Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, serving Vancouver for almost 30 years, number one rated auto repair facility in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Do well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about an old favourite, a Ford 6 litre diesel, this was in a 2005 Ford F450, what was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle would intermittently die while the client was driving the vehicle, all of a sudden it would just stop running and he eventually had it towed into our shop. Interestingly enough, prior to this happening, about two weeks ago he had the vehicle towed in because it wouldn’t start, we had a look at it, diagnosed it and found there was no oil sitting in the oil filter housing which will certainly cause the engine not to start because the vehicle requires oil pressure, high pressure oil to fire the fuel injectors. And what we found with that issue and this could be a separate post, but I’ll be very brief here, the oil filter had been replaced with an aftermarket oil filter which can from time to time cause, for some reason, it caused the oil to drain out of the oil filter housing and no oil pressure. So we replaced it with a Ford oil filter and the proper oil filter cap and no problem. So we were surprised actually to hear a couple weeks later that the vehicle’s doing what seemed to be a similar kind of thing. We did a diagnosis on it, scanned it and we found a trouble code that was stored for an IPR valve circuit issue. So we preformed some diagnostic tests around that and found some issues with the IPR valve.
Mark: Ok, what’s an IPR valve?
Bernie: So the IPR valve stands for injection pressure regulator and what that valve does is it sits on top of the high pressure oil pump housing. It adjusts the oil pressure based on computer inputs to just get the oil pressure just right to fire the full injectors at a proper rate, and this valve can open and close the flow of the oil.
Mark: Ok, complicated. So what kind of diagnosis did you have to do to find what was going on?
Bernie: Well what we have to do, so you know, once we started diagnosing it, the engine was cool, it fixed up right away which can be kind of annoying but it’s, I guess, it’s good. So we ran it, warmed it up, we can do tests with our scan tool to operate the IPR valve, all things seemed to be fine, warmed it up, seemed to be fine. So our technician took it off for a road test and out on the road it died which is kind of embarrassing right in the middle of Marine Drive, sitting there and it would start. But nonetheless, we got some good information. The IPR valve was commanding 85% which is allowing full oil flow and yet it was only developing 200 psi of pressure, so there was clearly a problem with the valve at the circuit and, fortunately once we called the tow truck, before the tow truck arrived the engine cooled down enough for some reason it seemed like when it was cooler it would work but it was an electrical problem with the valve itself.
Mark: What kind of pressure would it normally be operating at?
Bernie: Well you need at least around 500 psi for the engine to even fire so, at idle you need that but, I should know this stuff like exactly, but it’s up to around 2500 psi of oil pressure so there is a lot of pressure in this system. So it’ll vary depending on the engine speed, when you’re revving it up that’s when the pressures highest, but it needs at least 500 to get it running. So if it doesn’t develop that it just cranks over.
Mark: So did you find anything else, I guess you had to replace the valve?
Bernie: Yeah we replaced the valve, and this valve is located rather buried under the turbocharger area of the engine, so there’s a lot of heat in this area and there’s also an electrical connector, obviously it’s an electrical valve that can be problematic as well, so we replaced the pigtail end which is a wire, and I’ll show you some photos in a minute, about six inches long plus the connector and when we took that apart we also found the wiring part was starting to flake apart. So this could again been part of the problem. So it’s always good when you do a repair to make sure you do things thoroughly and if it’s not a whole lot of extra work to change the wiring harness, the little wiring end while you’re at it. So we did that. I’ll just share a couple photos here while we’re at it. This is the IPR valve, there’s the unit right there, it screws into the housing on the high pressure oil pump, the oil basically is forced into this area and comes out here and depending on which way the valve commands it to flow, it’ll flow at different spots on the valve. There’s the electrical connector area and this is the actual wiring pigtail we replaced. Now you’ll notice here that this wire is bare, it wasn’t completely bare when we exposed it but in the process of taking it off, the insulation started flaking apart. So it was actually cracked when we went to do, when we actually starting taking it apart so that is a sure sign that there’s a problem there and if it wasn’t causing a problem now, it certainly would have down the road. So always best to do repairs thoroughly.
Mark: So IPR valves, are they a common failure on 6 litres?
Bernie: They are. We actually replace these quite frequently. It’s one of those items that as a whole list of parts on one of these vehicles, if someone said ”Hey should I buy one, what can go wrong with it?” that IPR valve is one of those items I’d list as a pretty common failure part. We don’t do tons of them but enough that it’s a pretty common failure item.
Mark: So is there anything else that you’d look for when you’re replacing this part?
Bernie: Well it’s funny that you should ask, yes there is and I’ll share one more photo here, there’s a screen at the end of the IPR valve. This is looking down the top of the valve and you’ll see there’s, this is a screen here, this is where the the oil gets forced into the oil pump. Looking for debris on the screen is a critical issue because these can plug up, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with the oil system on these vehicles. Things can wear out, this filter screens down the, further down the flow closer to the oil pump where the screens can break apart and they can plug the oil pumps up and do all sorts of things. So we checked this screen pretty thoroughly, and fortunately there wasn’t much, there was a little tiny little metal bit, I mean it’s a tiny little particle but other than that there’s really nothing else wrong with it but that’s certainly something that we look at when we do this. I mean, if the screen was plugged that would indicated we’d have to take the high pressure oil pump off and the oil filter housing and really inspect things and look at it. So a lot of things can fail on these engines and can cause some problems.
Mark: 2,500 psi means a lot of potential issues I think over time, is that correct?
Bernie: Yeah it is, I mean, that’s what makes these engines a bit problematic is that the oil pressure system, it’s an extra level of complexity in where the 6.4 litre which it just uses as a high pressure fuel pump and they eliminated that high pressure oil system, you know it just adds an extra level of complexity. I mean it’s a neat idea and they used it for a long time in the 7.3 litre and then into the 6 litre but you know, as I say it does add that complexity that’s eliminated when you just have high pressure fuel.
Mark: So there you go, these guys are experts in 6 litre diesels as we’ve talked about many times before, if you need any kind of service on your Ford diesel these are the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, many videos on diesels in there. Thanks a lot Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark