For more than a decade, Ford has faithfully used the 6.7-liter Power Stroke as their diesel of choice, which is a solid platform. Sure, there have been revisions and improvements along the way which ultimately benefit the end user and the aftermarket is quick to come up with improvements and upgrades ranging from mild to wild. Because of that, we decided to take a look at several easy Power Stroke upgrades that apply to just about every 2011 through 2019 Super Duty on the road that will help make it more reliable.
Building a flashy truck with a horsepower number to match is great, but that’s a small percentage of Super Duty owners. Most trucks fall into a category where they’re used for work, daily commuting, or hauling. Since the OEs are continually building engines with more horsepower and torque, not everyone needs a bump in power, flashy exhaust pipe kits, or giant wheels and tires. If this sounds like you, then read on.
Getting Underway With Our Power Stroke Upgrades
We started by reaching out to the crew at Strictly Diesel in Phoenix, Arizona. We learned they had a customer’s 2019 F-350 in the shop for a few upgrades. The truck is used to haul a heavy 42-foot fifth-wheel trailer as evidenced by the massive Reese hitch in the bed. Even though the truck is capable of pulling heavy loads, it’s working hard each time it leaves the desert heat headed to the cool pines of northern Arizona. These trucks run hot by design, so the customer’s goal was to improve engine cooling, transmission cooling, monitoring of vitals, and preventing catastrophic failure within the fuel system.
Up first was the installation of an Edge Insight CTS3 monitor. The factory instrument cluster provides key parameters for the driver to monitor, but the Edge takes it beyond that. With many different screen layouts to choose from, as well as customizable gauges and backgrounds, it can be set up to your personal preference.
Installation is incredibly simple as it only requires one cable to be plugged into the back of the monitor and the OBDII port below the dash. The hardest part of the installation is hiding the cable, we tucked it behind the weatherstripping which was very simple. Once plugged in, you have access to more data than you’ll need while driving to know what’s going on with your rig at all times. Edge includes a windshield suction-cup mount and offers other vehicle-specific mounting options. This install uses their new Pillar Display Mount which is sturdier than other mounts, very clean looking, and a more long-term mounting option.
In 2011, Ford began using a CP4 injection pump in the Super Duty trucks. Unfortunately, this model has been known to come apart and send metal throughout the system. Since CP3 swap kits aren’t offered for the Power Stroke engine, you’ll have to stick with the CP4 pump. There are, however, disaster prevention kits that will protect the entire system if the pump does come apart. Think of this as insurance for your fuel system.
The kit being installed in this truck is from SPE Motorsport. It is well thought out and the concept is straightforward. It creates added filtration after the injection pump. Should the pump decide to eat itself alive, metal debris will be trapped in the filter before the injectors so debris does not reach the engine. A filter mounted on the return side will also prevent debris from being circulated back to the fuel tank. This upgrade was the most time-consuming of all the parts installed on this truck because the intake manifold and a few fuel components on top of the engine need to be removed. A benefit to the design is that it does not require modification to the factory fuel lines.
The next two Power Stroke upgrade options focus on engine and transmission cooling. When towing, high engine oil and transmission oil temperatures are very common and both can shorten the life of your hauler. Like every other aspect of your truck, the aftermarket has solutions to improving factory designs of these systems as well.
Bullet Proof Diesel has been producing oil cooler upgrades for several years. So it’s not shocking they designed a larger engine oil cooler for the 6.7 Power Stroke. The upgraded cooler fits nicely in place of the OEM cooler and the extra size fills empty space that Ford could have used for a larger cooler. Their cooler is also designed to use a factory-style oil filter. This means the swap is easy and you’re quickly back in business. This increase in internal capacity means the coolant will have more time to cool the engine oil and take a bit of stress off the engine’s internals. The oil cooler kit includes all needed oil cooler gaskets and is offered with or without their heavy-duty rock shield.
The last of our Power Stroke upgrades on our to-do list was to install a part that does not come from the factory on the Power Stroke — an external air-to-oil transmission cooler. In factory form, the transmission fluid runs through the radiator and a small heat exchanger behind the bumper. As a result, high transmission temperatures are very common when towing. After enough complaints and seeing it firsthand on one of their tow rigs, Strictly Diesel designed the Driven Diesel Transmission Cooler kit to keep fluid temps at a more respectable level. Two kits are available, one for the 2011-2016 model years and one for the 2017-2019 model years. Once installed, it looks as if it came that way from the assembly line, and scary high transmission temps are a thing of the past.
Adding upgrades that increase power are always great but we need to also remember that upgrades that will help your rig last longer are just as important. Satisfied with the power output, this Super Duty owner is more than happy with the improved cooling, gained the ability to monitor his truck’s vitals, and added protection to his fuel system. These Power Stroke upgrades aren’t only for towing, they still benefit daily drivers as well. If you’re fairly mechanically inclined, these are upgrades that you can install yourself. If you’re not confident in your ability, the installation fees aren’t bad considering what they’re protecting. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into a few budget-friendly Power Stroke upgrades that deliver results.