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When building your daily driver on a budget, some things just have to be done multiple times. Generally speaking diesel performance goes step by step—tuning, more fuel, more air, then even more fuel and more air. This goes on until something breaks. For Project Grocery-Getter, a 2003 6.0L-powered Ford Excursion, we did things a little backwards. We first took steps in the direction of prevention by studding the heads, adding a better EGR cooler and a better oil filtration system. A light FICM tune was also done to help wake up the engine. Satisfied with the results, now it’s time for the big fuel and air.

Project Grocery-Getter lives life doing what many oversized 4×4 minivans do: it’s a daily-driven kid transport, weekend warrior mobile, and of course a grocery-getter. The plan is to keep the 2003.5 Excursion extremely reliable and efficient for its day job, yet be able to change the tune and rip down a drag strip now and then with nearly 500 horsepower at the rear wheels.

Big Sticks

In the fuel department we decided to go with a set of 175/30 sticks from Warren Diesel. We opted to go with a set of new remanufactured injectors modified by Warren Diesel as opposed to having them re-work our aging stockers. With more than 150,000 miles on them we felt it was a good time to swap them out for new. The set Warren Diesel sent us flow 175 cc with a 30-percent-over nozzle. Warren Diesel performs multiple modifications to their injectors to increase their flow and efficiency. First, they machine the intensifier piston inside the injector to allow for a higher fuel flow (see sidebar on page XX for more info on the 6.0L’s unique injectors). They plug the spill ports which helps lessen oil consumption allowing the use of a stock high-pressure oil pump (HPOP). Plugging the spill ports also allows for higher injection pressure and ultimately better efficiency.

All internal parts are lapped to create perfect tolerances, which equal better reliability and overall performance. Last but not least, Warren Diesel uses 100-percent new nozzles built to their specifications. These nozzles are a six-hole design, which creates better fuel atomization compared to the OEM eight-hole design. These larger sticks will require an upgraded fuel system to supply them. They will also require custom tuning, which Warren Diesel can supply. We’ll be doing both a larger fuel system and playing with a few custom tunes in the next issue of Diesel World.

Stage 2 Turbo

The addition of more fuel means more air is needed to burn it so we gave Charlie at KC Turbos a call. Charlie has multiple 6.0L turbochargers available for the 6.0L all the way up to the Stage 3, which has nearly a 68mm compressor wheel and will provide 40-45 psi of boost. Keeping our goals in mind, he recommended his Stage 2 VGT turbo for our application. KC Turbo’s Stage 2 charger for the 6.0L Power Stroke has an 11-blade, 64mm single-plane billet compressor wheel with a 10-blade, 72.5mm by 66.4mm Inconel turbine wheel. This combo was chosen for multiple reasons: it’s a 100-percent bolt-on charger.

It supports 570 horsepower; and will still spool quickly enough with low backpressure to be used safely for light towing (10,000 lbs. or less). With parasitic loss 570 horsepower at the crank with 38 lbs. of boost should get us extremely close to our 500-rear-wheel horsepower goal.

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Bud’s Diesel

With our new parts in hand we headed down to Bud’s Diesel in Southern California for the install. We’ve been going to Bud’s for years. Owner Bud Anderson is a factory-certified Ford technician with decades of experience working on all diesel engines, but especially Power Strokes. There are only a few people we call on when we need Power Stroke help. Bud’s is on that short list. All said and done. the install took roughly three days including the fuel system.

 

Meet Hector Lezama from Bud’s Diesel

Meet Hector Lezama from Bud’s Diesel. He’s a factory-trained technician and will be doing all the hard work installing the Warren Diesel 175/30 injectors and the KC Stage 2 Turbo while we sit back and look over his shoulder.

Hector started gaining access to the injectors first by removing the intake tubing all the way back to the turbo.

Hector started gaining access to the injectors first by removing the intake tubing all the way back to the turbo.

Hector started gaining access to the injectors first by removing the intake tubing all the way back to the turbo.

Hector started gaining access to the injectors first by removing the intake tubing all the way back to the turbo.

The degas bottle (coolant reservoir/expansion tank) was completely removed from the vehicle.

The degas bottle (coolant reservoir/expansion tank) was completely removed from the vehicle. The hardest part here is accessing the hose clamps below the unit.

Degas bottle clamps.

Degas bottle clamps.

The FICM is mounted on the driver side valve cover and needs to be removed.

The FICM (Fuel Injection Control Module) is mounted on the driver side valve cover and needs to be removed. The FICM had already been flashed in the past with an 80-hp tune. To run correctly we’ll have to change this tune to work with the new parts.

Hector pulled the valve cover bolts using a ¼-inch air ratchet, and removed the valve cover.

After moving some wires aside, Hector pulled the valve cover bolts using a ¼-inch air ratchet, and removed the valve cover.

With the valve cover off, the high-pressure oil rail could be drained and removed.

With the valve cover off, the high-pressure oil rail could be drained and removed. After unplugging its supply (the stainless braided line) and removing the retaining bolts, the rail was left to drain for a minute before being pulled off the head.

Hector used a special tool to free each individual injector electrical plug from the rocker box.

Hector used a special tool (a 12-point 19mm socket also works well in a pinch) to free each individual injector electrical plug from the rocker box.

Once the retainer was unbolted the injectors pulled out easily by hand with just a slight twist, wiggle and pull to free the O-ring seal.

Once the retainer was unbolted the injectors pulled out easily by hand with just a slight twist, wiggle and pull to free the O-ring seal.

Side by side stock injectors next to the new 175/30 injectors from Warren Diesel.

Side by side stock injectors next to the new 175/30 injectors from Warren Diesel.

 

Inside The 6.0L HEUI Injector

The 6.0L HEUI injector broken down

The 6.0L HEUI injector broken down

The 6.0L and 7.3L Power Strokes use Hydraulic Electric Unit Injectors (HEUI) that are fairly unique in the modern diesel era. The injectors don’t rely on a single high-pressure pump like a common rail Cummins or Duramax engine does. HEUI injectors are fed a 60-psi supply from the tank but the injectors themselves create the high pressure needed for complete combustion using a supply of high-pressure oil.

How It Works

Both fuel and oil run through the heads in separate galleries, to each injector. The oil pressure (around 500-600 psi at idle and 4,000 psi max) is fed from the HPOP (High Pressure Oil Pump) to the top of the injectors; fuel (at 60 psi) is fed from the tank via the stock electronic lift pump, towards the bottom or tip of the injectors. Simply put, each injector is equipped with two pistons, one for fuel (a.k.a. “plunger”), and the other for oil (a.k.a. “intensifier piston”). When the solenoid atop an injector is opened electronically it feeds high-pressure oil to the first piston forcing it down onto another piston, which then pressurizes the fuel at 7.1 times the pressure of the oil. Injection pressure can be as high as 28,400 psi but should never drop below 3,100 psi. Once above 3,100 psi the nozzle needle lifts injecting the fuel into the cylinder. DW

The oil pressure from the HPOP is fed into the injector from this solenoid.

The oil pressure from the HPOP is fed into the injector from this solenoid. The earmuff-looking electrical piece, top left, contains two electromagnets, which open or close the spool valve (bottom center) to control the flow of oil. High-pressure oil then pushes down on the intensifier piston (right).

Injector base assembled

Injector base assembled: Here’s the intensifier piston poking out the top of the injector base. The solenoid would normally be mounted on top covering it up.

Fuel supply from the head enters through these small screens.

Fuel supply from the head enters through these small screens.

The injector nozzle

The injector nozzle—where all those moving parts finally get some work done. Look closely and you can see the six honed-out nozzle holes.

 

Back to the install…..

new 175/30 injectors from Warren Diesel in the heads

After making sure the injector bores were free of any contaminants and “surgically clean” (as Bud’s Diesel’s Hector Lezama puts it), Hector then lubed the new injector O-rings with some assembly lube and installed the new 175/30 injectors from Warren Diesel in the heads.

Use a little assembly lube on the O-ring and a door panel tool or small pry bar to push the injector plug back through the rocker box.

Hector’s tip: Use a little assembly lube on the O-ring and a door panel tool or small pry bar to push the injector plug back through the rocker box.

removing aftermarket coolant and oil bypass filters

Hector moved on to the passenger side after torquing the injectors, replacing the oil rail, valve cover and the rest. The procedure here was no different than the driver’s side outside, needing to remove the aftermarket coolant and oil bypass filters.

KC Turbo’s Stage 2 variable vane charger came next.

KC Turbo’s Stage 2 variable vane charger came next.

With the majority of the parts off to swap the injectors, pulling the turbo only required removal of a few more parts

With the majority of the parts off to swap the injectors, pulling the turbo only required removal of a few more parts, including the intercooler tubes seen here.

Hector immediately cleaned the oil from the boots.

Once the intercooler tubes were off, Hector immediately cleaned the oil from the boots. Oily boots will more often than not end up slipping off under high-boost situations. Cleaning them prevents this from happening.

Removing the up and down pipe clamps are the most tedious part.

Removing the up and down pipe clamps are the most tedious part. Hector used multiple pry bars to free each individual piece of these V-band clamps. He then left a pry bar in the downpipe (seen here) to space it away and aid in removal of the turbo.

Hector pointed out that where the T-bolt is secured was starting to open up

This V-band clamp is worn out. Hector pointed out that where the T-bolt is secured was starting to open up. Eventually this will separate, causing an exhaust leak. Bud’s Diesel had a new one in stock, so we replaced it as they recommended.

The turbocharger could be removed after pulling the three mounting bolts plus the oil supply and return lines.

The turbocharger could be removed after pulling the three mounting bolts plus the oil supply and return lines.

Side by side the OEM GT37VA next to the Stage 2 Turbo from KC Turbos.

Side by side the OEM GT37VA next to the Stage 2 Turbo from KC Turbos.

The stock GT3782V turbo (right) is a variable-vane charger made by Garrett and has a 58mm compressor wheel.

The stock GT3782V turbo (right) is a variable-vane charger made by Garrett and has a 58mm compressor wheel. The KC Turbos Stage 2 unit is variable vane as well and features an 11-blade, 64mm single-plane billet compressor wheel with a 10-blade, 72.5mm by 66.4mm Inconel turbine wheel. The porting around the inlet is there to stop turbo surge.

Our Stage 2 KC Turbo came as a brand new unit.

Our Stage 2 KC Turbo came as a brand new unit. So all mating surfaces were perfect and all the sensors/actuators were brand new.

Bud’s Diesel’s Hector dropped the charger into its new home after lubing up the oil return O-ring in the valley to aid in installation.

Bud’s Diesel’s Hector dropped the charger into its new home after lubing up the oil return O-ring in the valley to aid in installation.

The turbo is secured using three mounts seen here. They have alignment pins to ease installation. Very early 2003 6.0L engines used a different turbo than all other years so be sure to order the correct one for your 6.0L.

The turbo is secured using three mounts seen here. They have alignment pins to ease installation. Very early 2003 6.0L engines used a different turbo than all other years so be sure to order the correct one for your 6.0L.

Securing the downpipe (seen here) and up-pipe connection were much easier going back together. Again, Hector used all new clamps on these V-band connections (technically speaking the down pipe is a Marmon flange, with a V-band flange welded to the turbo. But the same clamp is used for both connection types.).

Securing the downpipe (seen here) and up-pipe connection were much easier going back together. Again, Hector used all new clamps on these V-band connections (technically speaking the down pipe is a Marmon flange, with a V-band flange welded to the turbo. But the same clamp is used for both connection types.).

Hector primed the turbo by hand with some fresh oil before installing the oil supply line.

Hector primed the turbo by hand with some fresh oil before installing the oil supply line.

KC Turbos sent with the turbo all gaskets needed to install the turbo. It’s nice to know that everything you need (outside unforeseen circumstances like our stretched V-band clamp) comes included.

KC Turbos sent with the turbo all gaskets needed to install the turbo. It’s nice to know that everything you need (outside unforeseen circumstances like our stretched V-band clamp) comes included.

Lastly, Hector reinstalled the coolant degas bottle, crankcase breather lines and the rest.

Lastly, Hector reinstalled the coolant degas bottle, crankcase breather lines and the rest. The turbo install is complete.

Project Grocery Getter will be getting a new, massive fuel system, gauges, tuning, exhaust, intake and more.

We’re not done with this 6.0L Excursion yet. Project Grocery Getter will be getting a new, massive fuel system, gauges, tuning, exhaust, intake and more. Plus, we’ll be doing some real world road testing as well as a few 1/8 and ¼-mile passes to see how she does all out. Keep an eye out for Project Grocery Getter in the next few issues of Diesel World.

Note from Bud’s Diesel

Before starting the truck it’s a good idea to change the engine oil. The last thing you want is to pump nasty contaminant filled oil through a brand new turbo and set of injectors. Also, once started, let the truck idle for at least an hour. This will help remove air from the system. If you don’t get all the air out of the system before driving the truck, premature injector failure may occur. It’s more common than you’d think.