Ford 6.4L Power Stroke Diesel Replacement Turbocharger Options

Apr 11th 2023

Ford 6.4L Power Stroke Diesel Replacement Turbocharger Options

Much like its competition, when Ford wanted to put a diesel engine in their biggest pickups, they turned to experts in the medium and heavy-duty space. General Motors was the first to offer an oil burner in the iconic “Square-Body” pickups and SUVs, first with the infamous Oldsmobile 350, and almost immediately replacing it with a 6.2L or 6.5L V8 from Detroit Diesel. Dodge made the biggest splash when they introduced the Cummins ISB 5.9L diesel in their 1989 Ram pickups. Ford first offered the International Harvester 6.9L IDI (indirect injection) diesel V8 in the 1983 F-250 HD and F-350 pickups, making a quaint 150hp and 285 lb-ft of torque.

The 6.9L became a 7.3L for the 1988 model year, and an optional turbocharger was available for 1993 and 1994. Midway through the 1994 model year, the International Harvester IDI was replaced by the International Navistar T444E, and the only thing they shared was the same 7.3L displacement (the T444E name refers to the 444 cubic inches of displacement). The new 7.3L gained direct injection, a decent power bump, and new “Power Stroke” branding that’s stuck around for nearly 30 years now.

As the Navistar T444E became the VT365, the 7.3L Power Stroke became the 6.0L Power Stroke (VT365 – 365 cubic inches – 6.0 liters), and the final Super Duty pickups to use a Navistar V8 are the 2008-2010 6.4L models. The Ford 6.4L PowerStroke shares a lot with the International Navistar MaxxForce 7 – both are derived from the VT365/6.0L, but with a mild increase in cylinder bore to improve low-end torque, as well as the addition of more modern electronics and emissions components. 2008 and 2009 MaxxForce 7’s use a single turbo, but 2010 and newer models use a BorgWarner V2S compound turbo, as do all 2008-2010 PowerStroke trucks.

The turbo on the 6.4L Power Stroke does not really have one particular Achilles heel to point to, like bearing failure on the later 6.7L or the VGT actuator on the Dodge Ram Cummins. One common issue is leaks from the up-pipes that feed exhaust gas from the manifolds to the exhaust housing on the turbo. When these pipes leak, any exhaust gases that escape are exhaust gases not spinning the turbine wheels on the turbos, meaning less boost and less power. This can also be hard to diagnose, seeing as how the pipes can be somewhat buried in that very crowded engine bay, and the issue only makes itself known under load, which is hard to duplicate in the garage or on a lift.

Honestly, the biggest issue with the turbo on the 6.4L is just doing the job itself when it becomes time due to age and mileage. Dealerships have it down to a science now, where they can have the cab removed from the truck in under an hour, but smaller shops and DIY installers do not really have that ability. Just like every other Super Duty pickup, the turbo is at the back of the engine, tucked under the cowl, and while it’s not exactly small on any of the other Power Stroke diesels, it’s truly massive on the 6.4L – nearly 100 lbs. That’s why, even if only one of the two turbos needs to be replaced, most people replace the entire compound turbocharger assembly, because they do NOT want to do that job again.

6.4L Power Stroke Turbocharger Actuator

These trucks left the factory with a water-cooled BorgWarner Smart Remote Actuator (SRA) which has since been discontinued. Trucks getting a replacement actuator today receive a new BorgWarner Compact Brushless Actuator (CBA) which is smaller and has better heat resistance, rendering the water cooling unnecessary. It’s easy to tell which actuator your truck has; the old one has coolant lines running to and from, and the new one does not. Your truck is most likely going to have the original SRA actuator; it's a reliable design that rarely needs to be replaced. If you were to replace the original SRA actuator with then new CBA actuator (that does not have the coolant line connections) the coolant line that use to run into the actuator now just plugs directly into the coolant reservoir, and you can eliminate entirely the return line that connects the old actuator to the reservoir.

Unlike the VGT turbochargers that replaced compound and sequential setups, the actuator on the Ford 6.4L turbo does not require any programming after installation – just disconnect the battery when you install it, and when you reconnect it and start the engine after installation, rev the engine to about 20% throttle and the ECU will sync to the new actuator right away.

2008-2010 Ford 6.4L PowerStroke Replacement Turbo Options

Shopping for a replacement 6.4L turbo can be overwhelming because of all the options, but we’ve narrowed it down to two top picks. BorgWarner no longer produces this turbo, and while a factory reman option is still in their catalog, it has been perpetually backordered.

Because of how difficult installation is for this turbocharger, we generally advise replacing the entire assembly, with both the high- and low-pressure halves at the same time, so you don’t have to do the job again. The high and low pressure turbos come out together as a single unit anyway, so you’re not saving yourself much effort by just replacing the one.

We have two complete compound turbocharger replacements that fit all 2008-2010 6.4L Power Stroke and all the gaskets required for installation:

Remanufactured, with actuator: 2008-2010 Ford Super Duty 6.4L Power Stroke Diesel Remanufactured OEM Turbocharger With Actuator TUR-102905-TDR

Brand New, without actuator: New Turbochargers Direct Replacement V2S Turbo Without Actuator For 2008-2010 Ford F-250 F-350 F-450 F-550 6.4L Power Stroke Diesel TUR-102905-TNS

The new turbo does not include the actuator, but it’s easy to swap that over from your original turbo without any programming required. The actuator attaches to the high pressure turbocharger, and we have installation instructions for the updated actuator available here.

The individual components of the compound turbo assembly are available here:

Low Pressure (New) : New Turbochargers Direct Replacement Low Pressure Turbo For Ford 6.4L PowerStroke Diesel TUR-102906-TDN

Low Pressure (Remanufactured) : Turbochargers Direct Remanufactured OEM Low Pressure Turbo For Ford 6.4L PowerStroke Diesel TUR-102906-TDR

High Pressure (New) : New Turbochargers Direct Replacement High Pressure Turbo For 2008-2010 Ford 6.4L Power Stroke TUR-102907-TNS

High Pressure (Remanufactured) : Turbochargers Direct Remanufactured OEM High Pressure Turbo w/ Actuator For Ford 6.4L PowerStroke TUR-102907-TDR

If you only want to replace one half of your turbo, we have a gasket kit to join the two halves together here: Turbochargers Direct Installation Kit TIK-100130-TDN

The updated actuator can be ordered here: New Genuine OEM BorgWarner V2S Electronic Actuator For 2008-2010 Ford Super Duty 6.4L Power Stroke ACT-100003-BWN

The 6.4L PowerStroke has a certain reputation, but it’s mostly due to cooling and emissions issues that only need to be fixed once. Once those fixes are done, you get a truck that’s way more powerful than the revered 7.3L, for way less money than a new 6.7L – a great value for a truck with modern amenities and more capability than most people will ever need. We keep these turbos in stock in the US, with free shipping an unbeatable warranty. Contact us for any assistance finding the best turbo for your Power Stroke, EcoBoost, Cummins, Duramax or anything else!