Article Updated: January 20, 2023
In 2018, Ford began offering the V6 3.0 PowerStroke diesel engine in the F-150. It’s a unique offering for diesel fans who don’t have the needs for the larger 6.7 PowerStroke in the F250 and F350 models. The 3.0L turbodiesel V6 only offers 250hp, but it does have an impressive 440tq. As a newer engine, there are still some questions about long-term problems and reliability. However, we do at least know that no engine is perfect. In this article, we discuss a few common Ford 3.0 Powerstroke engine problems and finish with overall thoughts on reliability.
This small diesel engine was created to compete with the similar half-ton diesels like the 3.0 EcoDiesel and 3.0 Duramax being produced by Dodge and GM. The purpose was to fill the gap between the gas and full-size diesel market, offering an engine with better gas mileage and more torque than the EcoBoost or 5.0 Coyote engines. However, the 3.0 Powerstroke and both Dodge and GM products have been plagued by reliability issues and limited demand. Most of these engines are only capable of towing a bit more than the gas engines and the cost of repairs limits the gas mileage benefits.
Just like Dodge ended the EcoDiesel, Ford discontinued the 3.0 Powerstroke after 2021 in favor of the EcoBoost engine family. The mini-diesel just didn’t offer enough benefits over the 3.5 EcoBoost engine. As of today, GM is the only brand still making a half-ton diesel truck.
3.0 V6 PowerStroke Specs
|Engine Family||Ford Lion|
|Bore x Stroke||84mm x 90mm|
|Compression||16.0 : 1|
|Block Material||Compacted Graphite Iron|
|F-150 Towing||11,400 lbs|
Looking at the specs, the 3.0 PowerStroke is a solid diesel engine. It also delivers in the real world with many owners reporting over 25mpg on the highway. The engine design has been in use by Ford Australia since 2005 and is also in a few Land Rover models. However, Ford made a number of updates to the design prior to offering it in the 2018 F-150 models. With 250 horsepower and 440 torque the F-150 is able to tow up to 11,400 pounds. Pretty solid numbers for a light-duty truck.
The 3.0 PowerStroke does have some tough competition within Ford, though. We really like the 2.7 and 3.5L EcoBoost engines as they offer a great balance of price, reliability, performance, and towing. That’s not to say the 3.0L V6 diesel is bad by any means. Diesel engines have many upsides as their low-end torque makes the engines job a lot easier under heavy loads. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for diesel engines to have a 50,000+ mile service life advantage over gasoline engines. As such, the Ford 3.0L Powerstroke is a very tempting option, especially for diesel enthusiasts.
4 Common 3.0 PowerStroke Problems
- Crankshaft Bearing Failure
- EGR & EGR Cooler Problems
- DPF Clogging
- EGT Sensor Failure
We’ll be diving into each of the problems in-depth throughout the post. Crankshaft bearings were notably an issue on previous 3.0 diesel engines from Ford. However, the new 3.0L version received a handful of updates prior to joining the F-150 and Powerstroke engine family. Time will tell how these engines hold up in the long-run, but emission part issues are common on nearly all modern diesel engines and especially these newly designed mini-diesels.
That said, we’re also focusing on the most common problems. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re actually common. Rather, when problems do occur these are a few of the most common areas that they occur. With that out of the way, let’s jump in and discuss the above faults and failures in greater depth.
1) 3.0 Powerstroke Crankshaft Bearing Failure
This issue is purely speculation based on failures in the previous generation of this engine. However, these were problems before Ford redesigned the engine to be used in the F150. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem the crankshaft bearing issues are occurring on the 3.0 Powerstroke. It’s worth the mention, though. Sometimes these failures may not show themselves for years down the road and this engine is still relatively new.
That said, previous versions of the engine did run into problems with premature crankshaft bearing failure. These are also known as the main engine bearings. Ford updated the crank and bearings for the 3.0 Powerstroke. We have seen a few rare cases of crankshaft bearing failure, but they seem very isolated and rare. There cases we have seen have predominantly been caused by low oil pressure rather than a defect with the bearings themselves. So it seems like the updates Ford made to the engine have worked.
However, as these engines get older and higher mileage it could be more likely for this issue to arise. Having only been produced for a few years there just aren’t a ton of old 3.0’s on the road to accurately gauge how common of a problem this is. The downside is that a crankshaft bearing failure could result in a costly rebuild or a complete loss of the engine.
2) EGR & EGR Cooler Problems
EGR issues are a two-side discussion here. We’ll be quicker on the first topic as we usually avoid writing about problems that have existing recalls. As is the case with the first EGR problems we’re discussing on the 3.0 Powerstroke diesel. Some 2018-2019 model year F-150’s have a known issue with the screws in the EGR by-pass valve flap. Ford did issue a recall for this, so most affected vehicles should have the fix.
Otherwise, the EGR system in general is a common problematic area on most modern diesel engines. EGR cooler faults pop up frequently on the 6.0, 6.4, and 6.7 Powerstroke diesel engines. On the 3.0 V6 diesel the likely problem in the longer run is carbon deposits on the EGR cooler core. Eventually it may become completely clogged, which requires replacement of the EGR cooler.
EGR Clogging Symptoms
The following symptoms may indicate an issue with the EGR system:
- Fault code P0401
Check engine lights and DTC code P0401 are two of the more common symptoms for EGR cooler problems. The F-150 turbodiesel may also overheat as the EGR system can’t effectively cool the hot exhaust gases.
EGR Cooler Replacement
Another popular topic in the turbodiesel world is EGR delete. Some diesel owners delete the exhaust gas recirculation system up-front. Others choose to do it as soon as the EGR shows any problems. There are emissions concerns when it comes to deleting the 3.0 Powerstroke EGR system. However, it’s a cheap solution that prevents issues from popping up again.
Otherwise, you’ll be looking at a couple hundred dollars for a new EGR cooler kit. It’s not too challenging to DIY, but it may take a few hours of labor. As such, expect to add in another $150+ for labor if you end up at a repair shop.
3) 3.0L V6 Powerstroke DPF Clogging
Diesel particular filters (DPF) are another piece of emissions equipment prone to failures. DPF clogging is a common issue on diesel engines, especially without diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Ford 3.0 Powerstroke engines do, however, use DEF. This helps reduce the chances of clogging, but also introduces additional maintenance and more potential issues.
One issue some have already run into is getting stuck in the regen cycle. The possibilities for issues are endless, and unfortunately it’s just bad technology in general. Sure, it helps reduce emissions and we’re not against that. However, it’s also not the ideal situation when it causes additional maintenance and headaches.
Additionally, the DEF must be changed/refilled roughly every 5,000 miles. As with the EGR system, some owners will likely considering deleting the DPF/DEF systems entirely. The same emissions concerns exist, but some believe it’s worthwhile to avoid all the hassle.
DPF Clogging Symptoms
As we discussed above, there are tons of different things that can go wrong with the 3.0 Powerstroke DPF system. It might clog, the DEF requires maintenance, the F-150 might get stuck in active regen, etc. However, for the symptoms here we’re really focused on the DPF clogging:
- Power loss
- Long crank
- Fault codes
- Hot EGT temps
If the DPF becomes too clogged it can cause a ton of symptoms and drivability issues. Turbo engines need low back-pressure post turbo to help move the hot exhaust gases out. As the DPF clogs it creates additional back-pressure. That can lead to EGT getting too hot. You’ll also notice power loss and longer cranks as the engine struggles to rid itself of exhaust gases. It can also trigger check engine lights and fault codes.
4) Ford 3.0 PowerStroke EGT Sensor Failure
Yet another topic involving the diesel emissions system, the 3.0 Powerstroke is prone to EGT sensor failure. Exhaust gas temperature (EGT) sensor problems are also common on many of the larger V8 Powerstroke engines. Issues don’t seem too common yet on this engine, but we suspect they’ll pop up more often as these F-150 diesel trucks age.
There are several sensors on the engine so it leaves plenty of room for failures to pop up. Fortunately, EGT sensor failures are very minor in the grand scheme. They run along the exhaust and are very easy to access. It’s also not an expensive replacement on the 3.0 Powerstroke.
EGT Sensor Symptoms
- Check engine light
- Fault codes
- Fail emissions testing
Once an EGT sensor problem occurs the PCM should pick up on the fault. That will trigger a check engine light and fault code (DTC) indicating an issue with an EGT sensor. Check for codes P0544, P2031, P2032, P2033, P2084, P242A, P242D, and P2471 as they’re common codes. EGT sensor issues may also cause you to fail an emissions test.
EGT Sensor Replacement
As we mentioned above, EGT sensors are easy to access and cheap to replace. Most can knock this DIY out in the driveway in less than 30 minutes. The sensors are also pretty inexpensive so it’s a minor problem all around.
3.0 Powerstroke Reliability
Is the Ford 3.0 V6 PowerStroke diesel engine reliable? We believe the engine earns slightly above average remarks for reliability. Again, it’s a new engine so more time is needed before there’s a solid answer. There really aren’t many common issue with the 3.0 Powerstroke to date. Most of what we discussed is speculation.
However, many modern diesel engines struggle with the demanding emissions parts. EGR, DPF, and EGT systems aren’t only common problems on many Ford Powerstroke engines, but also most other modern diesel engines. Plenty of delete options are on the market to get rid of these problematic parts, but that comes at the cost of emissions testing and legality concerns.
Nonetheless, the 3.0 Powerstroke is looking to be a fairly reliable engine in its short life. A lot of reliability comes down to maintenance and turbodiesel engines can be a little more demanding. They also generally reward you with a longer service life, and the engine should survive well beyond 200,000 without any major issues.
Ford F-150 3.0L Diesel Summary
The fuel mileage, performance, and towing capacity makes the 3.0 Powerstroke a tempting choice in the F150. It fills a void for those diesel fans who don’t have the need for the larger 6.7 PowerStroke in the F-250 and F-350. However, the 3.0 Powerstroke does have a tough challenge in beating out Fords own 2.7 and 3.5L EcoBoost engines. They both offer a great all around balance for the F-150. However, the turbodiesel engine offers similar towing capacity with better MPG making it a good competitor.
No engine is perfect, though and there aren’t any exceptions here. Ford 3.0 Powerstroke engines are still a bit too new to have a great picture of long-term problems and reliability. To date, they’re holding up well without any major common issues or failures. However, as with most modern diesels, the engine is subject to some emissions equipment issues. Maintain the engine well and it will likely reward you with a long, reliable ownership. The 3.0 Powerstroke also has a great balance of towing, fuel economy, and performance.
However, the engine has unfortunately come to an end simply due to the strength of the 3.5 EcoBoost. While this could be a good option to pickup in a used F150, you can’t order new ones anymore. They have proven reliable so far so if you want the mileage benefits and can find one for a good deal it’s a solid engine that we would recommend.