To ensure the longevity of your truck, monitor the vital signs. Gauges are a must have.
Engine coolant temp gauge:
You should NOT rely on that pretty little gauge on your dashboard. It is little more than an idiot light. By the time that gauge responds, it is too late. Standard running temp based upon your thermostat would be 190°F, give or take a few degrees.
Engine Oil Temp:
This is vitally important because this reading can help diagnose a serious issue before your headgaskets fail. Get your truck up to normal operating temp, drive out onto a flat section of highway. Drive 55-65MPH for 15-20 minutes on the flat. Monitor the temperature differential between the ECT and your EOT. (your EOT will be higher). If that delta is above 15°F you MUST replace both oil and EGR coolers. Heres a short explanation of why: (above info is from a Ford TSB for coolant loss, #09-8-3)
Coolant flows through the oil cooler first, then is fed into the EGR cooler. The coolant that Ford installed in these trucks is known to cause a slime/muck to form within the cooling system. This muck will collect in the small coolant passages within the oil cooler. Have enough of this muck get caught in there and it will slow the flow of coolant to the EGR cooler. This will cause the EGR cooler to overheat. Repeated overheating of the EGR cooler will cause it to fail internally.
(For those of you that may not know, the EGR cooler uses coolant to cool the exhaust before it is re-introduced into the intake and into the cylinders, it is a anti-smog device.)
This failure will allow coolant to flow with the exhaust gasses and enter the intake stream. Initially this coolant may be in such a small quantity that it can be burned off with little consequence. However as more and more coolant is introduced into the cylinder, eventually you will end up with enough in there to cause serious damage.
If the truck is driven longer, you may get enough coolant in the combustion chambers to hydrolock the engine or possibly pop a hole in a piston or break a connecting rod.
This is why many delete the EGR cooler and change their coolant to an ELC that is CAT EC-1 rated. (Highly recommend the coolant swap)
Transmission fluid temperature gauge:
Monitoring this will surely lengthen the life of your transmission. Typical "running around" unloaded and not towing you may get as high as 165°F. The highest I have seen while towing is 185°F.
Fords long term upper limit is 250°F, the short term upper limit is 270°F. Regular maintenance on your trans will help lengthen its lifetime. (info provided by Mark Kovalsky, a former Ford Automatic Transmission Engineer and Moderator on this forum)
Exhaust gas temperature:
Pretty much only need this when you are towing. Keep it under 1300°F if you want to keep your turbo alive and well. Also, very useful to make sure the exhaust has cooled enough so as to not cook your turbo by shutting the truck off too soon. Shut down when that EGT shows 350°F. Reason being is that when you shut down, the turbo will heat to whatever the EGT's are, BUT the oil flow has stopped. This can cook the oil if the EGT's are too high. That would greatly shorten the life of the bearings on the turbo shaft.
Should this fall below 45psi under any condition, you are going to be replacing injectors. Above 80psi and you will be replacing the o-rings on the injectors. Ford has released a new fuel pressure regulator spring. You can get it from Tousley Ford for $51.70 plus shipping by clicking HERE
. This will raise your fuel pressure to a comfortable 70psi (or thereabout) at idle and should ensure that the pressure will not fall to 45psi under wide open throttle. Installation can be done easily if you can follow written instruction with pictures. Band_Member (a member of that forum) has an excellent write-up on this forum. It is located HERE
Some will say it is necessary, others will say it is not. I have one and to tell you the truth, with this engine you don't need it...unless it is a high pressure oil gauge connected to the high pressure oil system. The low pressure system must supply oil to the high pressure oil system. If the low pressure system does not have enough flow/pressure to do this, your truck will shut down and/or not start.
Yes, I have one. Is it necessary? Not in my opinion on a stock truck, with a stock turbo, running the factory tuning strategy. If you are going to "go bigger/badder/faster" go ahead and get one of these.
How you get these gauges on your truck is up to you. There are electronic gauges available as well as analogs. The fuel pressure will have to be an actual gauge, there is no factory installed sensor for the electronic type to pick up on. The Exhaust Gas Temp (pyrometer) would also have to be either an add-on to your electronic monitor or an added gauge.
Next mod that is practically a must is the coolant filtration
. This installs in the coolant stream and is designed to catch the muck/slime that the factory coolant (if neglected) is responsible for. It is a bypass system so that if the filter becomes clogged, nothing bad could happen to your truck because coolant would continue to flow normally.
Another thing that ALL 6.0 owners needs to know is that you MUST use Motorcraft or International (or Raycor since they manufacture them) filters everywhere. Wix, Fram, Napa and all others WILL NOT WORK as designed, period. Ford and International own the patents on the specific designs of the filters and the certain way they fit to engage other pieces. Other companies attempt to find a way around the patented design, some of them fail miserably.
For an example: The oil filter has a design feature that engages a plastic poppet valve. When you go to change your oil and just "crack open" the oil filter cover, this will allow the oil in the filter housing to drain to the crankcase. The poppet is held down by a patented design feature on the Motorcraft filters. Buy a different brand name and it may not, effectively opening a 1/4 hole in your engines oiling system that drains straight to the crankcase instead of lubricating your engine.
Use cetane booster with EVERY tank of fuel. Your injectors will thank you. If you live in a cold climate, run cetane boost with an anti-gel additive in the winter.
Once a year or so, take your EGR valve out and clean it. Go HERE
and read all about it. When you go to that site, look around. There is a wealth of information on that site for all diesel owners.
Also on that website, there is a download-able "coffeetable" book series on this engine, sorted by model year. Download your year and the year before/after. Reason for the additional years is that some of the books are of the changes made and not the entire engine. Look to the menu on the left to access that area of the site. (they are in pdf. format)
Sometime, when you remove your turbo, or your having issues with it... give it a good cleaning. Heres a link for that. CLICK HERE
. Ford and International both sell a "refurbishing" kit for this purpose.
Flush the Ford Gold coolant out of your truck and add a CAT EC-1 ELC coolant. I run what International puts in their trucks (Fleetrite ELC). Do some research on here and other forums to make up your own mind on which one you want to go with.
I, and most of us, run synthetic oils. I run the Rotella T6 5w40 which is a full synthetic. The reason for full synthetic? I believe that the injector "stiction" issue is partially due to varnish and solvents that are not part of the synthetic oil formulation. I have not researched this and make no scientific claims. I run what my truck seems to love.
Maintain your truck the way you are supposed to, take it out and beat it like a redheaded step child every now and then (to clean the gunk out of the turbo on the exhaust side), do what is outlined above and it will love you like you are showing you love it.