August 26

2006 Ford F350 – 6 litre Diesel Head Gasket Replacement

Auto Repair, Ford


Mark: Good Morning, it’s Mark Bossert here with Top Local Rankings; we’re with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s top, best auto service experience, how’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Ford 6 litre diesel , something we’ve talked about a few times before and you seem to work on a few of these, this is a 2006, what was going on?

Bernie: Well this vehicle had a coolant leak, blown head gaskets which is not a surprise since it’s a pretty common issue and I know we’ve talked about it in the past. The engine was blowing a lot of smoke and occasionally the, when we went to start it, it actually wouldn’t turn over, the engine was hydro locked; that’s a condition that happens when you have fluid inside the engine cylinder and it’s the cylinder you know as you crank the engine over the cylinder moves up to compress the air but it’s actually trying to compress liquid which doesn’t work very well and the engine won’t turn so fortunately this engine sometimes you can just crank it a bit and it’ll eventually blow the coolant out so this was a pretty severe head gasket leak for one of these engines.

Mark: So there was a lot of coolant leaking into the cylinders?

Bernie: Yes, I mean that’s what happens with the head gasket when it blows, it usually blows coolant into the cylinder and when it’s in an early stage it’ll usually just you know a small amount will just go in but this, this one there was quite a lot of coolant like a lot more than usual. I’ll just share a photo here, this is kind of an interesting thing to look at, get the screen share up here, are you seeing this?

Mark: Yup

Bernie: O.k., yeah so that’s a picture of when we started dismantling things, we removed the turbo charger and the exhaust pipes and that view is looking into the right exhaust manifold with the, where the pipe comes out and goes into the turbo charger and that green liquid there is all antifreeze, now that’s just coolant inside the exhaust manifold, definitely shouldn’t be there, there should only be air in that area so that’s, it was interesting to find that, it’s pretty severe leak for this type of thing.

Mark: So is that indicating that the exhaust is filled right to the catalytic converter almost?

Bernie: Well in this case it’ll fill the exhaust system like further down in the pipes with antifreeze and I imagine, we just got the vehicle finished, got to go for a final road test today but I imagine there’ll probably still be quite a fair bit of smoke burning out because when it starts pumping coolant like that sometimes it takes quite a while and antifreeze tends to burn very white so it can make quite an ugly and kind of an embarrassing drive until it’s all burnt out.

Mark: So did you just do the head gaskets or were there more that you had to be done?

Bernie: Well we did more on this engine, I mean usually there is more to do be done, you know, we’ve talked a lot about these in the past and anyone who knows about 6 litre diesel you look at the list and there’s a lot of things that go wrong with it so, we basically did all the fix ups, the bullet proofing on this engine. We changed the engine oil cooler, with the original Ford cooler, we resealed the oil pump, the engine oil cooler seals, there’s a lot seals that tend to leak and there’s’ a fitting called a STC fitting on the high pressure oil system, they tend to blow apart you know, and they can and actually I’ve never seen it but it does happen so we replaced with an upgraded piece, so there’s an oil stem piece that we need to replace those, we put studs into the head bolt so that ensures the head gaskets are attached to them more firmly with bolts. What else did we do, oh we did bullet proof each EGR cooler as well as the EGR coolers tend to leak on these things too, so we basically fixed everything up, bullet proofed it and it should be good for quite a long time.

Mark: So how assured would an owner be if they do all that work on the head gaskets and all the other stuff you guys did that the gaskets aren’t going to blow again?

Bernie: Well you can be pretty much assured they won’t but you know I don’t want to say but, things do, there are a lot of things that do go wrong with these engines and you know it really depends on how you drive them, what I’ve noted it seems like the people who put heavy loads in the vehicles that tends to be harder on the head gaskets, if you do any performance modifications you’re risking the head gaskets going or if you just drive it just like a drag racing car you know, you’re risking the head gaskets going so if you’re driving normally, gently, not hauling massive loads all the time it’ll probably last forever, you know the bullet proof cooler for sure last way longer than the Ford cooler, never replace one after doing it, the head studs you know, help keep everything down but you can still damage can still occur if you abuse it.

Mark: Sure, so do you have any tips for owners that have 6 litre diesel that might help keep the repair costs down?

Bernie: Well, certainly regular maintenance as with any vehicle, regular oil changes, change your fuel filters, flush the coolant when needed, that’s not needed too often but just keeping on top of those kind of things, you know avoid performance modifications on these vehicles, you know if you do you’re, stuff will happen and you’ll be paying more money and just drive a little more gently especially if you have a heavy load, if you’re hauling a trailer or something, don’t go bombing up hills as fast as you can, just go a little gently and gently, however I said that and you’ll, it’ll last longer, so that’s kind of the thing, it’s really a pretty well-built engine the bottom end it’s just has a few defects that unfortunately are costly but if you take care of it, it’ll generally last quite a long time.

Mark: I don’t know if I’ve asked you this, do they actually manufacture this motor anymore?

Bernie: No, the last I believe the last time they installed it was in the 2010 Ford vans and interestingly enough you know, we’ve never done really much in the way of repairs on vans other than a few fuel injectors and things like that but never head gaskets and I think it may well be that vans, they just don’t get loaded as heavily as pickup trucks or they’re subject to as much abuse but that’s not to say they don’t blow head gaskets and it would be a lot more of a job to do a van but yeah a 2010 was the last they used it in a van and I think 07 was the last they used it in the pickup trucks. So yeah it’s not made anymore, long since surpassed by the 6.8 litre and then the 6.7.

Mark: So, if you’re the owner of a 6 litre diesel in the Vancouver area and you need to get it fixed or maintained the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can check out their website or call to book an appointment 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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