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​Is the 6.4 Powerstroke a Good Engine?

Sep 25th 2023

white 2020 Ford F-250 pickup truck / Wirestock Creators

The 6.4 Powerstroke engine is one of the most powerful diesel engines on the market today, but it needs regular upkeep and a few modifications to truly come out of its shell. This engine is found on the 2008 to 2010 Ford F-250 pickup truck. The automaker has a great reputation in the industry, but this engine has a few drawbacks every driver should be aware of. If you’re new to diesel engines, learn about the difference between the Duramax vs. Powerstroke to find the right kind of truck for your operation. Some towers swear by the reliability of the 6.4 Powerstroke while others prefer engines that are easier to maintain. So, is the 6.4 Powerstroke a good engine?

6.4 Powerstroke Pros:

There are plenty of things to love about the 6.4 Powerstroke. It’s an upgrade from the 6.0 Powerstroke with twin turbos for enhanced acceleration and fuel efficiency. It also substitutes the hydraulic electronic unit injectors (HEUI) with a common rail injection system that also increases efficiency. The HEUI system was considered revolutionary in their time, but the common rail injection system is slowly replacing it.

Common fuel injectors move the fuel through one rail that then delivers the fuel to multiple injectors which all fire at different times. Spreading the highly pressurized fuel among multiple injectors provides additional flexibility during the firing process, and this increases the torque while making the engine more efficient. A common rail injection system can deliver up to 35,000 pounds of pressure per line.

The 6.4 Powerstroke also uses piezoelectricity, which helps the engine function at higher speeds compared to the HEUI. The injectors produce electric sparks when vibrating back and forth, which releases additional energy, thus increasing horsepower and torque. While these stats vary based on the model, the 6.4 Powerstroke gets a peak horsepower of 350 hp @ 3,000 RPM and a peak torque of 650 lb.-ft @ 2,000 RPM, which puts the 6.0 Powerstroke to shame. It comes fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that’s designed to filter carbon deposits and other debris out of the fuel before passing it onto the engine. It uses active regeneration to clean away debris over time.

Ford F250 Super Duty display / Jonathan Weiss

The .4 Powerstroke also uses an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler to reduce NOx emissions. The system recycles the exhaust gas through the engine instead of jettisoning it through the tailpipe. The EGR cooler uses coolant to reduce the temperature of the exhaust before sending it back through the engine.

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6.4 Powerstroke Cons:

Despite these upgrades, the 6.4 Powerstroke can run into issues over time. This engine isn’t winning any awards for fuel efficiency. Expect to get somewhere between 10 and 15 mpg depending on where you’re driving. If you don’t have enough oil or aren’t keeping up with regular maintenance, you will burn through more fuel than necessary.

There’s also the risk of fuel getting into the oil supply. When the engine uses regeneration to clean the diesel filter, fuel is added to the exhaust to help burn off deposits, which can leak fuel into the oil. Check your oil levels often and consider replacing your DPF if you have more oil in the tank than expected. Both the pistons and exhaust can crack on the 6.4 Powerstroke, which can lead to costly repairs. Excess fuel and exhaust pressure can damage internal components as time goes on.

Young Auto Mechanic Dismantles Opposing Engine / SergeyKlopotov

The Verdict

The Ford 6.4 Powerstroke is a great engine if you’re prepared to accept the responsibility of maintaining it. If you’re concerned about fuel efficiency, the best thing you can do is to change out your oil at or before the recommended interval. The right amount of high-quality oil helps the fuel injectors fire at the right PSI when the computer tells them to do so. This will also help the turbochargers increase the amount of compressed air going into the combustion chamber to give you a steady boost behind the wheel.

The EGR cooler is known to fail on the engine, which can lead to overheating and poor fuel efficiency. You also risk failing an emissions test. Replace the 6.4 Powerstroke EGR cooler every few hundred miles if you tow regularly. The engine will also overheat if the EGR can’t do its job or there isn’t enough coolant in the engine. Replace the 6.4 Powerstroke water pump every 90,000 miles or less to avoid damaging your Ford F-250.

The 6.4 Powerstroke may not be perfect, but it will last the test of time if you’re willing to put in the work. Keep these tips in mind to make the most of your purchase.