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Letters & Emails

Published in the August 2011 Issue August 2011 Feature My Truck

Dear DT,

I purchased a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty V8 6.4L in late 2007. A few months after my purchase, I noticed coolant leaking out from the radiator, so I took it back to Ford. Since it was still under warranty, they replaced it.

A few days later on the way to a hot-air balloon event, I was towing my balloon and heard a loud pop. We lost all power. My turbo pressure dropped to nothing and I thought I blew my turbo. But after looking under the hood, I found that the top turbo hose had blown off. I managed to get the hose back on and was able to make it home. The next day, I took the truck to the Ford dealership and had them check the truck out. They kept it all day and said everything was all right.

A few weeks later, the hose blew off again. I immediately took it back to Ford and they kept my truck a couple of days this time. When they gave it back to me, they assured me everything was fixed.

The trucked worked okay for about a year, except it seemed like it would go into exhaust filter cleaning mode fairly often, which cut my fuel mileage way down. After having owned the truck for a year or so, one day I went out and found a puddle of coolant under it. If you're thinking the radiator was bad-again-you're right. The Ford dealership replaced it (still under warranty), but I told them to make sure they put the turbo hose on right. They said they would put their best man on it. Well about two weeks later, I heard this pop, lost all my power, so I limped it back to Ford. They again kept the truck a couple of days.

This went on a couple more times, but the real clincher was when we were going to another balloon rally and got about 50 miles out of town when we lost all power. I thought, "Oh no! Not the turbo hoses again!" I pulled over and checked them, and they were all right. I checked everything from the transmission fluid to the brakes and found nothing.

We made the decision to go on. Four hours and two tanks of fuel later, we went a hundred miles. The next day, the truck ran a little better, but still not good. We finished the rally and went home on only one tank of fuel. Back to Ford I went and told them they could keep their lemon of a truck. The next day they called to tell me they found the problem. The EGR valve went bad and they replaced the valve. Since then, I have gotten a little better fuel mileage, but in goes into exhaust cleaning mode a lot.

My question is, did I buy a lemon or did Ford just make a bad 2008 F250 diesel truck?

Ken Scott
Via Email

We're sympathetic to what you're going through, mainly because we have the same truck and have had our fair share of issues with it.

Ford went through three update phases during production of the 2008 Super Duty trucks. Job 1 includes all 2008 model trucks built from Jan 1, 2007 through about the end of May, 2007. Job 2 is all trucks built from June through December, 2007. Job 3 is all 2008 models built after January 1, 2008.

Our 2008 F-350 is a Job 1, and from the radiator problems you've described, it sounds like yours is a Job 1 as well (You can tell by looking at the MFG date on the sticker on the driver's side door jamb). Job 1 trucks also have a shorter front lower air dam than Job 2 and Job 3 trucks.

Job 1 trucks were known for having radiators that leaked at the seams, mostly at the bottom near the frame. The shorter 2-inch front lower air dam on Job 1 trucks doesn't do much for helping fuel economy, so Job 2 went to a 4-inch air dam. The EGR valve failure is pretty common on Job 1 trucks, too. There are random complaints of other minor issues, but nothing documented by Ford. Our 2008 F-350 has had a high pressure fuel pump failure, EGR valve failure, turbo failure and a rear main seal leak. And the DPF went into regeneration so frequently that we were factoring it into quick runs to Home Depot (but that was before we removed it). So some trucks are more prone to these issues than others. I wouldn't say you've got a lemon. It's just one of the risks associated with owning the first of any new production model.

As for the charge system hose popping off, my recommendation would be to find another dealer to perform warranty service. Things like that aren't so much the truck's production quality as they are human competency.

If it makes any difference, we have a 2010 F-250 in the fleet and have been around a 2009 F-350 for quite a bit of testing, and they seem to be very reliable trucks. Guys like you and I just had to clear out the 2008 inventory so they could fix the bugs I guess.

Dear DT,

My name is Matthew Wright. I am new to the diesel performance world. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. I am doing some research to upgrade my 2000 Ford F-250 7.3L 4X4. I currently have an Edge programmer, Banks big head wastegate, 4-inch turbo back exhaust, 6-inch lift, and 37-inch Swampers.

I am really looking to get the best fuel mileage possible, but I also welcome any extra power I can get. I was thinking of upgrading my turbo and intercooler and possibly bigger injectors as well. I am mostly unsure of good quality brands. And being lower enlisted means I have a pretty limited paycheck. Any help you could offer is greatly appreciated.

SPC Matthew Wright

Honestly, if getting better fuel mileage is your main concern and you're working with a limited paycheck, the best thing you can do for short-term success is get rid of your lift and over-sized tires and get back to stock size. This will help your mileage more than any aftermarket product you can spend your money on for now and then you can start saving for those performance upgrades you're looking for.

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