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6.9L Diesels Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 6.9 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 12-30-2009, 08:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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safely get more power with 260,000 6.9?

My '86 6.9 has 260,000 miles on it, but it runs great. Starts well until it gets cold, which I think is a gp/controller issue, has plenty of power for a 6.9, idles well, sounds good, etc. It smokes a little bit of grayish blue smoke when you get on it and when you fire it up, and if you pay enough attention, there is always a little smoke coming out from under the oil-fill cap. This truck was always taken care of, serviced regularly, and never driven particularly hard.

My other truck is a 460, which pulls better, but of course gets less than half the mileage.

I really would like to begin towing my camper with the 6.9, because the 6.9 gets 15 mpg unloaded, and the 460 gets around 7 unloaded, 6 pulling. I'm guessing I can get 10 pulling my camper with the 6.9. I would reaaaaaally like to be able to get a few more ponies out of the 6.9 before I pull my camper with it much, at least up to par with my 460. I tend to let pride get in the way too much and try to prove I can pull with the big boys out on the road lol, instead of letting it slow down at its own pace like I probably should.

The dilemma is, with so many miles on the truck, I'm not sure what would be safe to do to it to try to get more power. I would love to put a turbo on it, and had a chance to get one for 700 bucks, but have been told that could prematurely "blow" it since it has so many miles, and apparently has worn rings since it smokes a little. What are your opinions on that? I also know I could turn up the IP some, but I know that can be playing with fire also. If I only turned it up one "flat" would that be safe enough, if I also installed a pyro? (if I do anything much I will install a pyro)

It is already straightpiped, and has been retrofitted with a ps airbox from a '94 f-350. I've been told on here that a ps airbox is not that great, but the good thing about it having already been fitted with a stock box is that I can buy an aftermarket airbox for a powerstroke and put it on this truck. Would it be worth my time and money to get a good cold-air intake for a powerstroke and put on here? My daddy put one on his truck and has been pleased with it, I believe the brand was a&e. It has a 4.10 rearend too, which should help some.

Is there anything else I can do to try to get some (fairly) cheap, *safe* power out of it? Even just if it's tuning some stuff a bit?
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87 f250 4wd LB ex cab 460 bored .60 edelbrock intake, towing cam glasspacks-6 mpg 8 on good day- my pride & joy once towed my '85 j-co j-crane 28' 5er

99 F250 7.3(engine stamped june of '99) 250K white ex cab lb, 2wd
jl audio slash 4ch amp, jl 8" sub, focal components front, infinity coax rear, 10 disc changer

-tymar intake, no muff
-bullydog egt, autometer boost
-f5 chip w/80t, 80e, 60t, 100, 140 extreme(140 is amazing!)
Garrett 38r
Chrome fender trim, 265 nitto terra graps, nerf bars, billet grille, '06 headlights, chrome door handles, louvered 5er tailgate
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have some one floor it with the engine off, then push on the throttle to see if it is at full throttle or not. A stretched throttle cable can leave you with only 2/3 or so throttle. Late 85, 86 and 87 are the best 6.9s! A little smoke out of the oil cap is nothing but normal.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Okay thanks, that seems like a very cheap way to possibly get a little more power lol! Anything else? Opinions on the turbo, turning up IP a small amount, or cold-air intake?
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87 f250 4wd LB ex cab 460 bored .60 edelbrock intake, towing cam glasspacks-6 mpg 8 on good day- my pride & joy once towed my '85 j-co j-crane 28' 5er

99 F250 7.3(engine stamped june of '99) 250K white ex cab lb, 2wd
jl audio slash 4ch amp, jl 8" sub, focal components front, infinity coax rear, 10 disc changer

-tymar intake, no muff
-bullydog egt, autometer boost
-f5 chip w/80t, 80e, 60t, 100, 140 extreme(140 is amazing!)
Garrett 38r
Chrome fender trim, 265 nitto terra graps, nerf bars, billet grille, '06 headlights, chrome door handles, louvered 5er tailgate
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The cheapest way to get power is to get the exhaust and intake as free flowing as possible. I would ditch the powerstroke air box and try and find a factory air cleaner for it. These trucks actually have a cold air intake to begin with that pulls air from behind the headlight. With an aftermarket drop in filter and some mods to the air box the factory intake is more then adequate.

After that I would go over the fuel system if its not been done lately. If the smoke you are describing smells like fuel than thats a good sign your fuel system needs work. A fresh fuel system can make a noticeable difference in power.

With a pyro you could turn the fuel up a bit and it will help with power but you want to keep the EGTs below 1200 degrees or you risk melting it down.

If your still unsatisfied with power you could turbo charge it but before doing so I would make sure everything else is up to snuff. I have yet to hear of anyone who has killed and engine as a result of turbo charging it.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Okay, thanks, and I'm fairly certain the smoke is probably oilsmoke. The exhaust is pretty much freeflowing, it's just 3 inch straightpipe, or 3 1/2 I forget. It would be fairly simple to set it back to stock intake, but I would hate to undo all the work my grandfather did to fit it in there. Could you go more in-depth as to what you mean by go over the fuel system? I plan on taking it to a diesel mechanic my daddy's good friends with and he swears by, and have him tune it up a bit, turn the pump up some and maybe change the timing some. I would definitely put a pyro on it if I turn the fuel up some, and don't think I'd turn it up but one flat. I'm not sure what all needs to be done to make everything " up to snuff", or how much money it would get into. What all would I need to make sure of for it to handle a turbo?

I've been told a time or two I could blow the bottom end on an engine with so many miles if I turbo it, but if that's not the case I'd surely like to turbo it sooner or later. But if I find out it's okay, I'd kick myself in the butt for not finding out before I passed up a chance to purchase a banks turbo kit for it for 700 bucks

On the smoke, even though it's grayish blue, you think it could still be fuel? I was under the impression fuel smoke is black.

Thanks for the help, btw.
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87 f250 4wd LB ex cab 460 bored .60 edelbrock intake, towing cam glasspacks-6 mpg 8 on good day- my pride & joy once towed my '85 j-co j-crane 28' 5er

99 F250 7.3(engine stamped june of '99) 250K white ex cab lb, 2wd
jl audio slash 4ch amp, jl 8" sub, focal components front, infinity coax rear, 10 disc changer

-tymar intake, no muff
-bullydog egt, autometer boost
-f5 chip w/80t, 80e, 60t, 100, 140 extreme(140 is amazing!)
Garrett 38r
Chrome fender trim, 265 nitto terra graps, nerf bars, billet grille, '06 headlights, chrome door handles, louvered 5er tailgate
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've got a Banks Sidewinder on my '87 6.9 that currently has about 265,000 mi. I installed the turbo and exhaust when the truck had about 100K on the odometer. I had a head gasket let go about five years later, due to a design flaw in the gasket. I rebuilt the engine at that time (never let anyone fit chrome moly rings as they will never seat properly and you will have an oil burner). My engine has some blowby but runs very strong.
Have the diesel guy your dad trusts look at it and get his opinion on what you could safely do. $700 for a Banks system is a good price! It makes a HUGE difference in performance.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Fuel smoke can be blue as well. Retarded timing, air in fuel and lack of fuel pressure to the injection pump can cause blue smoke. An injector that's not spraying properly will also cause it.

As far as making sure the fuel systems up to snuff you want to make sure you don't have any leaking lines. Make sure the timing is set correct and the injectors and pump are all in good shape.

The only thing I would worry about if your going to turbo it would be one of the head gaskets letting loose.

As far as the bottom end letting go that's not likely to happen. The bottom end in these engines are very well built.
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1984 F250 6.9 C6 2WD Push Button Wellman GPs, No Soup bowl. Wix 33439 Water Separator, Carter P4594 fuel pump, Custom 3" Exhaust, NTZ Oil Bypass Filter, VDO Vision water temp gauge, ISSPRO EV Pyro

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Old 01-04-2010, 07:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What would be a fair price to have a mechanic check the timing, injectors, and IP. If I get a turbo in the future, should I plan on replacing the head gaskets then as well?
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87 f250 4wd LB ex cab 460 bored .60 edelbrock intake, towing cam glasspacks-6 mpg 8 on good day- my pride & joy once towed my '85 j-co j-crane 28' 5er

99 F250 7.3(engine stamped june of '99) 250K white ex cab lb, 2wd
jl audio slash 4ch amp, jl 8" sub, focal components front, infinity coax rear, 10 disc changer

-tymar intake, no muff
-bullydog egt, autometer boost
-f5 chip w/80t, 80e, 60t, 100, 140 extreme(140 is amazing!)
Garrett 38r
Chrome fender trim, 265 nitto terra graps, nerf bars, billet grille, '06 headlights, chrome door handles, louvered 5er tailgate
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can't say for sure what would be a fair price for the work as Ive always done my own work.

I would look into a fresh set of head gaskets though if you plan to turbo. It would be easier then having to change them after should one fail.
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1984 F250 6.9 C6 2WD Push Button Wellman GPs, No Soup bowl. Wix 33439 Water Separator, Carter P4594 fuel pump, Custom 3" Exhaust, NTZ Oil Bypass Filter, VDO Vision water temp gauge, ISSPRO EV Pyro

http://photobucket.com/CDX825
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