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Old 06-28-2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

My husband and I are thinking of upgrading from a 1993 E150 SMB to a 2005 E350 diesel. I am concerned about all of the negative press I have read on the 6.0L diesel engines. I read that most of the problems were in 2003 and 2004. What is the general consensus regarding reliability of 2005 6.0 diesel engines? It's a big decision and I am getting cold feet because of consumer reviews I have read.



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Old 06-29-2011, 08:38 AM   #2
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

Once the dealerships stopped monkeying around and actually fixed it, mine has been just fine. 2005 with probably 7 or 8 weeks at the dealership in our first year of ownership and once since then for an unrelated oil leak.

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Old 06-29-2011, 12:31 PM   #3
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

Mainly the bad news seemed to come from the pickup truck industry. unfortunately there is no doubt that the ambulance industry wasn't happy with the 6.0's record at first but most of that was resolved around 2005. I have not had turbo problems yet with my 06 but have had some other issues with the EGR, and a bad injector, both of which were probably my fault for not using fuel additive and my driving habbits. The bed plate gasket is another thorn in the side of the 6.0's. From what I've read, the 6.0 needs to be drove on a regular basis and driven hard. Finding out how the owner drove it might help. An oil sample sent to a lab can also help if the owner will agree.

Being you already own a SMB this might not be too helpful but is worth looking at. There are also many threads similar to yours on the site about the 6.0

This site mainly talks about the truck engine but is worth looking at.

That said anybody can end up with a lemon...gas or diesel.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:57 PM   #4
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

I have a 2006 6.0 diesel and only have 47,000 miles on it. I have only had 3 issues with the engine. The first was one that had us stuck in Santa Barbara for a few days. An internal oil line that is connected to the final fuel pump came loose (or broke). I was told that this line was replaced with an upgraded version, it was a quick release and is now a threaded connection. The whole thing was taken care of by Ford including the tow. That happened around 25 to 30K miles. The second thing was an oil leak from the main seal, oil was leaking from between the engine and transmission. That was just after 30K miles. It's now leaking again. The third was the fan clutch went out around 35K. All of these were taken care of under the warranty. I think so far I have been lucky, I know a lot of people that have had a lot more problems with regular cars of all makes and models.
I know this engine has a bad reputation but I have had more problems with the other Ford components of the van.
It sounds like you are looking at a used van so you should have all the records of any problems it may have had. And if it has 50,000 plus miles on it, there is a good chance that many of the more talked about issues would have shown themselves. An extended warranty would be nice but we chose not to buy that when we had the chance. Like I said, we may have gotten lucky with our van but I am very happy with the diesel and would do the same if I had to do it all over. I love having a 600 mile range on a tank of fuel and if gas prices keep going up (which they will) the diesel engine has a few other options of fuel. If you do get one, I would recommend that you install the coolant filter, it's about a $150 kit from The more serious problems that I have read about seem to stem from debris in the coolant system. I thought of it as a cheap insurance policy.
Hope that helps,
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:34 PM   #5
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

I realize that data is the plural of anecdote and that any individual experience, mine included, is just an anecdote. But it is also true that those with problems are far more likely to vent their anger online than owners where everything is basically OK.

My 06 6.0 has 63,000 miles. It has never left me stranded. It has been into the dealer three times. Once to clean the EGR valve, once to fix a cracked glow plug fitting and once to fix a cracked hose in the AC system. It has been by far the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned.

There are some very credible theories about what gives the 6.0 motor trouble and how those problems can be avoided. No extended idling, drive it hard and regularly, keep the fluids very clean, use good fuel and perhaps a fuel treatment, use the right oil/coolant, etc........ I follow all of these rules very consistently.

And I'm also probably lucky to some extent.

But maintenance and driving habits seem to be key. IMHO, when treated well/properly the reality is better than the reputation. Exactly how much better is anyone's guess.

Good luck in choosing.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:01 PM   #6
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

A good friend of mine is the Ford Diesel mechanic where I live. He does all the work on the 6.0 liter truck and others that come in. Trucks, vans, ambulances, CalTrans. Yes, some but not all had problems, but if they do, once they are sorted out they are fine.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:57 PM   #7
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Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

I wouldn't do it unless it is in your budget to either delete or replace the EGR ( and add gauges to monitor oil and coolant temp at a minimum.

With those two preventative measures you can avoid (EGR) or stop (overtemp) prior to major damage. That seems to cover the percentage threat to the E-Series 6.0. My research seems to indicate with those issues addressed there is no reason to expect less than good results.

Bedplate leak is the other major concern. That seems to be a roll of the dice...
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines


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Old 06-29-2011, 06:43 PM   #9
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

I just completed a major 6.0 upgrade to my van. 90K with no issues, didn't want to take any chances. I did the EGR cooler delete, rebuilt & cleaned the turbo, and added a new tuner (economy 80HP) I also installed an EGT gage to keep my eye on everything. So far so good!

I decided to do everything myself for several reasons. I'm glad I did, because I now know the 6.0 quite well! There are MANY ways to screw up with a job this big, and I can easily see how it can be done by someone that doesn't care.
Chris Steuber
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:56 PM   #10
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Re: Reliability of 2005 6.0 Diesel Engines

The 6.0 diesel choice was the worst consumer choice I've ever made. My 7 year emissions warranty expires this week. Fortunately the turbo was thoughtful enough to have its 4th failure last month @ 52000 miles. I currently have a California lemon law claim in process. It's obvious that the variable vane turbo is not designed for my driving needs which mostly is infrequent 100-300 mile jaunts and tooling around desert trails at low speed. I would highly recommend you include your yearly mileage profile in your decision and do a lot more research. Doing a $2000 turbo repair every 1.5 years / 13000 miles for me is unacceptable. Mine is the 2004 but it's the same turbo and yes my last 2 unison ring replacements were with the latest design which I understand has bigger slots to take more rust and carbon before the vanes stick.

Pat O

2004 SMB 4x4 RB 6.0 PSD; ARP Head Studs, Gen 3 Cylinder Heads, BPD Oil Cooler connected to AMSOil Bypass, a whistling Wicked Wheel Turbo, Coolant Filter, Upgraded alternator, ScanGauge, SCT custom and SMB Fox shocks.
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