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Discussion Starter #1
This is about my Dad's 2003 F250. It's a 4x4, auto, short bed crew cab with 360,000 highway miles. It's been maintained by the dealer all its life, and everything works great except the engine. Being stock and generally not driven hard, the internals are in great shape despite the mileage (or perhaps were, more on that in a minute); never used oil, transmission has never skipped a beat.

Now the bad part. This truck, in addition to the usual EGR issues, has had several rounds of injector issues; every injector has been replaced at least once, I think twice since he's replaced a total of 20. About a year ago was the last go-around with that, but the outlook seemed better since the warranty was supposedly 2 years / unlimited mileage. Sure enough, a couple months ago it starts smoking and running rough again. Another injector, but this time it's a broken tip, and Ford won't cover that because they say it can only happen because of contamination or mechanical damage. As mentioned, the truck has been dealer serviced, including regular fuel filter replacements. My Dad has always run Power Service additive and fueled from a high-volume station near the interstate. Also, this is Montana - about the only way you get water in the fuel is if you pour it in. So Ford's position carries as much water as a colander. Still, like so many things in life, you're probably not going to win this one unless you're good at the lawyer game.

The one unknown at this point is whether the tip took anything with it. The dealer said they borescoped it and didn't see anything, but couldn't be certain there's no further damage. My Dad likes the truck, but he's sick of the injector issues. I'm inclined to agree - everything after the 7.3 seems to be incapable of piling on the miles without issues like a diesel is supposed to. He needs a truck for occasional hauling and running down the brain-dead dear that sacrifice themselves on the grills of passing vehicles at night (happened to my own car a couple months ago), but the injector thing seems almost unrelated to mileage (he's driven it less in the last couple years) and he's not willing to spend $2-3000 every two years.

Question one is, what to do if the bore is damaged? Dad likes the idea of an engine swap, and this truck with a mechanical Cummins is pretty appealing, but probably more money than it's worth. It's not like good used 5.9s just fall out of trees. In many ways, a gas engine makes more sense given that the truck won't see the kind of mileage it used to, and getting a good core is cheaper. The truck with a 460 and a torqshift would be cool, but with just about any swap you're talking about a custom ECU and lots of wiring. The trouble is, lots of people love to talk about engine swaps, but it seems like hardly anyone does one - I'd love to hear from someone who has... I could probably find my way through a swap, I've ben through the engine and transmission in my car, rebuilt my ZF5 recently, and am capable of light to moderate fabrication work.

Question two: If the bore looks ok, do you fix it and unload the truck, or keep it? Is there some secret sauce to keeping these injectors from dying? If we did fix it and keep it, I'd probably want to upgrade to a full-blown fuel-water filter-separator and maybe even a bypass oil filter. If I'd known this would be such an ongoing issues, I would have suggested that to begin with, but the question is whether it's worth it now. I'd probably be the one doing the work, and if so I'd also be saying "bye-bye" to the EGR system, for what it's worth.

Final question: For those in the "unload it" camp, would you fix it or part it out? Trucks hold their value very well here, so that helps. In general I'd think it's better to fix it, but in my other automotive sphere (80's Mercedes) it's quite common for a car to be worth more in parts even when there's not a lot wrong with it.
 

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How often does the oil get changed? Are these Ford genuine injectors?
 

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You might consider using an additive like archoil as well as using a ford or holders rebuilt injectors so that things are more reliable. 6.0 injectors are subject to stiction which can cause poor cold start performance. The additives helped mine tremendously. Remember that the engine oil has as much to play in regards to injector performance as does the fuel quality. Normally, injectors will easily last 100k if properly cared for with required oil changes and good quality oil and fuel.

To better comment on the issue, what was the specific reasons cited for replacement on the injectors in the past? Were you getting a cold start miss, contribution code error, or dead cylinder?
 

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I hope that have, but has the dealership ever checked out fuel pressure to rule that out? Low fuel pressure beats up on the internals of an injector. Do you know if the truck has the blue spring upgrade?

-jokester
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the inputs. Oil has always been changed regularly - I can't say the interval off the top of my head, but my Dad generally went with the factory recommendations and it's never been neglected. He usually ran synthetic to help with cold starting too. No oil additives used, although if he does keep it I'm sure he'll start running some. I'm not sure on the blue spring upgrade, I'm guessing no unless it's something common for a dealer to do. I'm not sure what's been done on the fuel system other than filter services. I think it had the HPOP replaced at one point. The injectors have always been Motorcraft replacements, nothing aftermarket. It's been hard failures (dropped cylinder(s), smoking, etc. - never a tip before this though) that called for replacements, but he's not sure of the details. Not sure we want to use Motorcraft again. I've read a little on Alliant and might try them; I'm not familiar with holders, but would consider them too.

I think the big determining factor on whether it's worth keeping is the question of whether he can count on making more than 2-3 years without injector issues cropping up. Obviously it's a high-mileage truck, so things are going to break, but the injector issues have cost as much as all the other maintenance/repairs combined. We know the dealer fairly well, and they're generally pretty good with diagnostics and repairs, but it's possible that fuel pressure issues could be behind it. So I suppose the big question is how long we could reasonably expect to go without an injector issue under ideal circumstances. Related to that, what's going to help them last? I'd definitely put the blue spring in it assuming it hasn't been done and run oil additive, and we could throw a fuel filter upgrade (been reading about the Airdog) and bypass oil filter in too. Just want to know which things are difference makers and which fall in the "might help" category.
 

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A set of OEM injectors should last atleast 100k if the oil is changed regularly and the fuel filters changed often as well. Does your dad always get diesel fuel from the same station? I am surprised Ford genuine injectors are doing that. Also, if you get a bad injector, just replace the one. A bad injector doesn't mean the whole set is junk.

I would test your fuel pressure and get the blue spring update. If you are having fuel pressure problems, the injectors will get beat to death from the oil side.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just to update, the truck has been fixed for around three years now with no major issues. It's only done 10-15k miles though. The injector tip made a mess of the piston and head, so those were replaced. My brother is also a dieselhead (he's got an '04 6.0 – it's had some issues too), and he chipped in to have head studs put in while it was apart. Probably overkill for a stock truck that rarely tows, but can't hurt. The fuel pump was also replaced and the blue spring added. Since then, it's needed some front axle work (not surprising given the miles), and somehow the bolts for the starter came loose (or somebody, and no, not me, didn't torque them) and one of the mounting ears broke. We replaced that with a Powermaster starter, and it's pretty impressive how much quicker it cranks with that.
Anyway, thanks for the input – hopefully it's got many more miles to give!
 

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I'm glad you are having luck with your truck. I have to say that what the dealer did to you and your family is outrageous.

The injector issue was clear as day to me while reading your posts. Motorcraft injectors last 100k+, and only a few things would cause them to fail like that, oil changes and low fuel pressure. The fact the dealership didnt perform that simple well known upgrade to prevent failure is crazy, and shows they would rather make thousands off you guys than ever fix the problem. There are many TSBs on the subject, and factory Motocraft kits to address the fuel spring/pressure issue. The kits is like 45$, this would have prevented injector lose due to low fuel pressure.

Than to tell you they borescoped the cylinder, and told you it looked good, when it clearly wasn't.... after they refused to warranty there own body injectors...... man stay away from those clowns.

I'd almost say you have grounds to sue thier ***.
 
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