Custom tune = coolant puke, stock tune = no puke - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Custom tune = coolant puke, stock tune = no puke

Ok guys, here's a good riddle for ya.

Back in November of last year I did the big upgrade on my Powerstroke. Did everything short of new head studs: SCT tuner and loaded the custom tunes from Innovative, EGR delete, oil cooler replace, new radiator cap, and 4" exhaust, etc. Results were great. However, now we are having issues with our coolant puking out of the degas tank. I know, you jump to the conclusion that its our head gaskets, but bare with me for a second. I performed this simple test:
- Installed coolant pressure gauge
- Truck is F-350, crew cab, dually, towing 26' enclosed trailer roughly empty
- Identified good stretch of road with slight hills, able to get up to ~70mph, ran it as hard as I could
- With tow tune in truck -> coolant pressure got up to ~17psi, boost maxed out ~27psi, coolant puked
- Refilled coolant and returned tune to stock -> coolant pressure only gets up to ~5psi, boost easily pegs 30psi, no coolant puke
- ECT and EOT delta never got above 12F

From this data, to me, it doesn't appear to be a head gasket at all, however, I have no clue what it could be. One other observation is that until now, it has been cooler temperatures, but now we are getting into the summer months (we are in Auburn, Al). If you have other tests we could run or anything at all that might help, it would be greatly appreciated. Anyone ever seen anything like this?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 03:05 PM
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 03:30 PM
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Yea that is pretty common to head gasket failure. With a tune there is more cylinder pressure to push it's way out and into the cooling system.
You do know that the boost is manipulated so the pcm sees lower boost pressures when in reality the pressure is higher than what you are seeing on the gauge.

Hate to say it but you have head gasket failure. The cooling system should operate in the 8-10 psi range if you see more than 14 lbs. you have a problem. If you put a solid cap on the coolant tank it would climb till the hoses split.

If you watch the pressure gauge and stand on the throttle you will see a pressure spike within a few seconds when there is head gasket failure. Sorry for the bad news.

Like the Anti Nausea comment SoCal, malox may be needed too. lol


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post #4 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhatlen View Post
Yea that is pretty common to head gasket failure. With a tune there is more cylinder pressure to push it's way out and into the cooling system.
That's what I was thinking.

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Originally Posted by mhatlen View Post
You do know that the boost is manipulated so the pcm sees lower boost pressures when in reality the pressure is higher than what you are seeing on the gauge.
I was reading my aftermarket gauge

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Originally Posted by mhatlen View Post
If you watch the pressure gauge and stand on the throttle you will see a pressure spike within a few seconds when there is head gasket failure. Sorry for the bad news.
I may be fighting tooth and nail on this one, but when it's cold, I'll punch it, on either tune, and see no spike in pressure. This is one of the tests that's keeping me hopeful...
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 05:00 PM
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Your head gaskets are blown.

Put the truck back to stock and get it up to temp. Once there, relieve any pressure in the degas bottle (take the cap off).

Do some WOT runs from 0-speed limit (or maybe a little over). Add in some acceleration when you drop the truck out of OD and hammer it.

I'll just about guarantee you'll have excessive pressure in the degas bottle. I had similar symptoms and elected to tear things apart again. Confirmed my head gaskets were blown once the heads were pulled.

It's ok though. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. You're still in Stage 1: Denial.

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post #6 of 19 Old 06-03-2013, 07:45 PM
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Yea it's all fun and games until what can happen happens.

My truck is stock for that very reason. I do have the Atlas40 ficm tune and 4" straight exhaust but there is no change in cylinder pressure from these mods.

Head studs will take care of the problem.


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Last edited by mhatlen; 06-03-2013 at 07:50 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mhatlen View Post
Yea it's all fun and games until what can happen happens.

My truck is stock for that very reason. I do have the Atlas40 ficm tune and 4" straight exhaust but there is no change in cylinder pressure from these mods.

Head studs will take care of the problem.
Resurrecting this thread from the dead.

I got the same thing going on, If i run vivians looney tune it pukes (well it did once anyways and that was enough for me) but then on the stock tune I ran it hard and it doesnt puke.

My Deltas are ok like 6 degrees so it would seem to be a head gasket issue (although I do still have the EGR cooler fully intact). Is is it def a head gasket issue or do I really just need to get the EGR cooler outta there asap?

AND mhatlen, Hopefully youre still around? Im curious how the truck runs with just the FICM tune and no Tuner. Most I come across have stacked tunes. What kind of improvements did you see, and did it affect MPGs?
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Stlavsa View Post
Resurrecting this thread from the dead.

I got the same thing going on, If i run vivians looney tune it pukes (well it did once anyways and that was enough for me) but then on the stock tune I ran it hard and it doesnt puke.

My Deltas are ok like 6 degrees so it would seem to be a head gasket issue (although I do still have the EGR cooler fully intact). Is is it def a head gasket issue or do I really just need to get the EGR cooler outta there asap?

AND mhatlen, Hopefully youre still around? Im curious how the truck runs with just the FICM tune and no Tuner. Most I come across have stacked tunes. What kind of improvements did you see, and did it affect MPGs?
Most likely it's blown head gaskets. Need to put a pressure gauge on the cooling system and this will help confirm. Are you studded?

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post #9 of 19 Old 11-10-2013, 02:16 PM
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The egr cooler would leak with or without a tuner. If you egr cooler was plugged you would not have 6* delta temps so those are both in good shape.

You could very well go for years and be problem free as long as you keep the tuner out of it.
I have a buddy with a 03 that was tuned and turning 12.82 in the 1/4 mile that was doing the same thing. With tuner it was blowing out coolant no tuner no problem.
He has been driving it now for over 2 years without any issues.
It depends on how far it goes for leaking, the heads can lift just enough for coolant in the water jacket to get by with the additional pressure. No more tuner no more problems, gaskets have not been gouged from gases or coolant leaking by for a extended period.

As far as the FICM tune goes: I have 4" straight piped exhaust along with the Atlas 40 tune only. I have no idea what truck would do in the 1/4 mile, but considering I have 38" tires it wouldn't be too impressive. What I can say is there is pretty good improvement in power especially at 55mph up. Highway passing power is much better as well as off the line.
It will blow black smoke when floored and it didn't do that before, so there is much more fuel delivery with it.
Funny thing is my mileage went up 2+mpg on the highway. I was getting 13-14mpg and now I can get high 16-17 now at 70mph.

People do stack the FICM tune on top of a tuner but there is not as much improvement being tuners usually address the FICM so fuel strategy is already increased.

I myself like the FICM tune and it does not increase cylinder pressures like tuners will through timing and increased boost or increased hpo pressures.


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post #10 of 19 Old 11-11-2013, 05:45 AM
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mhatlen:

Thanks for the reply, everything you said is kinda what I'm under the impression is going on right now.

My ECT temps are 187-190 and my OCT temps are 188-193, with or without a tune. I was kinda thinking that my EGR Cooler and Oil cooler are still OK, and that if the EGR cooler ruptured that I would have problems with coolant temp?

I've only had the looney tune on for less than 50 miles, and only 3-4 full throttle runs, so MAYBE the damage is limited?!

When I bought the truck a month ago, i did it fully planning on doing studs and a delete (just havent done it yet.) And since I spent a bunch of cash just buying the truck I was planning on saving a lil $ up before dropping $3500 on studs n delete.

I'm glad to hear that youre buddy was able to run his truck like that, I am trying to decide what to do. I have the $ to bulletproof it right now, but seeing that the holidays are upon us, etc. IT would be nice to just get the truck through winter and address the problems in the spring time.

I am kinda hoping that it wont be a problem driving it like this if the i just run the stock tune, and it doesnt puke. My concern was that if the EGR cooler is ruptured, that I will end up doing big time damage before i can get it all addressed. Since the ECT is OK is it safe to assume the EGR cooler is?
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