Your Ford 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine's HEUI injection system relies on massive amounts of clean oil. So getting the 6.0 Powerstroke oil capacity and oil change procedure right is an important part of your Ford diesel engine's overall maintenance.
But I've said it before—guilty as charged—"some" 6.0 diesel owners neglect this all-too important service.
But with very few tools, a little quality Saturday time in the driveway, and less money than a dealership will charge, you can lengthen the life of your 6.0 Powerstroke engine. And we all know a 6.0 could use some of that...
15 quarts of oil including the oil in the 6.0 oil filter housing.
So, beating a dead horse, and answering the age-old question...
Well, since a 6.0 Powerstroke holds 15 quarts of oil and there are 4 quarts in a gallon... Do the math, carry the 1 extra quart... So, how many gallons of oil does a 6.0 Powerstroke hold? Almost 4 gallons of oil.
However, we're a little ahead of ourselves... Because before we figure out what oil we should put in your 6.0 Powerstroke we need to determine how often—when—we should change a 6.0 diesel's oil.
The "experts" say that a Ford 6.0 oil change is needed every 7,500 miles "under normal operating conditions" and 5,000 miles under "severe operating conditions." And that should take about 6 months. And the extended life. heavy-duty oils say you can go 10,000 miles and more between oil changes. Verified by that "send your oil in for analysis" crew.
Well, I don't know about you—I put more than 15k a year on my rigs—so it feels like I'm always changing oil on the weekends. And I've drained some of the blackest, nastiest oil from my rigs after 5k miles. Just sayin'
Besides, as far as operating conditions go, one man's "normal" is another one's "severe", especially with a finicky 6.0. So before we start throwing out oil change interval mileage numbers, let's look at the why of it.
The 6.0 Powerstroke shares the HEUI—hydraulically activated, electronically controlled, unit injector fuel system—in common with the 7.3 Powerstroke. In a HEUI system, oil is subjected to high pressure and heat more often than a normal non-unit injector system. Add to that the fact that a 6.0 HPOP driven diesel engine produces a full 600 psi more shear force pressure on the oil from the high pressure oil system than the 7.3 HPOP does. And that's going to cause the oil in a 6.0 to break down even faster.
Now, given the 6.0's reputation and highly engineered performance specs, I've tried a 3,000 mile 6.0 oil change interval and felt like I could've started my own oil recycling business. I've since calmed down and settled in on a 6.0 oil change interval of every 5,000 miles. Using high grade oil, of course.
This does a few things:
Now that that's settled, we can move on...
At the risk of inciting a my-oil's-better-than-your-oil flame festival, the absolute best oil for your 6.0 Powerstroke diesel's engine, and I've said it before I'll say it again, the criteria I use for purchasing oil for my own trucks:
That being said, there are other considerations when you're faced with choosing the best oil for 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engines.
Read this article if you want the dirty details about oil weight and viscosity.
But the long and short of it is that as far as 6.0 Powerstroke oil weight and viscosity goes, and just like its 7.3 older brother, 15W40 is the gold standard for the 6.0 diesel engine.
The specifics of Ford 6.0 oil type break down like this:
Remember all that heat and pressure we talked about? Well, there's an entire camp of Ford powerstroke enthusiasts who've ditched tried and true standard 15W40 Rotella synthetic blend in favor of running full synthetic 5W40 oil in their 6.0 Powerstrokes.
Given the 6.0's tight specs, historical issues, and high hp and torque performance I can't say I blame them.
You can check 10 different "expert" sources and find 10 different "Top 3" synthetic oil weight/viscosity opinions on what's the best oil for your 6.0 Powerstroke.
But there's one synthetic oil that makes just about every list. Rotella T6 5W40 may just be the "best" synthetic motor oil for a 6.0 Powerstroke as well as the best oil for your 6.0 diesel engine in almost any weather.
There's a reason why this stuff sells out at your local auto store, people. It works, it's affordable, and it comes in a cool cobalt-blue bottle. So, you know, there's that.
That being said, though T5 15W40 Rotella may be my "best" 7.3 Powerstroke engine oil, it's not the best recommended oil for 6.0 Powerstroke.
And since I can use T6 5W40 Full Synthetic Rotella in both 7.3 and 6.0 L Powerstroke engines, for me, it makes sense to keep an ample supply of this oil on hand.
Now, way back when, oil used to be oil ... as long as it was the right weight/viscosity for your diesel truck. But we've come a few hundred thousand miles since then.
Nowadays, oil comes in so many types, weights, viscosity, brands, marketing packages, claims and container sizes that it's hard to choose. That is to say nothing of trying to believe the marketing hype vs the opinions of people who want to justify their own use of their favorite brand of oil.
It can get maddening.
I'll tell you how I wade through all that ... sh-malarkey—"Word on the street." I trust the real world experience of people using oil I'm going to buy. Collectively, reviews and driving experience are the real "truth" of how well an oil will perform for you. As told by the people who are actually making it perform.
I've read countless Schaeffer oil reviews and from my own experience with it... For the money, because yes it does come with a premium tag, but for true heavy-duty use or if you just want to give your tired old 6.0 a breath of fresh air, buy full synthetic Schaeffer 9000 5W-40 engine oil. (Amazon link)
"Cold" weather is generally a relative thing—one person's 40° F is another's perceived 0° F! But that's not so with a 6.0L Powerstroke diesel engine, any diesel for that matter. Because colder temps mean thicker oil that's harder on component, seals, and smooth engine operation in general.
And in practical terms, that means the oil you use in Phoenix is not the oil you should use in Fairbanks. For that...
NOTE: I've lived anywhere from Colorado cold to California "cold" and a lot of places in between, and in general when it gets down below 40° I start plugging in my engine block heater. (It's there for a reason...)
Couple of things I like about Royal Purple motor oil for my 6.0 in cold weather. It kind of fits right in the middle of the cold weather range, it's not too expensive, and it comes in a 5 quart container. And that makes a 15 quart capacity 6.0 oil change come out right at 3 jugs of it—no waste or leftover quart sitting around.
No matter what oil you choose to use, a little oil additive in your next 6.0 Powerstroke oil change might just make your tired old diesel engine purr like a kitten. But then that begs the question, what's the best oil additive for 6.0 Powerstroke?
By far my favorite oil additive, for both my 7.3 and 6.0, is Archoil AR9100. Because Archoil works as a Powerstroke engine friction modifier, providing added protection against shear force and helping prevent injector stiction—your injectors getting gummed up and causing rough running.
The directions say to use 1.2 oz of AR9100 Archoil per quart of 6.0 engine oil. Which just conveniently works out to—given our 6.0 oil capacity of 15 quarts—to using one Archoil 16oz bottle each time you change your 6.0 oil.
NOTE: Remember that since 16oz is 1/2 quart (32oz), you need to reduce the amount of oil you use by that much, so 14.5 quarts plus one Archoil AR9100 16oz bottle in your 6.0 oil change. Don't overfill it! (Ask me how I know that...)
Where to buy Archoil AR9100? you ask... (Archoil Amazon)
If you want to really dig down into the details of the how an oil filter works and what it does, you can numb yourself with this oil filter information.
There are many 6.0 oil filter choices out there. Everyone's got their favorite, everyone's pretty sure the oil filter they run is better than the filter you're running in your 6.0. And no one's afraid to tell you about it...
But all things considered, I'm not going to address the so-called "best" oil filter for 6.0 Powerstroke, because any one of several 6.0 oil filters will get the job done. And as I said earlier, frequency and consistency when changing your 6.0 oil and oil filter are just as, if not more, important.
As opposed to your old 7.3, the 6.0 Powerstroke has a cartridge style oil filter. And instead of under the engine, the 6.0 oil filter is located on top of the engine inside the oil filter housing.
NOTE: there are four prongs inside a 6.0 oil filter element that need to engage the interlock on the oil return tube—stand pipe—inside the oil filter housing just right in order to "seat" and function correctly. Some of the budget filters don't accomplish this and will lead to headaches.
Here's a video on the dangers of sub-performing 6.0 filters by one of my favorite YouTube mechanics, FordTechMakuloco.
All that being said, here are 3 solid Ford 6.0 oil filter options. Each one has pros and cons and you'll just have to choose which one's the best oil filter for your 6.0 diesel—your pocketbook, personal preferences, and prejudices taken into account.
Personally, I've used the Motorcraft 6.0 oil filters from Amazon below and had good luck. But I put 2 other popular oil filter options that DHD site visitors frequently buy as well.
Here are the Ford 6.0 Powerstroke oil filter part numbers and links to Amazon for my 3 favorite 6.0 oil filters.
It's hard to go wrong with a Motorcraft 6.0 oil filter. So for those "OEM or die" people, this 6.0 oil filter satisfies.
It fits your OEM 6.0 oil filter cap, won't disintegrate like some others, and it says "Motorcraft" right on the box. (Note: check the part number of any 6.0 filter boxed in Motorcraft-looking packaging—True Motorcraft 6.0 oil filter part numbers end in "AA" and Chinese clones will end in "AB".)
The actual K&N 6.0 oil filter that comes in this box isn't red like the image, it's more yellow like. But yellow, red, or whatever, it's still made in Southern California in the good old USA, baby!
K&N's got a great rep in the air filter industry and they're building, if not already built, a similar one in oil filters.
I'll be honest with you, the only Ecoguard products I've seen/used have been air filters. That being said, I've read up on these and they seem to be performing well for 6.0 owners.
Once again, budget, preference, and above all consistency in changing your oil.
Let's say you've got an old 6.0 Powerstroke with an original oil cap. Or you bought a used one that came retrofitted with one of those "too-tall" oil caps that kills your ICP pressure. Maybe you just want to go back to the tried and true OEM/stock 6.0 oil filter cap.
I don't blame you. Every problem I've encountered on my used Powerstrokes has been related to previous owners "tweaking" with or neglecting them.
Take me back to stock! I'll do the tweaking and tuning, thank you.
So if vanilla is what you want, these OEM filter caps on Amazon will replace a cracked or oversize aftermarket 6.0 oil filter cap just fine.
Ford OEM - 3C3Z-6766-CA
Motorcraft - EC-781
On the other hand, if you're going to trick up your engine bay—add some cool color to it—I can't think of a better or cooler way to start than adding a Sinister Diesel Oil Filler cap in "Sinister" blue.
Does it cost money? Sure does. But the price tag for "cool" ... is what it is, baby.
Check it out!
Which brings us to the real 6.0 oil change cost.
You're going to invest about 1 hour of time, maybe a little more if you're meticulous.
So, all in all, a DIY 6.0 oil change costs around $125 and a Saturday morning to do it yourself. But for comparison, I called 3 dealers and got quotes anywhere from $185-250 for a full synthetic oil change. And $185 for an hour's labor...? I don't think so...
On to oil change tools and parts ...
The 6.0 Powerstroke diesel has the oil filter on top of the engine in the oil filter housing. The 6.0 oil filter cap on top of that housing has an integrated 36mm nut to use in removing the cap and then the oil filter.
Use this 36mm socket from Amazon to remove the oil filter cap.
No matter how you look at it, 15 quarts of oil streaming out of a tiny drain hole in the bottom of your 6.0's oil pan will quickly fill an oil catch container if it's too small.
Trust me, I've panicked, trying to get the oil drain plug back in, as the oil level overflowed my old, too small, drain pan.
Do yourself a favor and get a large capacity oil drain pan.
Not only that, but the spout on this one makes it much easier to pour your old 6.0 diesel oil into recycling containers.
The standard 6.0 Powerstoke oil drain plug size is - M14 x 1.25mm and takes a 19mm socket.
OEM 6.0 Oil Plug w/ Crush Washer Part Number - 8C3Z-6730-A (Amazon link)
If you plan on changing your own oil frequently, I'd highly recommend getting a Fumoto oil drain plug - F-111N. (The "N" stands for the nipple on the end...)
I run them on my 7.3, 6.0, Tahoe, Honda Fit, and RAM 1500. (see video below)
The Fumoto Oil Drain Plug Installation Instructions are pretty straight forward.
Just screw this baby into your oil pan to replace your stock 6.0 oil drain plug. Then the next time you change your oil, draining it will be as simple as lifting and rotating the lever. And with the nipple on the end you can slip a clear hose over it and drain your oil right into a smaller container to be put out or taken to recycling.
If you're worried about that drain nipple getting sheared off, get this Fumoto F-111 on Amazon. It comes without the oil drain nipple.
And the Fumoto comes with a retaining clip to make sure the lever doesn't accidentally rotate open.
NOTE: I've since found that the Fumoto drains significantly slower than removing a stock oil pan plug and just letting 'er rip.
Slower, but less mess. You decide.
This is a rather lengthy unboxing video, showing Fumoto drain plugs being installed on my 3 other vehicles.
And if you're planning to skip the Fumoto and just re-install your 6.0 oil drain plug, this is important. The last thing you want to do is over-tighten the drain plug and strip the threads on your 6.0 oil pan. Because then you'll have to pull the engine to replace the oil pan.
6.0 oil drain plug torque value - 18 lb/ft, 25 Nm.
And that brings us to... Don't forget this!
The oil drain plug washer is one of the most overlooked replacement parts in your diesel's regular maintenance. Any car's maintenance for that matter.
Because when you've finally drained all of the oil from your oil pan only to realize that you forgot to buy one of those little copper crush washers... Argh!
If we're being honest, when we forget to buy that little oil drain plug washer most of us just reuse the old one and cross our fingers that it doesn't leak. Because if it does you'll have to drain the oil to put on a new one.
6.0 Oil Drain Plug Gasket Part Number - 3C3Z-6734-AA (eBay link to bulk washers)
Or buy one on Amazon:
I don't know how, but it does happen. So if you bend or misplace your 6.0 oil dipstick, you can either buy an aftermarket 6.0 oil dipstick on Amazon.
(2003-2007) - 3C3Z-6750-AA
If you've ever lost your oil filler cap or you buy a used truck with a loose and worn out one, you'll need to replace it.
F3AZ-6766-B (Amazon link)
This could get ugly—everyone has their own "way" to change their 6.0 Powerstroke's oil.
I'm assuming you're like me and don't have access to hydraulic lifts or air tools or 25 gallon telescoping drain funnels that never spill a drop of oil.
I do all my maintenance in my driveway with my environmentally-conscious California neighbors watching, so I take time to be as "eco-friendly" as possible.
Not all of us are graced with perfectly level driveways. I've changed my oil on some inclined driveways that I'd rather not talk about.
There's nothing like oil to stain concrete beyond even kitty litter's ability to fix it. I lay down a tarp then my flat metal oil catch pan and then my oil drain pan container.
You'll be on your back under a 10,000 pound vehicle. I don't know about you, but getting up and down when I'm in the middle of dripping oil is a PITA. Don't forget the blue shop towels.
You can get blue shop towels on Amazon or COSTCO sells them in bulk.
Position your 6.0 Powerstroke over your tarp, flat metal catch pan, and drain pan. Set the emergency brake and BLOCK OFF THE WHEELS WITH CHOCKS. (And yep, especially for us "rednecks", wedged winter firewood works in a pinch.) Trust me—a 10,000 pound vehicle, rolling over any part of you won't end well.
Here are the Wheel Chocks I use (Amazon link)
**While you're at it, and I know I'm a safety geek, but I use safety glasses and latex gloves to protect myself from splashing oil and dirt and debris getting in my eyes. (That only takes once for you to remember to put the goggles on!)
If you're anal, you can write the date and mileage down if you want to, but I find my 5,000 mile oil change interval rule (see 6.0 Oil Change Interval above) to be all the indication I need to remind me that I need to change my oil.
Your 6.0 oil filter cap should be removed before draining the oil pan.
Because when the oil filter is removed, the oil filter housing drain valve is automatically opened. This allows most of the oil to drain from the housing down into the oil pan.
Once you have your oil drain pan under the oil drain plug, use a 19mm socket to loosen and remove the stock 6.0 oil pan drain plug. Don't drop it or you'll be fishing for it in dirty oil.
Then reinstall the oil drain plug and torque to 18 lb/ft. Remember to put a new crush washer on the oil drain plug.
Separate the old oil filter from the oil filter cap. The oil filter "snaps" into the 6.0 oil filter cap, so be careful unsnapping it.
Most 6.0 Oil filters come with a new oil filter cap o-ring. Remove the old one and install the new one onto the oil filter cap. Lube the o-ring liberally with new oil.
Snap the new filter into the oil filter cap. Then screw it down onto the oil filter housing and torque down with a 36mm socket to about 19 lb/ft torque.
Remove the oil filler cap and use a funnel with a neck small enough to fit down into the oil filler tube and big enough to hold a significant amount of oil—over a quart.
If you're going to put in 15 Quarts of oil, it makes sense—to me, anyway—to use a large capacity oil funnel. I've sloshed too much oil on engines in my lifetime, trying to "carefully" pour oil directly into the filler tube. And gallon jugs? Even tougher.
Do yourself a favor and get this large capacity oil funnel and save yourself the frustration of needless spillage.
It's a lot easier to see how easy a 6.0 oil change can be by showing it to you. I love How-to-Bob's 6.0 Powerstroke oil change video on YouTube. I'd only change one thing, unscrew the oil filter cap first to let the oil drain down into the oil pan.
So, there it is—changing the oil on your 6.0 Powerstroke. More info than you ever thought you'd want to know.
But at least now you know you're armed with the details and can do this maintenance yourself and get the satisfaction of knowing it's done right ... and probably for less money.
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