Miss / Sputter WOT Up Hills While Towing - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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Miss / Sputter WOT Up Hills While Towing

Tried searching, but have a hard time finding these symptoms. Of course mechanics can't reproduce so I am at a loss as of now.

Stock 2004 6.0 Ford Excursion. Recent oil, egr cooler and fan clutch replaced. All Ford parts. Recent coolant flush and oil change. Fuel filter changed about 5000 miles ago.

This only seems to happen when towing boat, which according to manufacturer is 5600 with trailer, so round to 6000 with fuel and gear. No apparent issues when not towing outside of not getting as good mpg as in the past.

Over all the power doesn't seem to be where it used to be. But the big one I am chasing is a buck/miss/sputter when going up grades. It mostly happens right when the truck starts to lose speed and the RPMs want to kick up to keep the speed. When this happens, it is like a sputter and I get puffs of smoke out the exhaust. Using Torque App I notice that the boost drops at this same time. I also notice the MAP PSI drops and the fuel flow gal/hr drops.

I am also getting terrible fuel economy. I got 9.2 mpg over this last trip where I used to get 14 - 15 towing. The truck struggles at anything over 70. Again, I used to go 80 no problem while towing my old boat (slightly smaller, but not that much). If I hit a hill, it would not miss a beat and not drop a mile under my set cruise speed and I would hardly notice the RPMs needing to kick up to keep up.

It also seems to be running a little hot. I saw the engine temp get up to 230 at one point up a long grade with the engine oil temp getting to 245. It stayed around 220 most of the trip towing, but would increase on hills as expected. But it still seems a little high to me.

The sputter is intermittent. Sometimes it does it sometime it doesn't. If I regulate the gas peddle and keep it from kicking up, I can for the most part prevent it. Sometimes it is worse than other times. It just depends what kind of mood the truck is in that day.

I have scanned codes:
P0263 - Cylinder 1 contribution/balance. (If I clear codes this one come back quick, currently the only code showing)
P0275 - Cylinder 5 contribution/balance. (If I clear codes, this one does not come back for a long time. Currently is not showing up)
P0401 - Exhaust Gas Re-circulation Flow Insufficient detected. (If I clear codes, this one does not come back for a long time. Currently is not showing up)

This isn't anything new, as it was doing it last summer too, but not this bad. I am not sure if the codes are causing the issue or if the issue is causing the codes. I had it the mechanic with the codes and they didn't seem concerned about them. I am trying to not just replace parts until I find it, especially due to the expenses I have already had to drop on it to fix the oil and egr coolers last month.

I am attaching two screen shots of the monitoring as well. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Video

Here is the video. First post wouldn't let me post it.

Copy and put in browser, forum wont let me put link in.


photos.app.goo.gl/eAcdnciETv8cvLVP6
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 06:26 AM
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Those cylinder contribution codes will definitely have an effect on your mileage and overall issues. I had similar issues, but it was only one injector. 2 would make things worse. I would tow an 18k-20k lb toyhauler and struggled to hold OD even on flat ground going 65.

I eventually took it to a friend who is a diesel tech and did an injector balance test. Found one injector contributing poorly. He changed the injector and cleaned the turbo.

It drives like a whole new truck. No problem towing that trailer now in OD. I can even be going 55 and be able to pick up speed. Mileage is back up when towing (7.5 vs 6 mpg). No random hiccups on hills.

Not sure on the EGR flow code. Is the EGR valve clean? Maybe somebody else can chime in on that one.

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post #4 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 06:30 AM
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Another thing... Those temps seem high if they are flat ground temps. Stock radiator? Do you ever hear the fan kick on?

The trans temp you selected is probably the wrong one. It matches coolant. I had the same issue. There are other trans temp pids in torque. You'll probably have to grab the Ford specific one.

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 06:35 AM
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Not sure any of this addresses the sputter I heard in the video. Kind of sputters once every few seconds.

I suspect three different problems, and only one is related to the sputter. The first is the boost seems low IF the peaks are up a steep (5%) extended grade while towing. I see 28 to 30 PSI. This could be a leak anywhere from the turbo to air intake or exhaust gas manifold to the turbo, or maybe even the turbo veins are clogged. My reference is when I tow with an 11k trailer, so that could be different. If those boost numbers, which look like they peak at 20PSI and 17 PSI are flat and level up a three shallow hills, then disregard.

Second, a temp of 220 is way too high for a flat and level tow, and that's with my trailer which is 11k and towing in AZ heat of 110. Before my mechanical fan clutch install, I had an ECT of 205 - 210 when towing flat and level in the summer, going up hill the fan kicked on at 220 and quickly cooled things down. If your fan is not kicking on like a jet engine, I'd suspect something like the fan clutch. I installed a mechanical clutch and towing at 65 my ECT won't reach above 205 up a steep grade and is normally 195. In the summer with 110 outside temps, those temps are perhaps a little higher. The 7.3 Mechanical fan clutch may fix that, but it'll mask whatever was causing it, perhaps the electric clutch was going bad. If the water pump is slipping, that'd need to be changed. Both of those are a half day job if you have the tools, and the only special tool needed is a fan clutch wrench, unless you can use a pneumatic hammer to take it off. It may also be even simpler and a thermostat failing in the open position.

Last is the contribution codes kind of point towards injectors. I hope the shop you brought it to did a contribution check. Hopefully it was a diesel shop with a good software package like IDS.

You may need to find a shop that will take the liability of towing the boat on a test drive to figure it out. Not all shops will do that, and it can get pricey.

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post #6 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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I am traveling between Texas and Oklahoma, so it isn't mountain hills, but there are some decent long hills. Seems like a constant up down up down on the hills. But this isn't the first time I have traveled distances with a trailer so I have some type of feel for how the truck should handle the load.

I feel like the temps were too high as well which is why I brought it up. It wasn't even super hot, around 95 degree outside. The fan clutch was kicking on, I could hear it. This weekend was the worse mpg I have seen. Like I said, I used to be 14 with a trailer. This summer it has been 11 - 12. This weekend 9.2.

I have the ford add ons added to the Torque app using the paid version. That is the only transmission temp that was reading anything. I can look again.

The shop I take it to was highly recommended by my normal car guy. The normal car guy is my Dad's long time best friend, known him my whole life, so if he recommends someone I usually trust him. The shop I take it to does a lot of work on diesels, but it is not a diesel exclusive shop. The shop owner goes way back to high school with my dad, father in law and normal car guy. So the trust of the shop is there. My biggest problem with them is they are slow. They have it a week at a time, but they are not a swap a part and see type of place. I had it in there last week to try and figure it out and they couldn't but I had to go pick it up because I had a trip coming up. Next trip is this Thursday. Sure wish I could figure it out by then. It is a stressful drive when your worrying if you will make it back. I already have 5k in repairs this summer and still not 100%. The wife is telling me to go get a new one, but it is hard to replace the Excursion. Plus the truck payments on new ones. I may have to try the dealership. I don't know of any other trusty diesel shops around here. I am on East site of DFW, so I am sure there are some, I just don't know who they are.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 09:39 AM
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Are you in tow haul? If so try towing without putting it in tow haul and see if it still does it.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-20-2019, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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I was not using Tow Haul. I should have tried that to see if it makes it easier until I am able to figure out the issue.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-21-2019, 06:28 AM
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Are you monitoring fuel pressure? When were the fuel filters last changed?

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post #10 of 13 Old 07-29-2019, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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*** Update ***

The shop replaced the EGR valve. I towed this weekend and it was a lot better. There was no sputter and it was able to hold speed up hills. The turbo seems to be kicking in a lot earlier now too and sounds like it used to. Without a load, it feels better too. It even shifts a lot smoother. My mpg went up a little to 11 while towing.

I still think it is running a little hot though. It stayed around 215 while towing. Up hills it would hit 220. Long hills it would hit 230. Fan kicks in and brings it back down so it only touched for a short amount of time. But when the fan kicks on, the truck works harder and it starts to slow on the hills.

Now without a load, it is running around 195 running flat at 70 - 85. If I punch it it would touch 199 for a half second. Coasting down a hill it would cool to 192 for a half second.

My guess is maybe the thermostat is stuck open? If it was the pump, I would think it would be running hotter as the coolant wouldn't be circulating and not cool down? Thermostats seem cheap and an easy swap so I might just swap it this weekend and see if it fixes it.

The truck has been pressure tested and full coolant flush when they did the coolers
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