6.7 PowerStroke years to avoid — most common problems
Get the crucial information about the 6.7 PowerStroke years to avoid.
Ford’s 6.7 PowerStroke engine is rightfully dubbed the ‘Scorpion’ for its rugged and tenacious nature. It is a beast in pickup trucks and truly lives up to its name.
Despite the ruggedness of the 6.7 PowerStroke, some of its model years are best avoided as they deliver more problems than service. These model years put drivers in dire situations rather than providing the promised muscle. This article reveals the 6.7 PowerStroke years to avoid and why.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
Most common 6.7 PowerStroke problems
The 6.7 PowerStroke is a potent engine but also has flaws, and there are specific problems it is prone to develop at some point.
You must know these problems so you can craft your maintenance routine to adequately tend to the needs of the PowerStroke, thus extending its life and saving you a reasonable sum in repairs. Below are the common problems the 6.7 PowerStroke is bound to develop.
The ball bearings most prone to failure are the ceramic ones of the 2011 to 2012 turbo engines.
Worn-out or bad bearings often affect the transmission, causing varying degrees of damage. It also poses a problem for the engine, as its debris can circulate into the crankshaft. The debris can also get thrown into the cylinders causing damage to the piston rings.
First-generation 6.7L PowerStrokes, down to the 2013 models, have a severe problem with their NOx sensors. The sensor often fails, causing the electronic control module to go into limp mode. As the name implies, the limp mode leaves the truck severely underpowered.
Clogged EGR cooler
The role of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler is to reduce the temperature of exhausted gas in the engine. Hot exhaust gas affects not only performance negatively but also some parts of the machine. EGR cooler failure often leads to many problems, including overheating, engine damage, increased emissions and fuel consumption, decreased engine performance and coolant loss.
The central challenge the EGR cooler of the 6.7 PowerStroke typically encounters is severe soot buildup. The previous 6.0L and 6.4L engines did not have this problem as much as the 6.7L.
EGR clogging is more pronounced in the 6.7L because Ford changed its design, placing the valve on the hot side, causing EGR to flow from the exhaust to the valve and into the cooler when it is open. This new design allows carbon deposits to build up quickly on the EGR cooler core, clogging it. Most times, the only solution available is replacing the entire cooler.
Some drivers opt to delete the entire EGR system to avoid such issues. And though removing the whole EGR system has its benefits, it is not recommended. Doing so increases the effects of exhaust gas temperature in your engine, reduces horsepower and increases the chances of engine knocking.
Failed injection pump
An injection pump pumps fuel into the cylinders of the engine for combustion to take place. The problem the 6.7L PowerStroke had with its injection pumps was severe to the point where some drivers filed class action lawsuits for some of those problems. Ford eventually discontinued using that pump on newer models of the PowerStroke.
Metal-to-metal contact inside the pump is what caused the pump to fail. Unfortunately, the metal contamination also affected many other parts of the fuel system. Some drivers had to replace large chunks of the fuel system, including fuel lines, injectors and regulators, along with the pump when it failed.
Injector pump failure is dangerous as it induces stalling and severe loss of power that can happen anywhere, putting the driver and passengers at risk. If you catch the problem early, you will save a lot on repairs. However, if you are late, you can spend up to $10,000 or more to fix the problems that come with it.
Radiator leaks are a fundamental problem for the 6.7L PowerStroke. Of the two radiators the 6.7L uses, the primary radiator is more prone to leakage. As a result, the levels of coolant in the engine reduce faster, putting the engine at risk of overheating if the coolant leak is not noticed on time.
Replacing the offending radiator is challenging, considering that the 6.7L has two radiators. Nonetheless, it is achievable even by a DIY driver seeking to save a few bucks on labor costs. You can upgrade to a higher one depending on your pocket size.
The first generation 6.7 PowerStroke engines were the worst hit by turbo failure. Many attribute the issue to be due to Ford utilizing a turbo smaller than the required torque and boost, resulting in disappointment anytime drivers sought to mod their 6.7L PowerStrokes for more power.
Turbo failure is less common in recent models, and they now last almost as long as a vehicle’s average lifespan of 150,000 to 200,000 miles. By the end of 200,000 miles, the turbo got worn and started failing afterwards. This last part of its life is not an issue, as the turbo has reached the end of its lifespan.
Turbo failure can cause various issues like power loss, excessive smoke and oil loss. It is often accompanied by whining turbo sounds indicating the turbo is tired.
For earlier generations which suffered from premature turbo wear, drivers often opted for an upgraded turbo which held better over time and took less abuse. Turbo replacements cost about $2,000 or more, depending on what you opt for.
Which 6.7 PowerStroke years to avoid?
Of the three generations of the 6.7 PowerStroke engines Ford produced, one generation is the worst off. It would be best if you avoided these model years of Ford’s 6.7 PowerStroke.
First-generation 6.7 PowerStroke (2011-2014 model years)
The 2011 to 2014 models of the 6.7 PowerStroke are all the models of the first generation. They are best left alone as they carry the most issues you can find on the 6.7 PowerStroke. They had the most radiator leaks, turbo damage, EGR clogging, defective EGT sensors, and broken injection pumps.
They eventually cost drivers a lot to repair and replace and are heavily subtracted from the performance and drivability of any truck equipped for most of its lifespan. They were disappointed as drivers had not expected the results it gave, implying that Ford had utilized poor designs for this generation of PowerStroke.
The first model in this lineup was an incompatible turbo that wore fast. Also, the exhaust valve on the passenger side of the 6.7 PowerStroke tended to break and sometimes fall into the cylinder, damaging the glow plugs.
There was not much improvement in the 2012 engine. It inherited the problems of the 2011 model and also had a serious case of injection pump failure.
Ford tried to make up for its mistakes with the latter 2013 to 2014 models. Despite the effort, they were not able to fix the fundamental problems. The turbo was still incompatible and now somewhat worse than it was in the other two models and the EGT sensors broke often within short periods of time.
Drivers who got trucks fitted with these models from the first generation lamented the high amounts they had to dole out in repairs and maintenance. Such bad results caused Ford to rethink their design and produce something close to what was expected. Consequently, the latter generations of the PowerStroke fared much better than the first, with fewer complaints and better reliability, earning it its current status in the mainstream market.
Best 6.7 PowerStroke years
We have established that all the models of the first generation of 6.7 PowerStrokes are bad news. Now, let’s look at the best 6.7 PowerStrokes Ford produced.
- 2015 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2016 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2017 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2018 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2019 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2020 6.7 PowerStroke
- 2021 6.7 PowerStroke
Ford made significant improvements to the 6.7 PowerStroke engine for eight years, making it the reliable and powerful engine we know today. These models dealt with the problems of the first generation by incorporating an upgraded turbo design, an enhanced EGR cooler flow redesign and an injection system upgrade. There are also other advancements Ford added to the plan that all combine to give the 6.7 PowerStroke its strong reputation.
Is the 6.7 PowerStroke worth buying?
The many advancements the 6.7 PowerStrokes offer makes it drivers’ favorites. Its performance has been dubbed beast-like by satisfied pickup drivers. It is also durable and can be used beyond the 200,000-mile mark, provided you adopt the proper maintenance practices.
What is the highest mileage 6.7 PowerStroke?
The highest mileage you can get out of the 6.7 PowerStroke is 400,000 miles. Going beyond 400,000 miles is a risk as the parts of the engine wear with usage and would be utterly useless at some point after 300,000 miles.
How long is a 6.7 PowerStroke good for?
The 6.7 PowerStroke engine can last as long as 20 years before wearing too much to be considered of much use. It is best to replace the engine at that point, so it does not become a safety hazard.
Which 6.7 PowerStroke should I avoid?
You should avoid all 6.7 PowerStrokes from the first generation. These first-generation models are riddled with problems and defects in the manufacturing design that make them more of a problem than a machine.
What is the best 6.7 PowerStroke year?
All PowerStrokes that came after the first generation models are excellent and give the necessary delivery to enjoy your truck’s performance. It’s hard to pin the title of the best on any of these second and third-generation models as Ford had utterly revamped the engine, making it a masterpiece in its own right.