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What Are The Best Ford Diesel Engines?

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Diesel Ford trucks have been a popular choice among consumers for many years. However, what is the best diesel trucks when it comes to power, reliability, and torque? Let's take a look at the best options below.

If you are considering a diesel Ford truck, then these are the best options on the market:

  • 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8
  • 7.3-liter Power Stroke V8
  • 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6

There are good and bad years for the Ford diesel trucks, like any vehicle manufacturer. This article will take a closer look at why these are the best diesel engines Ford has produced. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about Ford diesel engines, so keep reading!

Focus image of a Ford diesel engine, What Are The Best Ford Diesel Engines?

Best Ford Diesel Engines

When considering a diesel engine, there are some things you want to look for, such as power, reliability, torque, and towing capacity. All of these things are important when choosing a diesel engine, but some may be more important to you than others.

Heavy duty diesel engines mechanic preparing for work

These categories are just as important when looking at the Ford diesel engines. Of course, some do better than others, but what is the best of the bunch? We have done enough research to give you the top three best diesel engines produced by Ford.

Let's take a look at them.

6.7-Liter Power Stroke V8

The 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine is one of the best Ford has to offer. The latest version of the 6.7-liter power stroke has 475 HP and a jaw-dropping 1,050 lb-ft of torque. With that, the diesel engine can conservatively tow 20,000 lbs.

The 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 is a solid engine when it comes to reliability. It's one of Ford's most reliable engines and should give you few problems. The years you want to watch out for are 2011-2014.

These years were known to have turbo failures, emission issues, and EGR problems. However, if you can find the 2015 model or newer, you should be in good shape for 250,000 miles or more with the right maintenance.

7.3-Liter Power Stroke V8

The 7.3-liter Power stroke V8 was produced from 1994-2003 and was one of the most powerful diesel engines available during that time. Even today, the 7.3 is still a very powerful engine maxing out at 250 HP and around 500 lb-ft of torque in its final years.

The 7.3-liter has a simple construction, making it a reliable choice for many consumers. Many people have driven their 7.3 well over 300,000 miles with few problems. It's also a very good engine for towing, as it can tow up to 15,000 lbs.

The main years to avoid with the 7.3-liter engine are 2001-2003 due to early due to camshaft position sensors and PCMs failing. Since this is an older model engine, it is good to get a CarFax report to ensure the engine has been well taken care of. It is also worth asking the previous owner for maintenance records.

Want the best years for the 7.3-liter engine? Of course you do! Check out the 1999-2000 models. These models had forged steel connecting rods that could handle the additional power. In addition, you will get the latest turbo equipped with 3-inch piping. With proper maintenance, these years will serve you well.

3.0-Liter Power Stroke V6

The 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 diesel engine is not as powerful as the 6.7 or 7.3 engines, but it's still a very good engine. This engine offers 250 HP and 440 lb-ft of torque, making it perfect for towing up to 11,440 lbs.

The V6 diesel made its debut in 2018, so it is hard to say how reliable it is. However, if you are willing to take a chance, you will receive a combination of towing capability with excellent fuel mileage. Ford claims that the 3.0-liter diesel engine will get 30 mpg on the highway.

The downfall of the Ford F-150 diesel is that it is expensive. Expect to pay an extra $4,000 for the diesel engine over the gas counterpart. Another question is whether or not it is worth the extra price compared to the gas engine.

The most powerful Ford F-150 gas engine has 400 HP and 500 lb-ft of torque, beating the 3.0 diesel. Ford also states that the 2021 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost engine has a max towing capability of 14,000 lbs, significantly more than the V6 diesel.

The V6 diesel is undoubtedly a great engine to choose from, but it may not be the best engine for the Ford F-150.

What Ford Diesels To Avoid?

Now that you know about the three best Ford diesel engines, it is important to be aware of the years to avoid. These diesel engines struggled in reliability and left owners with hefty repair bills. Let's take a look at them below.

6.0-Liter Power Stroke V8

The 6.0-liter power stroke can be found for sale online and in local dealerships. But, if you are wondering, that isn't a good sign. They are so inexpensive and plentiful due to being cursed with issues.

Some of the most common issues include the head gasket, oil cooler, turbo, EGR, and injection system. Unfortunately, these parts are prone to failure and can leave you with a hefty repair bill.

Most consumers who were unlucky enough to buy this engine had to resort to repair kits. Once the repair kits are installed, the engine is more reliable but not the best option.

The 6.0-liter has some highlights, such as useful power and instant throttle response. However, while we would like to recommend some good years to consider, it is better to steer clear of any 6.0-liter Power Stroke V8 even if the price is enticing.

Take a look at the video below for a comprehensive look at the 6.0-liter Power Stroke engine's known problems.

6.4-Liter Power Stroke V8

While the 6.4-liter engine isn't plagued with as many issues as the 6.0-liter engine, it still is one to avoid. The reason being is due to its poor fuel economy. The only way to not drain your pocketbook at the gas station is to add an emissions delete.

Common problems consumers experienced included emissions controls failure, injection system issues, and cracked pistons. These repairs are costly to fix and not worth the hassle.

In addition, the 6.4-liter engine won't make it as long as other diesel engines before significant repairs need to be made. At the 200,000 mile mark, expect the fuel injectors, fuel pump, and pistons to need replacement.

The truck does have some highlights, such as having a high-responsive turbo that delivers great top-end power. The 6.4-liter engine is also easy to add performance parts giving it high customizability.

You can find 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8s for sale that have been well maintained, but we recommend avoiding this engine.

Do Diesel Engines Produce More Power?

Diesel engine

head diesel engine with common-rail

Due to having higher compression ratios, diesel engines produce more torque than gas engines—the increased compression ratio results from the higher temperature and pressure in the cylinders.

Diesel engines also have larger turbochargers and injectors, which help to increase power output. The downside is that diesel engines are typically more expensive than their gas counterparts.

While diesel engines may not always produce more power, they deliver more torque which is great for towing and hauling. 

How Do Diesel Engines Increase Power?

Repairing of modern diesel engine

Diesel engines can be customized to produce more power and torque. This can be done by adding aftermarket parts to increase the compression ratio, airflow, and fuel delivery. Here are simple ways to increase the power of your diesel engine:

Air Intake Kit

By replacing the stock air intake with an aftermarket kit, you can increase airflow and improve performance.

In addition, the air intake kit will draw outside air, giving the engine cooler air. Cooler air is denser and has more oxygen, enabling the engine to produce more power.

Upgraded Fuel Injectors

If your diesel engine is equipped with upgraded fuel injectors, it can deliver more fuel and create a more powerful explosion in the cylinders.

This will allow the engine to produce more power and torque while still running on diesel fuel. In addition, you may see a spike in your fuel economy.

Performance Exhaust

Like an air intake system, a performance exhaust system will also improve airflow. By reducing back pressure, the engine can expel exhaust gases more efficiently. This will allow the engine to breathe better and produce more power.

Tuner

A tuner can be used to adjust the engine's performance to your liking. By modifying the tune, you can increase the power and torque of your diesel engine. This will tell the computer to inject more fuel and add boost pressure.

Performance Turbocharger

Modern turbocharged diesel engine fuel supply system

Lastly, by adding a high-flow performance turbocharger, you can increase the power output of your diesel engine. The turbocharger will increase pressure in the air intake and provide more air to the cylinders.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it—the best and worst Ford diesel engines on the market. As you can see, there are pros and cons to each engine. Therefore, it's essential to do your research before making a purchase. If you don't, you may end up with an engine that will cost you a lot of money in repairs.

Want more content? Here are some more great diesel engine articles:

How Much Can A Ford F-250 Diesel Tow?

Do You Need A Diesel Truck To Pull A 5th Wheel [Including 5th Wheel & Pick-up Models]

Diesel Engine Won't Start In Cold—What Could Be Wrong?