Crank­ing 700 hp from a sin­gle-turbo 6.0L Power Stroke

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents - Text/pho­tog­ra­phy: Ja­son Sands

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

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...

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.

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...

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.

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...

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...

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