Up-Pipe/Turbo Replacement Tricks
The lowdown on stopping performance-robbing up-pipe and turbo-related exhaust leaks on 6.4L Ford Power Stroke engines
EXHAUST FUMES leaking into the cab, hissing noises coming from the back of the engine compartment when boost starts building, and sometimes just the inability to make boost at all are signs that point toward one of the most common maintenance issues Ford diesel owners experience: failed up-pipes, and exhaust leaks stemming from bad bolts, gaskets, and clamps that no longer keep the hot side of the turbocharger system tightly sealed.
There’s no magic mileage or time interval for when the issues arise. Some of the 6.0L and 6.4L Power Stroke engines in ’03-to’07 and ’08-to-’10 Super Dutys exhibited signs of failed up-pipes while still under warranty (5 years/100,000 miles), but the majority of the problems seem to come between 150,000 and 200,000 miles.
Replacing up-pipes on a 6.4L is a major pain due to their location and their close proximity to the firewall. There’s just no
room to work or see, because space between the firewall and the rear of the turbocharger is virtually nil.
When executing an up-pipe replacement, some DIYers drop the transmission crossmember to let the rear of the engine tilt downward to gain a few inches of wrenching room. Others remove the passenger-side cab-mounting bolts and jack the cab up a foot to gain access to the fasteners securing the up-pipes to the turbo. The most efficient method is to lift the cab off the frame, which can be done in a couple of hours if you have access to a hoist.
Like most good diesel-service centers, the technicians at Mobile Diesel Service have learned cab-off makes life far easier when addressing Power Stroke exhaust-manifold leaks and failed up-pipes. When a customer rolled in with an ’08 F-250 that showed all the symptoms of bad up-pipes and a worn-out turbo, we followed along to see what tricks and tips they have for readers who are making similar repairs or upgrades.
For our project, Mobile Diesel Service already had a replacement upgrade BorgWarner V2S compound turbo from Industrial Injection (PN 479514T) and MBRP uppipes (PN FAL2761) at the ready. The new turbo came with a compact brushless actuator that replaces the troubleprone, water-cooled smart remote actuator found on the ’08-to-’10 engines. (Ford no longer offers the SRA, but they can be rebuilt if necessary.)
MBRP’s heavy-duty up-pipes have extra layers of knee-pad–like steel welded at the bends of the exhaust manifold where heat generated by “tuned” trucks can burn through single-layer tubes. MBRP also uses mild steel instead of stainless for the pipes because experience shows the former holds up better under high-heat operating conditions. All tubes are mandrel bent to reduce stress, and the flex portions use double-wall 304 stainless bellows with interlocking inner liner and mesh outer liner for a long-lasting, quad-layer design.
With a new turbo, up-pipes, and a lot of attention focused on installing gaskets and connecting hardware, this aspect of the 6.4L’s exhaust probably won’t need to be touched again for many years!
2. A replacement BorgWarner compound turbo from Industrial Injection, and MBRP’s heavy-duty up-pipes were the cure for our ’08 F-250’s performance and exhaustleak issues. Parts and labor amounts for such repairs are upward of $4,500 and require two days to complete.3. A common failure on 6.4L Power Stroke engines is the passenger-side up-pipe breaking off at the turbo flange. MBRP uses mandrel-bent steel tubes and heavy external welds to ensure its heavy-duty replacement doesn’t suffer the same fate as the stock pipes.4. MBRP’s heavy-duty up-pipes are constructed with an additional layer of steel welded around the bends near the exhaust-manifold flanges to prevent blowout from the heat generated by “tuned” engines.5. The top of the 6.4L doesn’t need to be touched when the up-pipes are replaced. However, as our engine needs a new turbo, Mobile Diesel technician Mat Johnson removes the intake and related lines.
1. Ford Power Stroke diesel engines are prone to exhaust leaks at a variety of locations, including the up-pipes, exhaust manifolds, EGR pipe, and downpipe. The 6.4L shown here has exhaust-related issues at various locations (arrows). Removing the cab facilitates easy, quick access that speeds up the repair process.
8. One reason Ford 6.4L up-pipes are tough to work on is because there are several mounting bolts tucked in locations that are very difficult to access unless the cab is off (especially the passenger-side up-pipe).
9-10. Our ’08 F-250 is stock, so the EGR DPF EGT sensor has to be removed before we take out the passenger-side uppipe, which developed a leak in the flex joint. This sensor can be a bear to break loose from the bung unless a penetrating lubricant is used.
6. TECH TIP: Spray copious amounts of lubricant on every 13mm nut, 10mm bolt, and clamp the day before replacing the up-pipes and/ or turbo. The first, and easiest, tube we remove is the EGR-cooler pipe.
7. The proper sequence for removing the up-pipes is taking out the EGR-cooler pipe, driver-side up-pipe, and finally, the passengerside up-pipe. Reinstalling involves doing everything in reversed order. Again, using a good penetrating lubricant hours before (or even the day before) work begins is a big plus.