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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
According to Bullet Proof Diesel you can do a rough diagnosis of the EGR vs. head gasket failure via a degas bottle bubble test. (Video here: http://youtu.be/eoi4h8EZPr8)

I have a 2004 F250 6.0L that is blowing white smoke again, and loosing coolant. It has been parked for a few months.

When I do the bubble test I find that there are a lot of bubbles initially, then when I disconnect the turbo wiring harness ALL the bubbles stop, ZERO bubbles. When I reconnect, they return. My understanding is that this strongly implies a blown EGR cooler (and probably clogged oil cooler), but most likely NOT a blown head gasket(s).

This truck has seen it all: Ford replaced my head gaskets once (100K ago), replaced turbo (and cleaned several times), replaced EGR cooler 3-4x, replaced oil cooler with the post TSB unit (supposedly larger pathways), EGR valves, 12 injectors(4 of them 2x), HP oil pump, heater core (soot clogged it), FICM, the list goes on.....

I have rebuilt many gas engine, but never worked on Diesels and am considering handling the repair myself.

Questions:
1.) Do you agree with the results of the bubble test, I.e. Zero bubbles with the turbo disengaged/disconnected, most likely means the head gaskets are not blown?

2.) With an EGR Delete Kit OR a virtually uncloggable after-market EGR cooler replacement installed, what happens if the new oil cooler begins to clog/loose flow? (I understand this is VERY unlikely if EC-1 coolant is employed). What future damage does this cause?

3.) Assuming the head gaskets are not blown, does it save time to replace the head bolts with studs, one at a time, while replacing the EGR and Oil coolers, due to the top of the engine already being stripped down?
 

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Park the truck on an incline and pull the EGR valve to see if there is any coolant/water in the intake below the EGR Valve. If so you have a cracked EGR cooler. I had no power when I had a cracked EGR Cooler but have heard that you can have a blown HG and still have good power.

I would never swap out an EGR Cooler without also installing a new Oil Cooler. Same goes for doing an EGR Delete - always swap out the Oil Cooler for a new OEM one.

Lastly, I would not try to do a one at a time head bolt swap for ARP studs. If there is a HG problem, it is likely that the head needs to be machined flat again for a good seal with the new gaskets.

Can't comment on the bubbles in the degas bottle test. I would simply start the truck cold and let it run for a few minutes. If the degas bottle builds a lot of pressure that quickly you probably have HG issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your response, I do appreciate your taking the time, however, based on my questions vs. your responses, it seems like you did not understand at least 2 of the 3 questions, and don't understand that the turbo can cause coolant system pressure if the EGR cooler is comprised, but do understand that a head gasket that is blown between the cylinder and a coolant port can also cause coolant system pressure.
 

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I have a 2004 F250 6.0L that is blowing white smoke again, and loosing coolant. It has been parked for a few months.

When I do the bubble test I find that there are a lot of bubbles initially, then when I disconnect the turbo wiring harness ALL the bubbles stop, ZERO bubbles. When I reconnect, they return. My understanding is that this strongly implies a blown EGR cooler (and probably clogged oil cooler), but most likely NOT a blown head gasket(s). ?

This video I saw at the link you provided did not show the test you speak of but I am assuming this would be a crude test but it relies on an EGR cooler that has a bad leak to be definitive by any means. These coolers can leak very lightly and never progress causing different issues than over heating, coolant loss and so on. There are better methods of testing for a bad EGR cooler however I believe this method is intended for non-technical people without any specialized tools. A "positive" result here could only point toward a bad EGR cooler as a head gasket leak on these engines would not be detectable under a no load condition, especially at idle. With that said I will address your questions.


Question 1.) Do you agree with the results of the bubble test, I.e. Zero bubbles with the turbo disengaged/disconnected, most likely means the head gaskets are not blown??

To understand this you need to know that interaction between the turbocharger and the EGR. The EGR relies on exhaust pressure to flow the gasses into the intake. There are times when increased exhaust back pressure is needed to overcome the intake manifold pressure especially when a lot of EGR flow is required during loaded operation. To increase the back pressure the VGT is used to increase exhaust back pressure thus increasing EGR flow. Your turbocharger is active even at idle especially during warm up and it will be creating extra back pressure at that time during idle. Therefore, by disconnecting the turbocharger actuator you are effectively preventing the turbocharger from providing the increase in back pressure. All that is being done here is affecting the pressures in the intake and exhaust manifolds in a way that can help show if there is a leak. This is not going to tell you if you have a head gasket leak, only help determine if there is an EGR cooler leak. Given the results of your testing I would say you very likely have a leaking EGR cooler. but further inspection is required - removing the valve for inspection as mentioned would be my next step.




Question 2.) With an EGR Delete Kit OR a virtually uncloggable after-market EGR cooler replacement installed, what happens if the new oil cooler begins to clog/loose flow? (I understand this is VERY unlikely if EC-1 coolant is employed). What future damage does this cause?

A delete kit will remove the EGR from the engine this eliminating the failure from reoccurring. Since coolant restriction in the oil cooler is the direct cause of EGR cooler failures it is still a concern. I personally don't care what coolant you install in the engine - if you didn't maintain the coolant properly to begin with most people are not going to do so in the future. The cooling system will still require regular maintenance to prevent long term problems. ELC coolant may answer some of the issues with the coolant but it is important to use the proper coolant that meets the manufacturers specifications as there are compatibility concerns with materials in the engines with regard to using different coolants. You can find a LOT of discussion about coolant, some of it good and some completely wrong. What ever you do however, the most important thing is to chemically clean the cooling system with an iron cleaner that will remove corrosion and strip the anti-corrosion layer from the cooling system surfaces to prepare it for the new coolant's corrosion inhibitors and completely flush out all of the old coolant and cleaner. ALL OF IT. Different coolant types and cleaners will interact with the new coolant and quickly render the corrosion inhibitor package ineffective which will bring you back full circle to a contaminated cooling system.




Question 3.) Assuming the head gaskets are not blown, does it save time to replace the head bolts with studs, one at a time, while replacing the EGR and Oil coolers, due to the top of the engine already being stripped down?
I have heard different theories from engineers on this. I would exercise caution on this as there is a chance you could CAUSE a problem by doing this. After all, you are in a preventative mode of thinking here right? I also would say that if it is not broken, DONT IX IT! If you are not using a tuner and abusing the truck there is little benefit in spending the time and or money in installing head studs. If you have a head gasket or another base engine failure and the engine is apart anyway then yes, head studs are advisable. Otherwise I would direct my attention to preventing the conditions that cause head gasket failures: over boosting. Since the turbocharger is already removed to replace the EGR and oil coolers it is the perfect time to disassemble it, inspect for damage and wear and replace or recondition it as needed. Make sure that there is are no issues with the EBP sensor and wiring and assuming the truck is to remain stock, ensure that the PCM calibrations at the latest level as there are safeguards monitors that have been added over the years that will minimize the occurrence of overboost conditions should there be a sensor malfunction or a turbo performance concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
This video I saw at the link you provided did not show the test you speak of but I am assuming this would be a crude test but it relies on an EGR cooler that has a bad leak to be definitive by any means.
I apologize, I grabbed the URL for a "sister" video, I have corrected the URL.

What ever you do however, the most important thing is to chemically clean the cooling system with an iron cleaner that will remove corrosion and strip the anti-corrosion layer from the cooling system surfaces to prepare it for the new coolant's corrosion inhibitors and completely flush out all of the old coolant and cleaner. ALL OF IT. Different coolant types and cleaners will interact with the new coolant and quickly render the corrosion inhibitor package ineffective which will bring you back full circle to a contaminated cooling system.
Excellent info, do you have any recommendations for what cleaner(s) to use?

Also, what happens to the Engine if you have a bulletproof EGR Cooler installed and the Oil cooler gets clogged again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oil Cooler follow-up

So what happens to the Oil cooler if you install an EGR Delete Kit? Can it still plug or does coolant not flow through the oil cooler any longer?

If the BulletProof EGR Cooler is installed with a FORD OEM Oil Cooler, what happens when the oil cooler eventually clogs again?
 

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You will loose coolant flow to your EGR cooler and it will eventually blow the cooler.
Coolant flow is from the engine thru the oil cooler and then to the EGR cooler. Lack of coolant flow is what causes the EGR cooler to blow in the first place.

The high temps of the exhaust gas flash boils the coolant that is there causeing steam pressure which blows the seams in the EGR cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You will loose coolant flow to your EGR cooler and it will eventually blow the cooler.
Coolant flow is from the engine thru the oil cooler and then to the EGR cooler. Lack of coolant flow is what causes the EGR cooler to blow in the first place.

The high temps of the exhaust gas flash boils the coolant that is there causeing steam pressure which blows the seams in the EGR cooler.
I don't understand how you can blow an egr cooler if you have deleted it? or replaced with a bulletproof cooler?
 

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I don't understand how you can blow an egr cooler if you have deleted it? or replaced with a bulletproof cooler?
If it is deleted, you clearly can't blow it. Don't think that is what Danny was trying to say. An oil cooler certainly can still clog without an EGR Cooler. Also, it depends on what you mean when you say a bulletproof cooler. Some use that term to describe an upgraded and reinforced egr cooler from "bulletproof diesel", other use the term to refer to an egr cooler that has had the exhaust ports welded shut. The latter can still crack but since it is welded shut the coolant can't leak into the exhaust system so no huge problem. The BFD cooler can blow but they are really stout and it doesn't happen very often.
 

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Yes the Bulletproof egr cooler can blow I replaced 3 in the fleet. However it took several years because the BPD cooler is built real stout so they do not fail often.
If it is actually deleted of couse ya can't blow it if it aint there.

I need to add to be more fair to BDP that was only 3 out of 15 BDP replacement EGR coolers and those trucks were not diagnosed far enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the responses, that makes sense, I didn't know if an EGR cooler from BulletProof Diesel could still blow.

Assuming a delete kit is installed instead, what happens over the life of the oil cooler? Do most delete kits pass coolant as one large pipe or stop coolant from passing through altogether?

If all coolant is blocked from going through the EGR cooler via a Delete kit, does the Oil cooler even function or have any value?
 

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A good fair question. A true delete comes with an adapter to reroute the coolant flow so it can continue on its path thru the rest of the engine.
A sneaky pete delete is one where you weld plugs in the end of an old egr cooler blocking gas flow to the cooler but still allows coolant to flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Couple more questions for you Pros.

1.) Is this know to be junk and Bulletproof is the only viable Replacement?
EGR Cooler Ford F250 F350 Powerstroke 6 0L Turbo Diesel w Gaskets GP 904 218 | eBay

2.) If the cause is the Coolant, and you flush properly and use EC-1 coolant, does Oil cooler selection matter much?

3.) Does flushing the cooling system properly, also clean and flush the Oil cooler, so that a replacement is not required?

4.) Where is the best place to get an Oil Cooler?

5.) Also Bulletproof wants $150 for a gasket set! Seems really high for some o-rings. Thoughts?

6.) When I read the ECU, I don't see anything for EOT, was that not present on 2004 trucks? Mine was manufactured 11/2003

7.) I am fairly confident that I have a bad EGR Cooler. Isn't running the engine to flush it properly a big risk to the head gaskets, prior to replacing the EGR and Oil Coolers?

Trying to keep the cost reasonable but still have a solid EGR & Oil Cooler replacement.
 

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Do u have a square egr cooler or a round egr cooler. Round cooler don't fail vary often. When u do do ur egr cooler pressure test it when it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I haven't gotten responses on my last questions, probably the most import of which is this, I will be replacing my EGR Cooler and oil cooler, and flushing the coolant system;

Should I flush the coolant BEFORE I change out the parts, and potentially risk hydrolocking the engine (and blowing a HG) and dislodging more crap from the oil cooler into the system OR AFTER replacing the Coolers, and risking clogging the new Oil Cooler?
 

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So I haven't gotten responses on my last questions, probably the most import of which is this, I will be replacing my EGR Cooler and oil cooler, and flushing the coolant system;

Should I flush the coolant BEFORE I change out the parts, and potentially risk hydrolocking the engine (and blowing a HG) and dislodging more crap from the oil cooler into the system OR AFTER replacing the Coolers, and risking clogging the new Oil Cooler?
Dealers choice bro. Personally, I am not a huge fan of doing a chemical flush ever. I have seen posts where guys have done it and dislodged crap and ended up with leaks in the system. Others swear by it. I switched out from Ford Gold to Zerex ELC HD Diesel Coolant and did not do a chemical flush. I flushed probably 6x with distilled water until all I got out was water. I have also heard of guys hooking up a coolant filtration system just before doing a new OC and EGR delete to catch gunk so it does not muck up the new system.
 

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I agree with dillon134. I did not do a chemical flush either when switching from Ford Gold to ELC at 100k miles (70k miles ago). I have had no issues.

If your coolant system is clean and has been well maintained, then there is little need for the harsh cleaners in my mind. I see very little evidence of corrosion problems when I change out my coolant filter annually, because the fluid maintenance has been kept up with, and the system has never overheated.

Make sure your EOT/ECT temperature differential is good before deciding what to do. If the differential is good, then your oil cooler isn't plugged and your coolant system is probably clean enough. If the oil cooler is 15 + degrees hotter than the coolant, then the oil cooler is plugged (or partially plugged) and it probably means that you need to clean out the coolant system with chemicals (before replacing the oil cooler would be my preference).

One caveat to that though - the ELC coolant formulators say that you need to get the film off of the internal surfaces of the coolant system for the best performance when switching from a conventional coolant to the ELC. This is because the coolants with nitrites and silicates will leave a film on surfaces for cavitation and corrosion protection. This film is extremely thin and is not what typically plugs up the oil cooler passageways. This film does not inhibit heat transfer to any appreciable degree (our coolant systems were designed with that in mind) and it does not do any harm being left.
 
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