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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. New owner of my first diesel – an 04 F-350 PS 6.0 w/ 140k miles on it. And as I’m finding out, a poor purchase in respect to how much I paid and how much I bit off with it. But setting aside my personal shortcomings on the purchase, I’m trying to get the truck in shape while taking a crash course in diesel maintenance.

In short, I’m looking for some insight. It’s an early 04 I believe – the valve cover (pass side) says 2003 on the sticker. Presently I’m 99% sure of a blown head gasket. I believe I have lots of supporting data on that: it has factory bolts; the cooling system goes to max pressure in under 2 minutes from starting cold and holds steady at max thereafter. No white smoke that I can detect on start or otherwise. When running, the cooling system level raises from "min" to above “max” almost immediately and the cap (which I tested OK at 18 lbs.) dribbles a small amount of (red/gold?) coolant. Coolant is very clean. It loses a small amount of coolant along the way, probably due to the loss from the cap. So at present I’m planning on changing the head gasket and replacing the bolts with studs. A local place said they would do it (and other stuff along the way) for 6k. I’m sure they’d do an awesome job, but I just don’t have 6k after buying it and can’t see spending that much in addition to what I have into it already. Other local garages either don’t inspire any faith or just flat out reject the job. I’ll have to do the job cab-on in my own garage, and I’ll have to knock out the back wall of my garage to fit the truck in. I’m really committing to a lot here, but I don’t see a way around it.

Since I’m going in for gaskets and studs, I figure I also will:
  • Magnaflux and mill the heads. I don’t think I can afford o-ringing, but I will get a price on it. I also would like to sleeve the valves if I can afford it. If the heads are bad, the project might stop at that point because I’d really be getting into a lot more money at that point.
  • Replace the oil cooler
  • Test the oil pump – replace if needed. I’m not sure how you test it but will research.
  • Delete the EGR (I don’t think it’s deleted yet. Most of the truck looks OEM except exhaust and a coolant filter)
  • Rebuild the turbo
Maybe other things would make sense too; I’m open to suggestions. Considering my already large investment, there are some limits I’m up against; but I really don’t want to dig into the engine again to this extent.

I haven’t put over 100 miles on it since I got it. Codes it has now are:
  • P0275 – Cyl 5 Contribution/Balance
  • P0404 – EGR Control Circuit Range/Performance
  • P0500 – Vehicle Speed Sensor (this is new – wasn’t there a day ago – might be from my testing)
During a testing run using a Bluetooth OBDC2 dongle and Torque Pro, I came up with few readings - not as much data as I would have liked to get, but I was having issues with the Bluetooth dongle. But here’s what I did get:
@RPM:764 @Temp:134F InJPW:1088 IPR:26.7% HPOP:915.4 ICP-V:1.2 FMP47.5

I made a video with good audio on it of the pre-start, cold start, idle, running at 2k RPM, and a warm(er) restart. I’d be interested in knowing what people familiar with the PS6 can glean out of hearing it but alas I can't post links yet. So I'll do that the future maybe or perhaps there's another way to post it.

If anyone would be so kind, please throw me your opinions. As I prep my garage, I’m trying to get together as much data as I can to efficiently do this.

Thanks,
-Jeff
 

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If you dont have a mix of coolant/oil you havent blown a HG, yet.

I say you have two options, one is to go all in and strip it down pulling the engine and resealing it top to bottom hoping that the heads arent cracked and can be reused.

the second is to focus on the maintenance, read the threads about monitoring the truck and understanding the deltas, and drive it to base line the issues you have beyond the signs of a gasket failing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. If there was a gasket leak between the cylinder and the cooling jacket, wouldn't the result be the compression from the cylinder getting pushed into the cooling system - so bubbles, but not necessarily contamination other than gasses? For this to not be a head gasket it seems like the only other option would be the EGR cooler, but I assumed that wasn't the case because of the lack of white smoke. My oil and coolant is clean (of course - they both have filters, but still).

Is there a definitive test I can do that doesn't involve digging in too far so I know what I'm dealing with? I took it to one mechanic (who admittedly was non-diesel) who was sure it was head gasket. My own internet-based-diags agreed.

I did the cooling system pressure check as mentioned ('T' into the cooling line to monitor the pressures). I see there's a bubble test but it doesn't look extremely definitive on the surface (cork the cooling cap with a plug and hose sticking out of it - watch bubbles in a 2 liter bottle). Would I need to pull the EGR tube to know for sure?
 

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Since you have already put in a gauge into the cooling system, that should have told if the head gasket is blown or not/ cracked head

what you are looking for is a sudden pressure rise under load -- so brake torque or pull a hill at wide open throttle
I prefer the engine to be cool/warm -- not up to temp

The EGR cooler can act as a steam generator if the EGR valve is not closed all the way -- with cool engine that is less likely to happen

The bubble thing works to a point -- still need to load the engine for best results
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Putting it under load while the engine is cold is logistically difficult for me to do, unless "cold" is just less than normal operating temperature. By the time I could first do WOT without breaking too many laws the coolant temp had started to come off the "cold" pin on the gauge. In my testing, starting with a cold system, at 25 seconds after starting it's at 5# pressure. After a minute it's at 10#. That's the point I can start driving (slowly). Before 2 minutes, it's at 18# pressure and fairly stable, and the coolant gauge is still on the cold pin. Another minute or two before I can add any load, but it relaxes at 17#-18# but can crawl (slowly) sometimes up to 19# or 20# just regular driving. Then during WOT (up a moderate hill, coolant temp starting to go up a bit but still not to normal) it goes more rapidly up to 21#. With as hard as I could push it in my area, I could get it to 22#. As soon as you level off the throttle it smoothly moves to 18-ish again. The needle doesn't move with the speed of a RPM needle. More like the MPH needle, if you get my meaning. Not super sudden. I videoed the whole thing so I can refer back to it for times/readings.

I just want some definitive way to see what I have going on. What do garages use to say for sure on diesels?
 

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if you have to wait till it's warm, fine -- just loose the cap and relieve the pressure

should not build pressure again -- cap relieves at 16psi normally

so under if you have relieved pressure -- then WOT, and the pressure spikes to 16 or more

there is a leak
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cool - when I get back home on Monday I'll retest it that way. I stopped driving it except for testing when I suspected the head gasket leak. I really miss driving it, and I'm not fond of riding the bus to work, even though it's a diesel too :)

I want to do oil/oil filter/fuel filter changes on it as soon as I can, but was holding off until I diag this issue. No sense in doing all that just before tear-down. Oil looks clean though, as if it was just changed.

I'd like to somehow identify the type of coolant in the system so I know what to add. It's not what I'd call "Gold" color. More "Red". But very clean looking. I don't know what Ford Gold coolant looks like exactly. My auto parts store is not at all helpful with that question.
 

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Ford gold =death for the oil cooler -- do not use that stuff

There are several threads on here discussing coolant -- one of the favorites is a red color

unfortunately there is no good way to know what is already in the truck
 

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Putting it under load while the engine is cold is logistically difficult for me to do, unless "cold" is just less than normal operating temperature. By the time I could first do WOT without breaking too many laws the coolant temp had started to come off the "cold" pin on the gauge. In my testing, starting with a cold system, at 25 seconds after starting it's at 5# pressure. After a minute it's at 10#. That's the point I can start driving (slowly). Before 2 minutes, it's at 18# pressure and fairly stable, and the coolant gauge is still on the cold pin. Another minute or two before I can add any load, but it relaxes at 17#-18# but can crawl (slowly) sometimes up to 19# or 20# just regular driving. Then during WOT (up a moderate hill, coolant temp starting to go up a bit but still not to normal) it goes more rapidly up to 21#. With as hard as I could push it in my area, I could get it to 22#. As soon as you level off the throttle it smoothly moves to 18-ish again. The needle doesn't move with the speed of a RPM needle. More like the MPH needle, if you get my meaning. Not super sudden. I videoed the whole thing so I can refer back to it for times/readings.

I just want some definitive way to see what I have going on. What do garages use to say for sure on diesels?
Once the motor and coolant is warmed up (with the cap off)......put the cap on tight. Since the coolant is already warm and has expanded....there will be little to no pressure increase as you drive the truck around. If you start getting pressure in the system (showed on the gauge)...and it just keep creeping up and up and after few minutes up over 12psi..and eventually hits 16psi......YOU HAVE A HEAD GASKET LEAK!! It's a simple test.

My truck has a very small HG leak. When I warmed up my truck and then went for a drive...the gauge started at 0, then would creep up to 4, 5 + Then when I would get on the gas, it was up over 10psi...and then up to 15psi.....and then the cap would start venting at 16psi.

After my new head gaskets and studs....I repeated the same test. I let the truck warm up with the cap off, and then tightened it down and went for a drive. I romped the hell out of the truck.......I never saw the gauge climb up over 2psi during the entire drive....and that was just from heating up the coolant more. After it idled for a bit, it dropped back down to 0psi.

The fact that you are getting well over 16psi means you have a HG leak.
 

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Since you have already put in a gauge into the cooling system, that should have told if the head gasket is blown or not/ cracked head

what you are looking for is a sudden pressure rise under load -- so brake torque or pull a hill at wide open throttle
I prefer the engine to be cool/warm -- not up to temp

The EGR cooler can act as a steam generator if the EGR valve is not closed all the way -- with cool engine that is less likely to happen

The bubble thing works to a point -- still need to load the engine for best results
Why? Then you can't really tell if the increase in pressure is from the coolant temp rising and expanding....or from a HG leak. At least when everything is up to temp, you have a pretty good idea that the coolant isn't going to heat up much more and expand and cause the pressure...it's all coming from the HG.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good data points. Looks like I could refine my diags by doing as described here (iqraceworks and hydro) - pull the cap after warm then replace and test. Thanks for that info - Monday I'll know better. I have the feeling I'll be in the garage all winter and riding the bus :(

Is there any damage to be concerned about by driving it in this condition? I've assumed yes thus far.
 

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Good data points. Looks like I could refine my diags by doing as described here (iqraceworks and hydro) - pull the cap after warm then replace and test. Thanks for that info - Monday I'll know better. I have the feeling I'll be in the garage all winter and riding the bus :(

Is there any damage to be concerned about by driving it in this condition? I've assumed yes thus far.
I drove my truck in excess of 20K miles with a blown HG. Just cracked the Degas top and leterbleed. When I finally had the engine torn down I had a burnt piston. Conclusion is it may run but you may damage the engine in the long run.

k
 

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Good data points. Looks like I could refine my diags by doing as described here (iqraceworks and hydro) - pull the cap after warm then replace and test. Thanks for that info - Monday I'll know better. I have the feeling I'll be in the garage all winter and riding the bus <img src="http://www.powerstroke.org/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Frown" class="inlineimg" />

Is there any damage to be concerned about by driving it in this condition? I've assumed yes thus far.
If you don't have the time or the money right now to fix it.....I would just keep driving it. I wouldn't pull anything heavy with it, and keep and eye on the temps....but I doubt it's going to hurt anything. I bet there are thousands of 6.0's out on the road with small HG leaks.....and the drivers probably don't even know it.
 

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I put approximately 25k miles on seeping head gaskets including two trips to Arizona before pulling the cab and installing the Kill Devil Diesel heads
Finally had to break down and do the job when the degas bottle started whistling like a tea kettle

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 
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Subscribed. Still going through my 6.0 that I just bought. Has head studs already, but don't know when or what was done before or after they were installed. This will be a good reference to look back at.
 

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BTW you may want to compare the price of new Kill Devil Diesel heads to having your's machined and o-ringed. Everyone running them are completely happy. No way I'd do heads now without o-rings. Too many have blown again with just studs. None have been reported blown again with o-rings. One possible exception to o-rings is Cometic head gaskets. One shop owner on here has had success with them. @LoxDiesel
https://kcturbos.com/collections/6-0-powerstroke/products/6-0-powerstroke-kill-devil-diesel-cylinder-heads
 

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Discussion Starter #17
BTW you may want to compare the price of new Kill Devil Diesel heads to having your's machined and o-ringed. Everyone running them are completely happy. No way I'd do heads now without o-rings. Too many have blown again with just studs. None have been reported blown again with o-rings. One possible exception to o-rings is Cometic head gaskets. One shop owner on here has had success with them. @LoxDiesel
I think they are out of my price range but wow those look nice. My plan was to re-use springs/valves/pushrods (assuming all ok) sleeve and ring (if I can afford) and do OEM or (I think it was) Black Diamond gaskets with the ARP studs. I have not started calling local machine shops to see if any of them ring heads. I was thinking at a minimum I'd save on shipping/core if mine are undamaged.

I put approximately 25k miles on seeping head gaskets including two trips to Arizona before pulling the cab and installing the Kill Devil Diesel heads
Finally had to break down and do the job when the degas bottle started whistling like a tea kettle
Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
If you don't have the time or the money right now to fix it.....I would just keep driving it. I wouldn't pull anything heavy with it, and keep and eye on the temps....but I doubt it's going to hurt anything. I bet there are thousands of 6.0's out on the road with small HG leaks.....and the drivers probably don't even know it.
I'm not sure where I'm at in the severity continuum - ramping up to full pressure (17#) so fast (2 min) and burping a dribble of antifreeze but it's not squirting out. I went to do the pressure test at full temp yesterday but it wouldn't start - probably the battery is weak. It's charged now so I'll try again this evening. I do not do any heavy lifting with it at present other than my strong desire to stomp on the throttle when able to. I have the Torque Pro app so I can watch coolant/oil temps pretty easy. Man it'd be nice to ditch the bus for a few weeks while I get my garage cleaned up.

I'm now convinced to get the heads ringed though - I don't want to do this over again. I plan to document this as much as possible to add to the information out there on it - from the perspective on a computer tech support guy who occasionally works on cars and can't afford the ultimate bullet-proof package or to hire a real mechanic :) Even if it's an epic fail (please no) it would be helpful.

Side note: Can you re-use ARP studs without a problem or are they a one-time-use-only?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
More data points (that's the OCD speaking)...

  • Cold truck, coolant level at “min”
  • Released pressure on cooling system, replaced cap, then started truck (kept at idle)
  • After 1m45s cooling system was at 17 lbs., and coolant level near “max”
  • Removed cap (still idling) to release pressure and left cap off until truck was fully warm (needle at middle of temp gauge – normal operating temperature). Coolant level was quite high at this point (expansion plus gas in system I assume) so it was just at the top and starting to come out in fits and jerks.
  • Replaced lid. Pressure began to rise and got to 17 lbs. in 2m5s and then held at that. A bit of leakage at the cap but not much.
  • Drove a bit (about 10 minutes) on the road: some WOT, stops, regular, and highway driving. It drove very well.
I'll be pulling the EGR tomorrow to peek inside.
 

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"Removed cap (still idling) to release pressure and left cap off until truck was fully warm (needle at middle of temp gauge – normal operating temperature). Coolant level was quite high at this point (expansion plus gas in system I assume) so it was just at the top and starting to come out in fits and jerks."

So you are saying the coolant filled the degas bottle and was pushing out?

Classic compression leak -- should have seen the "bubble" come out and the coolant level fall -- only to start the cycle over again

Fun experiment time:
if you really want to see the action -- you need to extend the fill cap upward with a clear container -- such as a water bottle with the bottom cut off and taped in place
this should capture the over spill and allow you to observe the bubbles better -- or

use a small hose in a half full clear container -- the hose tee'd into the degas bottle and the other end below the water in your container
your pressure gauge hose should work well for this
 

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On a side note......if it was me (because this is what I used), I would use the Felpro head gaskets. All the shops in my area use them, and swear by them.

They have a raised ring around the cylinder bores to help with sealing. Felpro designed them specifically for the 6.0 and the cylinder sealing issues it has.

As far as reusing ARP studs....I would call ARP and ask them. I don't see why you couldn't reuse them....but they would be the authority on them.
 
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