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Learning to Work on Power Stroke Diesels

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 09:00
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Ford has been producing the Power Stroke for many years. In mid-1999, it made a significant change in the design by adding additional electronic controls. Early in 2003, it brought out the 6.0L with even more electronics and emissions systems including the addition of the Controller Area Network (CAN). In 2008, the 6.4L was the next change, adding even more electronics and emissions systems. It was also the last of the Navistar engines. Since 2011, the power behind the Ford diesels comes from a Ford 6.7L.

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In this IDS screenshot, you can see the EOT is telling the PCM that the engine oil temperature is 141-degrees when it is actually about 50degrees.

Where do we start in this discussion? This article will start with the 1999.5 MY 7.3l and 2003.25 MY 6.0l engines. Getting to know these engines and working on them is not something that can be covered in one article, so my goal is to give you the starting point when one of these vehicles comes into your shop with a hard start/no start concern. Most of the procedure I’m going to discuss will serve you on any of these vehicles.

When I first started certifying Ford dealer diesel technicians as a Ford Service Training Instructor, it was on the 1999.5 MY 7.3l Power Stroke with electronic engine controls. One of the things we told techs to use was the hard start/no start or the poor performance diagnostic procedure sheets. Ford required that those sheets be followed and results recorded as a part of any warranty claim.

Can the scan tool talk to the truck? This IDS screenshot is showing that the PCM is not talking. This problem must be fixed first. 

Ford also wanted techs to follow them in order, as they were in a logical sequence that made sense, or at least as much sense as any printed set of directions can have. In the case of the poor performance sheets, the step order was critical in making sure that concerns that would cause a vehicle to fail a boost test were tested and found before the tech tried to do the boost test.

You can Google any of these engines and get an overload of opinions, comments, concerns, repairs and other information that might or might not be useful to you. Valuable sources of information, however, that is not fit into a good procedure can be a time killer. The best way to approach these vehicles is by using the test procedures that Ford developed; they worked then and still work well today.

I’ll also point out two traps that you may encounter if you don’t take into account PCM (Powertrain Control Module) system operation and the age of these vehicles.

First Things First
But let’s start at the beginning; if you’re given an RO for 7.3l or 6.0l Power Stroke that the customer says is hard starting. What do you do first?

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