2008 Ford F350, 6.4 Diesel, Exhaust Manifold Gaskets

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, talking cars this morning. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well

Mark: So actually, we’re talking trucks, I lied a little bit, we’re talking again about a 2008 Ford 350 diesel 6.4 litre diesel that had some exhaust manifold gasket issues. What was going on with this truck?

Bernie: Well this truck came to us with a couple of issues, one was a lack of pawer but not related to what we’re talking about today, that was one issue, the other is a very loud noise under the hood, a tic tic tic tic type of noise. So we had a look at it and found there’s an extremely bad exhaust leak at the rear of the next exhaust manifold, right where the manifold bolts onto the head, so assuming the gasket was blown out was our initial assumption.

Mark: So, we’ve gone over these vehicles, other vehicles in this line before, so I know this is a pretty extensive and complicated repair, was it?

Bernie: Yes, of course, it’s a Ford diesel. You know these well from our conversations too. There’s not much simple on a Ford diesel, actually for most diesels for that matter but definitely nothing simple on this vehicle. It was a cab off repair. I suppose we could of struggled and done it with the cab on, but I really really can’t imagine it would have been a lot of fun and really the amount of extra time it takes to take the cab off, makes the job well worthwhile, we can inspect a lot of other components at the same time and because we have to take the turbo charger off too, it just made sense to do everything all at the same time with the cab off. Once the cab is off, it’s still a complex repair. There’s still a lot to do to get to the manifolds off, they’re buried in there and really it’s still not easy.

Mark: So did you have to replace the manifolds?

Bernie: We did in this case. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t but what we found of course they, actually both of them had leaks and both had broken bolts at the back of the head. But yes, we did have to replace the manifolds. It just made sense financially to do them as opposed to having a machine shop do them, replace the studs on the manifolds, by the time you add all that up it’s just cheaper to replace the manifolds. Same cost to replace the manifold and you get brand new ones. I’ll share some photos while we’re at it here. Ok there’s the, this is the right hand exhaust manifold bolted up to the head and you can see this isa bolt, this is one of the bolts that bolts the manifold to the cylinder head, you can see no bolt head here, this one was gone, same with the other one down below. So those were both missing, broken off. What have we got here, this is our, you can see the evidence of the leak, this is on the left side this is where the leak was really bad and this black soot is all exhaust soot, it’s a diesel, very sooty and the gasket, there’s the manifold, this is the gasket right here, that’s what was blown out and a further view, this is with the manifold off and you can see the severe leak out the back here. This is all diesel soot and bolt holes here but no bolt hole here because the bolts have basically broken right off, and a final view, the gasket and this is the gasket at the rear as you can see, it’s missing a complete chunk, it’s just burned away. So there are the photos, the pictures tells it all.

Mark: So you didn’t have any shots of the cab off which would of been kind of cool, but what parts did you end up replacing with this service?

Bernie: So as I mentioned, we did do the manifolds, we inspected the Y-pipes, the pipes at the back because these are things we’ve replaced before. There were in good shape on this vehicle so we didn’t do those but all the bolts for the manifold, we replaced all of them because they get stretched and there’s no sense in using the other bolts. There’s a risk, there’s also a risk when we assemble it when a bolt looks good and it’ll snap so all those bolts are replaced, all the gaskets and that kind of takes care of it.

Mark: Any other parts or pipes that you replaced while you were at it?

Bernie: No actually just what I mentioned before, the manifolds and the bolts.

Mark: So this is a second kind of encounter with a 6.4 diesel recently. Are you seeing a lot more of these?

Bernie: We are. I really noticed a lot more of these are coming to our shop, I guess they’re getting older now, we used to see nothing but 6 litres and we still see a lot of them but diesels last a long time, so even though the 6 litre is a lot of work and can be an expensive vehicle to fix, it’s still a diesel, still got a lot of value so I imagine we’ll be seeing those for years and years to come. Yeah, there’s a lot more 6.4’s come into our shop, they’re getting older, things are happening to them, fortunately not blowing head gaskets with the frequency of a 6 litre but there’s still lots of the expensive repairs that they need and anything on a diesel tends to be expensive. The parts are high priced and the labour is very intensive. They pack a lot of stuff into the engine compartment.

Mark: Well isn’t that part of that, isn’t part of that where the pressures that diesel generates and that’s super high temperatures and stuff too as well from that fuel?

Bernie: Absolutely and I was thinking to myself as we are doing this hangout, why should these bolts break at the back of the manifold, like why would these be the ones? Well these are on a, on these vehicles with the regeneration system. They inject extra fuel into the rear cylinders so it creates all that extra heat to burn the soot out in the back, so there’s a lot more going on in the rear cylinders of these engines than there is in the front three on each bank. So bolts can snap anywhere, but it kind of makes sense when you think about all that extra heat, there’s just a lot more strain in that area. And really I mean diesels used to be extremely dirty and they’ve cleaned them up really well but all the problems with diesels are really 99% of them seem to be happening because of the emission equipment on them that’s where all the cost comes. So you know, having a clean diesel comes at a price. It’s amazing, quiet, very little pollutants coming out the back except for Volkswagens and a bunch of other liars now out on the market, but you know, compared to what they used to be with that black smoke and the stench, it’s pretty amazing what’s been accomplished, at a price.

Mark: Yes, so there you go. If you’re looking for service for your 6.4 litre diesel or any diesel that you might have in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. They’re experts in it as I can attest, they looked after my TDI which I’m happily returning to Volkswagen on Monday, you can call them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

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