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EGR Block-Off Kit - 6.0L Power Stroke

A Competition-Only Vehicle Modification

Photography by Chad Westfall

In the diesel performance world, Ford 6.0L Power Stroke engines have a bad reputation for blowing head gaskets and sticking EGR valves when owners modify them. There are a number of reasons why people have problems with their modified 6.0Ls, but one of the main culprits is the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system.

WHAT IS EGR?
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is a system of plumbing and valves on a gasoline or diesel engine that sends burnt exhaust from the engine back into the intake side of the motor to be consumed again. Theoretically, because EGR has already been combusted once, it has no oxygen or fuel in it to be burned again.

Engine designers use EGR as a tool to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions that an engine produces. Nitrogen oxides come from high-combustion chamber temperatures. Yet, when EGR is introduced into the engine, it tends to displace the amount of oxygen available to burn. This lowers the combustion chamber temperatures and the amount of NOX coming out of the tailpipe.

EGR NEEDS TO BE COOLED
For all intents and purposes, EGR is exhaust gas, exactly what you'd expect to see and smell coming out of your truck's exhaust system. It comes out of the engine hot. So before it is routed back into the intake, it is generally cooled with a heat exchanger connected to the engine's cooling system. Keep in mind that if the engine has been modified, the exhaust exiting the engine may be hotter than it should be. Plus, if there is any unburned fuel or oil in the exhaust, it'll wind up in the EGR system too.

6.0L EGR PROBLEMS
The problem is that Ford didn't design its EGR system to handle the extra heat and unburned fuel that find their way into the EGR system when these engines are modified. The EGR cooler can even cause the engine to run hot as the super-heated exhaust from the EGR overwhelms the EGR cooler and causes the engine coolant circulating around it to boil. Boiling coolant isn't good for the engine. Not to say this is the only cause for 6.0L head gasket failure, but it is certainly a common one.

THE COMPETITION VEHICLE SOLUTION
With this in mind, we headed over to Liberator Performance to talk to Shawn Liberator, who has a kit to remove the EGR cooler, and EGR in general on vehicles that will not be used on the street. The beautiful part of this kit is that it is a direct bolt-in replacement for the EGR cooler. The installation of the EGR delete kit isn't for the novice mechanic, but if you take your time and have pretty good mechanical knowledge, it is completely doable. This kit takes a professional between six to eight hours to install, so be prepared to spend some time on this project. Unfortunately, this modification is not for street-legal use on emissions-controlled vehicles.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
This is an off-road only kit, so it's not to be used on 6.0L trucks that will see any time on the street. This is a very comprehensive kit where everything fits nicely and works well together. However, we did run into a problem during installation. When we removed the EGR cooler, we pushed back the y-pipe a little too far, which caused the expansion joint in the y-pipe to crack. Once we replaced the y-pipe, we then took the truck out and did some testing.


In most instances, the factory EGR system works during low to medium throttle and stops on full-throttle/high-demand driving. The difference without the EGR was noticed almost instantly as we came to our first hill. We were driving about 70 miles per hour between 1,800 to 2,000 rpm, and the truck lugged a little to get up the hill. But it didn't downshift. Normally, the truck would drop a gear to make it up this hill. In addition to having more low-end power, the exhaust temperatures dropped between 50 to 150 degrees.

Another wonderful advantage of this upgrade is the lack of soot entering into our intake. Typically, soot builds up on the intake radiuses, which causes turbulence and eventually a reduction in horsepower. The soot also ends up getting into the engine oil. As the soot particles mix with the engine oil and eventually find their way through the engine oiling system, the tiny little particles cause the engine bearing to wear faster.

After we were done with our off-road testing, we were pleased to note that our 6.0L test truck never missed a beat. Best of all, we can now run the truck hard without the worry of boiling coolant or blowing headgaskets.

SOURCES
Liberator Performance
www.liberatorperformance.net
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