Cylinder head question - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:18 PM
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Cylinder head question

This wasn't getting the traction I wanted in the problem section. And its related to the performance aspects of the heads. I want to know if they will hold up in the long run. Please read.

So the time finally came for me to do my head studs. I found a shop in town that works on many powerstrokes. They are also a BPD preferred installer. So I knew they knew what they were doing. Had my heads off and to the machine shop in a day. Well this is where the problem started. The rest of this is what i was told..... When my heads were checked and fluxed they found some issues. First being that my heads are warped and need to be decked three thousands. From my understanding this is not the end of the world and is common. Also well within the max allowed to take off. OK, I can live with that. Next problems were cracks.

From the mouth of the lead service tech "The shop found some cracks near the valves. They put the heads under a coolant flow test and bumped it up to 40psi. Most shops only do up to 30psi but they wanted to make sure your heads were good. At 40psi, no leaks. This is way over what your stock system will produce. so you might be ok. With the ARP studs you might get away with it. However when the coolant reaches 200+, it may or may not expand them and leak." They had not heard from the machine shop if they were surface cracks or cracks that run deep.

I would first like to state that I really don't have the money for new heads. Which is why I am looking for the advice of the forum members. Will I be good with just having them deck the heads? Will it all hold up with the set up I have now? ie. intake, daily tune from DP-tuner, 4" straight pipe, 53v FICM from BPD. I plan on upgrading the turbo and injectors way down the road. Nothing super mean. I want to keep the towing capabilities of the truck. At most a stage 2 turbo and 175cc injectors. And like I said, this is way down the line. I have less than 50K on the truck and wont push it until its not my daily driver.

What are some of the questions I should be asking my shop? Like as far as their opinions on what I should do. What are some of the down sides of running with cracks around the valves? What should I do. Any and all input is appreciated. Thank you guys.
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Old 07-05-2014, 02:33 PM
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There are two kinds of cracks superficial and terminal. With your heads passing the test a 40 psi you do not have terminal cracks. All 6.0 heads have cracks so in my opinion you are good to go with the ARP's and OEM head gaskets

Last edited by GoFastPadre; 07-05-2014 at 02:34 PM. Reason: oops
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by powerstrokeculver View Post
This wasn't getting the traction I wanted in the problem section. And its related to the performance aspects of the heads. I want to know if they will hold up in the long run. Please read.

So the time finally came for me to do my head studs. I found a shop in town that works on many powerstrokes. They are also a BPD preferred installer. So I knew they knew what they were doing. Had my heads off and to the machine shop in a day. Well this is where the problem started. The rest of this is what i was told..... When my heads were checked and fluxed they found some issues. First being that my heads are warped and need to be decked three thousands. From my understanding this is not the end of the world and is common. Also well within the max allowed to take off. OK, I can live with that. Next problems were cracks.

From the mouth of the lead service tech "The shop found some cracks near the valves. They put the heads under a coolant flow test and bumped it up to 40psi. Most shops only do up to 30psi but they wanted to make sure your heads were good. At 40psi, no leaks. This is way over what your stock system will produce. so you might be ok. With the ARP studs you might get away with it. However when the coolant reaches 200+, it may or may not expand them and leak." They had not heard from the machine shop if they were surface cracks or cracks that run deep.

I would first like to state that I really don't have the money for new heads. Which is why I am looking for the advice of the forum members. Will I be good with just having them deck the heads? Will it all hold up with the set up I have now? ie. intake, daily tune from DP-tuner, 4" straight pipe, 53v FICM from BPD. I plan on upgrading the turbo and injectors way down the road. Nothing super mean. I want to keep the towing capabilities of the truck. At most a stage 2 turbo and 175cc injectors. And like I said, this is way down the line. I have less than 50K on the truck and wont push it until its not my daily driver.

What are some of the questions I should be asking my shop? Like as far as their opinions on what I should do. What are some of the down sides of running with cracks around the valves? What should I do. Any and all input is appreciated. Thank you guys.
Sounds like you've done some of your homework so kudos to you bud. No your cracks are not the end of the world by the sounds of it if they've passed pressure testing, but IMO I would definitely be asking them about having hardened valve seats put in. Especially with the heat of a tune, and possibly towing down the road with the 175s that you're looking at, I'd say do it now while they're out and still have plenty of meat left to work with

Studs or bolts will have less effect compared to the heat can pressure that your heads encounter from the combustion cycles.

Downsides are that the cracks will expand as time goes on and the heads may need to be replaced later.

IMO I'd ask them how much it'd be to have them do a valve job with hardened seats....it's really not that much more, and you've already got the heads out so you might as well do it all at once
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:23 PM
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Get the cracks machined out and have hardened valve seats installed. Even if they have to machine more than .008 off you can make up for it in the valve seat and clip the valve stem to stay in spec.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:42 PM
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Read through the thread in my signature, it's also a sticky in the general 6.0 section. 99.9% of 6.0 and 6.4 heads crack in the valve seat, particularly the exhaust. The seat area in these motors is just cast iron that's been heat treated, which stops it from wearing out (beating the angles out of it) but when you harden cast iron it also makes it brittle, hence the cracks. I've only seen a few heads that were leaking coolant, out of literally thousands. If they're going to cut the seats (3 angle valve job) it'd be dumb not to have alloy valve seat inserts machined in, but if you were just going to mill them to save cost, it'd probably be ok, because it passed the pressure test. (We test ours at 60-80 psi btw). The trouble is, when you just mill them, no valve job, you decrease the valve recession, bringing the piston closer to the valves. More importantly, you also bring the rocker arm closer to the lifter (definitely upgrade to the newer, ie, shorter 6.4 pushrods....6.0 pushrods are 8.950", 6.4 pushrods are 8.900", which decreases lifter preload to a safer spec) anyway, if you've gone this far, I'd highly recommend doing it 100% right all the way, install hardened valve seat inserts, perform 3 angle valve job, setting recession to around .030", then set the valve height to compensate, further reducing lifter preload. Also, I'd recommend replacing he injector cups, glow plug sleeves, and freeze plugs since you're already there. Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:47 PM
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^^^^This is the guy to talk to about machining heads....if he weren't on the other side of the country, that's where my heads would be going when they need done. Even still.....shipping cost may be worth it to know the job was done right.
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by nighthawk285 View Post
Sounds like you've done some of your homework so kudos to you bud. No your cracks are not the end of the world by the sounds of it if they've passed pressure testing, but IMO I would definitely be asking them about having hardened valve seats put in. Especially with the heat of a tune, and possibly towing down the road with the 175s that you're looking at, I'd say do it now while they're out and still have plenty of meat left to work with

Studs or bolts will have less effect compared to the heat can pressure that your heads encounter from the combustion cycles.

Downsides are that the cracks will expand as time goes on and the heads may need to be replaced later.

IMO I'd ask them how much it'd be to have them do a valve job with hardened seats....it's really not that much more, and you've already got the heads out so you might as well do it all at once
Thanks. I've learned to do my homework when it comes to my truck. As much as I love it, knowledge is power with he 6.0L. Having new seats put in and the valves worked was one of the things the lead tech and I talked about. And I had heard that the seats and guides are a weak point when I started looking into o-ringed heads. My main thing is just making the truck strong to last me awhile before I do a complete tear down and build in a few years.
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gearhead2012 View Post
Read through the thread in my signature, it's also a sticky in the general 6.0 section. 99.9% of 6.0 and 6.4 heads crack in the valve seat, particularly the exhaust. The seat area in these motors is just cast iron that's been heat treated, which stops it from wearing out (beating the angles out of it) but when you harden cast iron it also makes it brittle, hence the cracks. I've only seen a few heads that were leaking coolant, out of literally thousands. If they're going to cut the seats (3 angle valve job) it'd be dumb not to have alloy valve seat inserts machined in, but if you were just going to mill them to save cost, it'd probably be ok, because it passed the pressure test. (We test ours at 60-80 psi btw). The trouble is, when you just mill them, no valve job, you decrease the valve recession, bringing the piston closer to the valves. More importantly, you also bring the rocker arm closer to the lifter (definitely upgrade to the newer, ie, shorter 6.4 pushrods....6.0 pushrods are 8.950", 6.4 pushrods are 8.900", which decreases lifter preload to a safer spec) anyway, if you've gone this far, I'd highly recommend doing it 100% right all the way, install hardened valve seat inserts, perform 3 angle valve job, setting recession to around .030", then set the valve height to compensate, further reducing lifter preload. Also, I'd recommend replacing he injector cups, glow plug sleeves, and freeze plugs since you're already there. Good luck.
So in your opinion if I had the machine shop do all of this work I should be able to keep the heads I have now? Would I still have to tear into them again when I do the upgrades?
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by powerstrokeculver View Post
So in your opinion if I had the machine shop do all of this work I should be able to keep the heads I have now? Would I still have to tear into them again when I do the upgrades?
Without seeing them, I don't want to make any sweeping generalizations, you're kinda at the mercy of the shop you choose, and their equipment. Lots of shops have built quite a few 350 Chevy motors, but the Powerstroke stuff is not nearly as forgiving. That being said, if you trust them (there are lots of good trustworthy shops out there, but sometimes hard to find that are well versed in the diesel world) and they do good work, good surface finish, like an RA in the teens or even single digits, .008-.010" press fit on the seat inserts, check the valve guides with a dial bore gauge, ect, there's no reason you should have to pull the heads again in the foreseeable future. Once you correct for a lot of the factory's short comings and sloppy tolerances, these aren't terrible motors really. You'd be fine with bigger injectors and turbo and all later if you go that route. Depending on how crazy you plan to go, you could look into Orings and stiffer valve springs, but I'd only recommend that for stage 3 stuff and higher. If you think you might, now would definitely be the time. To answer your question though, no as long as the work is done well, you shouldn't ever have to touch them again in the reasonable lifespan on the truck...should get a few hundred thousand (at least out of the heads) with no issues really.
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Old 07-05-2014, 04:45 PM
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Sounds like the heads would be ok with the service work Gearhead2012 brought up. Just make sure you have a rock solid quote from the shop, sometimes the amount of work needed can be close to the price of a reman head.
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