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What is necessary in "bulletproofing"

2286 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Rossterman
I'm looking into bulletproofing my 6.0. The truck is a '06 with 102,000 miles. I understand that there are certain parts of the bulletproof process that is absolutely necessary, but other parts might be for just added performance. I'm looking to do what is absolutely a must, for as cheap as I can. Under the hood, the truck is completely stock (cat delete, no tunes). New OEM injectors with about 10k miles on them, though. I rarely do much towing and if I do it is very light. The truck is my daily driver though so I want to do what I need to take care of it. I'm also getting prepared for a near 10k mile trip to Alaska. SO what is NECESSARY? I plan on doing an EGR delete, but if I'm not towing is the oil cooler and head studs really necessary? There is so much info out there on bulletproofing and I'm just looking for clarification.
Also, I do most of my own maintenance, but not sure if I'm comfortable with taking the engine apart so I will probably be paying someone to do it. Trying to keep the process budget friendly. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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I'd start with getting a torque pro application for your smart phone and blue tooth adapter (cheap and easy) way to read your Engine oil and coolant temps. (big time importance) in determining a near by oil cooler failure and exhaust gas cooler necessary replacement or an egr delete with new oil cooler.

Not to mention the app lets you check and monitor lots of other stuff

If not doing a lot of heavy towing or no plans to hot tune, I'd say head studs and external oil cooler not necessary. A lot of shops will want to do a cab off head studs, think LOTS of $70.00 per hour labor

That said, if EOT and ECT deltas are showing time for replacing the oil cooler ( first thing that fails) I'd do that and egr delete or a bulletproofdiesel EGR replacement with a bulletproofdiesel oil cooler relocation device. (that is what I plan unless I decide to upgrade to front mounted cooler)

Take a look at and clean the EGR valve, before that trip, if deltas are showing ok other than that and checking belts and hoses if it runs good on a daily basis I'd not jump into a EGR delete until needed per deltas showing a need for oil cooler/egr replacement.

If first owner kept up with oil and filter changes, there is a strong possibility you may be good for a while.

My 07, just went over 90k, never been opened, bone stock engine and deltas are fine, but when they show necessary I'm gonna do the bulletproofdiesel stuff.
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I agree that monitoring is key. I would put some money in the bank, and wait until you need to do some upgrades. I don’t know where you are in OK, but there are a couple of good 6.0 guys in OK. Smokin’Okie diesel seems like good guys. If you don’t mind spending a bit, and having peace of mind for a long time, i would recommend taking it to a very reputable shop that loves 6.0’s and have them stud it with o-ringed heads from UCF or Kill-Devil heads from Jared. It is worth it for one-and-done. You have pretty low miles. I only started learning about my 6.0 at 167,000 when my oil cooler failed. So doing it now just gets you ahead of the game.

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My suggestion would be to spend the money to do it right. I have an '05 that I ordered from Ford. At 220,000 last summer I had the hot start issue. Other than an EGR delete truck was 100% stock.
Decided to go in deep:
Full BPD system
Head studs
Valve job
Water pump
Fan clutch
OEM Injectors
Y Pipes
All of the belts hoses and such
If you have the ability to remove the cab, the work is not difficult.
I could absolutely not be happier with the outcome.
My goal was reliability with whatever performance upgrades came without sacrificing reliability.
From my perspective, I only wanted to do this ONCE!
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You can do all the oil cooler maintenance and replaces but IMO you're just kickin the inevitable down the road. Until you do the BPD oil cooler you won't solve the oil cooler problem permanently. If you're all in $425 is peanuts for head studs. It's a matter of time until a head gasket lets go.

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I like to think of "bullet proofing" like stage 1 and stage 2. Stage one is the bare minimum and not necessarily a fix all. Do an egr delete, while you are there I recommend and oil cooler and coolant filter. Prior to work so a good coolant system flush several times and switch over to a cat ec1 rated coolant. It's also a good idea to replace it upgrade the Degas bottle to an aluminum one if money allows, because they tend to crack and you don't want to have pressure leaking out of your coolant system. Stage 2 would be head studs. I prefer shops that pull the cab. When you do this I think you should replace Exhaust manifolds with gaskets a new y pipe is also recommended, I have become a fan of aftermarket heads as well. Like kill devil diesel. I also think the o rings are great added security and a lot of shops by me won't do studs on these trucks except with o rings. Also while you are there I recommend replacing lifters. If you are in for more the after market cams are nice in my opinion but not necessary.
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Do you even Bulletproof, bro?

What does "Bulletproof" even mean, bro?
Where are you at Heavy?
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I'll be honest, I stopped reading here:

I'm looking to do what is absolutely a must, for as cheap as I can.
The real answer is, drive it. Just learn to monitor and drive it.
Then when it breaks, because it will, you can repair the break and strengthen the parts around the repair.
From there we have very well documented upgrades that can be made as finances allow.

The only argument would be if this truck was critical for saving lives or traveling cross country, then your comment about "cheap" means you are in the wrong truck/business.
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Parts alone for a FULL bulletproofing (loosely used term....don't want to get sued :rofl:) is right around 7-10k depending on how far you want to take it. Now I am talking FULL BPD everything (air to oil cooler, water pump, 7.3 fan setup, aluminum radiator), upgraded alternator (many companies), headstuds with o-ringed heads (and all associated gaskets), lifters (if you're in there that far already), ELC swap, upgraded FICM (BPD or and injectors if you need them but they last if you keep your FICM/charging system happy. Upgraded parts are larger turbo and larger injectors (nice to haves).

I could be off on the price for parts but I did a lot of it over the years then I yanked the engine out to really get to the problems I developed.

Do you need to do all of what I mentioned? Absolutely not, but if you love your truck as much as I do and plan to keep it, then the answer is up to you.

If you can do the work then the savings is huge but the job is as well. To pay a shop would definitely put you into the 12-15k mark with all I mentioned.....but again it all depends on how far you want to take the repairs

Good Luck
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If your truck is running well as it sits, don't do a cheap stud job... Start with a monitor and the basics. Flush the coolant and get ec1 in there, stand pipes, dummy plugs, stc fitting, blue spring, egr delete (or bpd cooler). Probably worth throwing new thermostats in as well... Check for exhaust leaks...

If you go in and do a cheap stud job, you are going to cause more problems than you will solve. If your truck is healthy, and you aren't towing I doubt you will have any unusual issues with your trip to Alaska. Check all the typical problem pigtails on the engine harness (ICP, IPR, VGT, etc.) and make sure they all look good and won't leave you stranded.

Don't go trying to spend money to fix something that isn't broken if you don't plan to do it 100%.

Just my 2 cents
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What is necessary in "bulletproofing"

This helps a lot. I always thought with this stuff it would be better to get started before anything fails, but what most of you are saying is wait till I see issues. And as far as I can tell everything is great right now. Original owner changed the oil about every 6k and took immaculate care of it.
I have the edge insight monitor to keep an eye on temperatures. I saw a decrease in EGTs when I cut the cad which was great. My EOT and ECT run around 180/90’s and if it’s a hot day the EOT will maybe get up to about 210. They always stay about 10 degrees of each other, unless I’m WOT pulling a hill or something and the EOT might spike closer to 15-18. But it comes back to about 10 degrees difference for most driving. I don’t have degas pressure yet (next on the list), and then the trans stays steady around 150, 160’s tops.
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If you have the money to tear it apart and do everything, its worth doing... But, there is no cheap way to do it unfortunately. As long as you keep on top of things that need to be done and you monitor the truck, you are going to know when its time to bite the bullet.

Ohh, and don't run anything other than stock or a tow tune...................
If you have the money to tear it apart and do everything, its worth doing... But, there is no cheap way to do it unfortunately. As long as you keep on top of things that need to be done and you monitor the truck, you are going to know when its time to bite the bullet.

Ohh, and don't run anything other than stock or a tow tune...................

I was expecting to drop a couple $k but didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg right now. So I’ll wait till it proves it needs it! Would you even recommend doing an EGR delete at any point soon? I’m tune free! Don’t plan on running any tunes anytime soon. No need for it really
I would absolutely rid yourself of the egr cooler, or at the very least throw a bpd egr cooler in there. If your oil cooler clogs, it will starve the egr cooler of coolant and cause it to rupture. Ruptured egr coolers send coolant into the cylinders, thus causing blown head gaskets as well. Its a spiral effect.
Not using the term “bulletproofing” since a few of the less desirables have copyrighted that phrase even though its been used for years to reflect mods that increase the reliability of a vehicle. Lots of parts available for other mfgs. That will get you want you need without having to put money in their coffers.
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