6.0L EGR Delete

by Rob Gaskell, Jr.

The 6.0L Powerstroke EGR cooler is a notorious source of problems due to coolant loss, prompting many performance parts manufacturers to develop EGR delete kits which eliminate the EGR cooler, as well as eliminating operation of the EGR system. There are several reasons to maintain operation of your 6 Liter (Litre) EGR system, and there are some misconceptions about the advantages of deleting the system. With the Bulletproof EGR Cooler, your EGR system can be made to function reliably, since this cooler features a lifetime warranty and has been proven on thousands of trucks over the last several years.

The Issues

Higher Combustion Temperatures

The EGR system on a diesel engine reintroduces exhaust gases into the combustion chamber. This cools combustion temperatures by taking up space in the combustion chamber since exhaust gases are in general inert and will not burn. There are several reasons that higher combustion temperatures due to the removal of the EGR system should be a concern for customers. First, deleting the EGR system is a violation of US EPA and CARB regulations, because high combustion temperatures lead to higher NOx emissions, which produce smog and acid rain. This means that your vehicle will only be legal for use in off-road applications in the US. For more, read our article on Exhaust Emissions. Aside from emissions, higher combustion temperatures can contribute to engine damage such as burned exhaust valves, head gasket failure, also known as "blown head gaskets," and serious turbocharger damage.

Diagnostics, Programming, and Turbocharger Noise

Removing the EGR system from the vehicle will set diagnostic trouble codes, turn on the Check Engine light, and will require the installation of a performance tuner to avoid these codes. Many of the diagnostic self-tests that the Powertrain Control Module provides to us as technicians will not run if the EGR system is not in proper working order, meaning that diagnostic times and therefore costs may increase significantly for some driveability concerns. A fluttering noise may also result from EGR system removal, particularly when rapidly reducing throttle application under load, such as while pulling a hill. Modifications to the air intake or exhaust systems can cause this issue as well, as can some performance tuners.

The Answer

Bulletproof EGR Coolers

The Bulletproof EGR Cooler for the 6.0 Powerstroke features a lifetime warranty and has proven itself as a permanent repair for the EGR Cooler leakage which the 6L PSD is prone to. It has the same form and fit as a stock cooler, but with upgraded internal components which hold and flow more coolant, allowing it to better cool the EGR system than the stock 6L cooler. For more information, read our article 6.0L EGR/Oil Cooler Upgrade.

The Decision

As with most vehicle modifications, there are pro's and con's that should be carefully considered before deciding whether to remove your EGR system or upgrade it with the Bulletproof EGR Cooler. While the EPA and state governments are paying little attention to the removal of these emissions controls, the possibility that this may change should be kept in mind, as well as the potential for extremely heavy fines should the EPA decide to actively enforce longstanding regulations. The environmental impacts should be considered as well. As stated above, oxides of nitrogen are a major contributor to brown smog and acid rain. While your opinion on environmental issues may vary, this issue should at least be noted in your considerations.

While many of the cons to installing an EGR delete on a 6Liter Powerstroke have been covered, there are a few pros that should be considered. EGR valves often stick, particularly on vehicles which are driven moderately, with few hard accelerations and rare heavy loads. Elimination of the EGR system is certainly a way to eliminate the recurrence of this problem. While it is sometimes possible to remove and clean the EGR valve, it does not always work, requiring the valve to be replaced. Additionally, EGR operation adds to carbon buildup within the intake manifold, and over long periods of time, this carbon buildup can cause small reductions in engine performance.

In our opinion at Fleet Service Northwest, the problems associated with the removal of the 6.0Liter Powerstroke EGR system, combined with the availability of a truly permanent upgrade for the EGR system's most serious problem, outweigh the benefits of removal. The decision to upgrade or remove your cooler should be made carefully, considering all options and drawing your own conclusion. As with all purchases, care should be taken regarding arguments made by those promoting the sale of one particular product or another, and I hope that the fact that Fleet Service Northwest has both upgraded coolers and delete kits available helps in your consideration of the pro's and con's discussed in this article.

Rob's Powerstroke Performance Center, 6.0l/6.4l Diesel Specialist, 6.6l Duramax Specialist

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