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Discussion Starter #1
Picked up a one owner stock 03 F-350 4x4 with a 6.0 powerstroke and 103k miles, I’m looking for advice on what I can add or change to improve reliability and maybe a little performance. I’m not looking for a powerhouse race truck, just a good running reliable 6.0 to last another 100k miles.
Truck has been dealer maintained and never had any major problems. Turbo was replaced 2 years ago other than that the truck is 100% factory.

I’m considering the Sinister EGR delete first. What other things should I look at to to make reliability improvements and maybe add a little performance?
 

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IMO the absolutely necessary items are:
1. Gauges - an electronic scan tool that reads engine parameters. Lots of choices here, so you need to decide if you want to use software on your smartphone or have a stand-alone screen that displays multiple parameters. Both work well, it is just that the stand-alone screen system will cost a fair amount.
2. A fuel pressure sensor and gauge
3. Thoroughly flush the coolant system and switch to a EC-1 rated ELC coolant. Before you do this, it would be wise to montor your engine oil and coolant temps to see if your oil cooler is already plugged a little or if it is ok. If it is already plugged, then you will need to try back flushing the oil cooler and maybe even chemically flushing it.
4. Have the FICM upgraded by FICMrepair.com
5. An Alternator that puts out at least 140 Amps.
6. A 2005-2007 ICP sensor and a new ICP pigtail
7. Silicone charge-air-cooler boots

Then you need to think about your batteries and make sure they are good ones and are currently healthy (ie pass a load test)

Other mods that are worth it IMO, but can get costly are:
1. Larger water pump - which requires a new front cover
2. Adrenaline HPOP
3. ARP head studs (remember, proper block prep, head prep, checking for head cracks, and proper installation are important if you install head studs).

You may or may not need the larger water pump and the same w/ the Adrenaline pump, but they are upgrades and worth it if you have money to spare.

The EGR delete would be good too, but (again IMO) you should always install a tune that accounts for the delete if you do delete the EGR system. You have a fairly good EGR cooler (the 03 engines have the shell and tube design), but they do fail. Personally I do not like the Sinister products, but they have sold a lot of them. I would lean to welding up the EGR cooler w/ 1/4" stainless plates as a delete.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Hey thanks for the reply! Definitely gives me some things to look at. More than what I figured LOL but definitely sounds like good stuff thanks.
 

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EGR delete ASAP in my opinion. Like bismic said, oil to coolant temperature deltas are critical.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes I’m doing that first for sure! From what I understand it’s the root of a lot of the problems and head gasket issues.
 

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Yes I’m doing that first for sure! From what I understand it’s the root of a lot of the problems and head gasket issues.
It is one of a few classic culprits.
 

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Depends what your budget is. To fix the issues, you're looking about $3k if you do it yourself, easily double that if you're having a shop do it. That's EGR delete/upgrade, new oil cooler, head studs, gaskets, stand pipes, turbo drain, STC, machining the heads, etc. Add a grand if you're adding things like coolant filter, bypass oil filter, and upgraded water pump. Add another $2k if you are going for a front mount oil cooler.

On the performance side of things, again it depends on your budget and what kind of power you're wanting. Garrett Powermax turbo, programmer, tunes, and 4" straight pipe with be in the neighborhood of $2k and yield 400ish HP. The Powermax can be used with stock injectors but a bigger turbo = bigger price tag and usually requires bigger sticks and tuning to accommodate both.

We can put together a build list that'll easily fetch $10k but it won't make a difference if you're only able to put $4500 into it
 

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I’m not looking for a powerhouse race truck, just a good running reliable 6.0 to last another 100k miles.
Since you posted specifically about reliability and not power, I would highly advise against bigger injectors and a bigger turbo. If your turbo ever gives you problems, then getting a turbo of the size you need from KC Turbo is a good move. I just wouldn't do it unless the OEM one started acting up.

I also have seen lots of OEM oil coolers and as long as the coolant is an EC-1 rated ELC coolant, you shouldn't have any trouble ..... unless you have issues right now. That is one reason for the recommended gauge system.

Bypass oil systems have limited function IMO. Lots and lots of engines do quite well without them - that is assuming that you het the maintenance right.

Proper maintenance is changing oil every 5k miles and using ONLY the OEM oil filters. OEM fuel filters are a good practice also.

As far as choice of oil goes, a synthetic 5W40 or 10W30 is better for the injectors than a 15W40. Some people haven't had stiction issues w/ 15W40, but MANY people have.

Transmission fluid should be changed out every 30k miles (along with changing out the external transmission filter). You need to change the transmission fluid (8 quarts), drive it awhile, then repeat this for a total of 3-4 times. I would use Mercom SP, Mercon LV, or Valvoline MaxLife. I wouldn't consider using much else.
 

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Yes I’m doing that first for sure! From what I understand it’s the root of a lot of the problems and head gasket issues.
The typical sequence of events is that the OEM Ford Gold coolant gets hot in the EGR cooler. It then forms solids and plugs the oil cooler (on the coolant side). Since the coolant flows out of the oil cooler and into the EGR cooler, the EGR cooler fails because it isn't getting coolant flow.

Using the correct coolant is MUCH more important than the EGR delete - at least IMO and from my experience. I am sure that many will disagree though.

Anyway, the gauges will tell you if the oil cooler is plugging or if it is already plugged. The oil temperature should never exceed 15 degrees F above the coolant temperature. Some people say that if you are towing you can expect the oil to be more than 15 degrees hotter than the coolant. From what I have seen a completely healthy cooling system will still keep the oil at or below that 15 degree differential.

Excess heat is a huge cause of MANY problems (wire harness issues, ICP sensor failures, degas bottle leaks, oil cooler and EGR cooler failures, etc).
 
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Discussion Starter #10
As Bismic stated I’m not looking for tons of power just minor inexpensive improvements and increased reliability.

Bismic as you stated in the first post, I do plan to flush the cooling system completely so as you stated here...

3. Thoroughly flush the coolant system and switch to a EC-1 rated ELC coolant. Before you do this, it would be wise to montor your engine oil and coolant temps to see if your oil cooler is already plugged a little or if it is ok. If it is already plugged, then you will need to try back flushing the oil cooler and maybe even chemically flushing it.

Do these oil and coolant temps need to be monitored with aftermarket gauges?
 

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Bypass oil systems have limited function IMO. Lots and lots of engines do quite well without them - that is assuming that you het the maintenance right.

Proper maintenance is changing oil every 5k miles and using ONLY the OEM oil filters. OEM fuel filters are a good practice also.
I strongly disagree. I just pulled my oil plug after 18k miles and was still getting clean and clear oil analysis. The only reason I opted for an oil change was because I did a 100k refresh on everything so figured I might as well. Still waiting on the report for the UOA I did right before the drain but I'll gladly post it up when I get it to show that YES these engines can go farther than 5k between oil changes when not dealing with extreme stress on the engine or oil

As far as choice of oil goes, a synthetic 5W40 or 10W30 is better for the injectors than a 15W40. Some people haven't had stiction issues w/ 15W40, but MANY people have.
This I agree with. Synthetic oil is the way to go, doesn't break down, only gets dirty so the cleaner you can keep it, the more life you can get out of it. Yes, it does help with stiction...as do magic snake oils, but guess what, as soon as you stop using them, the stiction comes back because it doesn't solve the problem. These additives are a thinner weight oil that are able to penetrate into the spool valves of the injectors before the engine is up to temperature. Stop using the snake oil, snake comes back. Wanna know how to eliminate stiction? Clean the spool valves
 

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Do these oil and coolant temps need to be monitored with aftermarket gauges?
Nope, I use the Torque Pro app ($1.99 I think) and a $15 OBD2 Bluetooth block from Amazon. I even have an alarm on out of the delta exceeds 15° between the 2
 

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Torque Pro app is very good. ForScan is good also. It reads codes a little better than Torque Pro. I have both,

I don't doubt that the bypass oil filter can improve oil analysis to a degree. I just don't see it helping engine longevity all that much. I go 7500 miles on my oil and do quite well. I truly think it is a mistake to go past that, the oil analysis does not tell the whole story IMO. I have done a lot of data evaluation on oils and oil longevity for the 6.0L. This engine does shear the oil fairly aggressively. After 7500 miles, a 5W40 oil viscosity will be in the mid to high 30wt range. I wouldn't want to go much lower if I wanted 300k miles out of the engine.

I have 214k miles on my truck without the bypass oil filter and have no issues. Many others have similar experiences. A bypass oil filter certainly doesn't hurt and it might help get a few more miles out of the engine. I doubt if I ever spring for it though, proper oil change intervals is a safer bet - again IMO.

Lots of people got on the "clean the spool valves" in the earlier 6.0L days. Not many still advocate it. A lot can go wrong.

I have used synthetic 5W40 and have never had stiction issues. My injectors are still original. Again, I have been in this game a long time. Pretty much seen all sides. I do agree that additives are a bandaid, but bandaids have their place.
 

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Agreed, I'm not saying that every engine needs to have one. I know of many as well without, my dad's '04 is knocking on the door of 300k. I also know of people that like throwing money away and put on a bypass kit, do oil analysis, and still pull the plug at 5k and refill with synthetic and magic additives. Oil shear is not a secret (nature of the beast with high pressure oil systems) but there have even been tests done that prove the oil shears around 3k miles and levels off once it reaches the "happy level," 10k oil has not shown much worse than 7500 oil
 

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Just to muddy the waters a little bit more for the OP I'l throw my 2 cents in. My information will be coming from an 05 and an 06 experience and there were a decent amount of improvements made since the 03 that the OP is going with. I love my 05 which has is at almost 220k and still using the Ford coolant. I deleted the EGR which I believe is a great benefit. I think deleting that or blocking off is a must. My truck I believe is the kind of build you are looking for. I did the head studs after running tunes without them and blew the head gaskets. I like the extra power I got from just running exhaust, Cold Air, and a programmer.

My dad has an 06 F350 and he has left it completely stock and the oil gets changed every 5k but thats about it. That truck has never seen the inside of a mechanics shop other than to get new tires at the tire shop. It has 190k on it and he has been the sole owner.

Just some information for you on other experiences. But I believe you would be extremely happy with a truck that is studded (correctly) and deleted with a tuner and some decent tunes. Also the monitor is absolutely key.
 

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Agreed, I'm not saying that every engine needs to have one. I know of many as well without, my dad's '04 is knocking on the door of 300k. I also know of people that like throwing money away and put on a bypass kit, do oil analysis, and still pull the plug at 5k and refill with synthetic and magic additives. Oil shear is not a secret (nature of the beast with high pressure oil systems) but there have even been tests done that prove the oil shears around 3k miles and levels off once it reaches the "happy level," 10k oil has not shown much worse than 7500 oil
Of course oil shear isn't anything new. It is still an issue though if you are going to seriously extend oil change intervals. Please post your UOA for the 8k interval. I would love to see it. I actually like it when people run extended intervals - simply because I like data. With all the 6.0L issues, I am not going to ever recommend long OCIs. We have enough to worry about (just my 2 cents)! Of course, I am coming from the perspective of making the engine last a LONG time - say 300k miles or more. Not a lot of data on oil changes that can correlate to longevity like that.

I have quite a bit of data from 5k OCI's to 10k mile OCIs. It does not level off until it reaches the viscosity of the base oil. It does slow down though. The 5W40's will definitely reach the bottom end of a 30 wt. A 10W30 can even reach the upper 20 wt range.
 

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I would echo basically what bismic said. Even though I will sound like a baby mama on the Maury povich show I will say I am 10,000% certain that he is right on #1 and #2, after that I would deviate from his suggestions a bit (or at least with qualifiers). I would qualify 1 and 2 with the enclosed link https://www.powerstroke.org/forum/general-6-0l-discussion/259257-write-up-monitoring-6-0l-psd.html
Learn it, live it!

My #3 would be a savings account. Set aside the money needed for his #3+. I would not necessarily advocate against what he recommended but I would wait until those things needed attention. They may never need to be addressed, but they most likely will. I am no fan of tearing apart an engine that is running fine. If you are going to go on safari then yes of course, but most likely you will not be anywhere that you can not make it home from and if you are monitoring the vehicle you should see most of these issues on your horizon.

Use only ford filters and filter housings. Change the oil every 5k, fuel filter every 10k. There is value in stretching out the oil change interval, I don’t. Imo there is little savings to be had since a comparable new F350 will run $80k+ I want this to be the LAST truck I buy and a few extra $$ on oil is a small price to pay.
 

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As far as choice of oil goes, a synthetic 5W40 or 10W30 is better for the injectors than a 15W40. Some people haven't had stiction issues w/ 15W40, but MANY people have.

Transmission fluid should be changed out every 30k miles (along with changing out the external transmission filter). You need to change the transmission fluid (8 quarts), drive it awhile, then repeat this for a total of 3-4 times. I would use Mercom SP, Mercon LV, or Valvoline MaxLife. I wouldn't consider using much else.
Interesting on the max life trans fluid. I’m a believer in Mobil 1, and use the 5/40 turbo diesel truck. What about the Mobil 1 atf? Or is it just best to stick to the three you mentioned?
 

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MaxLife specifically states that it is recommended for transmissions that specify Mercon LV.

If the Mobil 1 ATF has a similar statement, then I suppose it is OK. Otherwise, I wouldn't try it.

Edit - I looked it up. Not only does it not state that it can be used in Mercon LV spec'd transmissions, the viscosity of the fluid is too high. The "LV" stands for low viscosity. I definitely wouldn't use it.

As an example, Royal purple Max ATF has a similar viscosity as the Mobil 1 ATF. It specifically states NOT to use in Merco LV or SP systems:

http://www.royalpurpleindustrial.com/products/max-atf/
 
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Agreed, I'm not saying that every engine needs to have one. I know of many as well without, my dad's '04 is knocking on the door of 300k. I also know of people that like throwing money away and put on a bypass kit, do oil analysis, and still pull the plug at 5k and refill with synthetic and magic additives. Oil shear is not a secret (nature of the beast with high pressure oil systems) but there have even been tests done that prove the oil shears around 3k miles and levels off once it reaches the "happy level," 10k oil has not shown much worse than 7500 oil
Of course oil shear isn't anything new. It is still an issue though if you are going to seriously extend oil change intervals. Please post your UOA for the 8k interval. I would love to see it. I actually like it when people run extended intervals - simply because I like data. With all the 6.0L issues, I am not going to ever recommend long OCIs. We have enough to worry about (just my 2 cents)! Of course, I am coming from the perspective of making the engine last a LONG time - say 300k miles or more. Not a lot of data on oil changes that can correlate to longevity like that.

I have quite a bit of data from 5k OCI's to 10k mile OCIs. It does not level off until it reaches the viscosity of the base oil. It does slow down though. The 5W40's will definitely reach the bottom end of a 30 wt. A 10W30 can even reach the upper 20 wt range.
I haven't gotten the latest report back yet but here's the one from 16k miles on the oil which also shows the various levels dating all the way back to the initial sample to see what it was looking like in between the Ford recommendations of 5000-7500 miles
 

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