Powerstroke Vs Cummins Reliability– Let’s Start from The Start

Powerstroke Vs Cummins Reliability

If you do keep news of the truck industry, you’ll know the big 3 ruling it. Chevy, Ram, and of course, Ford. They are the top players from the very beginning. And yes, there are tons of reasons why let’s not go there.

Today let’s just think about diesel engines. The parts that quite almost got them the leading reputation. And we’ll actually not include Chevy for today.

Let’s talk about Powerstroke vs Cummins reliability, the game-changing diesel engines of Ford and Ram.

Powerstroke Vs Cummins Reliability Comparison

The situation of Cummins vs Powerstroke 2021 rivalry isn’t here the main focal point by the way. It’s going to be an attempt to let you understand a bit more deeply about both of these excellent engines. And before it becomes all texts, here’s a chart on their specs to start on a light note.

powerstroke vs cummins reliability diagram

Now since we are here to discuss the reliability of both these engines from Ford and Ram, it’s only logical to go through each of the first and have some deep observation on what they provide. So, are you ready?

Ford’s Power Stroke Engine

Keeping up with the competitor, basically, that’s what made Ford compelled on starting diesel engines. As soon as General Motors were selling the 6.2L engine in 1982. Ford targeted the heavy-duty pickup trucks for this. And started offering a 6.9L IDI diesel engine.

The most impactful part of it? Indirect Injection! Something that was the reason behind the IDI nameplate.

Was a Huge Competitor of GM’s Detroit Diesel

The first-generation diesel engines held a reputation of 31 lb.-ft. torque along with 175 horsepower. And then 1988, it saw a displacement of engine increasing to 7.3L. It took five years to include the turbocharger so that toque rose to 388 lb.-ft with 190 horsepower this time.

Then 1994 saw the very first power stroke diesel engine from Ford that was a super hit!

1st Engine Was Powerful, Better Made & a Decade Long Industry Leader

The major attraction point of the first power stroke diesel engine was perhaps the fuel system that could be electronically controlled. It had featured a direct injection.

This was basically to make the engine more efficient as well as powerful. The horsepower raises up to 215. While torque got to 425 lb.-ft. And it made a huge wave in the industry with the scheme.

Cast iron was the main material, by the way, for both cylinder heads and blocks. Later there was an intercooler included. And it was made even better with less noise, harshness, and vibration. The torque as well as horsepower then again raises to 525 lb.-ft as well as 275 HP.

And all of that. Clearly made Ford have the industry under their control, making them an industry leader for almost a decade.

To Cope with New & Stricter Emissions Guidelines Featured EGR

The success of 7.3L made Ford very pressurized to conduct redesigning. As emissions guidelines became quite strict than before. So, they made 6.0L during 2003 and then stopped the production of 7.3L later in 2004.

There was EGR or exhaust gas recirculation featured in this so that regulations are met the right way. However, the list of issues was huge with it. And that basically took away the reliability somewhat that the previous version was able to capture from users.

The main problems were FICM failures, oil cooler going bad, EGR valves being clogged, and head gasket issues. It’s true that power-wise 6.0L was better. But the list of issues became too large to make the powerstroke likable.  

The Reliability Factor Started Decreasing in the 2nd& Then 3rd Engine

The popular engine did not do well with its second installment. And things were pretty much the same with this one. It had quite a lot of issues. All of which are just less reliable and dependable overall.

Ford tried their best in 2008 again to make it worth it by increasing the horsepower this time to 350 and a torque of 650 lb.-ft in the 6.4L. However, even with more power, things were nothing new. It was still lacing with reliability.

This was also when the Cummins were on a roll with the high-pressure common-rail fuel system. And that’s what Ford for the 1st time wanted to include in their 6.4L. But unfortunately, a lawsuit took the attention where Ford parted ways with Navistar and the production just went off after a short while on the other side.

No doubt 6.4L was better compared to 6.0L. But the reputation was damaged already by then and power stroke had a hard time.That’s when Ford decided branching out and producing their own diesel engine solely was the best next thing to do, which was true.

Enters 6.7L AKA The Scorpion!

Finally, 6.7L Managed to See Dependability & Performance Enhancing

And with their very 1st solo venture, Ford finally was back in the game of diesel engines in 2011 with 6.7L. The redesigning bought performance and dependability improvement this time. The brand planned well to redefine its reputation with it.

The scorpion was wowing with a massive 390 HP as well as 735 lb.-ft torque. Originally it had the DualBoost, a twin turbocharger. Then it got the single turbo so that torque, as well as horsepower, can boost to 935 lb.-ft and 450, which is massive.

Summing Up Why Powerstroke is Better than Cummins – Key Points

  • Compacted graphite iron engine block which is robust at the same time lightweight.
  • Includes the rocker arms valve/pushrod operation.
  • Compatible with B20 diesel.
  • The exhaust brake function is smart.
  • Single and huge turbocharger.
  • Between cylinder heads exhaust manifolds mounting as well as inverse flow configuration.

Ram’s Cummins Diesel Engine

Cummins diesel engines were actually around for much longer before they got associated with Ram trucks actually. They were in the industry from 1919. And the founder was entrepreneur Cummins, so the naming.

Farm use was the main motive behind the creation of the first diesel engine from Cummins. And it was not a very profitable venture, however. Because of a loophole basically. Which made farmers return the engine after a season’s worth usage. However, Cummins did not give up.

After having the engine work for buses, trucks as well as vehicles, he had a new idea. Targeting passenger car which would be the 1st to have a diesel-powered engine. He drove his modified sedan with a 6-cylinder dispel engine from New York to Los Angles.

Around 3800 miles was the whole journey and it costs almost 7.63 dollars. In recent times it would be 140 dollars around.

An Entirely Different Level Cummins Turbodiesel Made Everyone Fall in Love

And then Ram pickup trucks had the diesel engine included in 1998. 160 HP with 400 lb.-ft, was a great specification and Cummins turbodiesel was basically on another level. Despite the tough rivals Ford and Chevy trucks being coming with diesel engines.

A fabulous 359 cubic inch engine that was turbocharged along with direct injection. It basically surpassed everyone in the competition that time.

However, 1994 was when the huge change happened. The automatic transmission torque rating along with horsepower was the same. However, the manual transmission numbers went to 420 lb.-ft. and 175 HP. Huge!

Less Engine Noise Was Seen in The Next Update

199 saw another substantial update that had a rotary injection pump, which was electronically controlled. The turbodiesel engine went beyond the 200 HP mark, as now there were around 24 valves. Horsepower was 215 exactly. And the torque was 420 lb.-ft. That was for auto transmission.

In the case of a manual transmission, it was 465 lb.-ft torque with 235 horsepower. Another 10 horses were added in 2001 for even better high input. That pushed the torque to 505 lb.-ft.

2003 saw another replacement and this time fuel pump was in place of the injection pump. This made multiple injections possible, and so noise was way lesser than before.

50% Less Noise & Increased Power for Heavy Duty Pickups

2007 saw another redesigning of the 5.9L Cummins. This time the 4.21 inches bore as well as 4.88 inches stroke. The new variable geometry turbocharger was there. The engine was way more powerful with a whooping 650 lb.-ft torque as well as 350 HP. The noise came down to a fabulous 50%!

It was the same till 2018 and Ram trucks were offering the engine for heavy-duty pickups. In fact, for a very long time, the engine was the main feature of all the heavy-duty trucks from Ram. And that was the reason why the trucks were so in demand.

The Best till Date Torque Rating in 2019’s Redesigned Edition

2019 saw another redesigning of the engine and this time the limit was pushed a little too far. Results? Fabulous again! The torque rating jumped to an impressive 1000 lb.-ft. And with that, the ratio of compression also got reduced. To 16.2:1 from 17.3:1.

However, the size of turbochargers was huger. Then the weight of the engine overall was also less than 62 lbs. from the previous iteration. That was the result of using compared graphite iron engine block.

Also, the engine has a strong alloy crankshaft, so that the raised boost and power are under control. There’s a 10-bolt crank flange. Connecting rods were also redesigned and forged. And there are new piston bearings too.

A new fuel delivery mechanism came after that, also the fuel rail. And that made fuel delivery come at 29,000 psi. With, of course, a better filtration system.

Summing Up Why Cummins is Better than PowerstrokeKey Points

  • Engine block and cylinder heads constructed of cast iron.
  • A good compression ratio of 16.2:1.
  • Compatible with B20 biodiesel.
  • Includes exhaust brake function and inline 6 cylinders.
  • Better fuel system and variable geometry turbocharger.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the most reliable diesel engine?

There are a lot! However, if we have to pick one from both Cummins and Powerstroke, then here’s how it is.
From Powerstroke, 7.3L is considered to be one of the most reliable diesel engines that were ever created. Not just plenty of power it offers for so many applications but also the torque and horsepower are impressive.
Then with Cummins, it’s going to be the 6.7L Turbo diesel. It’s by far one of the best Cummins engine options out there.

Is Cummins the best diesel engine?

It is definitely one of the best. Worldwide the recognition of the diesel engine is huge! Both by horsepower and torque, it does a great job for towing hefty load tasks and providing durability.

What Powerstroke to avoid?

There are some Powerstroke cons, usually noticeable in a few variants. For example, the 6.0s as well as 6.4s. The ones of 2011 and early 2012 were known for having half-crank breaking and oil pressure loss issues, so you also want to avoid those.
2011 and some early 2012 Powerstroke would sometimes lose oil pressure and break the crank in half.

What are common issues of Cummins and Powerstroke?

With Powerstroke, you’ll see some turbocharger cold down as well as DEF/SCR problems. The same issues are noticeable with Cummins. Also, it comes with exhaust manifolds in some engines.
The shrinking and cracking thing happens to a lot of Cummins engines that are used for mostly towing on load. With Powerstroke, repairs are also not super easy.
Finding the proper sensor location sometimes becomes necessary for fixing issues. And for that, a graph indicating the location helps. For example a 7.3 Powerstroke sensor location diagram.
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Overall Thoughts on Powerstroke And Cummins Reliability

Reliability is not something one can judge without taking into account the satisfaction of users till date. And when it comes to that, pretty much both of these diesel engines have good stories more than the bad ones.

Let’s consider Cummins first, it’s undeniably very reputed for being coming in amazing installations each time with better than before performance score. No doubt that it’s one of those diesel engines that would surely last you a very long time.

In fact, the 5.9L is supposed to go great until 4 lac miles. While the 6.7L without any modifications or servicing would go for 3.5 lac. And from that, it’s clear that the engine is powerful plus capable of giving quite high output.

Then with Power Stroke too, you get a very long period of excellent service, up to 5 lac miles with proper care. 6.7L does show a few common issues, but despite that, you are good to go for more than 2.5 lac miles. And the 7.3L without any modification as well serious maintenance would go almost surely 5 lac miles.

According to most diesel enthusiasts, Cummins is the one with an upper hand in terms of engine reliability. Then again, if you don’t just consider the engine but the whole pickup, better lasting and more reliable pick would be Ford, not Ram. And that’s something a few people miss. It’s not just about the engine, but also the whole scheme.

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James Noah

Ah! Driving your King has no twist when you have zero knowledge! Yes, Noah is here with his core experiences about trucks, cars, suvs and atvs. Working as a cheif editor for Automasterx to make you satisfied with solid data driven post.

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