Problems With the EGR Ford Powerstroke

by Horacio Garcia
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The Powerstroke diesel engine is installed in Ford's heavy-duty lineup of trucks. The Powerstroke's exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system does have issues reported by many owners. The EGR system recirculates the truck's exhaust back into the engine cylinders, reducing vehicle emissions.

Clogged EGR Cooler

The EGR on the Ford Powerstroke is prone to clogging because of debris buildup that can cause the engine's temperature to rise as well as loss of coolant. Once the EGR cooler fails, the engine will overheat, creating multiple problems including increased emissions and decreased fuel economy. The EGR cooler needs to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis as part of the Powerstroke's maintenance schedule. The EGR coolers installed on 2004 models fail at a higher rate because of a design flaw. EGRs installed after 2004 are longer and square, which creates a bigger surface for debris to build up, whereas the EGR coolers installed in models made before 2003 are round.

Clogged EGR Valve

The Ford Powerstroke EGR valve can clog up due to the quality of fuel used in the vehicle and excessive idling. Debris builds up in the EGR valve because diesel fuel burns at a lower temperature, creating more debris than with gasoline. The soot produced from diesel fuel can clog up the EGR valve quickly. This EGR problem in the Ford Powerstroke, in turn, causes problems with the turbocharger, such as stalling or misfires. A higher quality diesel fuel, such as a cetane level of 45 or better, needs to be used in the Powerstroke, and the EGR valve needs to be cleaned regularly.

EGR Failure

A common problem with the Ford Powerstroke EGR is complete failure caused by a vacuum leak. The EGR takes the exhaust fumes and sends them back into the engine, which decreases the chemicals released through the exhaust system. A vacuum leak will cause the EGR to work harder, overheating the device. Once the EGR is working above normal engine temperature, it will fail. The EGR will need to be replaced, but this does not fix the problem until the vacuum leak is found and repaired.

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