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Old 05-17-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
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Advice on Ford 6.0 diesel

I'm looking at purchasing a truck to tow a 5th wheel that has a GVWR of about 14000# (33-36 ft). Having already wasted money on being talked into an F250 V10 that won't do the job, I'm looking at buying a one ton that has a big enough payload to handle the pin weight as well as enough towing capacity for the 14000# 5 er. I looked at a 2005 F350 4X4, SRW crew cab today. Had 168,000 mi and price was really reasonable for a diesel. My main concern is that it is a 6.0 diesel. I have heard in several different venues that the 6.0 had a lot of expensive problems. The dealer told me that the 2003 and 2004 6.0's were problematic, but they fixed all that by the time 2005 models came out.
So my questions are 1) Was the 6.0 noted for having a lot of problems? 2) If it initially was a problem engine, did they fix most of the issues by 2005? 3) If the engine had problems, would most of them have happened early in it's life and been taken care of by now (It was a one owner).
I talked to several RV dealers about the 6.0 and none of them had anything good to say. Thanks Rod
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:35 PM   #2
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The 6.0L is still one of my favorite diesels. However they do require very good maintenance to keep them going. Some of the issues with them are EGR valves coking. The issue with that is when they are used as daily drivers and there is not enough exhaust heat to keep the EGR valve clean. A yearly cleaning of the EGR valve for daily drivers is not a bad idea. Most hard working 6.0L's have little EGR valve issues.

Plugged up oil cooler is also a real concern. You may have heard of the 6.0L blowing the EGR cooler but the root cause of that is from the oil cooler plugging up. The coolant that cools the EGR cooler comes directly from the oil cooler. If the oil cooler is plugged or partially plugged the EGR cooler will over heat and fail. The biggest key to keeping these two items in good shape is coolant flushes around 35-45K miles. Also use an ELC coolant designed for medium/heavy duty trucks. The Ford coolant works well in gassers but not diesels.

There is also a bracket in the back of the pump. It has been known to fail and cause a no start. There were several revisions of this design. At the current mileage I would suspect it has been replaced already. If you have a VIN I can check the warranty history of the truck. Around 150K I would also replace the IPR valve. This valve controls the high pressure oil for the injectors. The ones I have seen fail, it was around the 150K mark. It is a few hundreds dollars and cheap insurance.

Turbos are not an issue if you drive the truck on a regular basis. The issues with turbos occur when they sit for long periods of time. What happens is rust starts to form around the ring that controls the variable geometry portion of the turbo and it will stick. The turbo will need to be disassembled and cleaned.

Injector issues are probably the most common issue with the FICM (driver for the injectors). Good batteries are a must to keep the FICM running good. There are aftermarket companies that will replace the DC-DC converter pretty cheap and they are more robust. However I personally have not seen a replacement FICM fail again. Many injector issues can be prevented with regular oil changes and Motorcraft oil filters. The 6.0L uses high pressure engine oil to control the injectors. This puts a lot of extra strain the oil. Change oil every 5K and that will go a long way.

My sisters 05 F350 has 220+K with original turbo and 8 injectors. The only time her truck broke down was for an IPR valve at 150K.

The transmission is as bullet proof as you can get. They last and hold up extremely well.

If I was looking for a truck on a budget, I would be looking at a late 04-07 6.0L. Granted I would go over it thoroughly with possible updating some of the stuff I mentioned but I would not hesitate.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:50 PM   #3
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I am genuinely curious how someone can claim an engine one of their favorites and then write paragraph after paragraph about it's known problems.
If you google "Ford 6.0 problems" you'll have a wealth of reading material. This engine ultimately caused a lawsuit between Ford and International that broke up their years long relationship.
Here's my personal experience with this engine:
I've always been a Chevy man and had great service from them. 2 years ago I took a job and they gave me an '03 F350 with a 6.0 diesel to drive. It starts hard, idles rough, handles bad, has no power, and now, with 140,000 miles on it has blown head gaskets.
So, the boss gave me an '06 F250 with a 6.0 diesel. This one isn't the original engine. This new, Ford dealer installed engine was back to the dealer multiple times for warranty work on the new engine. It's been okay for a few months but now the check engine light is on and the "limp mode" light comes on once in a while so it's in the shop again.
Meanwhile, every time one of these work trucks breaks down I fill in with my '05 Duramax that has 180,000 miles on it. My coworkers love it because they talk about how much better mine is to drive.
For my money I wouldn't even think of buying a Ford 6.0.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:52 PM   #4
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I have a buddy w/an 03 he bought used w/maybe 20k on the clock. Its bone stock and he's never had issue 1.
Most of the 6.0 problems come when somebody just can't leave stock alone and has to up the boost, jack up fuel rate, etc. The 03's had a less troublesome EGR pipe design, which Ford complicated in 04 & later. James' statements are all correct as far as I know on the subject.
Just don't "chip" the thing, and don't make it your "car" around town especially in cold climate, and it should be a great rig.

Sounds like KD4's experience is exactly as James described, using these for around town service rigs will crud up the EGRs, etc.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4UPL View Post
I am genuinely curious how someone can claim an engine one of their favorites and then write paragraph after paragraph about it's known problems.
Meanwhile, every time one of these work trucks breaks down I fill in with my '05 Duramax that has 180,000 miles on it. My coworkers love it because they talk about how much better mine is to drive.
For my money I wouldn't even think of buying a Ford 6.0.
Because with a little work they can be very reliable. They make pleanty of power and the base engines are very strong. We had a small fleet (15) of 04 and 06 Duramax's. They were not trouble free by any means either. Between 80-100K they all required injectors. It got to the point when one failed all would be replaced. Less down time.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:11 PM   #6
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Son in law has an 06 one, nothing but expensive problems as
noted in previous posts. I'd look for other options.
I'm a Ford guy, but the problem was International.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:26 PM   #7
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I have a buddy w/an 03 he bought used w/maybe 20k on the clock. Its bone stock and he's never had issue 1.
Most of the 6.0 problems come when somebody just can't leave stock alone and has to up the boost, jack up fuel rate, etc. The 03's had a less troublesome EGR pipe design, which Ford complicated in 04 & later. James' statements are all correct as far as I know on the subject.
Just don't "chip" the thing, and don't make it your "car" around town especially in cold climate, and it should be a great rig.

Sounds like KD4's experience is exactly as James described, using these for around town service rigs will crud up the EGRs, etc.
That's not true at all. We had a fleet of all ford service trucks. The 7.3L were fairly reliable, but when we started getting 6.0 trucks, we had problems out the wazoo. Our trucks are bone stock, aside from the roughly extra 3000-4000lbs service bodies with tools we have on them. This continued until we finally in 2010 switched out to RAM trucks when they changed to the new body style. None of our rams have had any engine problems, just some minor interior problems, which were fixed in later years. We are more concerned about leaving our guys stranded, so we wanted the most reliable engine possible. The cummins have been excellent.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:55 PM   #8
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If you are looking for used trucks look at what the used values and what nada values are. That will give you good ideas as to what kind of reliability. My brother in 2006 bought a 2500 dodge diesel pickup. Stickered at $45,000 then and paid roughly $38,000 for it. Sold it a month or so ago. 87,000 miles, 8 years old and guys on craigslist bout wore his phone out to buy it for $30,000.

If the truck is amazingly low priced there has to be a reason. I think Ford has made some good trucks over the years but I believe you might want to steer clear of those.

Chad
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macandphyl View Post
Son in law has an 06 one, nothing but expensive problems as
noted in previous posts. I'd look for other options.
I'm a Ford guy, but the problem was International.
I disagree
Ford made a mess of the 6,0 and then put the blame on IH.
No attention to IH recommendation and training caused the customer's problems.
I setup mine to IH. And have a great truck. I still don' t trust Ford engineering and will keep my 9 year old for a while yet.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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IMO if you like fixer upper houses then the 6.0 is for you.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:22 PM   #11
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You can bulletproof a 6.0, but it will cost you $3-5,000 (or more). If you don't have paperwork to show that that has already been done, move along... or set aside the 5 grand for the work.

The 6.0 has the potential to be a good motor, if you're willing to spend the money. However, I doubt it will ever recover in reputation. I also doubt it will achieve longevity reputation like the 7.3. So resale will be an issue. IOW, you'll never get back what you put into it. Ever notice how inexpensively you can get into a BMW 7 series or Mercedes that is only a few years old? Reason is nobody wants to own a second/ third-hand car that will cost far more than the purchase price to maintain when something goes wrong. This is where I think the luxury car manufacturers get it wrong, they corner the market on parts and charge too much for it, which makes resale value plummet. BMW and Merc can afford to get away with that because their clientele aren't all that concerned with resale. For the vast majority of us, however, I always ask myself, how much will I lose if I have to get out of this "asset". IOW, resale value plays into my buying decision. I think most people are this way.


If I were you, I'd buy a 7.3 and put the $5,000 toward power increases on that motor. You can achieve 450 hp/ 900 lb/ tq for around that price point investment, without compromising durability.

6.4s have problems also (less problems to be sure). Jurys still out on the 6.7 but it's proving to be a stellar motor thus far.

Sorting out issues with 6.0s and 6.4s is inherently more costly due to the emissions complexity and newer design of the overall motor. They are indeed stronger motors (for power output) than the 7.3 though.

IMO, if you can get a true crew cab in a Dodge Cummins or Mega cab for the right price, you'll be happier with the Cummins.

I have both the 7.3 and the 5.9 Cummins. Both are outstanding motors but both have their weakpoints. The Cummins has more initial torque for sure. And the reliability is unquestionable. I drive my Ford more though, because of the Crew Cab. And I do think the Ford rides noticeably better.

The 7.3 I picked up had 114,000 miles and had never been modified. I would have loved to have found a 25-50,000 mile 7.3 but most I found in that mileage range were over $25,000. I just couldn't see myself paying that much for a 13-15 year old vehicle, regardless of mileage. That said, I wasn't willing to take on a truck that had been modded because that usually means it was run hard. Even if the previous owner of my rig ran it hard, the factory tuning should assure the engine was never pushed to design limits. Now I can start the mods on a sort of clean sheet. Even after I mod, I don't run my equipment hard.

There's a really good set of youtube videos from Bill Hewitt at powerstrokehelp.com. He compares the 7.3 to the 6.0 to the 6.4 and shows you how to address each motors weak areas in order to achieve longevity. I have no affiliation with them, nor am I a customer (yet). Just passing along a good information resource.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:34 PM   #12
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A 6.0 either runs great, or they don't run at all. When the head gasket goes, it's very expensive to replace it and then stud the block ($650 for studs.) And $100 per hour labor rates don't go very far when you're talking major repairs.

It's just not worth the risk. I bought one of the last 7.3 motors put in SuperDuties. There are good used ones in the hands of older RV owners with low miles. You just have to look closely to find such a unit.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onechaddude View Post
My brother in 2006 bought a 2500 dodge diesel pickup. Stickered at $45,000 then and paid roughly $38,000 for it. Sold it a month or so ago. 87,000 miles, 8 years old and guys on craigslist bout wore his phone out to buy it for $30,000.


Chad
There's a bit of blind luck in that scenario. The 5.9s have become the engine of choice for the second/ third-hand market. Same for the 7.3s. I saw a 30,000 mile 2001 7.3 for sale on ebay for $28,000. That guy probably paid $36,000 for it 13 years ago. The 7.3 is a highly desirable motor after the 6.0 debacle so his truck went up in value on the used-car market.

Your brother's truck held it's value so well due to all the issues that newer trucks are having.

Another Example: I purchased my 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 for $16,000 in 2004. It's price was fairly low because everyone wanted the new common rail 5.9 so the values of the 2nd-gen Dodge Ram 24V Cummins (98.5-02) sort of plummeted at that time. Today I've been offered as much as $23,000 for it. How is that possible? Well, I'd say $5-6,000 of that price is due to the custom upgrades (lift/ tires/ motor improvements, etc) but the original purchase price is still holding because everyone realized the 98.5-02 is actually more reliable than the common rail (not much more reliable, the CR is still a stout motor) due to heat and injector issues of the latter engine. So my vehicle went up in value (not to the value of the 3rd gen, just that deprecation stopped and price appreciation set in). Meanwhile, the 3rd gen 5.9 common rail went up in value as well because the newer trucks are so inefficient due to the emissions limits put on those engines. The Cummins 6.7 is a stellar motor for sure. But that reputation for crappy fuel economy has caused the secondary market to search out 5.9 motors.

IOW, I don't think one can bank on a new truck today holding it's value the way an older diesel has been holding/ increasing in value on the secondary market... unless the trucks of tomorrow are far worse in quality or efficiency. If, say, in 2020, Dodge/ Cummins comes out with much-improved technology that is far superior to today's 6.7, and they likely will, the today's 6.7s won't hold resale value on the same liner percentage scale as much as the aforementioned scenarios. By contrast, if the newer motors in 2020 have huge issues (like the Ford 6.0 had), then we'll see used 2014 6.7s with 100,000+ miles selling for $55,000 at that time.

New truck pricing also plays into this analysis... who would've thought,7-8 years ago that 2014 trucks would be as high as $80,000 today? At this rate, we'll likely be looking at $110-115,000 new truck pricing (high end Kind Ranch stuff) 6-8 years from now.
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:07 PM   #14
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You all are a wealth of information. Thanks to all that replied. I did look at some of the web sites on "6.0 issues" and was a little blown away with the list. I understand that they are good engines once "everything is fixed". The question is where this vehicle is in that process? I have the VIN and may go to Ford dealer to see what's been done it.
I used to have a 2001 F450 with the 7.3 and it was great, but went with the 5er when I got rid of it. I'd be just fine with another 7.3, however unless I misreading the data, an F350 that's 2002 or earlier doesn't have the capacity to tow a 14,000# 5er without exceeding the GCWR. (if any of you know of any, please let me know.)
I plan on this only being an interim vehicle for a couple of years to just tow it for week long vacations until I can full time. Then I'll buy a new vehicle. Hence, I don't want to get something that I put a lot of mechanical repairs into, because as many of you have pointed out, you'll never get your money back. Thanks
Rod
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