Ultimate Guide to Ford 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Specs and Performance
2008-2010 Ford SuperDuty 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Specs
The 6.4L Powerstroke joined Ford’s Superduty truck lineup in 2008. A new body style accompanied the motor change, as well as significant interior improvements that made Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450 trucks more luxurious and more comfortable than ever before. After the 6.0L Powerstroke stint, Ford Diesel owners were ready for something new and hopefully, something more reliable. Would the 6.4L Powerstroke diesel engine prove to be any better? Not really. While the 6.4L Powerstroke did provide impressive performance specs, they actually suffer from a number of problems that are just as common, if not more common than the problems found on 6.0L Powerstroke engines.
Most of the 6.4L Powerstroke diesel engine’s problems stem from this engines design, as well as new emissions that were added to comply with stricter EPA emission regulations. 6.4L Powerstroke diesel truck owners should have reliability concerns about their trucks, but a lot of these problems can be prevented if you know what to look out for. Despite their frequent problems, 6.4 engines shouldn’t be viewed in a purely negative light. They have very impressive performance capabilities and can be made very powerful, very easily and inexpensively.
In this post, we’ll go over the 6.4L Powerstroke engine design that makes it unreliable, but yet extremely capable. We’ll go over key performance attributes, and how these attributes impact tow capacity and overall horsepower and torque numbers. We’ll also briefly touch on common 6.4L Powerstroke problems. Let’s get into it.
6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Engine
The 6.4L Powerstroke is a V-8 turbocharged Diesel engine manufactured by International Navistar. 6.4L Powerstroke engines are based off of International’s MaxxForce 7 engine that was used in commercial applications. The 6.4 was the first International engine used in Ford Diesel trucks that featured a Diesel Particulate Filter.
It also ended up being the last International diesel engine used in a Ford Superduty truck. This engine was only used for a few years, 2008-2010, before Ford terminated their diesel agreement with International Navistar. After terminating this agreement, Ford introduced their own diesel that they created in-house, the 6.7L Powerstroke diesel V-8 engine in 2011.
The 6.4L Powerstroke engine utilizes a cast iron block for a solid foundation. Instead of main bearing caps being present, the 6.4 uses a cast iron bed plate to secure the crankshaft. Cast iron cylinder heads are also used, featuring 4 valves per cylinder. Unlike the 6.0L Powerstroke, the 6.4 uses four 16mm TTY head bolts per cylinder to secure the heads to the block. This helps prevent head gasket failure by providing superior clamping strength, making blown head gaskets on this engine less common than the 6.0L Powerstroke.
Ford’s 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel engine uses an OHV, or overhead valve design, and also a single cam. The connecting rods are powdered-steel and are well-known to be capable of sustaining some serious abuse. They can often hold almost 1,000 horsepower before failure occurs. The same can’t be said for other components on this engine however, especially the 6.4L Powerstroke’s Pistons.
The 6.4L Powerstroke’s pistons are a known weak point in this engine. Over time, the pistons can crack, allowing oil/fuel dilution to occur. Thankfully, there is a solution. Aftermarket 6.4L Pistons are available that can withstand heat better and last much longer than the factory units. While these will solve your piston problems, it requires a full rebuild and tear-down of your engine. So before you do that, you should be aware of all the common 6.4L Powerstroke diesel Problems, that way you can address them all at once. We’ll give a brief breakdown of these problems in a section below.
Fuel Injection System
Unlike the 6.0L Powerstroke diesel that came before this engine, the 6.4L Powerstroke doesn’t feature an HEUI fuel injection system. Instead, the 6.4 utilizes a common-rail fuel injection system. This design offers better fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and emits less harmful emissions!
Siemens K16 VDO Injection Pump
The heart of this fuel injection system is a Siemens K16 VDO fuel injection pump. It’s capable of producing almost 25,000 psi, and it benefits from a lift-pump that provides it with a steady supply of fuel. Despite the impressive performance characteristics of the Siemens K16, it left much to be desired when it comes to reliability. It has a tendency to self destruct when exposed to poor fuel quality or water in the fuel system. When this occurs, it sends shrapnel flying through the fuel system, destroying the injectors. The result is a very expensive repair bill, requiring you to pull the cab.
6.4L Powerstroke Piezo-Electric Injectors
The 6.4L Powerstroke’s PiezoElectric injectors are the first time we see these style of injectors used on a diesel truck. They provide cleaner emissions and more power. They can provide up to five injection events per combustion cycle, utilizing pilot events and post events for greater noise and emissions reductio, while maximizing power output. These injectors also improve cold starting.
6.4L Powerstroke Twin Sequential Turbochargers
The 6.4L Powerstroke features one of the most exciting factory turbocharger set-ups of any Diesel engines to this day. Why you might ask? Well, it utilizes a twin sequential turbocharger (Compound turbochargers) set-up that is capable of producing 40 psi of boost on a purely stock system. While this makes obtaining extra power and improving performance very easy, it doesn’t make the 6.4L Powerstroke any more reliable.
This 6.4L Powerstroke Twin Sequential turbochargers are provided by Borg-Warner. In this system, a 65mm fixed geometry turbocharger is paired with a 52mm variable geometry turbocharger. This results in quicker spool times and better overall performance. This setup is also very favorable to individuals who want to build and upgrade their trucks. With just tuning, the 6.4L Powerstroke can easily pass the 500 horsepower mark.
6.4L Powerstroke Problems
The 6.4L Powerstroke diesel engine doesn’t offer reliability comparable to the 7.3L Powerstroke, or even the newer 6.7L Powerstroke. These engines are on-par with the 6.0L and engine lifetimes are usually short. Average 6.4L Powerstroke engine lifespans are typically below 200,000 miles, even on stock trucks.
If you have one, or are thinking about purchasing one, you should be extremely familiar with the common issues associated with these trucks. We’ll list these problems down below. Visit our Common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems resource post for more details and information on these problems.
What are the most common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems?
- Clogged Diesel Particulate Filters
- Clogged Engine Oil Coolers
- EGR Valve Failure
- Clogged EGR Cooler
- Cracked Pistons
- Cracked Up-Pipes
- Leaking Radiators
- Oil Dilution
- Cylinder Washing
- High Pressure Fuel Pump Wire Chafing
- Fuel Coagulation/Fuel System Failures
- Cracked Blocks
Proper Maintenance Goes A Long Way
While there are a number of common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems, performing the proper maintenance and investing in superior aftermarket parts can dramatically improve reliability and engine lifespans. You should also follow a severe maintenance schedule, servicing these trucks every 5,000 miles. The water/fuel separator should be drained every week or other week to prevent rust from developing in the fuel system. If you just purchased a 6.4, or you’ve simply been neglecting the one you already have, visit our Comprehensive Guide to 6.4L Powerstroke Maintenance for a through guide on how to maintain your truck.
Aftermarket Parts to Upgrade Reliability
Many common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems stem from factory specs and components. The parts used simply do a poor job and don’t last very long. Thankfully there are a number of reputable aftermarket manufacturers that have built parts to replace the factory ones, offering greatly improved durability and performance. Here are some of our favorite 6.4L Powerstroke upgrades to increase longevity and durability.
1. Coolant Filtration Systems
Coolant Filtration Systems are one of most important upgrades for any 6.4L Powerstroke with emissions left in-tact. They also happen to be one of the most inexpensive upgrades, making them an upgrade anyone can afford. Here’s why they’re important.
The 6.4L Powerstroke uses coolant for not only engine cooling, but also to cool the exhaust gases that are re-introduced into the engine by the exhaust gas recirculation system. This greatly reduces the emissions output by any Diesel engine. Unfortunately, the 6.4L Powerstroke, like the 6.0L Powerstroke, often suffers from the same coolant breakdown that causes clogged EGR Coolers.
Coolant Filtration systems preserve the quality of engine coolant and help prevent coolant related issues across the board when it comes to 6.4 Powerstroke engines. Here are some of our favorite coolant filtration kits.
Mishimoto Coolant Filtration System
Increase coolant life and prevent common EGR clogging problems with Mishimoto’s Coolant Filtration System.
Sinister Diesel Coolant Filtration Kit
Another inexpensive coolant filtration kit is made by Sinister Diesel. It’s cheap insurance for your 6.4L Powerstroke engine and it can prolong coolant change intervals!
2. Aftermarket Radiators
All 6.4L Powerstroke equipped Ford Superduty trucks will experience leaking radiators. It’s not a matter if it’s going to occur, it’s a matter of when. This is due to a poor quality factory radiator that uses plastic end caps. These plastic ends are typically the culprits of leaks and when it occurs you will often notice coolant loss or overheating. You can often identify a leaking radiator by simply looking at it, most factory radiators that leak will show signs of coolant loss.
When this happens, it’s time to upgrade to a new aftermarket radiator. Many 6.4 owners actually decide to upgrade before the problem occurs, so they never have to worry about. These are some of our favorite aftermarket radiator solutions for these trucks.
Mishimoto 6.4L Powerstroke Radiator
Mishimoto’s 6.4L Powerstroke radiator kit offers better durability and reliability than factory radiators. It also comes with a lifetime warranty!
Mishimoto Upper Support Bar
Mishimoto’s Upper Support Bar improves rigidity and reduces front end flex. This gives the radiator greater support and should help reduce radiator problems associated with the 6.4.
3. Aftermarket Up-Pipes
If you are already upgrading your 6.4, one problem area you should address is the factory up-pipes. They frequently crack at the expansion joints, dropping boost pressure and creating a big mess under the hood. When this happens, the back of the engine and the firewall are covered in soot. Aftermarket Up-pipes offer greater longevity and can even improve performance! They do this by increasing flow and reducing restrictions, creating quicker spool times and better throttle response. Here are some of our favorite kits.
Rudy’s Diesel Thick-Wall Up-Pipe Kit
Want to replace those cracked up-pipes? Rudy’s Diesel Thick-Wall Up-Pipe kit is a drop-in replacement kit that is offered with a lifetime warranty!
4. Aftermarket Fuel Lift Pump Systems
The common-rail fuel injection system used in the 6.4l Powerstroke is extremely susceptible to poor fuel quality. Factory water/fuel separators can fail, allowing rust to enter the fuel system. This can then cause the injection pump to self-destruct, sending metal shards to the fuel injectors. When performance is increased by tuning or other means, the factory fuel lift pump might also become inadequate. The solution to both of these problems is an aftermarket fuel lift pump.
Aftermarket fuel lift pump systems offer significantly better fuel filtration than factory fuel filters. This gives your engine cleaner fuel for a better burn. It can improve fuel economy and performance. They also provide a constant fuel supply for the injection pump which is especially important when you tune your vehicle. The last thing you want is to be starving your fuel injection pump! Here are our favorite Fuel Lift Pump Systems.
Air Dog 165GPH Lift Pump
Want better fuel filtration and a constant fuel supply to support your slightly modified 6.4L Powerstroke? The Air Dog Gen II 165 GPH lift pump gives your engine cleaner fuel for a better burn.
5. Diesel Performance Monitors And Digital Gauge Displays
Another useful product for any diesel truck is a performance monitor. Products like the Edge CTS3 Insight make viewing all of your vehicle’s parameters very easy. You can keep an eye on things like engine oil and coolant temperatures. With an EGT probe you can also monitor EGTS. These can help you catch problems early. Here are our favorite performance monitors and digital gauge displays for the 6.4.
Edge CTS3 Insight
Edge’s CTS3 Insight provides real-time data parameter monitoring, trouble code reading and a lot more! Read our Edge CTS3 Insight review for more information!
Bully Dog GTX
The Bully Dog GTX is a performance monitor with tuning capabilities too! It even supports custom tuning that can be uploaded over the cloud!
Banks Power IDash 1.8 DataMonster
The most compact diesel performance monitor out there! The Banks Power iDash 1.8 DataMonster offers over powerful parameter monitoring in a tiny package!
6.4L Powerstroke Performance
The 6.4L Powerstroke was very impressive for the time, offering 350 horsepower and 650 lb/ft of torque. These 6.4L Powerstroke performance specs help these trucks achieve a max tow capacity of 24,600 lbs when properly equipped (2010 F-450). This engine was partnered with either a 5-speed automatic TorqShift transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. Both transmissions are known to be pretty durable, even the automatic transmission holds up to higher performance figures.
The 6.4L Powerstroke’s performance is well respected in the diesel world. It uses a twin turbocharger set-up from the factory. This is ideal for truck owners who want to upgrade their trucks. You can easily reach 500-600 with just tuning and minor modifications. Even without tuning or mods, the 6.4 provides impressive spool times and is very fun to drive. The stock turbocharger setup is capable of providing boost of up to 40 psi!
A new Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) emissions system was introduced on these trucks. It does significantly reduce emissions, however, it drastically reduces fuel economy and reliability. For trucks that are not operated on highways and are just used for off-road or competition use, DPF deletes are a good solid upgrade. This engine also has two EGR Coolers, compared to the one unit found on 6.0 engines. This further reduces efficiency and reliability, making it another common target to “delete”.
To understand this truck’s performance, check out this comprehensive overview of 6.4 Powerstroke specs down below.
6.4L Powerstroke Specs
|Engine Design:||V8 Turbocharged Diesel|
|Transmissions:||5-Speed Automatic Torqshift transmission|
6-Speed Manual Transmission
|Front Suspension:||4×2 F-250 & F-350: Twin-I-Beam|
4×4 F-250 & F-350: solid twin-coil monobeam axle
|Displacement:||6.4 Liters or 390 cubic inches|
|Engine Weight:||1,130 lbs /w oil|
|Bore:||3.87 inches or 98.2 mm|
|Stroke:||4.134 inches or 105 mm|
|Cylinder Head:||Cast Iron /w 4 M16 Head Bolts per cylinder|
|Engine Block:||Cast Iron|
|Fuel Injection:||High-Pressure Common-Rail, Siemens K16 VDO|
injection pump with piezo-electric injectors
|TurboCharger:||Borg-Warner Series Sequential Twin |
Turbochargers, Air-To-Air Intercooler
|Valvetrain:||OHV 32 Valve|
|Emissions:||Exhaust Gas Recirculation System |
Diesel Particulate Filter
Diesel Oxidation Catalyst
|Engine Oil Capacity:||15 quarts /w filter|
|DEF Tank Size:||No DEF System used|
|Battery:||Dual 12-volt 750-CCA/78-amp|
|Fuel:||Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel|
|Fuel Tank Size:||Short box: 30.5 Gallons|
Long Box: 38 Gallons
|Governed Speed:||3,700 rpm|
|Horsepower (Varies):||350 horsepower @3,000 rpm|
|Torque (Varies):||650 lb/ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm|
6.4 VS 6.0
Would Ford’s 6.4L Powerstroke become any better than the 6.0L Powerstroke? Not by much. While I do believe the 6.4L Powerstroke engine is a beefier, more reliable engine, the factory emissions devices found on these trucks greatly decrease their reliability and fuel economy. Emissions devices aren’t the only issue either. Other common problems include cracked radiators and cracking exhaust up-pipes. Unfortunately, servicing these trucks is also very expensive. You need to raise the cab to complete many repair tasks. This results in very high labor rates.
The 6.4L Powerstroke proved to be unreliable, and Ford abandoned the 6.4L engine and their diesel partnership with International. Starting in 2011, Ford released their own 6.7L Powerstroke engine, built in-house. It ended up being the engine Ford had hoped for. A much-improved 6.7L Powerstroke engine is still used as I’m writing this, in 2020.
6.4L Powerstroke Emissions Specs
While the 6.4L Powerstroke offered many improvements over the 6.0, many new problems arose. Many of these issues are attributed to new emissions systems. The 6.4L Powerstroke’s emission system features a DPF, or diesel particulate system. Unlike modern DPFs that use direct fuel injection into the exhaust stream, the 6.4L Powerstroke’s DPF system allows fuel to be released during the exhaust stroke. Diesel is then routed through the exhaust manifold and other crucial components until it reaches the exhaust stream. Needless to say, this is a very poorly designed system. Fuel dilution in engine oil is commonplace with the 6.4L Powerstroke. It can lead to major problems like cylinder washing.
EGR systems are used to greatly reduce nitrogen oxide release from the tailpipe. While they help the environment, they’re often a headache for diesel owners. Remember how problematic the 6.0L Powerstroke’s EGR system was? Well, the 6.4L Powerstroke has more than just the standard EGR Valve and EGR Cooler. Two EGR Coolers are used on the 6.4L Powerstroke. That’s right, two!
Lastly, the 6.4L Powerstroke is equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst. Most diesels feature this component, as it is the diesel version of a catalytic converter. In the DOC an oxidation reaction occurs that turns Hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into water vapor and carbon dioxide. Find out more about these emissions systems on our 6.4L Powerstroke Emissions Page.
6.4L Tow capacity varies according to model year and model specifications. Max conventional and fifth-wheel tow capacity are listed in the chart below. Before you tow, make sure you check your owners manual or contact Ford directly to determine your exact capacities. It’s always good to be cautious and keep any loads below your truck’s max tow capacity or payload.
6.4L Powerstroke Max Towing Specifications
|5th-Wheel Tow Capacity:||16,500 lbs||18,800 lbs||24,600 lbs|
|Conventional Tow Capacity:||12,500 lbs||15,000 lbs||16,000 lbs|
|GCWR:||23,000 lbs||26,000 lbs||33,000 lbs|
|GVWR:||10,000 lbs||13,000 lbs||14,500 lbs|
|Payload:||3220 lbs||5730 lbs||6180 lbs|
The 6.4L Powerstroke engine is unreliable in stock form because of a number of issues. Common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems are well known as well as how to fix or prevent these problems. With the proper maintenance the 6.4 can be a decent truck, but it likely won’t last more than a couple hundred thousand miles.
The 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel engine found in 2008-2010 Ford Superduty trucks produces 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 of torque lb-ft at 2,000 rpm. Power can easily be increased with tuning or other mods. 500 horsepower or more can be achieved easily and inexpensively.
This answer depends on how much maintenance and time you’re willing to spend. If you are willing to be very hands on, this engine can be fairly reliable. If you’re going to neglect maintenance and beat on this truck however, you should instead opt for another truck.
The 6.4l Powerstroke uses twin-sequential turbochargers, or a compound setup. A small variable geometry turbocharger is paired with a larger fixed geometry turbocharger for optimal performance.
Learn More About the 6.4L Powerstroke
Want to learn more than just 6.4L Powerstroke specifications? Visit some of our other resource pages! Click on one of the bulleted links below.
- Common 6.4L Powerstroke Problems
- Best 6.4L Powerstroke Performance Upgrades
- Comprehensive 6.4L Powerstroke Service Schedule
- Guide to 6.4L Powerstroke Emissions
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