8 Serious Ford 4.5L PowerStroke Diesel Engine Problems

Are you looking to purchase a Ford LCF truck, and you are interested in learning more about the Ford 4.5L diesel engine problems? If this is the case, you are at the right place because in this article there will be a lot to cover on this engine and its problems.

Doing your own research is always the way to go. Especially when it comes to purchasing a truck for your business. You just don’t want to end up with a problematic engine that will simply ruin you. And trust me, when it comes to the 4.5L, there are a lot of things that can fail.

First, we are going to cover the basic 4.5L engine specs, then we will discuss the Ford 4.5L diesel engine problems and the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the article.

Basic Ford 4.5L PowerStroke Diesel Engine Specs

The 4.5L engine is a V6 turbo diesel engine that was produced by International Navistar between 2006 and 2009 for the Ford LCF box trucks.

This engine is loosely based on the bigger 6.0L PowerStroke and the International VT365. The engine shares the same geometry. The only difference is that the 4.5L has two fewer cylinders.

The engine is a classic pushrod design with a camshaft in the block. This is a cast iron block with cast iron cylinder heads and has a compression ratio of 18.9:1. There are 4 valves per cylinder with a total number of 24 valves.

The 4.5L uses a twin sequential turbocharger setup that is a similar configuration to the 6.4L PowerStroke engine. The 4.5L is pretty much the same as the VT275 produced by International.

When it comes to the power numbers, this engine produces 200 hp @ 2,700 rpm and 440 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm.

What is worth noting is that this 4.5L PowerStrokeengine was renamed to MaxxForce at the time when International released their emission-compliant engines.

Common Ford 4.5l Diesel Engine Problems

Common Ford 4.5l Diesel Engine Problems include:

  • Camshaft/Crankshaft Sensor Failure
  • PCM/ECM Failure
  • Fuel Injector Failures
  • Starter Failures
  • Belt Tensioner Failures
  • Crankshaft Breaking Apart
  • Poor Emissions
  • Complete Engine Failures

Let’s now further elaborate on these problems and learn when and how they appear on the engine in the first place. Knowing this is really important if you want to know when and how these issues occur.

Camshaft/Crankshaft Sensor Failure

The first problem with this engine is a sensor-related issue. More specifically, a problem with both the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors.

A computer regulates modern engines. This means that there are sensors that monitor the position of the camshaft as well as the position of the crankshaft. This allows the computer to adjust the ignition timing and regulate the work of the engine.

In many of these 4.5L engines, the camshaft and crankshaft sensors are failing and causing major problems for the driver.

The engine problem could lead to a stall or crank continuously and not being able to start. Luckily, replacing these sensors is not that expensive. But it can be frustrating to deal with these issues. There are many complaints, as you can read in this link where this problem and some of the following issues that we are going to cover are also mentioned.

PCM/ECM Failure

Another common failure point of these engines is the computer. This component is known as ECU, ECM, or PCM.

But generally, this is the computer that regulates the work of the engine. Whenever this computer fails, you will have problems.

Whether these problems will be related to the work of the engine, unusual check engine lights and trouble codes that do not make sense, or a complete inability to start the engine.

In most cases, the only solution to this problem is to replace this unit with a used one or a completely new unit. Which can be expensive, but it has to be done if you want to regain proper engine functionality.

Fuel Injector Failures

Fuel injectors are also notorious for failing on the 4.5L engine as well. These were probably one of the first diesel engines to use common rail fuel injection, and the failure rate on these engines is rather high when it comes to these injectors.

The only way around this problem will be to completely replace the injector with a new one. In most cases, you will have to replace all 6 of them. And this is something that can be quite expensive to do.

Symptoms associated with this problem is the case when the injectors start to leak, and you have increased fuel consumption and check engine light. In some cases, you will have completely clogged injectors. This is caused by dirty diesel fuel.

Starter Motor Failures

Another on our list of Ford 4.5L diesel engine problems is the starter motor failure. The starter motor tends to fail on these engines more often than on other engines. So, what is a starter motor?

The starter motor is a motor that helps the engine to crank over and start. This is an electric motor that is turned when you turn the ignition.

Unfortunately, these starter motors are problematic and can fail on these engines, and replacing one can be around $200 for a used one or up to $600 for a new unit.

Drive Belt Tensioner Failures

Drive belt tensioner failures are another failure point on this engine. This tensioner is the component that applies tension on the drive belt, also known as a serpentine belt or alternator belt.

This belt drives the accessories in the engine. And whenever the tensioner fails, there will be no tension on the belt and the belt will jump.

In this situation, the engine will turn off because it needs that power from the alternator in order to work. This situation could lead to a stall and this could be really dangerous, especially if it happens on the highway. Fortunately, there is no danger for the engine if this tensioner fails.

Crankshaft Breaking Apart

This engine has a major design flaw and that is the case when the crankshaft breaks apart in two. The crankshaft is the biggest moving component in the engine that moves the pistons.

Some of these engines, if not all of them, are susceptible to breaking the crankshaft in two pieces and when this happens, you will have problems. You can read more about this problems on this Ford owner’s forum.

What is good though is that this problem can be sorted by replacing the crankshaft if it’s detected on time.

Unfortunately, these crankshafts are not cheap and will cost you a good penny to get them sorted out since the whole engine has to be rebuilt with new bearings and completely resembled. We’re talking about $1,500 to $3,000 in the best-case scenario.

Poor Emissions

Another problem that this engine has is poor emissions. The emissions of this engine are really poor since they were released before the major changes in this area.

So, this is not generally a big problem. But if you live in a state where the emission rules are really tight, you will not be able to run this truck since it creates a lot of pollution.

Later model years from 2007 onward came equipped with emissions devices. These engines are known as the MaxxForce. version.

Complete Engine Failures

And the last problem on our list of Ford 4.5L diesel engine problems is the complete engine failure.

There are many reports that these engines fail completely. They will either spin a bearing or they will throw a rod out of the block.

And to be even worse, this reportedly happens on low mileage. As low as 100,000 miles. Which is really bad for this engine.

A diesel engine should easily last at least 300,000 miles with no major issues whatsoever. But this isn’t the case with the 4.5L. These engines fail and fail quite often as you can see in the reports in this link.

Which Models Have The Ford 4.5L Diesel Engine

When it comes to the models that this engine is included in, it is worth noting that there is only one application.

This is the Ford LCF (Low Cab Forward). This was a cab over box truck produced by Ford between 2006 and 2009.

It had a Ford Super Duty chassis and a Mazda Titan cab since Ford and Mazda were really close during this era and shared a lot of components.


What Are The Common Ford 4.5L Engine Problems?

This engine has serious problems. The problems include the crankshaft splitting in two, the engine could also spin a bearing and throw a rod at relatively low mileage. Other smaller problems include issues with the computer, crankshaft, and camshaft sensors, fuel injector issues, and starter issues.

Is The 4.5L Ford Worth It?

This engine is a poor design and is not worth the purchase. There are many complete engine failures recorded and crankshaft failures. There are also other very expensive problems. So, we would recommend that you avoid it if you don’t want to deal with them.

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