The 6.4L Powerstroke was released in model year 2008 as a replacement for Ford's 6.0L Powerstroke, and uses a Common-Rail Diesel injection system, which is new to the Powerstroke namesake, in conjunction with other new and familiar engine and emissions controls. The 6.4L was a response to several reliability issues which the 6.0L PSD had, as well as new, more strict emissions standards for light duty diesel trucks in North America. Just as with the release of the 6.0L, Ford also made sure to derive more power than ever before out of the engine brand which gets its name from the power stroke of an internal combustion engine, an important concern with competitors continuing to upgrade the horsepower in their existing engine platforms.
Despite the efforts of Ford and International/Navistar, the 6.4 Liter (Litre) has shown some reliability issues, many of which are similar to the issues seen in the 6.0L, though some are unique. These issues can actually be more costly to repair than those on the 6.0L.
They have plastic end tanks that are held on by the aluminum center section tabs that crimp the end tank in place. The crimps spread apart from either pressure or twisting of the vehicle’s frame and the radiator will leak. Unfortunately there is no fixing it when this happens. The whole radiator needs replaced. The newer replacement radiators seem to hold up better though. It appears they have made the crimped tabs stronger. If you are buying 6.4 Superduty, check the frame area beside the radiator for signs of coolant leaks.
The egr and dpf system is a nightmare The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system consists of two egr coolers and an egr valve. Exhaust gas enters the lower horizontal egr cooler from the driver’s side exhaust manifold. It then passes through the vertical egr cooler which is visible when you open the hood. It is the long rectangular part that is at sort of an angle on the front of the engine. The upper cooler is connected to the egr valve that will introduce the hot exhaust gas into the intake manifold. The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) system is the large round unit located underneath the truck towards the front of the exhaust system. The DPF is the back part of that unit behind the row of bolts that connects it to the catalytic convertor in the front.
The oil cooler getting blocked off by debris in the coolant system
The 6.4 shares this issue with the 6.0 Powerstroke equipped trucks. The egr system breaks down the coolant due to the extreme temperatures the exhaust gasses place on the coolers. The silicates drop out of the coolant causing a sludge that makes a mess of the coolant system. This sludge material plugs heater cores and commonly the oil cooler. If the delta between the coolant temperature and the oil temperature gets too high a wrench light will appear on the dash and power will be derated. This is really hard for a tech to diagnose because it usually only happens when the truck has been towing for a couple of hours when the problem starts. The wrench light will come on and the power will be cut. After it cools down and the engine is turned off and back on, everything will be back to normal. This is why a coolant filter is suggested for these engines if you are leaving the egr coolers intact.
The front cover
It can develop leaks in the water pump area that lets coolant leak into the crankcase. There is more common on the F450 and F550 trucks because they have really lower gears that cause the engine to turn higher rpms on average. While it can happen on a F250 or F350, it is not nearly as common. It is yet another reason to keep a close eye on your engine oil for the level raising.
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These problems result mainly from poor combustion, which stifles the engine.
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