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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I just got a new to me 2004 F350 xlt with 107,000 miles for free because my father decided to move south and didn't want or need to take it with him. This truck has been maintained pretty well since new: 5,000 mile oil changes with rotella 5w-40 always using ford fuel and oil filters, two antifreeze changes (just drain and fill) with ford gold equivilent, powerservice in every fuel up, etc.
I currently have a 1978 f250 that I only use when I need a truck, the rest of the time I drive a car to save on fuel and headaches. Now that I have something a little more reliableand a lot less thirsty I think it's time to get rid of the car and my old truck. But first I'd like to go over the new truck and get it ready for daily short commutes (6.5 miles each way) in the heavily salted land of New Jersey.
I plan on installing the blue spring in the fuel pressure regulator, flushing the coolant (and the oil cooler) and changing over to CAT ec-1, installing a coolant filter and getting under the truck with a wire wheel and some paint to try and slow down the rust that's on the frame and just starting to bubble the paint on the rear wheel wells.
I plan on plugging the truck in in the winter, but at what temps is that really necessary, and how long should I set the timer for? Should I think about installing a trickle charger that would work in tandem with the heater because of my short commute?
Also, I started hearing a whistling noise behind the dash on the drivers side, so I poked my head under the hood and found a hole in my drivers side exhaust manifold! Common sense tells me to order a motorcraft manifold, but the cheapskate in me has me looking at a dorman manifold.
Has anyone had any experience with any aftermarket manifolds? Any advice is appreciated, as I'm going to try and get a plan together and tackle this when the weather warms up. Until then I'll drive the truck about once a week whenever I have to take a longer trip somewhere and make sure to abuse it a little bit here and there for it's own good.
Thanks!
 

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My 6.0 (06) doesn't need to be plugged in until it's below 20°. It sounds a little rough between 28 and 34 degrees, but it smooths out quickly.
Since your commute is so short, a remote start (with alarm, these trucks need an alarm) to get it warmed up a little before driving is a good idea. When plugged in, a couple of hours should warm it up nicely. Just set the timer to come on 2 hours before starting it.
I don't see why a Dorman exhaust manifold wouldn't work. That's a pretty straightforward part to produce. Use gaskets though, the stock setup doesn't have gaskets, so add those while you're in there. Also, check the up-pipe for cracks (especially at the below). They're prone to splitting there... You might not even see it. I didn't find mine until I took the whole pipe out.
Fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges should be added on, egt gauge if you tow or hotrod it around.
The cac boot at the turbo is also known to crack and leak, the crack isn't always noticeable, so a close inspection is recommended. Mine was a hairline that could only be seen when the boot was pinched just right. I saw the "line" but couldn't tell it went all the way through until I messed with it for awhile.
5/40 full synthetic oil is recommended. It'll help a lot in the cold weather.

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If you commute does not get the engine up to temp I would recommend not to use it, I also don't recommend starting and warming up any engine as that is hard on them instead of starting and driving moderately. I drove my truck a bunch in this negative temps with block heater and just driving right away.

If you drive is too short you will have battery and starting problems from insufficient time to recharge the batteries from glow plugs and starting. Upgrading the alternator and wiring helps a ton.

In the ford manual it says 3 hours for the block heater

Continue to use power service white year round.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We only get into the teens here most of the time, I was thinking of plugging the truck in just to make sure it hits operating temp quicker. I don't plan on letting the truck idle for longer than a minute or so each morning, my dad never did either. What do you guys think of my idea of wiring a charger in with the heater to top the batteries off before it gets started? cfherrman's suggestion about upgrading the alternator and wiring is duly noted also. The other day at 31 degrees it had barely warmed up as I was pulling into the parking lot. The flip side is that it's bad for the truck to just sit there all of the time too, but I could just keep my car and take the truck on longer rides only like I've been doing if short trips are going to hurt it more than sitting.
 

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I had a short time with a short commute (2 miles could walk it in 15 mins lol) I would drive there and high idle the truck untill it got to temp and shut it off, seemed very weird to do so, but the state of my charging system and batteries 3 trips like this not high idling it would be dead batteries.

I have heard mechanics say that you should use block heaters year round, personally I don't probably because I don't drive my truck every day. I do use it when it's cold and I know I'm driving it the next day. Currently I left it plugged in but we were seeing negative temps. The thought is even at summer temps the electricity cost of the block heater is less than the cost of the wear cost of the engine during warm up.

It's common for a 6.0 to get put on a tender if it sits longer than a week, if your batteries are dieing it's because your driving too short combined with the undersized factory charging system. People had put tenders on their trucks, as long as it's a quality product it's fine.

A cold start without plugging in is also a good test of your compression/fuel/glow plugs and should be done every once in awhile (1-2 years) when you don't need the truck right away.

I just had a cold start of mine at 10° outside without the block heater, I had white steam/smoke pouring out of the tail pipe so bad it looked like something was wrong, but by the time I slowly got to 70 mph, it was gone and the heater was starting to blow a little in the cab.

Glad to have you here, you will love the 1st gen ford chassis and the 6.0 is a excellent motor when you understand it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks cfherrman! I did start the truck without being plugged in once or twice this winter, I think temps were in the high teens or 20s. It starts right up, knocks for 5 or 10 seconds and the white smoke is gone in a minute or so. The truck is in great shape other than some rust underneath. My dad took great care of it and I'm filling in the holes with info from this forum and bitog to make sure it stays that way. Hopefully I can put off bulletproofing indefinitely, that's the hope anyway...
I've spent hours searching through the old forums here and I'm impressed with the technical info that gets shared on here. Keep up the good work guys!
 

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Honestly the 6.0 'can' out of the box not need to be bullet proofed but requires maintenance that typically is not done.

I would get a egr delete or a bullet proof egr, and upgrade the charging system. This takes care of two chain reaction events. Stay on the factory tune and and don't let the boost go above 25 and you won't need studs.

The current maintenance with oil and fuel is awesome, ford gold is 'good' for 50k but there is no point in using it wen there is cat elc.

Get yourself a bluetooth or wifi adapter and torque pro or forscan lite to check the health of your truck every once in awhile (yearly), replacing things before they break is cheap.

The cost per mile of a pickup diesel is probably over $1 mile, so consider that when you commute to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the insight guys! I was tossing around the idea of a mild tune just for driveability, not for blowing smoke in peoples' faces. I don't like how the truck always wants to downshift and keep the revs high, I like to use the low end torque more. Also, I like the idea of a fuel pressure gauge, I haven't heard that could be done so I'll look into that. I'm planning on a pyrometer when I change my exhaust manifold that has a hole and a water and oil temp gauge at some point too.
The egr has been unplugged for a couple of years. It would act up and my dad replaced it twice before just leaving it unplugged. I'm leaning towards a delete instead of an aftermarket egr cooler unless someone can convince me the truck really needs an egr and it's not just there to choke the engine out and please the environmentalists!
Can you just get an adapter for a phone or laptop and download torquepro instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a scanner?
As for the charging system, that's probably going to wait until the alternator needs replacing unless it starts eating at me now that I've been hearing the tales of burnt ficm's. Hopefully that will be after I've been able to pay for everything else, plus a set of tires and maybe a front wheel bearing.
 

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Diesels should not smoke, there will be people that don't agree with me on this (don't care) but when you start replacing this that cost a ton of money because it was smoking.....

The adapter is $10-20 if you have Android.

I do believe(or heard) a egr does help the engine since it's tuned to have, I would delete the egr if I were you even without a tune. I saw bullet proof cooler for those not in free states.

Max power is at 2000 rpms, use it, it's a diesel that can spin all day every day at 3000 if it needed to. Look at a charm of the torque of the 6.0, it's flat.
 

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Welcome!

Couple things I noticed, you said it knocks for 5 or 10 seconds on cold starts when its not plugged in. Mine was awful when my FICM was failing, like "BLAP BLAP BLAP..." lol! As soon as you get your OBD2 scanner, be sure and check out the FICM voltages. You can check it out manually too by probing the FICM itself. Good preventative maintenance.
Second, you mentioned waiting until the alternator needs to be changed. Keep a close eye on it, because it can cascade down and ruin the batteries, FICM, and the injectors over time lol

oh also, I think wiring in a battery tender is a fine idea. at least that way its always easy to plug it in.
 

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Time for an EGR delete. And while you are at it replace the oil cooler and flush your coolant system. When the cooler goes and dumps oil into your cooling system, plugs your heater radiator and leaves you without heat you will understand. Personal experience. I recently sold my 2004 6.0l. The EGR murdered me. I have never "plugged" any of my diesels here in FL (chuckle/smirk).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's the first I've heard of an oil cooler leaking oil into the coolant. I was planning on doing the flush outlined in the sticky section above and only changing the cooler if the delta was off. Is that a common enough problem where it makes sense for everyone to upgrade their cooler? Also, does anyone know what was changed in ford's improved cooler? I think I will end up deleting the egr this summer when I go over the truck. Does anyone have any suggestions on what kit to get? I've been looking around and some of the big names don't make them anymore due to the epa crackdown.
 

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Ford's "improved" oil cooler was stated to be the addition of an extra row for coolant flow. IMO they beefed up the brazing on it as well, but just didn't let that information out.

When the oil cooler plugs, it creates an imbalance in temperatures and expansion rates. This eventually results in a failed oil cooler that will put oil into the coolant because the oil pressure is higher than the coolant pressure. It is possible to see some coolant go into the oil, but that isn't very common.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, so it sounds like if my oil\water temp delta is within spec I shouldn't have to worry about changing the oil cooler unless I've got everything torn down for something else. Thanks!
 
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