Ford Powerstroke diesel engines aren’t exactly the epitome of reliability. The 6.4L engine, for example, is notorious for having so many faults. Fortunately for owners of the 6.0 Powerstroke, it can be a good engine as long as it is well-maintained.
Routinely changing the oil in 6.0 Powerstroke is essential. The engine requires your engine oil to be in top condition since, by design, it is used to actuate the fuel injectors. The engine’s also has two turbochargers which also need engine oil to lubricate its components. If you fail to change your oil, it may lead to poor fuel economy and affect engine performance negatively.
Now, you may ask, “How often should I change the oil in my 6.0 Powerstroke?” Ford recommends changing engine oil after every 7,500 miles (for regular service), and 5,000 miles (for intense service).
You don’t have to visit the mechanic for routine oil changes. You can actually change the oil yourself. Follow these steps to do a 6.0 Powerstroke oil change:
Things You Need
Parts and Materials
- 15 quarts of 15W-40 oil (the engine has an oil capacity of 15 quarts/14.2 liters)
- Oil filter
- Drain plug gasket
- Drain pan
- Torque wrench (optional)/ Ratchet wrench
- 36 mm socket
- 19 mm socket
- Flathead screwdriver
1. Check the Oil
Even if you’re not yet due for an oil change, it’s a good idea to check your 6.0 Powerstroke’s engine oil every once in a while. Check the oil level, color, and condition. Low levels, dirty oil, or gunked-up residue will cause unnecessary engine wear and deterioration. You might even need you to flush the system or test the vehicle for other faults.
To check the motor oil, park the truck on a level surface for 5 minutes so the oil can settle in the pan. After that, open the hood and find the dipstick (it has a yellow handle). Pull out the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag. Push it back in fully, then pull it out again to check the oil level. The oil should sit between the dipstick’s “Add” and “OPERATING RANGE” lines. If it doesn’t, you will need to add oil.
After you’ve checked the oil level, look at its color and consistency. It needs to be changed if it’s black or gritty and develops globs on the dipstick. Moreover, if the oil smells like fuel, appears thin, and drips or runs along the dipstick fast, you might have an oil dilution issue or a case of diesel mixing with the engine oil. Powerstroke engines do have a history of oil dilution due to faulty engine design.
In any of these cases, take your truck to a mechanic as there might be deeper issues that need to be addressed.
2. Drain the oil
These next steps can be made easier by putting the car on a lifter so that you’ll have easier access to the drain plug. If you don’t have access to one, you will have to scoot underneath the engine bay.
Locate the drain plug underneath the vehicle at the bottom of the oil pan. It’s along the center of the car. Position your drain pan under it, then use the 19 mm socket to remove the plug. The old oil will start draining out, so let it all empty until it stops dripping.
Inspect the drain plug and look for any metal shavings on it or the old oil. If there are any, it might be an indication of engine wear. In that case, take your truck to a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Just make sure you complete the oil change first before attempting to drive the car.
3. Remove the Oil Filter
It’s important that before you put back the drain plug, change the oil filter first. Do this so that any oil from the filter housing drains as well.
The oil filter is located in the back of the engine compartment in the center, so it is easy to spot. First, use the 36mm socket to remove the old filter by turning it counter-clockwise.
When it gets loose, you should notice it’s spring-loaded. Go ahead and pull the filter up but ensure you keep it over the oil filter housings so the oil can drain out.
To remove the oil filter attached to the cap, gently pull it apart from the cap until it snaps off. If it’s stuck, use the flathead screwdriver to pry it off.
4. Replace the Drain Plug
After the oil drains, clean the drain area, replace the drain plug gasket and use the 19mm socket to reinstall the drain plug. Be sure not to over-tighten it. The proper torque specification is about 15 to 22 lb-ft of torque.
If you don’t have a torque wrench, just tighten the drain plug by hand until it’s snug. Then, use the ratchet to tighten it for an additional 1/2 turn. Do it slowly. You don’t want to strip the plug since it will cause oil to leak.
If your oil pan drain plug has any signs of deterioration, it’d be a good idea to replace the plug itself and not just the gasket. Pull out the drain pan from underneath the vehicle.
5. Install the New Filter
Once the drain plug is replaced, you need to put in the new oil filter.
First, you need to replace the o-ring that goes around the oil filter cap. The new filter cap comes with one, so all you need to do is gently use your flathead screwdriver to pull out the old o-ring.
After this, wrap the new o-ring around the cap, ensuring it gets in the groove and seats in there correctly. Then, rub new oil around the outside of the o-ring area, which will keep it from sticking to the filter housing and give it a good seal.
Here’s a top tip. Before installing the new filter, wipe down the housing area and pour some oil into the oil filter housing. This is a lot easier than using the actual oil fill tube provided by Ford because the oil filter’s opening is larger.
The next thing to do is to take the new filter and insert it into the housing. Be sure to align the groove in the filter with the tab on the housing, then screw the cap on (clockwise) with your 36mm socket until it’s snug. Do not overtighten the cap, as this can damage the filter.
6. Pour the Oil
This sounds like the easy part, but you need to know a few things. You’ll want to use synthetic oil for your 6.0 Powerstroke, and you’ll need approximately 15 quarts of oil, 15W-40.
Next, locate the oil filler towards the back of the engine. Once you’ve located it, remove the cap and stick a funnel into the opening. Now, begin slowly pouring in the oil. Note that if you’ve followed our tip in the previous step and poured some oil through the filter housing, there’s already some oil in the system. All you’ll be doing now is topping it off.
Once you’ve poured in 15 quarts, go ahead and check the oil level. Remove the dipstick (located next to the filler neck) and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth. Then, put the dipstick back in place and take it out to check the oil level. The oil should be between the dipstick’s “Add” and “OPERATING RANGE” marks. Once it reaches this point, replace the dipstick and screw the cap back on.
You’ve now successfully changed your 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine oil. Be sure to dispose of your used oil and filter properly.
Oil Changes Aren’t Enough: Bulletproof Your 6.0 Powerstroke
As we’ve mentioned earlier, keeping the motor oil in your 6.0 Powerstroke in top condition is among the ways to ensure its reliability and performance. That said, keep in mind that the engine does have its quirks. To start, the engine does experience head gasket faults and it’s also equipped with wonky EGR coolers and valves. For good measure, you can swap the faulty parts with new or aftermarket components to bulletproof your 6.0 Powerstroke and keep it running for the long haul.