Pics added, starting here: 2003 6.0L Engine Repairs and Upgrades - Input Please!
Well, finally am finding some time to tackle the rebuild of my '03. Any input you can provide on advised upgrades/procedures and best prices would be much appreciated! For those that don't know, I laid my truck over back in November; an unpleasant little escapade that resulted in a locked engine due to oil draining into cylinders while on it's side. The end result was a damaged body and a bent rod (or two).
Why am I rebuilding again? (3rd time...) It's an excuse to upgrade and make it more of a dedicated toy
So, this coming weekend I'll be pulling off the damaged cab and starting into the engine to determine parts needed. I'm going to replace only the damaged rod(s) and their bearings, because the rest of the lower end has been rock solid and only has 103k on it. Following that, it will get new headgaskets, studs, EGR delete, possibly a fuel upgrade, and other misc parts.
Here is where I've come to a crossroads, oem or the Black Onyx head gaskets? I'm leaning towards OEM, from feedback I've read of the Black Onyx having a higher failure rate and some builders stopping carrying them for that reason. But, most performance dealers still offer them, and sometimes only list them and not oem, so help me decide!
For studs, I'll be going with ARPs. It won't be an extreme build, and I can't justify the cost of H-11 studs.
Heads and block surfaces will be checked and machined if necessary (as little as possible).
EGR cooler will be welded up. I don't need to spend money on a kit when I can weld and it will keep a stock appearance. I'm tempted even to just do the block off plates and dummy plug since the cooler is still good.
The two injectors I replaced last spring will be relocated to the difficult cylinders (5 and 7) since they will likely last longer than the other six. I'd like to replace the rest, but not in the budget.
Leaning towards a full regulated return fuel setup. Now's the time to do it with the engine out and up-pipes out of the way. I think I would go with the ITP / Strictly Diesel kit.
New oil cooler, even though mine is fine. Advised, or stick with the one I know is good? Also might to IPR while I'm in there, as I've had occasional no-starts where it will crank forever and not fire, then fire right up the second attempt. I think that was a sticky IPR. New upgraded metal HPOP screen of course...
One big question I have, is whether I should do any of the updates the later engines have, such as the upgraded front cover and larger water pump. I'm leaning away from that for cost purposes.
Also, another biggie, is if I should do any upgrading of my '03 HPOP system (stand pipes, logs, etc) or just replace all the o-rings and call it good.
I'm sure I'll have more questions as this goes forward, and it will most likely be drawn out as I'll me doing the work on free weekends at my dad's shop across the state. I'll also post this in a few different forums to get the most feedback, so don't be surprised if you see a repeat.
BTW, in addition to the engine work, it's getting every new body part, except the left doors. Can't find a short bed, so most likely will go with a flatbed. Then possibly cutout flares on the front and a set of 38s
Thanks for any input, and wish me luck!