Replacing the EGR cooler is commonplace around 50,000 miles on Ford 6.0-liter engines and at varying mileage on others. The problem stems from the type of cooling passages used in the coolers, both EGR and oil. The passages are similar in size to that used in the radiator or heater core.
Consequently, the Ford Power Stroke 6.0-liter diesel engine has acquired a bad reputation. However, this is undeserved. This reputation stems from Ford and International’s failure to address some simple issues that have the potential to cause catastrophic engine damage. Why–this is a mystery you can only speculate.
Consider that the Ford 6.0 produces more power, better torque curve, is much quieter and far more fuel efficient than the previous 7.3-liter, or the Duramax and the Cummins engines. It does so using four valves per head and advanced varying turbo geometry. Correct these few problems and you have a superior engine.
Replacing the EGR and oil coolers is not a complicated process, just time consuming. The EGR cooler attaches to the passenger inboard side of the intake manifold while the oil cooler is under the center rear oil filter housing. Due to the number of parts and O rings involved, purchasing a service manual is a prerequisite for all but the experienced technician. With the manual, a novice can accomplish this job in four to five hours with common tools and save thousands of dollars.
The job of replacing these items entails draining the radiator, removing the upper hoses and loosening the shroud, removing the batteries, removing the air cleaner and ducting, the turbo outlet and oil line, the turbo, disconnecting the sensors on the intake manifold and the manifold with the EGR cooler.
The oil cooler is simple to access once the intake manifold is off. Cleaning all the parts before installation is messy due to the enormous amount of carbon soot.
Lastly, consider this. If you had simply noticed the coolant system leaking or beginning to overheat and shut down quickly, you can replace these items and you are good to go.
However, if you experienced hydro lock or engine overheating for any length of time or to any high degree… it is possible that the cylinder head gaskets have been compromised and replacing the coolers will not solve the problem in its entirety.
Blown head gaskets run the possibility of cracked valve seats in the heads. Be prepared for a large bill, should this be the case. Unfortunately, the only way to test the head gaskets is to replace the coolers first.