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​What Is the Best Ford Diesel Engine?

Jan 23rd 2024

truck on road

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The Detroit automaker has become one of the leading manufacturers of high-powered diesel engines in the U.S. The company’s Powerstroke engines currently dominate the market, creating the number-one selling line of pick-up trucks in the country. So, what is the best Ford diesel engine? First, it’s important to understand what is diesel and that these machines have gone through many iterations over the years, steadily increasing efficiency and reducing emissions.

According to Good Car Bad Car, America’s signature automaker first broke into the diesel market in 1982 when it released the indirect injection (IDI) 6.9-liter V8 engine with Navistar, formerly the International Harvester Company.

The company later introduced the 7.3-liter Powerstroke hydraulically actuated, electronically controlled, direct fuel injection engine in 1994, offering more power than previous models. Fleet managers and truck enthusiasts hailed it for its impressive horsepower and towing capacity, but changing environmental regulations pushed the technology to new heights.

Ford replaced it with the 6.0-liter Powerstroke V8 engine in 2003 to reduce toxic emissions and improve reliability. However, problems with the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system led to another upgrade in 2008 when it was replaced with the 6.4-liter Powerstroke V8 engine.

ford dealership row of trucks

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In 2011, Ford upped the ante yet again with the release of the 6.7L V8 direct injection engine, which still rules the market today. The company continues to tweak this best-selling design as new F-250s and 350s come out every year. Learn why the 6.7L V8 Powerstroke is considered the best Ford diesel engine ever made and what makes it so efficient.

What Makes the 6.7 V8 Powerstroke the Best Ford Diesel Engine?

The 6.7 V8 marks a notable departure from Ford’s previous inventions. It’s the first diesel engine designed entirely in-house, which gave the company more control over the output. The latest models get up to 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft. of torque.

The engine uses several exhaust after-treatment methods to reduce the spread of harmful emissions while improving engine performance, including exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel particulate filters that remove soot and carbon from the exhaust. These systems keep the fuel and exhaust systems clean and reduce the temperature of the recycled exhaust to prevent overheating.

New Ford diesel engines feature a single-sequential Honeywell turbocharger with a dual-compressor turbine that reacts as fast as a small turbo with the power gains of a large turbine. They also come with high-pressure common-rail fuel injection systems that send the fuel directly into the combustion chamber as a fine mist. This system optimizes the combustion process by firing at the right amount of fuel at the right time. Pressurized fuel enters each injector before firing. As the name implies, they are designed to withstand immense pressure for faster acceleration times and better handling.

This improves on the 7.3 and 6.0 models, which use a different injection method. Previous iterations used a high-pressure oil (HPOP) pump to pressurize the fuel inside the injectors, which can delay the process and limit acceleration at low speeds. Leaking gaskets and seals, poor-quality oil and poor maintenance will damage the HPOP and clog the fuel injectors, reducing fuel efficiency and power. Replace the HPOP on these models every 100,000 miles to get the most out of your aging equipment.

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Maintaining the 6.7 V8 Powerstroke

Even the best Ford diesel engines need regular maintenance to prevent performance issues. Your F-Series pickup will only reap the specs mentioned above if you follow the company’s maintenance guidelines at regular intervals. The company recommends the following:

  • Replace the oil and oil filter every 7,500 to 10,000 miles.
  • Replace the fuel filters every 15,000 to 20,00 miles.
  • Inspect the air restriction gauge with every oil change.
  • Check or change the coolant every 72 months or 105,000 miles.

pouring oil into car


The intervals are even more frequent under special operating conditions, such as excess towing or shorter trips that prevent the oil from circulating throughout the engine. Even though the fuel injectors are designed to withstand pressure, they can still clog and crack. Replace broken and dirty fuel injectors to maintain peak fuel efficiency.

The biggest complaint drivers have about the 6.7 Powerstroke is that the SCT system consumes diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) faster than expected. The DEF pump sprays the fluid into the exhaust to turn NOx into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Check your DEF levels regularly to avoid running low. As of now, the 6.7 Powerstroke is about as close to perfection as a diesel engine can get. Keep these maintenance tips in mind to unlock its full potential.