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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
I have an 04 F350 4wd with a 6 speed. The 6.0 is out and ready for me to tear into it. I haven't bought any parts yet. I realized that i've been at this point for time now. I can't get past the idea that even if I spend thousands of dollars in new parts and a ton of time, I'm still going to have a 6.0. I've heard great things from folk's right after they pour thousands of dollars into them. I haven't heard a sound from anyone 100K+ afterwards.
I've researched changing to 7.3, 5.9, 6.6 ford, even a 3208 Cat, none looked cost effective
Most recently, I've been looking at installing a V10 because it looks like it will be easiest and least expensive.
Obviously bottom line cost is an issue.

I would sure be grateful to hear some experience, good, bad, or indifferent? Any and all would be appreciated.
Best Regards


Favorite quote " education is expensive and it don't matter where you get it"
 

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Your post/question isn't specific enough.

What do you want?

Longevity?
Power?
Towing?
All of the above?
Can you do the work yourself?
If not, do you have a shop that you are CONFIDENT that they know what they are doing with a 6.0L?

Lastly, the amount of work you need to do MAY depend on how well the truck/engine was cared for by previous owners.

Love mine 191k miles. Still on original turbo and injectors.

Things to know:
The 04 was a model change year. Early 04's have quite a few differences from later year 04's. You need to know which you have.

Your rebuild list (should you do it) is important to get right.

Do your research. Post up your plans. Then get feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had always heard the same thing. Have a good friend with an 04 that was bulletproofed by a very reputable garage a 18 months ago. He's having problems again, now. That got me thinking, I can't recall anyone making a statement about the condition of there bulletproofed diesel after, say a hundred thousand miles?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I appreciate your reply. Actually I was hoping to get some input as to which direction is the best to go. I'm glad to hear that you have 190K on your truck. Makes me curious to know if you have had to bulletproof your engine?
My truck is an early 04. The replacement engine was also an 04, government surplus, reported to have 160K when the new owner's son wrecked it. No way of knowing if it's early or late? That is the way i got the truck. My original idea was to drop a 7.3 in it, until i learned i would have to rewire the entire truck. wiring isn't my long suit.
I'm not worried about HP, my n/a 7.3's have plenty of power for what i do. I'm wanting an engine as reliable as the 6.9's, 7.3's and 6.6's I've been using for the last thirty years.
As a young man I built three hotrod motors for my cars, over the years I've restored a half dozen vehicles, most ground up. The last motor i built was a 304 for the CJ5 I was building, that was 93 or 94. I still remember everything i did, although all engines have changed a ton since then.
If this is going to get done I will do it. I could buy another truck for what I would have to pay someone else.
 

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Early 04's have the ICP sensor under/behind the turbo. The late 04's have it on the passenger valve cover.

The late 04's (and up) have the wavy oil rails which have dummy plugs that tend to leak (but they could have been replaced already).

To me the big disappointment for the 03 and all 04 model years is the high pressure oil pump. The ones from ford just aren't reliable. The aftermarket Adrenaline pumps are good though.

Properly rebuilt, you can easily get 300k miles of reliability.

List of major items in a rebuild on a vehicle that you don't fully know the history:

Adrenaline HPOP (use Motorcraft gaskets and o-rings)
Dummy plugs
Standpipes
New heads w/ ARP head studs
have the intake cleaned in a hot tank
pushrods
rockers and lifters
EGR cooler with the round tubes (if it is a late 04 it has a weak EGR cooler) or an EGR delete.
injectors (if the injectors that are in it seem to be OK for now, I would re-seal them and reuse them)
I would probably install a new oil cooler also. I like OEM oil coolers. Some people insist on the BPD external oil cooler
glow plugs
Water pump
Maybe/maybe not on the turbo.
FICM rebuilt
make sure the alternator is solid and the batteries are load checked
coolant flush and go back in with CAT EC-1 rated ELC coolant
new charge air cooler (CAC) boots
who knows about the radiator - your call!

You may have perfectly good heads (flat and no cracks) but you would at least have to have that all checked out.

Getting the proper parts is important as I indicated with the HPOP.

This is also VERY true with heads, head gaskets, head studs, injectors, EGR coolers, and oil coolers.

Go cheap and you will regret it.

With your background and ALL the documentation (and videos) on proper ways to do the work on the 6.0L, you should have no problem building a reliable ride.
 
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There are a lot of factors at play with the 6.0 and most of them are not in your favor. The engine has some design flaws, they never should have sandwiched the heads under the rocker carrier. The dissimilar expansion rates of the aluminum rocker carrier and iron head are an issue. Then there is the head bolt issue, addressed in the 6.4 by increasing the bolt size by 2mm, the bolts are not sufficient to retain the clamp load on the rocker carrier and cylinder head. Adding to the issue is the lack of fasteners, at 10 vs 17 on the 7.3 you barely have 55% of the effective clamp load.

More concerning are the under developed peripheral systems. The oil cooler is too small and poorly designed, the high pressure oil system is a collection of flawed connections in the name of manufacturing ease, and in its short production life it changed multiple times. Then there is the emissions issue. Let's face it, Navistar and Ford were spitballing here, they hoped it would work, and they were wrong. Now a lot of states are checking to make sure this equipment is present at inspection and functional, so the early bulletproof/delete philosophy is proving risky for registration and avoiding fines for deletion or deactivation.

Is a swap worth it? No. Put the truck back to stock, sell it and buy what you want. If you don't need big power, there are lots of older trucks out there that are in good shape and will get the job done just fine. Now, of the trucks to do a swap on, a 6-speed manual is by far the easiest to put any of the 5.9 or 6.7 Cummins engines in. The newer and more powerful you go, the more you'll spend though. I almost did this to my '05 but in CA it was going to prove impossible to pass inspection due to difficulties with the swap. I'll reiterate, put it back to stock, sell it, and get a different truck that won't cause you the heartache the 6.0 or a swap will.

Now, if you are going to rebuild everything, ending up with an essentially new 6.0, upgrade the EGR cooler to the BPD unit, remote mount the oil cooler, do head studs, and make sure everything is right at the machine shop. Use new Alliant injectors and replace anything that is questionable in, on, or around that engine. Break it in, put it on synthetic 10w-30, add Archoil, don't pass 5,000 miles on the oil or 15,000 on fuel filters, run the Cummins Extended Life coolant from day one, and yeah, you might have a good shot at 300K+ without problems. But that's a lot of effort on one of these trucks, weigh carefully how the money you'll spend to accomplish all that can be used towards an '05-10 with a 3-Valve V-10 or a different diesel. Just stay clear of the 6.4L PSD too, they're stupid expensive to fix when they have issues.
 
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Wow. Hate to come across as arguing, but I disagree on a few points.

Lots of people WELL OVER 200k miles without problems. They can be made reliable - period. Yes the head bolts should have been better and the head castings should have been better. There are solutions. I can give you names of shops that you can talk to if you are interested. They will tell you the truth - even if you are not close enough for them to expect work from it.

Stock oil cooler is working just fine for me and for many/many owners. I am tuned and holding oil temperature just fine - have no reason to change it. The main thing is to use the correct coolant so it (the oil cooler) doesn't clog up. I know many people disagree, but the way too many people do not experience oil cooler problems to deny it works - as long as they don't plug up the coolant flow (and they won't with proper maintenance).

Lastly - I wouldn't recommend Alliant injectors either. Ford remans are the only way to go IMO. They rebuild/replace parts that others don't (primarily new spool valves). There are no more new injectors, so only remans available.

Definitely flaws (heads, head bolts, quality control, high pressure oil system, EGR system). Fixes for all of the exist. One of the shops I am referring to has a 6.0L well over 500k miles. He has done some major work on it because around 350k miles he had a lifter failure. Anyway he has the experience to give you the straight scoop.

I will agree that they just won't achieve the reliability that the 7.3L had, but what you can achieve is plenty good.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Gentleman?,
I am grateful for your input. That is exactly what I was hoping for. Honest, real world experience with 6.0's. I've been doing my homework on cost for rebuild parts. Ouch, shucks, the extensive top end rebuild kits for these engines are expensive. I keep thinking if I'm that far in another 2K +/- and I've got the whole thing done? I would want the block decked anyway, can't imagine line boring would hit much harder while I'm there. If I build this, I'm going all in. I simply can't afford to be stuck on the road, hauling a 35' sailboat for a customer.
I'm really uncomfortable with fixing enough to sell, that kinda stuff come's back all to quick at my house.
We've been logging between 489 - 663 thousand miles on my 6.9 & 7.3's and 785 thousand on my 6.6. Dealer's really wanted all of them when I traded them in? go figure? All ran perfectly, the bodies were literally falling apart around them.

I'm still going to look at the cost of a V10 conversion. I am seeing them all over with 350 - 500 thousand miles on them and I can't find a sole that has a bad word to say about them. I will likely end up rebuilding the 6.0, just seems like a ton of hard earned cash for not many miles. I absolutely understand the apple and orange thing.
Best Regards


"The main problem with aging is remembering how cheap stuff was back in the day."
 

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I had always heard the same thing. Have a good friend with an 04 that was bulletproofed by a very reputable garage a 18 months ago. He's having problems again, now. That got me thinking, I can't recall anyone making a statement about the condition of there bulletproofed diesel after, say a hundred thousand miles?
If the mechanics were not specifically knowledgeable with the 6.0L, they could easily have missed things. Seen it a ton. Some shops think very highly of themselves and that gets in the way of learning all of the specific needs of special situations/engines. Also, very few people go deep enough to resolve all of the problems.

Again, the 6.0L forums are very active and I have little doubt you can find a very experienced shop not too far away - IF you need assistance (in things like machine shops, etc)!

Too many people have great/reliable trucks for it to be "just their good luck" to get a fluke engine that is powerful and reliable.

I believe in fluke problems. I do not believe in fluke reliability.

dtw - I had my head studs installed by a shop not to far from you - it was done by Trucks Unlimited in Winston-Salem. They are great folks. That was one shop I was gong to suggest you talk to. The owner is a Mod on another forum.
 
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I bought my 03' in 2012 with 150,000 miles and a clogged oil cooler. I'm now at just over 200k and still running original TTY bolts, turbo and HPOP. I've been doing a "rolling rebuild" on the truck since I bought it, replacing parts as I see the need rather than waiting for them to fail on the road. The egr cooler along with the ford coolant is the cause of most of the problems with the 6.0 and was the first part to fall off my truck. Radiator, water pump and idler pulleys were changed early on. At 175k I replaced the injectors with Ford remans and while it was apart I replaced the engine wire harness.

I'm not sold on the stud issue. With studs you are relying on the torque wrench accuracy for even pressure across the head and with the few bolts on the 6.0 this is critical. TTY bolts are much more accurate and I can find no proof that studs provide more clamping power. Studs are great for engines that come apart regularly.

My reason for going with the 6.0 was it looked to be the latest engine I could still do the work on, the 6.4 and on get pretty complicated. If you have the knowledge, tools and place to work the 6.0 is good buy relatively easy to work on and can be made dependable. If you have to rely on a shop to do all the work the bills can get out of hand quick.
 

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Interesting that even after all these years there are still two camps on studs.

Many techs swear by the TTY bolts and insist that their head gasket jobs will be reliable and not leak. I believe them. So I am definitley not disagreeing (completely) with jsm180

HOWEVER, when you add power (tuner), it is generally accepted that you need head studs.

IMO, if you need head studs with extra power, why not go that route even without a tuner?

Seems to be working fine for me (and many others I might add).
 
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I'm not convinced you need studs to run tuned, imagine that. :) I bought an SCT tuner right away and had Bill @ PHP roll the strategy back and load Atlas 40 on FICM. I have run up to +60 hp towing my 5th wheel and +100 hp when running empty. The key to keeping head gaskets happy is to control the coolant temps. Over temp any engine with head gaskets and you will find reduced torque on the head bolts with gasket failure to follow.
 

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I agree that cooling issues have been a big part of the problem! So has been over boost (stuck turbos) and poor torquing procedures. There is a lot more knowledge out there now.

I just don't see a lot of people that are tuned and have 200k miles on stock headbolts.

Not saying they aren't out there Jack, I would just like to see more than a few here and there.

Anyway, I like your perspective for sure. A far cry from the camp that thinks there is nothing that can be done to resolve the issue of sealing the heads!!!!

Oh well, looks like we lost the OP.
 
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Just my 2cents...maintenance and monitoring and not too crazy with the tuning will give the best chances for happy ownership. Is it worth fixing, I say yes if the rest of the truck is worthy. My 03' with only 123k is still tight, runs strong and has original bolts and my coolant-oil temps are right on the money with original oil cooler...regular 40k coolant flushes seems to work for me. High oil & coolant temps are what cause most collateral issues on these trucks, keep it well maintained and monitor the vitals is a must.

Also...great thread guy's!

Harry
 
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Wow. Hate to come across as arguing, but I disagree on a few points.

Lots of people WELL OVER 200k miles without problems. They can be made reliable - period. Yes the head bolts should have been better and the head castings should have been better. There are solutions. I can give you names of shops that you can talk to if you are interested. They will tell you the truth - even if you are not close enough for them to expect work from it.

Stock oil cooler is working just fine for me and for many/many owners. I am tuned and holding oil temperature just fine - have no reason to change it. The main thing is to use the correct coolant so it (the oil cooler) doesn't clog up. I know many people disagree, but the way too many people do not experience oil cooler problems to deny it works - as long as they don't plug up the coolant flow (and they won't with proper maintenance).

Lastly - I wouldn't recommend Alliant injectors either. Ford remans are the only way to go IMO. They rebuild/replace parts that others don't (primarily new spool valves). There are no more new injectors, so only remans available.

Definitely flaws (heads, head bolts, quality control, high pressure oil system, EGR system). Fixes for all of the exist. One of the shops I am referring to has a 6.0L well over 500k miles. He has done some major work on it because around 350k miles he had a lifter failure. Anyway he has the experience to give you the straight scoop.

I will agree that they just won't achieve the reliability that the 7.3L had, but what you can achieve is plenty good.
Bismic - are you aware that Alliant is the aftermarket/OE supply manufacturing arm of Caterpillar (like Motorcraft is to Ford) and that all the injectors Ford uses came from Alliant? Either is fine, you're still getting a reman so you're still going to have reman quality issues, just not as severely as with other lesser remanufactured options who don't have access to proper parts to make them fresh. And shops aren't worth their opinion, they get paid to fix them, of course they think they have it figured out, where are the thousands of customers that all the shops nation wide that claim to have mastered the 6.0 are keeping on the road trouble free? Why aren't these guys posting: "100k, 200k, 300kk - since 6.0 Repair shop fixed my 6.0 for good". A stock one will go 100k without gaskets, mine did. It was still a pain in my rear for the final 30k I owned it.
 
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I appreciate the information Idaho. Even with the Motorcraft "remanned" injectors coming from Alliant, does that guarantee what they will have new spool valves, etc? Ford guarantees that scope of new parts installed and it is the best you can get. Mahle made the International and Motorcraft OEM head gaskets, but still they came out with the Black Onyx head gaskets that "looked just like" the OEM head gaskets. Lots of arguments back in those days that "since Mahle was the manufacturer of OEM, then the Black Onyx were the same". As time proved out, that was a disaster.

Maybe the Alliant injectors are the same (just as good), but no one can prove it. I know the quality of the Ford remanned ones.

I have personal experience with the shop owner that I was referring to. He is honest to the hilt and has a great reputation and track record. You get all kinds of advice on the internet, but there are ways to weed out the advice that is "marginal". Same w/ shops and mechanics.

Lastly, I know some techs who will not use Alliant injector o-rings because they do not feel that they hold up as well. Maybe there is something to this, and maybe not. Who knows. No way to prove either way. I just like to go with the best when the application is critical or expensive.
 
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Oh - and my truck went 100k miles without ANY problems. At 100k miles I installed head studs because I wanted to (and still do) run a heavy tune (I was having NO PROBLEMS when the work was done). I am at 193k miles and no problems other than the usual ones (batteries, alternator, shocks, brakes, etc.).

Injectors and turbo running good and are all original.

Just because I am posting it, doesn't make it true, but I think my posts have a pretty good track record (I definitely tend to be conservative though).

I remember years ago when I first took this position, I had many people posting that I would never make it to 80k miles trouble free. Then it was 100k miles you will have problems, then 120k, then 150k, etc. Now it is 200k miles.

One experience certainly doesn't make a trend, but most people don't spend any time posting about what runs well .... only when they have problems.

My experience (with mine and the ones I have worked on), and what I have observed for the last 12 years, is that a GREAT MAJORITY of 6.0L issues are self inflicted. And btw - I am NOT saying that your problems were self inflicted!

My 2 cents.
 
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