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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    20

    Frown Ford 6.4 Powerstroke - 8 month horror finally ended

    8 months ago I bought a 2008 F-550 flatbed with 89000 miles. It has a 6.4 Diesel and it was still just under the drivetrain warranty. A properly designed small automotive diesel should run 250K with no major repairs. This one had served light duty for 3 years, having a 1-ton hydraulic crane for picking up small brush along the right of way under those huge electrical towers. The previous owner had contract to mow the path, and this truck had a light trailer behind it for the brush.

    It's not like it was abused and by the hour meter -vs- odometer was not idled excessively like some trucks are.

    At the time I did not realize what an ill-conceived piece of junk the 6.4 powerstroke is. And the rest of the super duty truck had its share in this bad business as well.

    In the last 8 months it has been towed, dead, 5 times, and of these, to the Ford dealer from which it was purchased 4 times. Two other times I had to drive it in for other repairs. 8 repairs needed in 8 months. Each time it has had to be there for 4-5 days. The truck has been a real piece of poo despite inspecting everything scrupulously beforehand and religious adherence to maintenance schedules and no hard work, no trailers or loads over about 500#..

    5 towings @ $150 each: $750
    6 1-week truck rentals @ $400 each: $2400

    1.) 4x4 engagement vacuum pump blowing fuses the day after I got it. It was replaced. Dealer fixed no charge but I had to rent a truck.

    2.) no start. towed in. air in fuel system, tech found nothing else. $280.

    3.) no start. towed in. fuel pickup tube broke off inside fuel tank. Both tanks had to be removed. low pressure pump bad due to sucking air. I was also told not to park it on an incline. (a 2-ton 4x4 that does not operate on an incline) $900

    4.) a/c squealed and threw belt. Both tensioners were broke and both belts were replaced. There is much plastic in the tensioners. $460

    5.) died while in front of supermarket with load of groceries and a passenger. no start. On Sunday, had it towed to house. Monday it was towed to dealer. had to pay for cab for passenger ride to get groceries home. A wire in the engine, that does not move or anything, simply "shorted out" no other explanation. To reach it they had to remove the cab, then the turbo, and the high pressure pump cover. From that point on there was an intermittent exhaust gas odor in the cab because they didn't put the exhaust pipe back on right. They could not "reproduce the odor problem". shorted wire $2400

    6.) died on highway. towed in. computer throttled engine to nothing, "stop vehicle safely" light. Died when speed dropped to about 5MPH. no crank. A sensor in the tailpipe broke, and told the computer the exhaust temp was too high so the computer shut the fuel off. $200

    paid cost for 8 months: $7390

    7.) things that broke last week and I didn't fix: a/c stopped blowing cold. almost no pressure in system. I put a can of 143a in and it started working again. The CD player quit working. The exhaust odor has still been there, off and on, for a month.
    additional to fix these things:
    a/c $2000 typical, was quoted that.
    plus a week rental truck $400.
    radio $750 (replace only)
    exhaust stench -they should fix free.
    $3150

    total cost for 6.4 diesel truck for 8 months:
    $7390
    $3150
    -----
    $11540

    Yes, the Ford F-550 Super Duty flatbed with 6.4 Diesel's cost of repairs over 8 months is $11,540.

    None of this includes the two half-days of time (lost money) required for each truck-drop and rental-arrangement, and rental-return and truck-pickup. hours at $150 per hour billed=$750 loss of business. But let's not quibble over such a pittance. It's clear I have money to burn or I would never have bought the accursed thing. No doubt others will say they love their Ford 6.4 Diesel. I'm just reporting the facts of what happened with mine.

    After #6, which was right after #7 (other stuff that broke the same week) I immediately traded it in to the same dealer before anything else broke. Good thing I bought it right and could get rid of it with no penalty. The dealer didn't mind taking it back and good riddance. I am sure they will park it and sell it again to the next guy trying to make a living. I was surprised they would take it in trade seeing what trouble this one is, but they don't want to make enemies, they are not unfair, it is the garbage-box of a truck that has been the problem, not the dealership.

    I would have done better with an old 1967 gas powered grain truck like the one that has been sitting on my grandfather's farm for 15 years, even including adding the a/c to it and painting it.

    So, there it is, the Ford F-550 is a heavy duty truck, rated 2 tons and 17K GVW that can't even pull itself around for 25K miles without falling apart.

    I bought a 2012 E-150 van and got the 125k bumper to bumper extended warranty. It's a cheap vehicle but I have something I can use for the next 125k miles and not have to take a fleecing on. Today I had Skylink and window tint installed in my van.

    I was waiting on this work outside the sales building, and Behold! Here comes a huge cloud of white and gray smoke up the access road with the front of a 6.4 Powerstroke Super duty F-450 sticking out of it, and it turns in the drive and almost makes it to the service lane before choking to a stop. It looked like the space shuttle launch but horizontal. Once it stopped, a bunch of smoke and mist like water started coming from the hood. Then the smoke cleared and I could see the lawn service trailer it was pulling. The smoke was so thick the trailer had been invisible. An older Ford diesel, maybe a 7.2, quite old, pulled in with the same company markings. I think it was the boss. He talked to a service tech who had come out to see, quite a few people were looking at the spectacle. The boss man passed by me and told me "blown the turbo again". "again??" yikes, that is a $2500 dual turbo (plus cab removal..) and they are not rebuildable when the core unit is bad. How many turbos can you blow on a diesel before the engine has eaten enough of it and follows it to the mechanical objects afterlife? At least it didn't run away. Lucky.

    Another one bites the dust!

    Be careful, this could be you. And be sure not to buy the 6.4 Powerstroke lemon I just traded in. No amount of sugar will ever make lemonade out of that thing. I'm just glad to be rid of it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dacula, GA
    Posts
    12,851
    Sorry to hear about that. The 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel was the best truck engine ever made in my opinion. It's a shame Ford had to stop production of the bullet proof engine. EPA, gas milage, etc. restraints led to its demise. You should have brought and older model with the 7.3L and you would have been happy. Thank you very much
    "I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle."
    "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution."
    Barry Goldwater

  3. #3
    Duramax, Cummins, and Powerstroke (7.3, 6.0, and 6.4) all have had their own recurring issues and each have had their own sporadic lemon issues. I probably personally manufactured your 6.4 heads and block. There's a 50 percent chance of it anyways...Proud to say that there have been no major mass cracking or strength issues with any 7.3, 6.0, or 6.4 cast iron blocks or cylinder heads during my years of manufacturing them. Cummins and their OEM supplier south of the border can't say that about their blocks.

    Sometimes you get a lemon...no vehicle manufacturer worldwide is exempt from this if they mass produce.

    I would own a later 6.0 Pstroke, Dmax, 7.3, 12v 24v 5.9 6.7 Cummins, 6.4....I would own anyone of them and certainly expect issues from any of them at some level.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by glennac View Post
    Sorry to hear about that. The 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel was the best truck engine ever made in my opinion. It's a shame Ford had to stop production of the bullet proof engine. EPA, gas milage, etc. restraints led to its demise. You should have brought and older model with the 7.3L and you would have been happy. Thank you very much
    Ford didn't produce this engine. Navistar Engine. The only thing Ford did was give it their own trademarked name of Powerstroke. 6.9, normally aspirated 7.3 and turbo 7.3, 7.3 Powerstroke, 6.0 Powerstroke, and the 6.4 Powerstroke were never produced by Ford. The 6.7 Powerstroke is. Last I heard Navistar may cast the blocks again but who knows. It would be good for Ford if that happened.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Dacula, GA
    Posts
    12,851
    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC/R-Wizard View Post
    Ford didn't produce this engine. Navistar Engine. The only thing Ford did was give it their own trademarked name of Powerstroke. 6.9, normally aspirated 7.3 and turbo 7.3, 7.3 Powerstroke, 6.0 Powerstroke, and the 6.4 Powerstroke were never produced by Ford. The 6.7 Powerstroke is. Last I heard Navistar may cast the blocks again but who knows. It would be good for Ford if that happened.
    Well hush my mouth Wizard. Nice to know all that. Thank you, thank you very much
    "I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle."
    "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution."
    Barry Goldwater

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,703
    i had a regular Ford Van at Sears. (it was about a 2002)
    every time it was over 95 degrees outside the van would overheat and stall.

    the Ford dealership didn't have a clue what was wrong with it.
    neither did the independent mechanics.

    i spent most my time at Sears having the van towed.
    it would have ran a small contractor out of business.


    it seems if you buy a Ford you have engine problems.
    if you buy a Chevy the engine is good, but everything else breaks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Florida Panhandle
    Posts
    4,508
    And people wonder why I'm keeping my 95 E250 with a straight 300 six. Best engine Ford ever made. I have two other Ford's E250/E150 with V6's.

    They suck...my straight six has more power and gets better milage.


    Roy
    "The perfect Totalitarian State is one where the political bosses, and their army of managers, control a population of slaves, who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    20
    To be fair, I never had anything go wrong with the long block. HVAC/R-Wizard if you cast the parts, thank you, as those items have never given trouble.

    From an owner and operator perspective, though, the 'engine' is the entire big piece of metal under the hood with all the doo-dads and wires on it. It starts at the end of the air filter and stops at the back of the turbo, and likewise from the accessory pulley up front to the rear crank flange in back. And it says "Ford" on it. Salespeople at the Ford dealer tell customers they quit using Navistar because of quality problems. That is what they say. To a customer, trying to blame a supplier means nothing because the repairs still cost money and the dissatisfaction with the Ford vehicle experience remains. "Never blame a supplier. It makes you look bad". But they do it.

    If I rewrote the post to focus the guilt on each broken failed part separately, and the idiocy of building a truck that you have to pull the cab off of to get at items toward the rear of the engine, the cost and frustration would not be affected.

    I do not blame anyone but Ford for this monstrosity. It is clear they did a poor job integrating what might be a perfectly fine long block into the remainder of the vehicle. But now I will never know of that long block can go 200-300K miles because of all the poor engineering around it. Anyway, I can deduct all of that expense so it is not a complete loss, and I got rid of the problem vehicle and don't have to worry about it any more. Let someone else do that.

    My other experience with Diesels is a Hercules Multifuel and a 855 Cummins small cam. There has not been anywhere near this level of unreliability.

    The E150 I bought has a small V8. I don't drive over 70 and won't be towing or carrying over 500# so it should be perfectly fine.
    Ford does not offer a V6 in vans any more and there is probably a good reason for that. Chevrolet does, and they are likely to learn a lesson about that 3-5 years down the road when they start replacing them in contractors' vehicles.

    My favorite small gas engine is the Dodge 225 slant six. It's too light for a van, but I have one in a '74 Dart with about 300K on it. No smoke, no oil burning.

    The comments about the EPA and pollution controls are on target. Those things ruin the advantage of having a diesel by messing up the engine with all kinds of unwanted junk. After I bought the truck, I found out it sprays fuel into the exhaust in order to 'clean' the exhaust filter, which is there to keep soot out of the catalytic converter. It's done when the computer decides to, and the method is to have a couple of the injectors open all the way and dump burning fuel out the exhaust, through the turbo, and into that filter. The effect of this, besides incrementally wearing things out and wasting fuel, is that the boost gauge on the dash does not mean as much as the operator would think. There is a bunch of back pressure in the exhaust system, something like 15 lbs. So when the boost says 30 PSI, consider it is pushing against 15 on the way out. I'm not sure a personal Diesel truck will ever be of any interest to me again unless it is mechanical injection and pre-emissions. I think that emissions stuff started in 1985 or so.

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