Ford Tech Makuloco Talks Powerstroke Engines

June 28, 2016

We asked Ford Tech Makuloco about Powerstrokes, here’s what he said. He is the go to source for all Ford questions and problems, make sure to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe for new videos!

When I started working with Ford in 2005 I came at a prime time when the 7.3L Powerstroke was still coming in for warranty work and the problematic 6.0L was just getting started. I was with Ford all the way through to the current 6.7L Scorpion engine. Each version of the Powerstroke through the years has had their fair share of problems. This was multiplied as the fuel injection system tolerances and injection process became much more precise in order to meet strict new emission standards.

Let’s start off with the 7.3L Powerstroke, Ford’s most reliable diesel. There were only a few common issues with this engine and it almost always had to do with the engine oil or the glow plug system. I knew if a truck was coming in for a driveability or a cold starting concern it was likely due to injector stiction issues. Stiction is where the poppet valve inside the Hydraulically Actuated Electronic Unit Injector (HEUI) sticks. This valve must move from an open to closed position very fast to match the fuel timing. When it sticks in the bore, the Injector Driver Module has a hard time controlling exactly when fuel is injected. This sticking can cause a no start or hard starting issue. The reason is that diesel fuel is compression ignited at the top of the compression stroke when the cylinder pressure and heat are the highest, causing the fuel to ignite and start the power stroke. If the fuel is not injected at this precise moment a misfire and power loss will occur. The 6.0L suffered from this power loss and having a HEUI injected engine compounded the issue. Normally to fix this issue a new injector was installed costing between $400-600 per cylinder. By using Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator this can be resolved for the mere cost of the bottle. I have used this product throughout the years and I am amazed at the results every time. It is truly an amazing product that customers and fleet owners couldn’t be happier with.

When the 6.4L was introduced for the 2008 model year it came with a slew of new problems, brought on by all the components required to meet the strict new emissions requirements. These engines required the use of 15ppm Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and a special API CJ-4 engine oil to be compatible with the on-board Diesel Particulate Filter. The 6.4L now incorporated a common rail fuel system that was used for both Injection Control Pressure (ICP) and the fuel supply being injected into each cylinder. With this design lubrication of the High Pressure Pump was done solely by the fuel. This made lubricity a key factor which the new required ULSD fuel just didn’t provide. A small amount of water in these complex fuel injection systems could now destroy it, resulting in unbelievably large repair bills, requiring the replacement of the entire high pressure fuel system must be replaced. This failure happened so often Ford started producing a kit, with all the components needed to help expedite the repair process and that kit alone cost $4,100 plus labor. The high pressure fuel pumps also incorporated volume control valves and pressure control valves that were extremely sensitive to any debris in the fuel system. The fuel injectors are of a piezo actuated design which is a very precise fast acting design but is also extremely sensitive to fuel quality.

The 6.7L Scorpion engine was an all-new in-house Ford design in 2011, which has proven to be very reliable compared to previous generation Powerstroke engines. The fuel system components are even more precise, allowing for extremely high pressures and multiple injections per cycle making them quieter, more efficient and able to produce more power, all while reducing emissions levels to meet even tougher standards. Both the 6.4L and 6.7L stand to benefit the most from diesel lubricity additives and cleaners, which keep them in tip top condition for the best fuel economy and power. I recommend a combination cetane and lubricity additive be used at every fill up such as, Hot Shot’s Secret Everyday Diesel Treatment (EDT), it will compensate for the poor diesel fuel quality at the fuel pumps. EDT will help with more power, fewer emissions and less frequent regeneration of the Diesel Particulate Filter, and will lead to longer life and improved fuel economy. Diesel engines are the only powertrain I have ever seen Ford promote the use of additives for the fuel system, and I agree 100%, the alternative is just way too costly and not worth the risk. For more help with your Ford Powerstroke problems check out my YouTube channel where I have playlists made for each of the Powerstroke engines detailing common problems and how to fix them.