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What Is the Best Ford Diesel Engine

What Is the Best Ford Diesel Engine: A Comprehensive Review

Diesel engines offer a lot of benefit. And Ford is no stranger to them, having had a long history in developing, testing, and putting them out there. They've come a long way now, which gets many of the customers visiting our Chula Vista dealership asking, ‘What Ford diesel engine is the best?’.

With hundreds of new diesel engine Ford vehicles available in our inventory at any given time, you've got options. If we had to pick, we'd have to say the 6.7L Power Stroke V8. With advancements that set it apart in both power and reliability it stands out as a clear winner in Ford’s diesel lineup.

Notes for Choosing the Best Ford Diesel Engine

  • The 7.3L Power Stroke V8 is iconic for its durability, with many engines running well over 300,000 miles, and a relatively efficient 13 mpg/city or up to 21 mpg/highway.

  • The latest 6.7L Power Stroke V8, aka the ‘Scorpion’, is a powerhouse delivering up to 500 hp and 1,200 lb-ft of torque, while also being known for its longevity.

  • Honorable mention to the 3.0L V6 diesel engine, which gives up a little power in exchange for superior mileage—at 21 mpg/city and up to 27 mpg/highway in certain models made before 2022.

  • Most Ford diesel engines can benefit from a longer life with the help of a scheduled maintenance and a strong aftermarket product.

Ford Diesel Engine Evolution Over the Years

Earlier design of the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel on black background
Debuting in 2011, the 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel played a part in Ford's evolving lineup of diesel engines. Ask our sales advisors how diesel engines have changed since they started, and you might hear about this launch.

Ford began with diesel engines in 1982, as they partnered with International Truck and Engine Corp to develop a 6.9-liter indirect injection engine, later confirmed to generate 170 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque.

This launch marked the beginning of a rich history of Ford diesel engines. But the company didn’t rest on its laurels. In 1987, they introduced an upgrade from a four-speed to a five-speed transmission, and in 1993, our OEM also put out a turbocharged IDI 7.3-liter diesel engine.

Taking notes from the IDI, the launch of the first Power Stroke engine in 1994 marked a significant enhancement with direct injection and electronic controls. As the years rolled by, the Power Stroke engine continued its evolution.

By 1999, we saw improvements such as better turbo tuning and electronic fuel pump control, reaching 235 horsepower and a considerable 525 lb-ft of torque.

Fast forward to 2023, and the latest iteration saw the arrival of the fourth generation of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine. Known for its technological advancements, it shows how far Ford diesel engines have come since their debut.

Analyzing Top Ford Diesel Engines

Now let's look at the performance and reliability of three significant engines: the 7.3L Power Stroke V8, 6.7L Power Stroke V8, and 6.0L Power Stroke V8. Each has its unique strengths and challenges, shaping the landscape of diesel engines in Ford’s lineup.

7.3L Power Stroke V8

The 7.3L Power Stroke V8 engine, introduced in 1994, marking a significant entry into the market for Ford. Its initial models produced a respectable 215 horsepower and 425 pounds of torque, with the 1996 model later increasing to 225 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.

Today, the 7.3L Power Stroke V8 isn't just about raw power. It's about performance upgrades that maximize performance, including:

  • larger injectors

  • cutting edge turbo

  • electric lift pumps

  • air-to-air intercooler

The engine’s reliability is commendable, with many units exceeding 300,000 or even 400,000 miles. It's also a marathon runner among your diesel options, at 13-15 mpg/city and ~20 mpg/highway.

6.7L Power Stroke V8

Exterior badge for the 6.7L Power Stroke Turbodiesel engine inside, upon a gray exterior vehicle
The 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel has emerged as one of Ford's most amazing diesel engines. With great torque and routine high mileage service, it's probably the best in our Service department's opinion.

Following the 7.3L is the potent and efficient 6.7L Power Stroke V8 engine, also known as the ‘Scorpion’. Introduced in 2011, the Scorpion offered robust performance of 390 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque right out of the gate. These engines reliably last from 250,000 - 500,000 miles or more!

Subsequent updates in 2017 enhanced the engine with features like high-pressure common rail injection and an intercooler, raising output to 440 horsepower and 925 lb-ft torque. The 6.7L has benefited from constant evolution, as we see in more recent releases.

Ford Super Duty Trucks with 6.7L Power Stroke High Output V8

The Ford Super Duty gets the most out of the 6.7L Power Stroke V8 High Output trim now produces up to 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft of torque, signifying its continuous evolution in power delivery. Check out our Ford Super Duty F-250 or For Super Duty F-350 models with this engine!

Recognized by motor enthusiasts for its performance, the 6.7L Power Stroke V8 engine has become the most reliable and popular heavy-duty diesel engines available, reflecting Ford’s commitment to making diesel engines an enviable alternative to petroleum.

6.0L Power Stroke V8

With the 6.0L Power Stroke V8, Ford's attempted to do more with less. The six-liter version, having debuted in 2003, outputs 325 horsepower and a robust 560 lb-ft of torque.

This build features multiple advanced features. It's got variable-geometry turbocharger, exhaust-gas recirculation system, and a second-generation fuel-injection system. 6.0L Power Stroke V8 stacks up reasonably well against the other diesel engines—and it's found a niche in a range of Ford vehicles, from F-Series pickups to E-Series vans and Ford Excursions.

The Role of Aftermarket Support

Engine tuning concept, showing modifications on engine for customized performance
From intakes to exhaust mods, and even engine tuning, the aftermarket upgrades on diesel engines are something to think about. But the great build quality in engines like the 7.3L or 6.7L Power Stroke V8s make them an option, not a neccessity.

Ford's build quality is great. Most of our Chula Vista customers are happy to drive a new ford truck right off the lot for daily, reliable use in work and recreation. But the aftermarket has interesting diesel engine upgrades you might consider!

Whether you’re looking to enhance performance, improve fuel economy, or extend the life of your Ford diesel engine, aftermarket upgrades, e.g. intercoolers and air intakes, can enhance their already great performance. They've become part of the diesel engine ecosystem, ensuring that petroleum-alternative fuels remain a reliable option for years to come.

Fuel Economy and Emissions Control

Ford diesel engines, like any other vehicle, place a high emphasis on fuel economy and emissions control. Did you know that modern diesel trucks can go about 20-35% father, thanks to fuel-efficient design? Ford's dedication to cornering a niche in the diesel engine market has paid off in a big way.

Beyond fuel efficiency, Ford has also made significant strides in emissions control. The 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine comes equipped with advanced emissions control systems such as ‘Instant Start’ glow plugs and a high-tech emission-control system with the use of diesel exhaust fluid.

Towing Capacity and Heavy-Duty Applications

Ford Super Duty F-450 XL w/ Max Tow, with turbo diesel engine inside, pulling gooseneck trailer with trees in background
The 6.7L High Output Power Stroke Diesel engine defines the upper limit of Ford's diesel engines. Our sales advisors can tell you exactly how much the chosen model and trim contributes to the towing limit with all the Power Stroke engines available in our inventory!

The latest 6.7L Power Stroke V8 engine offers the greatest towing capacity for Ford diesel engines, making it a top choice for users with heavy-duty towing needs.

Ford diesel engines excel particularly in towing capacity and heavy-duty tasks, making them perfect for Ford Super Duty trucks. The more recent F-Series Super Duty’s high-output 6.7L High Output Power Stroke engine has demonstrated superiority, with 1,200 lb-ft of torque and 500 horsepower.

With 1,200 pound-feet of torque and 500 horses, there's little you can't tow! Pushing it to the limit, the 6.7L High Output Power Stroke V8 allows towing up to an incredible 40,000 lb (Max gooseneck tow rating with the Max Tow Package on a F-450 Regular Cab). Figures like these make this diesel engine the absolute best for towing.

Maintenance and Longevity: Maximizing Your Ford Diesel Engine's Lifespan

Maximizing the lifespan of your Ford diesel engine heavily relies on proper maintenance. From using tried and true engine fluids and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Ford replacement parts through Chula Vista Ford's parts department—to applying the right fluids in service visits—the right practices can greatly enhance the health and longevity of your engine.

Maintenance frequency depends on whether the vehicle operates under normal or special conditions. However, with regular maintenance, the durability and longevity of Ford diesel engines are part of the equation when Chula Vista Ford sales advisors tell customers about their options.

With scheduled maintenance from our dealership you can make the most of any diesel engine you opt for. Reaching over 500,000 miles on average, the 6.7 Power Stroke engine is the best in reliability, with some Ford enthusiasts reporting the success of their diesel engines at 1.3 million miles. It all begins with great care!

What Makes a Great Ford Diesel Engine?

7.3L Power Stroke Diesel Engine with white background
The 7.3L Power Stroke Diesel V8 is one of the best of Ford's diesel engines. Ask our sales advisors in Chula Vista how far you can take a model installed with this build, based on your job, annual usage and towing needs!

The perspective of diesel enthusiasts on what constitutes a great Ford diesel engine is quite distinctive. For many, the late-production-run 7.3-liter Ford Power Stroke diesel engines hold a special place, often recommended by diesel truck shops for those shopping for a used truck or salvage engine.

Beyond the engines themselves, many diesel enthusiasts also love to tweak and tune their engines to get the most out of them. Electronic tuners are a popular idea for aftermarket, among these enthusiasts, especially when complementing other performance upgrades. But they're not essential!

Ford Diesel Engines Reviews

Everyone from our sales advisors to inventory staff are encouraged to get to know how Ford diesel engines stack up, against the competition, and even against each other!

These engines offer more than just specs and features; they provide real-world performance and versatility, making them some of the best diesel engines on the market. Among them, the best Ford diesel engine is the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine, with High Output trim as available. It has proven its versatility by being utilized in multiple Ford vehicle models, notably the Ford Super Duty series.

Choosing a Diesel Engine Vehicle at Chula Vista Ford

lineup of exciting Ford trucks where you can find the best turbo diesel engines inside with each year's newest release
The first Ford diesel engine was the 6.9-liter indirect injection engine, which was introduced in 1982 through a partnership with International Truck and Engine Corp.

We’ve journeyed through the evolution of Ford diesel engines, from their humble beginnings in 1982 to their current, powerful iterations. From the legendary 7.3L Power Stroke V8 to the powerful 6.7L and the versatile 6.0L, each engine has its unique strengths and contributions to the Ford diesel legacy.

But the stand-out 6.7L Power Stroke V8 takes the cake. It punches well above its weight while remaining viable for hundreds of thousands of miles and comes with many great ford truck models. And there are multiple great years to choose from, so don't be afraid to look for one in a used ford model.

These engines have stood the test of time, done the work, and earned the respect of many diesel enthusiasts. They’re a testament to Ford’s commitment to power, performance, and reliability. As we’ve seen, the best Ford diesel engine isn’t just about power or torque. It’s about the balance of performance, reliability, fuel economy, and the support that enhances their longevity.

Need expert advice? You can always chat with one of our knowledgeable sales advisors to get the right model and trim for the engine you need. Reach out now to contact us—and take the first step towards your ideal Ford diesel engine for work and play.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the first Ford diesel engine?

The first Ford diesel engine was the 6.9-liter indirect injection engine, which was introduced in 1982 through a partnership with International Truck and Engine Corp. Since then, the best ford diesel engines are reputedly the 6.7L Power Stroke V8 and the 7.3L Power Stroke.

Which Ford diesel engine is the most reliable?

The most reliable Ford diesel engines are the 7.3L Power Stroke V8 and the 6.7L Power Stroke V8. The 7.3L is most reliable in longevity, often reaching 300,000 to 500,000 miles with proper maintenance. The 6.7L is most reliable at higher towing capacity, with an upper gooseneck limit of 40,000 lb.

What is the towing capacity of Ford diesel engines?

The towing capacity of Ford diesel engines varies by model, but the latest 6.7L Power Stroke V8 engine offers the greatest towing capacity, making it perfect for heavy-duty towing. The 6.7L is most reliable at higher towing capacity, with an upper gooseneck limit of 40,000 lb and a payload limit of 8,000 lb. With conventional towing, the F-450 Crew Cab with available 6.7L High Output Power Stroke V8 can reach 30,000 lb.

How can I extend the lifespan of my Ford diesel engine?

Make sure to stick to proper maintenance for your Ford diesel engine, including using Ford/Motorcraft fluids and original equipment (OEM) replacement parts through our authorized-dealer parts department. Making sure you get solid maintenance as recommended by our service department goes a long way in extending its lifespan.

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