Your Ford 6.4 Powerstroke diesel engine's got a wicked little emissions item called the DPF—diesel particulate filter. And as it relates to getting your 6.4 Powerstroke oil capacity and oil change procedure right, it's critical you understand it.
Basically, once your DPF reaches a certain level of soot, hot fuel is introduced into your exhaust stroke in order to clean/regenerate the DPF.
Since that process tends to dilute your oil, it's critical that you stay current on your 6.4 oil changes.
15 quarts of oil including the oil in the 6.4 oil filter housing.
So, belaboring, and answering the common question...
Well, since a 6.4 Powerstroke takes 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 6.4 Powerstroke hold? 3.75 gallons of oil.
Before we figure out what oil we should put in your 6.4 Powerstroke we need to determine how often—when—you need to change a 6.4 diesel's oil.
Ford says you can go 10,000 miles between oil changes. But 6.4 oil change interval opinions vary so wildly that it's almost pointless to discuss them. Almost...
Bear with me here...
DIRTY DETAILS - DPF Regeneration Summary:
In a DPF emissions system, diesel fuel is fired into the cylinders during the exhaust stroke. This diesel washes down into the oil, diluting the oil by adding fuel to it. This extra "oil" is actually fuel. Fuel is not a good lubricant.
So the engine components that need good clean oil to lubricate and protect them are actually getting diesel fuel, diluted oil. Non-optimal, as I like to say.
So, in a 6.4 it's extremely important to keep up on your oil changes. I use my tried and true 5,000 mile oil change interval on my 6.4 Powerstroke, all my vehicles actually.
Let me explain.
Given that the maximum I'd suggest you go between 6.4 oil changes is 5,000, here's how you do that.
First, baseline your oil change. If you just bought a "new" 6.4, change the oil right away. I do this because I don't care how someone else did it or when they "say" they did it last. I want to know that it's done right and right now.
Second, after I perform that baseline change, and whenever my odometer hits the next "5k" multiple, be it 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or whatever since I just changed it, I change it again. Now I'm on the easy multiple of fives and I can simply look at my odometer and if it's at any 5k mark, I change oil. (Odometer example - 95k, 100k, 215k... Anything like that)
This does a few things:
There are several "my-oil's-better-than-your-oil" opinion posts out there, so I'm not writing another one. That being said, the absolute best oil for your 6.4 Powerstroke engine, and I've said it before... The criteria I still use for purchasing oil for my own trucks and cars:
Here are other things you should consider when choosing the best oil for 6.4 Powerstroke diesel engines.
The Ford-suggested "normal operating" 6.4 Powerstroke oil weight and viscosity is 15W-40.
Read this article if you want the dirty details about oil weight and viscosity.
The specifics of Ford 6.4 oil types break down like this:
Remember that DPF we talked about? Well, that recirculation of soot and introduction of fuel into the oil means that your 6.4 Powerstroke needs good to great grade and performance oil to compensate for dilution.
And as I mentioned before, in the 6.0 oil change article, many 7.3, 6.0, and 6.4 owners have switched to full synthetic 5W-40. It's got a wider temperature range and full synthetic has better shear performance as well.
You can check 10 different places on the internet and find 10 different "Top " synthetic oil weight/viscosity opinions on what's the best oil for your 6.4 Powerstroke.
But there's one synthetic oil brand that makes just about every list. Rotella T6 5W40 may just be the "best" all-around synthetic motor oil for a 6.4 Powerstroke as well as the best oil for your 6.4 diesel engine in almost any weather.
That being said, though blended T5 15W40 Rotella, or T6 full synthetic 5W40 may be my "go-to" 7.3 Powerstroke engine oil and 6.0 Powerstroke engine oil, I'd recommend a heavier-duty full synthetic oil for your 6.4 engine.
Yes, Schaeffer oil does come at a price, but to deal with that oil dilution created by the 6.4 DPF and to give your 6.4 even more protection between oil changes, 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 0° F! But that's not so with a 6.4 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.
Here's a helpful guide from Ford on different oil weights for different cold weather temps.
NOTE: 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 6.4 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 6.4 oil change come out right at 3 jugs of oil—no waste or leftover quart sitting around like there is when you have to buy it by the gallon.
No matter what oil you choose to use, a little oil additive in your next 6.4 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 6.4 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.
And I see no reason not to use it in my 6.4 oil change.
The directions say to use 1.2 oz of AR9100 Archoil per quart of engine oil. Which just conveniently works out to—given our 6.4 oil capacity of 15 quarts—to using one Archoil 16oz bottle each time you change your 6.4 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 6.4 oil change.
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 6.4 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 6.4. 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 6.4 Powerstroke, because any one of several 6.4 oil filters will get the job done. And as I said earlier, frequency and consistency when changing your 6.4 oil and oil filter are just as, if not more, important.
The 6.4 Powerstroke has a cartridge style oil filter. And instead of under the engine, the 6.4 oil filter is located on top of the engine inside the oil filter housing.
NOTE: there are four prongs inside a 6.4 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 aftermarket 6.4 oil filters, caps, and sizes by one of my favorite YouTube mechanics, DieselTechRon (RIP).
All that being said, here are 3 solid Ford 6.4 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 6.4 diesel.
Coincidentally, these filters all work in 6.0 and 6.4 Powerstroke oil changes. Same oil filter part numbers.
Personally, I've used the Motorcraft 6.4 oil filters from Amazon below in both my 6.4 and 6.0 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 6.4 Powerstroke oil filter part numbers and links to Amazon for my 3 favorite 6.4 oil filters. It just so happens that the 6.4 and 6.4 share the same Ford filter part numbers.
It's hard to go wrong with a Motorcraft 6.4 filter. So for those "OEM or die" people, this 6.4 oil filter satisfies.
It fits your OEM 6.4 oil filter cap, won't disintegrate like some others, and it says "Motorcraft" right on the box. (Note: check the part number of any 6.4 filter boxed in Motorcraft-looking packaging—True Motorcraft 6.4 oil filter part numbers end in "AA" and Chinese clones will end in "AB".)
The actual K&N 6.4 oil filter that comes in this box isn't red like the image, it's more yellow. And made in Southern California in the good old USA!
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 6.4 owners.
Remember, budget, preference, and above all consistency in changing your oil.
Let's say you've got an old 6.4 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 6.4 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.
So if vanilla is what you want, these OEM filter caps on Amazon will replace a cracked or oversize aftermarket 6.4 oil filter cap just fine.
Ford OEM - 3C3Z-6766-CA
Motorcraft - EC-781
NOTE: This 6.4 oil filter cap is compatible with the 6.0 oil filter housing as well.
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 6.4 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 6.4 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 6.4 Powerstroke diesel has the oil filter on top of the engine in the oil filter housing. The 6.4 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 steaming and streaming out of a tiny drain hole in the bottom of your 6.4's oil pan will quickly fill an oil catch container that's too small.
Been there. Done that. Got the oily t-shirt!
Do yourself a favor and get a large capacity oil drain pan.
The spout on this one makes it much easier to pour your old 6.4 diesel oil into recycling containers. Careful though, at 4.5 gallons this thin will hold 18 quarts of used oil. But keep in mind with that regeneration issue the 6.4 has been known to "produce" oil, effectively making more "oil" than you put in!
The standard 6.4 Powerstoke oil drain plug size is - M14 x 1.25mm and takes a 19mm socket.
OEM 6.4 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, 6.4, Tahoe, Honda Fit, and RAM 1500. (see video below)
The Fumoto Oil Drain Plug Installation Instructions are pretty straight forward.
Just screw the fumoto into your oil pan to replace your stock 6.4 oil drain plug. Then the next time you change your oil, all you have to do is lift and rotate 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 6.4 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 6.4 oil pan. Because then you'll have to pull the engine to replace the oil pan.
6.4 oil drain plug torque value - 18 lb/ft, 25 Nm.
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.
6.4 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 6.4 oil dipstick, you can either buy an aftermarket 6.4 oil dipstick on Amazon.
(2008-2010) - 8C3Z-6750-A
Lost your oil filler cap? Or bought a used truck with a loose one? Replace it with this one. (Fits 7.3 and 6.0 also)
F3AZ-6766-B (Amazon link)
This could get ugly—everyone has their own "way" to change their 6.4 Powerstroke's oil.
I'm assuming you're like me and don't have access to a shop with hydraulic lifts or air tools.
I DIY 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 6.4 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 6.4 Oil Change Interval above) to be all the indication I need to remind me that I need to change my oil.
Your 6.4 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 6.4 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 6.4 oil filter cap, so be careful unsnapping it.
Most 6.4 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 6.4 oil change can be by showing it to you. I love AUDImotive's 6.4 Powerstroke oil change video on YouTube. Not sure about his oil pan torque spec, but I'm looking into that.
So, there it is—15 quarts of oil, some good components and grade oil and changing the oil on your 6.4 Powerstroke is pretty straight forward.
And you gotta do it, especially with the 6.4 Powerstroke's unique requirements due to the DPF.
7.3 Powerstroke OIL CHANGE and CAPACITY Secrets
6.0 Powerstroke OIL CHANGE and CAPACITY Secrets