits in the EGR cooler core. The EGR cooler core can become completely clogged with carbon deposits in severe cases. If you have DTC P0401 stored in your PCM, the 6.7L Powerstroke EGR cooler replacement is likely the cause of your problems and is a relatively simple, straight forward process.
These years have experienced high percentages of radiator, turbo base coolant seal, turbo coolant inlet fitting, and water pump leaks. The turbo coolant inlet fitting is rather easy to replace with the removal of the upper intake, but removal of the turbo charger for replacement of that block to turbo gasket is a much harder task. The radiator replacement is actually one of the hardest radiators I have ever changed because of the size, angle of mounting, and the addition of the secondary cooling system radiator. The water pump replacement is slightly in-depth but manageable if you can handle intermediate technical work.
I have come across a few oil leaks coming from the front cover area because of the loosening of the vacuum pump bolts. I wrote about my personal encounter with my first one under the Tech Tales blog - Oil Leak Front Cover on 6.7L PowerStroke. Seems like this is issue that could have been easily rectified with the addition of locktite or maybe a higher torque spec on the bolts.
There have been numerous turbochargers being replaced due to failure. Turbocharger failure is a direct result of Ford using smaller than adequate turbocharger to produce massive amounts of boost and air flow required on this engine application. Turbocharger over-speed is likely the main problem and usually is intensified by aftermarket performance enhancements. Ford is pushing that turbo to it's limit. Your problems can be solved with aftermarket performance turbocharger assemblies on earlier model 6.7L Powerstrokes but models 2017 and above are now using a larger turbocharger to reduce failures (and create more power!).
Here are a few less common issues but we have seen: fuel rail pressure sensor failures, fuel rail temperature sensor failures, broken injector return lines, NOx senors (now under a TSB), and other repairs that require the replacement of the entire SCR system. High pressure fuel system contamination is a very common, very expensive repair but happens most frequently from customer error from water contaminated fuel or DEF additions to the fuel tank.
Some technical service bulletins, TSB's, for the above mentioned problems can be found at 6.7L Powerstroke TSB Reference.
Something to be aware of is that the new 6.7L PowerStroke getting released in the 2017 line of Super Duty's has a few significant changes to the PCM, turbo, and other emissions strategies. This revised engine line will likely be dubbed Gen2 and fixes several well know problems. At this time, I don't really have any concrete list of changes. Oddly, dealers are about the last to know these things. Ford has talked about decertifying all current diesel technicians and forcing them to take a revised diesel class. The new diesel class will eliminates training for the 6.0L PowerStroke and the 6.4L PowerStroke as most, if not all, have surpassed even extended warranties except in cases of manufactured engine installations..