A question we often get asked is: How much does it cost to replace the oil cooler on a Ford 6.0?
The actual cost of replacing the engine oil cooler on a 6.0L engine can vary greatly and a lot of the variance has to do with which replacement oil cooler you choose.
The 6.0L diesel engine was equipped with a liquid (engine coolant) to liquid (engine oil) engine oil cooler located under the engine oil filter inside of the high pressure oil pump reservoir. This engine oil cooler was prone to failure by plugging up on the coolant side or even rupturing allowing pressurized engine oil to enter the cooling system and make quite the mess. There are several options to consider when replacing the engine oil cooler on the 6.0L diesel engine and parts packages range from about $500 to upwards of $3000. One thing to consider is that because the factory oil cooler design is prone to repetitive failure, simply replacing the failed oil cooler with another factory replacement is really only a short term solution and you can almost be guaranteed it will fail again.
In addition to the parts package costs, there is significant labor time or costs associated with engine oil cooler replacement. Because the oil cooler is buried under the intake manifold, turbocharger and oil filter housing, the typical labor time to replace a failed cooler with a factory replacement is about 8 hours. Typical diesel shop labor rates can vary and planning for around $150/hr is a good place to start. So quick math tells us that at a minimum you will have about $1200 just in labor for replacing the engine oil cooler. As you can imagine there are a ton of variables in a job this invasive, so finding a competent, well qualified diesel repair facility is critical. Bullet Proof Diesel has an installer locator on their website (Link to Installer Locator) and if you are looking for a diesel repair facility that should have extensive knowledge of the 6.0L and repair process.
When the engine is torn down for oil cooler replacement, there are several other updates or upgrades that should be done at the same time. The factory EGR cooler was prone to failure and is mounted to the bottom of the intake manifold. Because the intake manifold must be removed to replace the oil cooler, now is the best time to upgrade the EGR cooler. There are many options out there and the best for quality, warranty and availability is offered by Bullet Proof Diesel (BulletProof EGR Coolers 6.0L). Here is a package they offer that includes a factory replacement oil cooler, a BulletProof EGR Cooler and the necessary gaskets/hardware for the installation. There are also items such as the turbo drain tube, turbo feed tube, upgraded fuel pressure regulator, and the HPOP fitting upgrade that could be updated at the same time the oil cooler is replaced. The advantage of upgrading parts like these now, is that you can save the labor cost to replace these parts later and help overall longevity and reliability.
The actual cost of replacing the engine oil cooler on a 6.0L engine can vary greatly and a lot of the variance has to do with which replacement oil cooler you choose. By opting for a factory style replacement oil cooler, the part can range from about $200 to $500 depending on where you buy it, or even more importantly the quality of the part. For a factory style replacement this is probably one of the best options: New Motorcraft Oil Cooler 6.0L $439.83 Because the factory oil cooler was prone to repetitive failures (See Video Here) there are other, more permanent solution to the problem. Bullet Proof Diesel have several patented options for upgrading the factory engine oil cooler, one of which actually eliminates both the stock oil cooler and the stock oil filter as a very comprehensive solution. While the packages are more expensive than a factory replacement, they are more of a “one and done” solution and something then you don't have to worry about any longer. The BulletProof Oil Coolers can range from about $2000 to $2500 depending on vehicle and vehicle use options. This seems to be the most popular and overall most comprehensive option offered: BulletProof Oil Cooler with BulletProof Oil Filtration $2393.00 There is a great write up in Diesel Power Magazine from 2014 that goes over these options in greater detail, check it out here: Cooler Cleaner Blood 6.0L Diesel
So by adding in both the cost of parts and labor to the oil cooler replacement, this repair can range anywhere from around $3000 to $7000. If you are mechanically inclined and have a few days to work on your own truck, you can save some serious cash. There are several online resources for repair information and instructions, Mitchell1 Repair is one of the more popular options online. This is a very cost effective repair instruction option and offers step by step instructions on how to perform the repair. If you opt for one of the BulletProof Oil Cooler systems, Bullet Proof Diesel offers installation instructions specifically for the installation of their oil cooler system.
It is well known that the factory oil cooler on the 6.0L diesel engine was the root of many problems. It is vital that the engine oil cooler is managed and replaced as necessary. One of the ways to manage a factory 6.0L oil cooler is by adding on some sort of digital data monitor. The reason this is so important, is that the gauges on the dash are basically useless and do not display actual temperature readings, rather they point at the “middle” range most of the time. In order to view and monitor real time vehicle information, you’ll need a digital data monitor. One of the most popular units available online is called the ScanGauge II. Here is a link to a pre-programmed unit, specifically made for the 6.0L diesel engine trucks: ScanGauge II Digital Data Monitor
Once you are able to watch the engine oil temperature and the coolant temperature, you will be paying attention to the difference between the two. Ford says that during highway speeds (55-65 mph), unloaded and driving on flat ground, the engine oil should not be hotter than the coolant, by more than 15 degrees. If it is, then this indicates a restricted engine oil cooler and the oil cooler needs to be replaced. Be aware that the more restricted the oil cooler becomes the less coolant flow is getting to the EGR cooler and this is the primary reason for EGR cooler failure on the 6.0L diesel engine.
Whether you upgrade the engine oil cooler proactively, or replace it when it fails, there are several ways to approach the repair. The true solution to the 6.0L engine oil cooler problems comes in the form of a BulletProof Oil Cooler System.