Ford 6.0L Head Stud Installation

The almighty 6.0L Powerstroke diesel engine sold by Ford in many work series trucks is well known to have several issues.  One of those such issues is head gasket failure.  Head gasket failure seems to be more common on performance enhanced trucks, but is still very problematic on non modded engines as well.

There is a somewhat easy method to fixing this madness, though.  Like most high performance engines, a prestigious company has come to rescue us and fix some of the 6.0L Powerstroke engine's woes.  That company, ARP, has designed a stud to be the replacement of the torque to yield bolt design. By providing more clamping force, the stud has severely reduced the head gasket failure rates of these engines.

The proper way to install ARP head studs is to remove the cylinder heads, replace the head gaskets, and reinstall the cylinder head.  I have written a separate article for those interested in doing it the right way Replacing The Head Gaskets on the 6.0L. However, the modding community generally believes it is acceptable to change your head bolts out to head studs without ever removing the cylinder head or replacing the head gasket with a little creative innovation.  There have been many success stories.  I say go for it if you want.  Your not going to be out of much money on parts since the head studs are reusable, but you will be out of just a little of your time if things go awry. Just make sure you are prepared to pull it apart and do it right if something were to go wrong.

There are several options out there for head gasket sets.  I would not use anything but FORD OEM gaskets.  Those kits do come with head bolts, which you will have to throw away or use the weight for a door anchor.

The process of installing head studs can be somewhat difficult for average shade tree mechanic. It takes a fairly strong person (or a really long bar!) to properly torque the head stud nuts.  Like I previously mentioned, you can do this one of two ways: replace the head gaskets or insert the head studs one at a time.  For those that want to do it the good ole' fashioned way, you should read my article 6.0L Powerstroke Head Removal.  This article though, is going to be mentioning how to accomplish this without removing the cylinder heads.

There is a large amount of tools you will need.  Check out my Master Recommended Tool List. You will especially need:
1/2inch Torque Wrench
Reciprocating Saw
Air Hammer
A/C Recovery Equipment

Of course you will also need these specialty parts:
6.0L Powerstroke ARP Head Studs
6.0L Powerstroke Head Gaskets (from dealer)

Lets get started.