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, stricter 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.
Catastrophic engine failures have not been all that uncommon on the 6.4l. Some of the most common causes for these failures:
- Cooling system
The cooling system includes radiator, oil cooler, egr coolers, etc.
Failed EGR coolers – when one or both EGR coolers rupture, coolant will enter the exhaust system. On a hot soak, this coolant can accumulate in the exhaust manifold and enter cylinders through open exhaust valves causing a hydro locked cylinder which can bend connecting rods. When the upper EGR cooler ruptures, small amounts of coolant can enter cylinders through the intake system and cause an over fueling condition. Yes, coolant is combustible. There is more than enough cylinder pressure and heat to cause auto ignition.
- The Seimens two point pressure controlled common rail injection system
Internal leaks in the fuel system at the high pressure lines, those which are under the valve covers or high pressure pump seals will cause elevated oil levels. If not noticed and promptly addressed, the oil vapors will overwhelm the crankcase ventilation system and accumulate in the charge air cooler. This will cause more than normal amounts of this oil to be forced into the intake system under heavy boost and loads. This oil can enter cylinders where it will ignite and cause an over fueling condition. The auto-ignition temperature of this motor oil is not that much lower than diesel fuel. When a combustible fuel source is added to the intake on a modern diesel, cylinder pressure and heat on the compression stroke will cause the oil to auto-ignite before pilot injection takes place. This is pre ignition. When pre ignition is added to the three injection events, pre, main and post, it can destroy pistons in a very short period of time.
- High pressure fuel pump failure will destroy the injectors. Fuel supply system restrictions and contamination will cause the high pressure fuel pump to seize. Diesel fuel is also a lubricant for the high pressure pump and injectors. In the beginning stages of this seizure, metallic particulates will be sent onto the fuel rail and injectors. This particulate will cause rapid wear on the injectors precision parts. This will lead to over fueling and leaking nozzles, leading to piston failure. The PCM operating system which controls fueling, can only compensate for normal wear on the engine and fuel system. It cannot control an injector that is damaged and leaking fuel, nor an outside fuel source such as engine oil or coolant.
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