Cranking 700 hp from a single-turbo 6.0L Power Stroke
Luke Miller is of the opinion that Ford’s Power Stroke 6.0Ls get a bad rap when it comes to making power. Many owners find themselves with aging Power Strokes that need to go under the knife, as injector failures, blown head gaskets, and bad EGR or oil coolers are all common issues. So Miller got to thinking: Why not take the time to add some more performance while the engine was already taken apart?
As the owner of Miller Performance Diesel in Oroville, California, he is no stranger to working on blue ovals. He also wanted to prove that they could make serious power, so he set about building a reliable shop truck that could storm the dragstrip or dyno if the occasion warranted it. As it turned out, his build-up exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own.
Miller found a donor truck on Craigslist that fit the bill nicely. It was a four-wheel-drive, it had low miles, and it was in decent shape. It ran a bit rough, but since he planned to build it up, he wasn’t too worried. After a few bucks changed hands, the ’03 F-250 was his, and headed over to the MPD shop.
Since the truck had to be reliable, Miller started by fixing many of the common 6.0L engine issues. He began by replacing the engine’s oil and EGR coolers, and installing ARP head studs along with fresh gaskets. The heads themselves were ported and O-ringed for better flow and to seal the combustion into the cylin- ders. He also installed a Stage 1 camshaft, valve springs and pushrods from River City Diesel to help make more power while maintaining good control over the valvetrain.
Miller knew the factory turbo would only flow so much air, so he upped the ante and installed a T4 mount kit from Irate Diesel Performance, as well as a monster 76mm SX-E S400 turbocharger from Borgwarner. Fuel delivery was upgraded with a set of 205/100 injectors from Warren Diesel and an Alliant Power FICM.
Miller said he’s experimented a lot on the dyno with tunes from Power Hungry Performance and Gearhead Automotive, as well as FICM tuning.
The 6.0L draws in plenty of clean air through an S&B intake and filter while Sinister Diesel boost tubes, hoses and clamps replace the factory equipment to provide better flow and handle the increased pressure. To keep the engine cool Miller chose to replace the factory radiator with an aluminum radiator from Mishimoto but still relies on the stock Ford intercooler to keep engine inlet temperature down.
The 5R110 transmission found in ’03-07 Fords is one of the better gearboxes around, but even it can develop issues once power levels rise above 500 hp. Since the truck was already down while the engine was torn apart, Miller opted to dive into the transmission and pulled the 5R110 to do a complete performance rebuild. The factory torque converter was replaced with an upgraded unit from Diesel Performance Converters, and the rebuild was performed with clutches from Warren Diesel installed in the transmission.
Last on Miller’s list was a trip through the cosmetics department, where he added a set of 22x12-inch XD Bomb wheels from KMC wrapped in four Federal 305/45R22 420 tires for grip. To perfect the suspension in the rear, Miller installed a set of custom traction bars and removed the rear blocks to bring the altitude down a little bit. Of course, the front was also modified—with a 2-inch hangar kit and Fox shocks to help the truck handle much better. The body also received an updated ’05 front clip and telescoping mirrors to improve the visuals.
When it came time to hit the dyno, Miller wasn’t sure just how far he could push the 6.0L engine, considering it still had the factory fuel system. After some careful tuning, he put down a mind-bending 694 rear-wheel horsepower, at 52 psi of boost. For a single turbo truck with no nitrous, he certainly proved that 6.0L Fords can run with the best of them, after they are given a Miller Performance Diesel treatment! UDBG
Luke Miller's 2003 Ford F-250 packs a potent 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine under the hood with a huge single turbo and enough horsepower to embarrass sports cars at a stoplight.
Lurking below the hood and behind the grille of this unassuming 2003 F-250 is a 6.0L power house that packs nearly 700 horses for work or play.
The factory boost tubes and boots had seen more than a decade of use, so they were replaced with bright “Sinister Blue” tubes, new clamps and stronger boots from Sinister Diesel that would prevent boot blowouts while handling the additional flow from the large Borgwarner turbo. The intake manifolds on early 6.0L engines are more restrictive than later models, so Miller upgraded his '03 engine to a later '05 model intake for better flow.
In addition to making 694 horsepower through a careful selection of parts, the engine bay in Miller's '03 is one of the cleaner ones we've seen.
Miller replaced the restrictive stock airbox with an aftermarket airbox and filter from S&B to support the airflow capabilities of the new larger S400 turbocharger.
Coolant filtering is especially important on 6.0L engines. To keep everything including the new Mishimoto radiator debris free, Miller installed a Coolant Filtration Kit from Sinister Diesel. After going through the factory catalytic converter, the exhaust takes a route out up and over the axle, and ends in a very distinctive “AR” tip from Sinister Diesel.
Hiding under the cowl of the truck is a big-by-huge 76mm SX-E turbo from Borgwarner. The new SX-E models feature the latest in compressor technology, so Miller grabbed one, and installed it with a T4 mount kit from Irate Diesel.
The engine bay wiring has been cleaned up and hidden thanks to a wiring shield specifically designed for the 6.0L cowl by PSP Diesel.
Miller gave the shop truck a nice stance by removing the blocks in the rear and reworking the front suspension before installing new shocks as well as new rolling stock on all four corners.
The Miller Diesel Performance shop truck is ready to tackle just about any work chore from 9 to 5 and is prepared to have fun after hours on the dyno or the drag strip. The interior of the 116,000-mile truck was clean when Miller bought it, and he's kept it nice and stock with few additions.
A variety of custom tunes are loaded through an Insight Pro from Power Hungry Performance. Miller also uses the Edge monitor as an addition set of gauges to monitor the 6.0L's health.
Miller kept the wiring for the brake controller, just in case any friends or potential customers happen to be in need of a 700hp tow. A Double DIN Kenwood Navigation/dvd-receiver has been integrated into the faux wood grain dash that the truck received in a previous lifetime.