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Old 06-27-2019, 11:24 AM   #1
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6.0 prep for South America overland?

I have a 2010 SMB RB with the 6.0L Powerstroke. We originally bought this van for a long South America overland, but I am increasingly concerned about the engine. Our van has on 28k Miles, and the engine is throwing P0299 errors. (I do monitor EOT and ECT with a Scanguage and all is well, apart from the turbo error on hard acceleration.) P0299 is related to the turbo and it really isnít too hard to rectify, but it speaks to the general reliability of the engine. As a comparison, This past Spring, I took my 1997 Land Rover Discovery (Camel Trophy Mongolia event vehicle with the 300 Tdi diesel) out of storage after almost 14 years, did a complete service on it, and drove it 11k kilometers from London, through the Western Sahara, Mauritania and back. 300 Tsi is an incredible little motor with a big heart, durable and reliable.

After reading the comments here, I thought it would be best to have my 6.0 Bulletproofed. So I called Bulletproof diesel in Arizona. They advised that their oil cooler will not fit the E Series vans, and the service manager said he wouldnít be overly enthusiastic about messing with the engine unless it has demonstrated major problems. The P0299 error, he advised, is likely due to sitting for long periods.

He said that the vans are detuned, so head bolts probably arenít needed. EGR...maybe, but that the biggest potential problem is the oil cooler and their part wonít fit anyway.

In the end, he advised driving it regularly for a few months and that maybe the turbo would clear itself out. And before a long South America trip, to just have the oil cooler preventatively replaced with an OEM unit. Complete service and other than that, leave it alone.

I see posts here about installing the Bulletproof oil coolers on SMBs. How are people doing that? Any advice you all might have for preparing the van to minimize engine failure on a trip like this much appreciated!

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Old 06-27-2019, 12:39 PM   #2
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You're braver than I am.

Anyways.... If you've been driving it hard, and the turbo is still sticking, you probably should pull it out and and send it to Bell turbo, for a good cleaning and clearancing of the unison rings. Otherwise it will rapidly got worse once you start putting lower quality fuel in there.

On that note... carry spare filters and maybe some cetene additive.

I would not touch the oil cooler if its not giving any issues. They don't fail on their own. They plug up with silicates from the gold coolant breaking down. Instead, flush out the gold coolant and replace with long-life CAT/Cummins ELC. Since you're doing it at such a low milage, you probably do not need to add a coolant filter.

Anyways... I hope you aren't put off by my original comment. It's a genuine concern, because you'll be thousands of miles away from the nearest mechanic who know the 6.0, parts will have to be shipped to you, and it's a delicate motor whose seemingly minor problems can quickly cascade to catastrophic failure if you try to limp to the next town. This is not a motor that any roadside mechanic can just figure out. At the very least, you should consider carrying your own diagnostics software.

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Old 06-27-2019, 01:09 PM   #3
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How to prep for SA trip? sell the 6.0 and buy a 7.3? *cough* I know of one going up for sale soon.

All joking aside, I second everything CarrinB said .... best of luck with the trip and have fun :-)
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:12 PM   #4
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Others have done the journey successfully with their 6.0 SMB and I plan to do the same in mine next year. Mine is a 2005 which I've owned since 2006. After messing with the turbo (P0299 code) a few times and being advised to "drive it like you stole it" every now and then, It has been fine for a long time. I typically run it through 1 WOT session whenever I drive it and don't let it sit for more than a few weeks at a time without driving it (as carringb said, extended non-use can be a problem).

I had a BPD EGR installed right as warranty was running out as my 2nd EGR. No more problems. I've had the oil cooler replaced once (oem) and have been good for a long time (also installed right when warranty was expiring). EGR and Oil Cooer were replaced 7/2012 at 67K miles. I'm now right around 100K miles. Fuel injectors (OEM) and FICM (BPD) were just replaced and it is running better than ever now!

I'll PM you as I'd like to know your trip details and curious if we may cross paths.

- 2005 EB50 6.0PSD - SMB 4x4
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:29 PM   #5
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Funny, I went and looked at some of the other SMB travelers blogs I've followed and 2 of them are 7.3PSD and 1 is a V10 gas. I'm still going in mine and we'll see how it works out ....

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Old 06-28-2019, 12:04 AM   #6
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Itís not an adventure until something goes wrong...then itís a catastrophe.
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Old 06-28-2019, 09:11 AM   #7
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The bulletproof oil cooler is a solution in search of a problem. As suggested above get rid of the Ford Gold and replace with an ELC. Install a coolant filter instead. The 6.0 was originally spec'd with a coolant filter by Navistar International and Ford chose not to include it to save money. The vans are also not detuned. The reality is Ford basically chipped the F series for additional HP to compete with Cummins and the Duramax leading to head gasket failures. They then blamed all the failures and warranty issues on Navistar. That's my understanding anyway.

If your monitoring your sensors with a Scanguage or something similar then you'll know the health of the oil cooler by watching EOT and ECT. But also watch the voltage on the FICM. You might want to take a backup if going to S. America. They are quite easy to swap out.
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Old 06-30-2019, 07:36 PM   #8
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I don't know much about available Ford service in South America but I would be anxious about a trip there. I would get all the sensors as backup. Possibly a spare ICP Sensor FICM and PCM and a code reader at the least. The failures I've had were mostly sensors and had to wait several days in WY and Utah for parts to be delivered. Wiring harness issues are also a potential problem. I don't think any major internal engine problems are worrisome but when it shuts down you need someone who has the diagnostic capabilities. Without the Ford interface and computer one is Lost. Just my 2 Cents.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:51 AM   #9
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Research...research...research. Here's a good start.
PowerStrokeArmy - Powered by vBulletin

coolant flush:
6.0L Power Stroke Cooling System Flush & Service Procedures


diesel fuel:
Diesel Fuel in Mexico

The BPD external oil cooler will fit on a van, it just requires some fabrication. I did some intensive research before deciding not to purchase. It's proven technology, however, it might be more advantageous to invest the money into other systems that WILL help engine operation, and longevity...for less cost.

The 6.0 is a reliable engine...when the known issues are fixed, and it's properly maintained. There are numerous updates, and upgrades, that will make the engine more reliable.
In order to be more helpful, need more specifics about the van:
* 2wd vs 4wd;
* stock bumpers vs. aftermarket;
* etc.
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Old 07-01-2019, 06:05 PM   #10
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As long as you’re not in a time crunch... have no fear.

You can get any part you want, anywhere you need it, it might just take a little longer. So worst case you hang out in some nice town in Nicaragua or Peru for an extra week or two. No big deal. I ended up in the jungle in Guatemala for an extra 2-3 weeks waiting for a new transmission for my bike.. it’s one of my best memories of my trip.

That said, I’d do some of the suggestions above!

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