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I'm not reporting on ACTUAL problems. Just throwing some info/thoughts out there. ...and a question.
Was your previous truck a gasser?
Given the fuel system design - mostly, lack of bypass - a clogged diesel fuel filter will starve the engine of fuel rather than allow the injector to clog. So, the issue is mostly the amount of debris that the filter can hold.
On the 6.7, the fuel pressure sensor is just ahead of the 4u secondary filter. If someone really wanted to go needs-based on their fuel filter changes, they could install a fuel pressure sensor after that housing and monitor differential pressure across the 4u filter.
That said... the recommended fuel filter change intervals on the Powerstrokes have gone from 15K to 22K over the 7.3L to 6.7L years. I have a 6.0. I change mine at 10K even with the rec of 15K.
So... to your question: Is Ford being conservative? There is no doubt. Fuel filters are relatively cheap given their importance. If I were them, I'd be conservative, too.
2004 F550 CC Lariat
BPD oil cooler relocation and upgraded EGR cooler (spooled), BPD oil bypass filtration, aFe Magnum Force CAI, Mishi radiator, 7.3L fan clutch, EC1 ELC, XDP coolant bypass filtration, '08 trans pan/filter, PTP direct clutch solenoid, blue spring, 6.4 starter, MBRP y-pipe, BD boots/clamps, '05 intake elbow, ccv reroute, Torque Pro + OBDLinkô LX, Autometer EGT