We know what you’re thinking. Another article about how to save a 6.0L Power Stroke form imploding on itself. Well sort of, but the truth of the matter is Ford sold a ton of those truck between 2003 and 2007 and to be quite honest, there are still a ton of them on the road. Sure, they may need a little more love on the maintenance and repair side of things, but you can find these trucks on the cheap these days. A lot of people are scared to own one, which has kept their used values lower than other diesels on the market, but if you have the know-how, the right list of upgrades and are willing to put in the work they can be very capable tow rigs. While this particular project is on upgrading the cooling system, charge air system and transmission cooler with upgraded units from Mishimoto on a 6.0L Ford truck, the theory would be the same no matter what you drive. Of course, Mishimoto offers parts for just about every make and model year, regardless of Power Stroke, Duramax, or Cummins power plants.
We all know that heat kills performance. Heat kills efficiency. Heat kills power. Heat kills engines. As the light duty diesel market has continued to progress and the OEM’s are producing more power than ever. As those horsepower and torque outputs on brand new showroom models continues to grow, if you’ll notice, another thing growing along with it is the size of the cooling systems those trucks are equipped with. What good is all that power if you can’t keep the engine operating temperatures under control. The new diesel engines are using bigger oil coolers, massive radiators, cooling fans that could be used as a shop ceiling fan, and Ford themselves has even adopted liquid cooled intercooler systems in the latest Power Stroke platforms. It’s all in an effort to keep the engines running cooler under heavier loads and allowing you, the driver, to use all that power every time you need it, regardless of how hot it is outside or how long the grade is.
Obviously, the radiator is the most important part to any cooling system, being able to dissipate heat form the engine coolant efficiently is vital to keeping that engine running at it’s best when under a heavy load. When towing long grades, most trucks like to run at higher RPM’s, they make their best power there and the additional RPM’s means more air through the turbocharger, more oil pumped through the oil cooler, and more volume through the water pump. So, having a radiator that can move all that coolant across the core easily while pulling as much temperature out of it as possible is key.
Mishimito’s all aluminum radiators replace the failure prone OEM plastic end tank units and will both increase the efficiency across the core but dissipate heat better. Constructed from a high strength aircraft grade aluminum, the brazed aluminum core offers superior durability and efficiency to help keep the big engine cool under the harshest driving conditions, while allowing air to pass through it better than a factory unit would. TIG-welded aluminum end tanks increase longevity while retaining factory fitment for an easy installation, they’re also covered by a Lifetime Warranty.
To go along with the performance radiator, we’ll also make some changes to the charge air system to make sure the motor gets all the air from the turbocharger it can. Running higher RPM’s towing long grades, means higher boost levels, and the higher the boost, the hotter the charge air temperatures will be. It’s basic science that hotter air is less dense, meaning your engine gives up some efficiency. The turbocharger may be able to move a bunch of air, but hot air is less effective in the combustion chamber and can equate to higher exhaust gas temperatures. Mishimoto produces intercoolers for just about every light duty diesel application and the unit specific to this 6.0L is massive. The larger intercooler uses heavy duty cast aluminum end tanks and a more efficient bar and plate core, so air moves through it easier. Testing has shown as much as a 20% reduction in charge air temperatures which can mean a consistent 100-150 degree drop in EGT’s under load. That kind of temperature drop could be huge to how well your truck gets your big travel trailer over the next mountain pass.
While the 5R110 transmission Ford started using in the 6.0L has been a pretty rock solid performer and will handle quite a bit of abuse, like an engine, heat is the biggest enemy to any transmission. To ensure those fluid temperatures can stay cool, it’s never a bad idea to look at a larger cooler. Complimenting the rest of the cooling system upgrades the 37-row stacked-plate cooler provides more surface area and a 21% increase in fluid capacity. In most situations, this huge transmission cooler can bring fluid temperatures down as much as 30-degrees in day to day driving and heavy towing situations.