'04 Excursion 6.0 oil problem - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-18-2019, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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'04 Excursion 6.0 oil problem

Greetings to all! I have searched the forums and found similar issues but nothing that exactly matches. Some may find this interesting, and I am in need of suggestions.

I changed the oil as I have done dozens of times. Factory oil filter cap and factory oil filter always. I wish to stress this. Both are Motorcraft parts for the 6.0. I installed the new, oiled, O-ring on the cap, new filter snapped in, ready to go. I ran the cap down by hand until the O-ring touched the housing. I then used my torque wrench to finish the install and torqued to final spec. Topped the oil off at 15 quarts and called it an evening.

When driving to work the next day I got maybe 5-6 miles from home and I looked in the outside mirror and saw nothing but grey smoke. I checked the oil pressure gauge and it was fine, then it fluttered and the truck died. I coasted to the side and when I popped the hood it was coated underneath with oil. The back of the engine and all the way to the rear bumper as well as the back glass and doors (again it is an Excursion) were covered in oil. It looked like an oil bomb had gone off.

Flatbed home and I quickly cleaned the oil from the painted surfaces and then took another car to work. After getting home I cleaned the engine and underside as best as I could then began looking around. Obviously it ran fine before the oil change so I started with the cap and filter. When I took the cap off (again, factory Motorcraft cap and filter) the top of the stalk that holds the spring and the disk were inside the filter.

The two plastic "fingers" that retain the disk and center button were broken and I found them inside the housing. I pieced together the two broken fingers with the body they were once a part of to ensure that nothing had entered the oil system. I couldn't find anything else that was a miss. I cleaned the engine bay some more, cleaned the underside some more, replaced the stalk, cap, and filter with factory parts, topped off the oil (it lost most but not all) and started it up. It took a lot longer to start but it did fire and idled. I drove it around the yard and got it up to temp then started looking around. With a fresh piece of cardboard underneath there was a few drops of oil towards the driver's rear side but it could have been residual from the "bomb" and clean-up.

So I let it sit overnight and started it with another clean piece of cardboard underneath and it has a few oil spots underneath, mainly on the driver's side rear. It still takes a lot longer to start and until I get some advice on where the massive amount of oil came from I am afraid to drive it. It has had all of the reliability mods done (EGR delete, studs, heads milled) and it has a SCT tuner. No lights, codes, nothing. ICP on valve cover and looks intact.

Any thoughts as to where all of the oil came from? Did I waste my HPOP? As much as the 6.0 gets a bad rap this one until this point has been good to my family, and even with that said it was something I guess I did when installing the new filter but I don't know what. Speaking of which, it is my family hauler so any advice given is greatly appreciated. I spin my own wrenches and if I could get a clear picture as to where the oil came from I will take off and see what I can find.


An inspection mirror and about an hour's worth of looking yielded nothing. I might have to start removing things in order to find the problem hence the reason for posting. I just don't want to start blindly removing things that may be unnecessary. Thanks again
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 05:42 AM
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Oil pressure sensor behind the filter housing. Prone to blow through and pour oil. You should be able to clean that area with brake cleaner well enough to watch it while the engine is running. Maybe have someone rev it a little to bring the pressure up.

The broken stalk and oil change probably happened at the same time. I can't for the life of me figure out why they thought that plastic stalk was a good idea in that environment. They are prone to break as well.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply! For $20 I just ordered a new one. I agree with the plastic comment. It must have let go in the final turns of the cap after the O-ring seated.

So you think that the stalk breaking would cause the oil pressure sensor to fail? That seems logical since it has a longer crank cycle now. I guess the lack of pressure is impacting the injectors.

Also, within a few miles it lost maybe 10 quarts of oil. I guess the orifice in the sensor is large enough to flow that much? The HPOP I guess creates enough pressure to pump it out?

I am not second guessing you at all, more or less just talking out loud, trying to understand this engine. I plan to keep this thing a looong time. A lot of my friends now have Powerstrokes after riding in the old girl.

And yes, they are still my friends...lol!

Thank you again for your insight. I will post after I get someone to help keep the RPM's up and I inspect the OPS.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 09:07 AM
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The HPOP has nothing to do with this leak. The sensor/switch only reads base engine oil pressure. A healthy 6.0 should probably have around 50-60 psi of oil pressure at cruising speeds. The hole could be as large as 1/4", maybe a bit bigger, depending on how it failed. When mine blew, it was probably a little smaller than an 1/8" hole.

This may not be your problem, but it's the first place I'd check for a sudden and copious leak like that.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you again Sir. I will check it tonight and report my findings.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-19-2019, 02:06 PM
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Thank you again Sir. I will check it tonight and report my findings.

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post #7 of 10 Old 06-20-2019, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Update. I have not received the new oil pressure sensor yet.*

However, I did clean everything again, especially that area.

Started it up, let it get to temp, and had my son rev the engine then hold it at 2K for a minute. Zero leaks from the sensor.

Crawled underneath, two different sizes of inspection mirrors, 1500 lumen flashlight. Can't find a thing.

I will try to dye pen check the cap tomorrow. With a broken stalk would it over pressurize the housing causing the cap to fail?* Or blow by the O-ring?

Thanks again to all for their input.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-21-2019, 05:47 AM
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the reason for the extended start is you haven't drove it to get the air out of the high pressure oil system, as far as the leak goes , the only way to know true cause would have been to refill oil and restart and watch before touching anything , if you aren't seeing a leak at this point , it could have been the oil filter cap


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Thanks SCUFFY828. I guess I could have left the old cap on it and refilled it. I went back to the only thing done to it (oil and filter change) and started there, finding the broken stalk. That is when the question of "what happens if the stalk breaks" began receiving input.

I will dye pen the cap when time allows and look for cracks. If there are any hairline cracks I will find them. Otherwise the oil came by the threads and O-ring, which makes me wonder how much pressure is generated inside the filter housing at highway speed with a broken stalk?

Thanks again!
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-21-2019, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by doofus View Post
Thanks SCUFFY828. I guess I could have left the old cap on it and refilled it. I went back to the only thing done to it (oil and filter change) and started there, finding the broken stalk. That is when the question of "what happens if the stalk breaks" began receiving input.

I will dye pen the cap when time allows and look for cracks. If there are any hairline cracks I will find them. Otherwise the oil came by the threads and O-ring, which makes me wonder how much pressure is generated inside the filter housing at highway speed with a broken stalk?

Thanks again!
No more pressure than would have been generated if the stalk were not broken. The oil pump and regulator control that. If it were to deadhead for some reason the pressure would be bled off by the regulator and the bypass system.

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