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Old 08-18-2016, 09:12 AM   #1
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2009 Ford F250 Super Duty w/ 6.4L diesel

I'm looking at changing into a more appropriate TV for my eventual purchase of a bumper pull bunkhouse TT.

I've got my eye on a F250 w/ 6.4L diesel but I think I might have psyched myself out a bit by searching for typical problems with the engine including:
  • Oil Dilution (fuel finding it's way into the crankcase)
  • DPF Clog or Failure (expensive to fix)
  • Water Separator
  • Water Pump cavitation


The vehicle I'm looking at is used with about 140k on it with a clean carfax and two owners. I plan on having a qualified diesel mechanic check it out but it's a bit of a distance away so I would have to "buy" it first and get it checked out during the 30 day warranty.

I plan on asking exactly what is covered during the 30 day warranty and if I find one of these "typical" issues if its' covered.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:06 PM   #2
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Diesel engines require proper maintenance. Take care of the maintenance "by the book" and you won't have those problems.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes1069 View Post
  • Oil Dilution (fuel finding it's way into the crankcase)
Rare problem, indicates something is wrong. With 140k miles, that PSD apparently doesn't have that problem

Quote:
  • DPF Clog or Failure (expensive to fix)
Indicates poor maintenance. Again, the PSD you're looking at doesn't have that problem yet, so take care of maintenance and you won't have it.

Quote:
  • Water Separator
All diesels with a decent design have a fuel filter/water separator. Again, take care of maintenance by draining the filter as often as required, and replace the filter "by the book" and you won't have that problem. I put 200,000 miles on my PSD and never had a problem with water in the fuel.

Always buy diesel at a truck stop that has lots of business. Then you are much less likely to have water in the fuel. NEVER buy diesel at a Mom&Pop store that doesn't have diesel trucks lined up to buy fuel.

When I drained my fuel filter/water separator periodically, I never drained any water. That's proof that where you buy your fuel makes a difference.

Quote:
  • Water Pump cavitation
Again, simple maintenance of the cooling system. You must use the correct antifreeze and coolant additive, test it every oil change interval, and change it as required "by the book". Then you won't have that problem. For a used PSD that you don't know the maintenance history, I'd probably change out the water pump first thing, then flush the cooling system with distilled water and refill with the correct antifreeze/coolant. Then maintain that cooling system and you will never have a problem with cavitation.

Lots of experts on the 6.4L diesel hang out in the 6.4 forums at Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com. I wrote a very good procedure on flushing and refilling the cooling system for the 7.3L PSD, which should be good for the 7.4 PSD also. You must get out all the old coolant before you refill with good coolant, and that requires a bunch of gallons of distilled water. But distilled water is available at WalMart for less than $1 per gallon, so that's no problem.

BTW, PSD is Ford-speak for PowerStroke Diesel.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:19 PM   #3
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I bought a used 6.4 F350 dually because I needed a dually. I think it only had 40,000 miles on it. I only kept it a year because it was always in the shop - but not necessarily because of the engine. I got a new 6.7 F350 dually in 2014.

The 6.4 was very complex - 6 cooling fans, tons of high tech fixes over the 6.0. It used diesel to clean the exhaust filter, which brought mileage down a bit but didn't require DEF, and if the engine ever did need repair, add $2,500 to the bill because the whole cab had to come off of the frame to get the engine out.

Good side was, that 6.4 with 5 sp auto and 4.10 gears kicked butt over my 6.7 6 sp auto with 3.73 gears. I missed the pull from that 6.4 even though the 6.7 was supposed to be better.

You should be getting a good price break on that 6.4 because of it's legacy. If not, go for the 6.7.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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I'm no Ford PSD expert by any means, but I know what kinds of problems diesel engines can have, based on months of research before I bought a diesel pickup

Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes1069 View Post
  • Oil Dilution (fuel finding it's way into the crankcase)
  • DPF Clog or Failure (expensive to fix)
  • Water Separator
  • Water Pump cavitation
Oil dilution can come from a couple of usual conditions, but is more than likely due to excessive idling unless there is a mechanical problem.

DPF clogging and eventually failing can also probably be tracked to excessive idling.

How does a water separator fail? It causes water to fall out of the fuel stream, and the operator or mechanic drains the water occasionally. If the water isn't pumped into the fuel tank with the fuel from the filling station, it gets in there because the truck sits. And sits. And the air in the tank expands during the warm day, then as the air in the tank cools, it pulls in cool humid night air, adding water to the fuel tank.

Water pump cavitation? Don't know. Are folks using the wring coolant in the engine, creating corrosion problems that eventually cause cavitation? Unless you can find something that specifically says that the water pump fails due to a design flaw, this might be due to owner or mechanic failure to use the right products at the right time in the cooling system.

But what do I know about it? Just human nature. Folks go out and buy these hard working trucks and then neglect them, thinking they can treat them just like the gas car they drive for 50 weeks out of the rest of the year. Then they wonder why there's problems. That is just my completely uninformed guess.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:43 PM   #5
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As far as the water separator, I read that there can be some white greasy compound that comes from the water being in the diesel that can build up inside the reservoir, lowering it's capacity or clogging the drain valve.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:57 PM   #6
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That is either basically a wax, or bacteria and/or algae growing in the water, more likely the latter. This also can easily come from sitting with a not full fuel tank, as the air expands and contracts and brings in the moisture from outside. There are additives that deal with this stuff, but they aren't very necessary if the vehicle is driven often.

My diesel pickup is my daily driver, but as full timer I don't have a way to tow the travel trailer and a small car, so I am much more likely to not have the problems associated with the truck sitting for months barely being used at all.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:04 PM   #7
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Oil dilution is because of the regeneration cycle, pumping the rearmost cylinders full of Diesel to clean out the DPF. DPF clogging is now a relatively inexpensive repair with companies having exchange programs. I have never had a problem with the other two concerns you raised. Also there is the rare problem of the EGR cooling system failing with results in a hydro locked situation. There are options to by pass these devices, not pro or con just stating.

As far as $2500.00 to remove the cab, boy did you get taken to the cleaners, it is a 4 hour job. Would I trade my 6.4 in on a new 2017? If I had oodles of cash maybe, but for now I have no hesitations towing with it.

Rick
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes1069 View Post
As far as the water separator, I read that there can be some white greasy compound that comes from the water being in the diesel that can build up inside the reservoir, lowering it's capacity or clogging the drain valve.
Drain it very oil change until clean diesel comes out.
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:14 PM   #9
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That won't work to clean out the wax--if there is a wax buildup, only disassembly will work to clean it out. A wax problem is normally indicated by no flow out of the separator drain--or a WIF light that won't go out if the separator is drained. Lots of info on this on the Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com Ford forum.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:38 AM   #10
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Good side was, that 6.4 with 5 sp auto and 4.10 gears kicked butt over my 6.7 6 sp auto with 3.73 gears. I missed the pull from that 6.4 even though the 6.7 was supposed to be better.
Depending on the year the 6.7 has 50 to 90 more horsepower and one more gear. Never heard of the 6.7 having lower performance.
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Old 08-21-2016, 08:38 AM   #11
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Everyone we knew with a 6.4L had issues with them. Just like the 6.0L, they can be fixed with some major repairs and updates.

Personally. I would not touch a 6.4L.

My 6.7 is a 2012 with 400 HP and 800 lb-fr of toque. it has the 3.73 axle and never felt the need for a 4.10 axle and it pulls great.

Ken
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickeoni View Post
Oil dilution is because of the regeneration cycle, pumping the rearmost cylinders full of Diesel to clean out the DPF.

Rick
Rick, thanks for that info. I enjoy learning things about how these powerful tools work. As far as I know, my engine has never gone through a regeneration cycle. 55K miles and it has never shown the message that I saw in the owner's manual that would show the engine is in regeneration mode. Luck? Good proper care of the motor? My time will come? Who knows, but I guess I'm happy so far!

Dan
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post
Depending on the year the 6.7 has 50 to 90 more horsepower and one more gear. Never heard of the 6.7 having lower performance.
The numbers would add up that the 6.7 would be better, but I was immediately dissapointed going from the 6.4 to 6.7 towing the same 5th wheel. It may have just been the gear ratio.
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Old 08-21-2016, 12:44 PM   #14
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We just traded a cherry '09 F350 SRW for a new '16 F350 dually. We purchased the '09 used 5 years ago with 39k from our local dealer, we knew the previous owner. It was a loaded Lariat with DVD, Nav. We ran it to 62k miles and it lasted on the lot less than 2 days. Truck was in excellent condition and I keep meticulous service records on all our equipment. Lady that bought it, added extended warranty through Ford, and had a like new truck for half the price. It was fairly trouble free. It was serviced every 5k (once a year). We also replaced batteries, drained and refilled trans, t case, differentials. Replaced the AC blend air motors. Had an oil leak repaired under warranty, It was so minor it didn't even spot the floor. Earlier this year, my wife took it to visit our son in college 4 hours away. The truck died. She had it towed to the Ford dealer in the town where our son lives. It's closing time on Sat afternoon, they determine its the frame mounted fuel pump and they could have it out Monday. Gives the wife a few extra days to visit. Monday they call and inform me that both pumps are out, injectors need replaced, fuel system is full of metal filings. Cost to repair with lifting the cab is over $7k. No thanks I say, we hauled it back to our dealer where they found the wiring harness to the pump shorted out....causing it to not run. They lifted the cab and installed the updated harness. Total cost was $1,200. We ran it until we traded for the new one on Jul 1. The 6.4 served us well. If it were a dually, we would have kept it. We were overweight with our Mobile Suites on the SRW and we wanted a long wheel base truck, so we traded. The 6.4 doesn't compare to the 6.7 in performance. The 6.7 is quieter, smoother and just a more refined package all around. If you have the coin, I'd try for a used 6.7. Also the cab doesn't require removal for most repairs unlike the 6.0/6.4.
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