Ford’s Diesel Engines: Past and Present
Ford has a long history of producing quality diesel engines. In fact, the company has been a pioneer in the development of this type of engine, dating all the way back to the early 1920s.
The Powerstroke line started back in the 1980s with the International Harvester IDE. The 7.3-liter PowerStroke, a diesel engineering marvel, convinced V8 gas fans to switch to the Ford F-series line.
Then Ford engineering faltered with the 6.4L and 6.0L. Today, Ford’s Powerstroke 6.7-liter V8 engine is back on top.
Ford/International Harvester IDI (1983- 1994)
In 1981 Ford made a deal with International Harvester to produce a diesel engine for the Ford F-series and E-Series/Econoline vans.
After some corporate breakups and maneuvering, they became known as the International Harvester-Navistar Indirect Injection (IDE) engines.
International Harvester-Navistar IDEs became the Navistar T444E which were the first engines to be marketed under Ford’s Power Stroke line.
Ford 7.3L Powerstroke Engine (1994-2003)
One of Ford’s most iconic diesel engines is the 7.3-liter Powerstroke. This engine was first introduced in 1994 and was used in various vehicles, including the F-250, F-350, and Excursion.
The 7.3-liter Powerstroke was known for its reliability and longevity; many owners reported that their engines lasted for hundreds of thousands of miles without any major issues. In 2003, Ford replaced the 7.3-liter Powerstroke with the 6.0-liter Powerstroke engine.
Ford’s 7.3L Powerstroke engine doesn’t stand up to modern types of diesel engines in terms of power, but its simplicity was one of its main selling points.
These engines were built to be big and tough, capable of working for hundreds of thousands of miles without any problems. Even today, you’ll see these trucks listed for $10,000 plus. And buyers line up.
The 7.3L Powerstroke engine was used in Ford’s medium-duty trucks with only minor differences – and drivers loved them. Ford’s 7.3L Powerstroke used direct fuel injection in combination with high-pressure oil pumps and low-pressure fuel lift pumps, giving it significant performance advantages over the 7.3 IDI.
The 7.3L Powerstroke had a cast-iron block and cylinder head for improved durability. The clamping force of the 7.3L was legendary: Each blockhead was secured by 6 head bolts per cylinder.
Ford 6.0L Powerstroke Engine (2003-2007)
Ford replaced the powerful and reliable 7.3L Powerstroke with the far less reliable 6.0L. This engine was plagued with reliability issues, particularly with the fuel injectors and turbochargers.
As a result of these issues, Ford issued numerous recalls for the 6.0-liter Powerstroke engine. The engine was powerful, but there were so many problems that owners rarely enjoyed it.
There were so many problems, but here are some of the most common issues with the Ford 6.0-liter Powerstroke:
- Head gasket failure
- Fuel Injector Control Module (FICM) problems
- Oil cooler clogging
- ERG cooler failures
- EGR valve problems
- Poor engine performance
Diesel World may have put it best: “Perhaps no other diesel engine in recent memory has burdened its owners more than the 6.0L Power Stroke“. In 2007, Ford replaced the 6.0-liter Powerstroke with the 6.4-liter Powerstroke engine.
Ford 6.4L Powerstroke Engine (2007-2010)
Ford used the 6.4-liter Powerstroke from 2007 until 2010. This engine improved over the previous 6.0-liter Powerstroke engine in terms of reliability.
However, the 6.4L still suffered from some fuel injector and turbocharger issues. Ford’s 6.4L Powerstroke was the first engine to be launched into the light truck market with twin turbochargers from the factory.
The 6.4L was also the first Power Stroke to employ a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to reduce particles in exhaust emissions. The DPF typically contains a substrate made of a ceramic material that is formed into a honeycomb structure.
To reduce emissions from diesel vehicles, the DPF captures and stores exhaust soot, which must be periodically burned off to regenerate the filter.
In 2010, Ford replaced the 6.4L Powerstroke with the all-new 6.7L Powerstroke engine.
What Diesel Engine Does Ford Use today?
Ford 6.7 L Powerstroke Engine (2011-Present)
The 6.7 Powerstroke engine is the latest diesel engine from Ford. This engine was introduced for the 2011 model year and is still in production today. Currently, Ford uses the all-new 6.7L Powerstroke V8 diesel engine in its pickups, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.
Ford’s newest diesel engine features several improvements over the previous 6.4L Powerstroke, including a new fuel injection system, updated turbochargers, and an improved cooling system.
The Ford 6.7-liter diesel engine delivers best-in-class torque (420 lb-ft) and horsepower (400 hp) while also providing improved fuel economy (up to 20 mpg on the highway).
It features advanced technologies such as a dual-stage oil pump, a high-pressure common rail fuel system, and a water-cooled turbocharger.
Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the 6.7 liter Powerstroke shares many similarities with the smaller 3.5L Ecoboost V6, making it feel just as refined as any gasoline-powered truck on the market today.
Ford introduced the 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission in 2020 with higher gear ratios.
Teaming with the Powerstroke, TorqShift is designed for the harshest towing conditions. It still offers a class-exclusive live-drive power takeoff, which allows the operator to use industrial equipment and accessories, such as snowplows, while the truck is in motion.
If you’re looking for an engine with serious towing and hauling power, the 6.7L Powerstroke is the engine for you. This diesel engine provides plenty of torque to get the job done, and Ford’s reputation backs it for quality and reliability.
Thanks to its world-class build quality, reliability, and capability, it is no wonder why the 6.7 Powerstroke diesel powerhouse has become one of Ford’s most popular engines.