If you’d been listening hard enough in 2009, you may have heard the term “bulletproofing” in connection with your diesel truck. It is used not just by truckers, but also by the diesel auto industry. It wasn’t long before an Arizona manufacturer climbed on to the bandwagon and christened his auto parts manufacturing firm after this quality that means “invincible,” “invulnerable,” “ironclad,” etc. That’s how BulletProof Diesel was born.
Initially, the term was used in connection with fixing issues that commonly occurred in the Ford V-8 Power Stroke 6L Diesel engine that debuted in 2003 and was around till about 2007.
Bulletproofing – What Exactly Is It?
The simplest explanation is that bulletproofing your diesel truck renders it almost indestructible. It means you can punish your truck 365x24x7 and be sure that nothing gets hurt.
This was standard practice for specialists who restored classic cars, where more advanced, tougher parts were used to replace older ones. Typically, these elderly beauties would have been sitting idle in a garage for decades. Gaskets and freeze plugs would have been completely worn out and cracked, leading to leakage of antifreeze and oil. During the restoration, electronic ignitions were added, along with lighter and more streamlined radiators. This increased reliability and performance and enhanced durability and endurance.
The main issues with the Ford engine were that there were problems with the oil cooler, head studs, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, water pump, and fuel injection control module (FICM). However, there are certain legal issues in simply removing the EGR system and fixing the problem by adding head studs. That’s why BulletProof came up with smart solutions as aftermarket installation products.
The Oil Cooler system is a highly vulnerable point of failure in diesel engines. Coolant capillaries get blocked with deposits, resulting in failure of the engine cooling system. The coolant may become hot and thin, rendering it ineffective. EGR System failure is another weak link. This is a direct result of the blockage in the oil cooler system.
Blown head gaskets cause much grief as it causes coolant leaks that could finally result in engine failure. The symptoms could easily be missed unless you’re an auto expert. Bulletproofing involves the installation of new head studs that provide a better clamping ability. This is done by installing a head gasket kit.
Cracks in the water pump impeller prevent the optimum circulation of coolant. The BulletProof answer to this is the installation of its own water pump kit.
The right power supply is essential to control the injectors in the engine. Wear and tear reduce its performance, and bulletproofing involves upgrading the FICM power supply.
Diesel engines incorporate the most cost-effective OEM EGR coolers that are designed to sync with current regulations on emissions. As a result, they are not built to be particularly sturdy. Instead, they are built with cheaper and easier manufacturing technologies, and this is why they tend to be less durable.
The flat, tube-style system with the thin casing is easy and inexpensive to manufacture, but it doesn’t spell durability. When debris and soot build up in the gas passages, and there is constant stress caused by thermal forces, the thin casing and passages tend to crack. This results in leakage of coolant and mixing with exhaust gases. The coolant may flow out, resulting in engine over-heating. Coolant may also enter the engine’s combustion chamber. This causes the head gaskets to burst and/or bending of the piston rods.
The symptoms of EGR failure can be noticed early on if you’re alert enough. These include rough idling, higher fuel consumption, frequent stalling during idling, poor performance, strong smell of fuel, knocking noises, increased emissions, etc. White smoke emission or coolant leakage from the engine are other red flags.
Your engine may pack up completely when traveling up an incline or when the vehicle is fully loaded.
Preventing EGR Failure
Getting your vehicle serviced regularly helps to swiftly identify potential problems. Your independent, local garage usually suggests that you clean the cooler at scheduled intervals. If your delivery truck doesn’t run regularly for extended periods, it could be more vulnerable to EGR failure compared to a truck that’s more regularly used for long-distance trips. However, this doesn’t always happen, but constant heating/cooling stress warps the cooler casing. Bulletproofing helps to take the uncertainty out of the process by installing a stronger and more reliable.
This means installing an EGR system with a stronger casing, tougher and larger sized passages that don’t get clogged as easily as the OEM EGR system. The BulletProof patented H-Core design prevents the common problems faced by the original systems.
Installing The EGR on Ford Powerstroke
The 6L Powerstroke has several points of failure, but the 6.41L Powerstroke has been modified to have fewer such vulnerable spots. A completely bulletproofed engine has replacement of the oil cooler, head studs, water pump, FICM, and fan clutch.
The 6.41L can be upgraded with replacement EGR coolers, an additional oil cooler, and a remote oil filter to avert drain breakage and prevent damage to the bypass valves.
Costs of Bulletproofing
The costs vary according to your needs, preferences, and budget. You can look at costs that range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, with added costs for top-quality factory-like parts. The highest cost would be replacing the EGR system, but you would not be billed for labor costs involved in the upgrade replacement of the cooler. Replacing the head gasket studs is also calculated with no labor costs.
When you weigh these costs against the cost and inconvenience of a breakdown, it’s certainly worth the time, money, and effort involved. Apart from enhanced reliability, you will begin to see the cost-savings in terms of higher horsepower, fuel efficiency, and performance.
Apart from this, bulletproofing can be applied to virtually all the other components, such as those in the chassis, drivetrain, or suspension, based on what your expectations and goals are from your diesel truck.