6.0 Powerstroke Problems – A 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: April 2, 2021

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The 6.0L Powerstroke that replaced the 7.3 is polarizing: many die-hard Ford truck enthusiasts wouldn't dare own one.

On the other side of the debate are long time 6.0 Powerstroke owners who swear by their trucks, claiming that it's the best truck they've ever owned. 

Let's find out why people have mixed opinions about the 6.0 Powerstroke and what kind of problems you can expect owning one.

Photo credit: dieselresource.com

6.0 Powerstroke Problems By Year

The 6.0 L Powerstroke diesels have one of the worst reputations on the market. However, that isn't a downside per se. Because of their reputation, you can pick up a 6.0 Powerstroke for an absurdly low amount of money. Most of the problems on the 6.0 Powerstroke can be fixed, making the 6.0 diesel an excellent investment.

Before you go out and look for a 6.0 Powerstroke, let's find out which model year will be your best choice.

2004 6.0 Powerstroke Problems

In 2004, the 6.0 Powerstroke was still new, and new model vehicles are usually inundated with problems; 2004 6.0 Powerstroke is (somewhat of) an exception.

The trucks still have a couple of problems. - Bad injectors, head gaskets blowing, EGR cooler issues, oil leaks, bad HPOP, VGT vanes sticking, and a few more.

An important thing to note regarding the 2004 model year 6.0 Powerstroke is that they're a gamble. Some are almost bulletproof, but some are plagued with problems. Keep in mind that owners of a reliable 2004 6.0 Powerstroke never sell their trucks.

2005 6.0 Powerstroke Problems

Ford Powerstroke enthusiasts say that 2005-2007 model years are the best. And although the 05' model year isn't as great as the newer models, it's still a tremendous upgrade over the 04'. 

The 2005 models have bad parts that cause further issues. The EGR system will be the cause of many problems, and the oil drain tube can cause complete turbo failure. The high-pressure oil pump and the oil rail plugs can leak oil. Unless you plan on bulletproofing your 2005 6.0 Powerstroke, your truck can suffer from most of the problems in the “Common Problems” section below. 

2006 6.0 Powerstroke Problems

The 2006 model year is where the 6.0 Powerstroke got more reliable. However, the EGR cooler is still a common problem. The turbo is still prone to failure, and the oil rail plugs can still leak oil due to a sliced/pinched O-ring.

2007 6.0 Powerstroke Problems

The 2007 model year 6.0 Powerstroke is the most recommended for a reason. You no longer have to worry about turbo failure, but there are still a few minor issues. 

Most common are the EGR cooler failure and the oil rail plug leaks. The '07 6.0 Powerstrokes are most sought after mainly because they're somewhat reliable and the easiest to bulletproof.

6.0 Powerstroke Problems & Common Fixes

In 2004, truck enthusiasts were excited for Ford's new diesel Powerstroke, as it blew the competition out of the water with incredible horsepower and torque numbers. Hype from owners with terribly unreliable trucks quickly turned to anger, and the 6.0 Powerstroke gained a reputation of a problematic diesel truck.

Know that the 6.0 Powerstrokes driven today have had many updates and repairs that made them at the very least decently reliable. The problems listed below shouldn't be as common, but know that your 6.0 Powerstroke can suffer from them.

Finally, let's discover which problems gave the "six-oh" its reputation, break them down, and fix them!

6.0 Powerstroke Injector Problems

The Problem: The injectors can cause numerous problems, such as hard starts and rough running on cold starts. With completely shot injectors, you won't be able to start your truck.

Recommended Fix: Replacing the injectors is the only solution. After the replacement, regular maintenance and fuel additives will prolong the life of the injectors.

Explanation: The hydraulically actuated electronically controlled unit injectors are prone to carbon and sludge build-up within the spool valves due to poor fuel and oil quality. The carbon and sludge create static friction, and over time, the injectors won’t fire properly. 

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6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Problems

The Problem: The turbo vanes are either stuck open or don’t engage at all.

Recommended Fix: If the vanes on your 6.0 Powerstroke work, but are stuck open, you can try to fix the issue by removing the turbo, and cleaning the soot build-up. 

If the turbo failure was caused by the oil collected in the turbocharger, you will need a replacement.

Explanation: The variable geometry turbochargers found in the 6.0 Powerstrokes are very prone to soot build-up. The soot will cause the VGT vanes to stick open. Burning off the soot will resolve the issue.

The 6.0 Powerstroke suffers from a bad oil drain tube also. The oil collects in the turbocharger, resulting in oil coking. Once it happens, replacing the turbocharger is the only solution.

6.0 Powerstroke Transmission Problems

The Problem: One or a few gears will jerk/shake, shift flare, or certain gears won't engage at all.

Recommended Fix: These problems could be a result of internals, solenoids, or the computer. Scanning for codes should get you closer to your solution. We also advise dropping the pan and checking for metal parts/lack of fluid. If your transmission only shifts flares, it's most likely due to bad solenoids, which you can replace. Otherwise, you will have to put your truck on a stock tune, and if that doesn't work, a transmission rebuild might be necessary.

Explanation: The 5R110W is a reliable transmission, one of the best transmissions Ford has ever used. However, hauling hefty loads will stress the transmission, causing it to fail earlier.

6.0 Powerstroke Fan Clutch Problems

The Problem: Your fan clutch is either broken and it's causing the engine to run hotter, or the fan locks up and makes a loud noise.

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Recommended Fix: Purchase a new fan clutch and replace the unit.

Explanation: The clutch assembly needs silicone fluid to work.

The silicone fluid is controlled by the thermostatic spring, and if the thermostatic spring sends colder fluid, the clutch fan will be slower. The spring, a bad valve, or a fluid leak might also be the problem.

Quick Tip: On a cold engine, spin the fan as hard as you can. A broken fan clutch will rotate more than five times.

6.0 Powerstroke Fuel Pump Problems

The Problem: A faulty fuel pump can cause a lot of difficulties, including difficult/poor acceleration, bad fuel pressure, and even random engine shutdowns.

Recommended Fix: Replace the fuel pump. Before you replace the fuel pump, check the fuel filter, as well as the O-ring, for damages/slices.

Explanation: A malfunctioning fuel pump is caused by engine breakdowns, and more commonly, low amounts of fuel in the tank. Make sure you follow a proper maintenance schedule and keep your tank at least half full. Driving with a faulty fuel pump is extremely dangerous as random engine shutdowns can cause road accidents.

6.0 Powerstroke Starter Problems

The Problem: With a bad starter your truck will not crank. A malfunctioning (soon to fail) starter will crank with hiccups.

Recommended Fix: Check if the starter is connected and tightened correctly. If that doesn't work, you will have to replace the starter. Purchase a 6.4 Powerstroke starter, as it’s much better, and a perfect fit.

Explanation: The starter might not have been bolted tightly, the connections could be loose, or there could be a problem with the battery. Most often, the starter has simply failed, and it needs a replacement.

Quick Tip: Hit the starter with a hammer two to three times and it might start working again. - This isn't a permanent solution.

6.0 Powerstroke Wiring Harness Problems

The Problem: A sliced or chafed wiring harness could cause rough starting and poor running behavior. Even worse, it could fry many different sensors.

Recommended Fix: Replace or repair the wiring harness as soon as possible. For a quick, short term fix, you can tape off the chafed harness.

Explanation: The wires vibrate and rub against different components, causing wear and tear, and exposing the wires. The exposed wires touch a conductive surface and ground out. Follow the wires while you look for damages. Pay close attention to tightly secured areas.

Photo credit: ford-trucks.com

6.0 Powerstroke Fuel Filter Problems

The Problem: The engine will idle rough, stall, miss, during acceleration, and sound terrible due to a clogged fuel filter.

Recommended Fix: Replace the fuel filter with a brand new unit.

Explanation: The fuel filter on diesel vehicles needs to be replaced often, on a regular maintenance schedule. If you live in an extremely hot or an extremely cold environment, we highly advise you to change the fuel filter a few thousand miles before Ford's recommended schedule. Driving with a bad fuel filter can cause further damages to the fuel system.

6.0 Powerstroke FICM Problems

The Problem: Symptoms of a bad Fuel Injection Control Module (FICM) are a rough start, rough running, and no start.

Recommended Fix: Replace the FICM with an aftermarket counterpart. They're more reliable and overall better. Before doing so, scan your truck for codes and make sure that it's a faulty FICM that’s causing the problem.

Explanation: The FICM fails due to engine heat and vibrations. The module most often fails from overheating because it's located on the side valve cover of the engine. The module can fail overtime from cold starts.

6.0 Powerstroke Stalling Problems

The Problem: Your 6.0 Powerstroke could be stalling because of multiple reasons. Most often, it's going to be a leak in the high-pressure oil pump or the high-pressure rails. However, it could also be because of the fuel filter, the FICM, exposed wires, and many other reasons.

Recommended Fix: First, plug in your diagnostic tool and check for codes to get a better understanding of the issue at hand. We also invite you to read through other common issues listed and compare the symptoms. 

Explanation: There are way too many problems with stalling being one of the main symptoms. However, most of these problems come with another symptom, such as rough running, or a hard start. Check out other problems on the list, compare the symptoms, and you should get to the bottom of the issue.

Photo credit: powerstrokenation.com

6.0 Powerstroke Glow Plug Problems

The Problem: With bad glow plugs your truck will start hard, crank for long, not start at all, or exhaust white smoke.

Recommended Fix: Before replacing the glow plugs, check the battery voltage. The voltage shouldn't be close to or below 12.0 volts. If the battery is charged, use a digital multimeter and test the resistance in every glow plug circuit green connector. Once you find a faulty glow plug, replace it with a Ford unit. Motorcraft ZD-12 is the part number for '03-'04 models and Motorcraft ZD-13 for '04-'07 model year 6.0 Powerstrokes.

Explanation: You should replace a bad glow plug as soon as possible because the 6.0 Powerstroke needs quick engine cranking to produce enough oil pressure in the high-pressure fuel system.

6.0 Powerstroke Map Sensor Problems

The Problem: The main symptom of a faulty MAP sensor is the loss of power. A gauge will help you better determine whether the problem is related to the MAP sensor.

Recommended Fix: Check the hose for damages, and if the hose looks good, replace the MAP sensor.

Explanation: The MAP sensor tells the PCM how much boost/pressure is being produced. If the sensor fails to send the information to the PCM, the PCM won't add more fuel to compensate for the extra air. If the MAP sensor sends a reading that’s too high, the PCM will shut off fuel delivery. Driving with a bad MAP sensor isn't dangerous, but your truck will have little to no power, and due to excess fuel, the engine, as well as the exhaust system, could become damaged.

6.0 Powerstroke Alternator Problems

The Problem: The alternator won't turn mechanical energy into electricity, and it won't charge the battery.

Recommended Fix: Take the alternator to a shop and have it tested. If it's faulty, replace the alternator with a high AMP alternator unit.

Explanation: The alternator provides your truck with most of its electricity and it recharges the battery. A faulty alternator will fail to do so, or it may be inconsistent.

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6.0 Powerstroke Overheating Problems

The Problem: Your 6.0 Powerstroke is running hot or it’s overheating. This could be caused by a failing head gasket or a bad water pump, but it’s most often because of the EGR cooler.

Recommended Fix: Clean out the oil cooler and replace the EGR cooler with a brand new unit.

Explanation: The oil cooler keeps the engine from becoming too hot, but it also sends coolant to the EGR cooler. The EGR cooler helps with the temperature of the exhaust gases, but once the oil cooler gets clogged up, the fluid won't be able to flow through it, causing the exhaust system and the rest of the truck to overheat.


Hopefully, we were able to assist you with your 6.0 Powerstroke. Once you replace the faulty parts with new units and follow a regular maintenance schedule closely, common problems are going to disappear. We recommend that you look into a quality tuner, it will help with your 6.0 Powerstroke's durability, power, and longevity!

People Also Ask

The 6.0 Powerstroke is a desirable truck at a low price that might or might not be reliable. There are so many questions and opinions surrounding the truck. We hope that the answers below clear up the smoke and help you with the questions you have! Of course, feel free to contact us for further information.

How Many Miles Can a 6.0 Powerstroke Last?

A stock, well-maintained 6.0 Powerstroke can reach 300,000 miles. There are numerous bulletproofed fleet 6.0 Powerstrokes with more than 500,000 miles and still running. Bulletproofing your truck is a great idea, and maintenance is the key to a long-lasting 6.0 Powerstroke.

What Year 6.0 Powerstroke is the Best?

The 2006-2007 model year 6.0 Powerstrokes are the best, with the 07’ make year being a tad bit better than the 06’. The 05’ model year Powerstrokes are right behind, and they’re still solid trucks. The 03’-04’ model year 6.0 Powerstrokes are a gamble, and most truck enthusiasts steer far away from them.

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How Much HP Can a 6.0 Powerstroke Handle?

The 6.0 Powerstroke can handle up to 800 wheel horsepower. However, these trucks are rare, and they're usually used for drag racing exclusively. Building a "six-zero" beyond 500-600 horsepower will make it unreliable, even dangerous.

How to Bulletproof a 6.0 Powerstroke?

You need to upgrade a couple of parts to bulletproof your 6.0 Powerstroke. EGR cooler, oil cooler, head studs, water pump, and the FICM. There are a few more minor upgrades that could be done, but these are the 5 main ones. It’s important to note that bulletproofing an 03’-04’ 6.0 Powerstroke will require more parts.

How Much Does it Cost to Bulletproof a 6.0 Powerstroke?

Bulletproofing a 6.0 Powerstroke can cost you between $4000-$12000. The price varies drastically from shop to shop based on whether you or they purchase the necessary parts, and which parts exactly they’re going to use. The labor is also included in the price, and if you do the job yourself, you will save a lot of money.

Sean comes from the forums actually and drives an OBS Ford. He writes fantastic DIYs and knows his way around a camera, too. We keep him caffeinated and away from DPF filters to avoid another rant about recent emissions restrictions.