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Solving the Cracking Radiator Problem on the 6.4L Power Stroke

Core Strength

John Lehenbauer
Oct 10, 2017
Photographers: John Lehenbauer
Most modern diesel-powered trucks are far less troublesome than a lot of their earlier counterparts. Manufacturers spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours developing new rigs to be as reliable and durable as possible. However, during the development process, the need to meet such criteria as weight limits is important. So, parts are made out of thinner material that is resilient enough to meet standards in initial testing but does not have the strength for long-term use, which can cause problems down the road. Such is the case with the upper radiator support on ’08-to-’10 Ford trucks with 6.4L Power Stroke engines.
While the stock support is removable and lightweight, its thin construction is not stout enough to stop the front radiator mount from flexing and twisting. The movement is more than the radiator is designed to endure, and its plastic tanks tend to crack under normal use and even more frequently in harsh, off-road conditions. Replacing the radiator on these trucks has become a regular practice (annoyance) for many owners.
Photo 2/28   |   The radiator in George Sayner’s ’08 Ford F-350 was replaced several times due to its plastic tanks cracking. The radiator’s failures are caused by the stock upper radiator supports’ propensity to flex excessively on 6.4L Power Stroke–powered ’08-to-’10 rigs.
To reduce the body flex the radiator is subjected to, Mishimoto Automotive addresses the issue with its Upper Support Bar for 6.4L-powered Ford rigs. The direct replacement is significantly more robust than the stock piece it replaces. At 19.8 pounds, it is almost three times the mass of the original one. The Mishimoto piece is constructed with a heavy-duty rectangular steel centersection that provides all the needed mounting points and cast-steel ends that use the original mounting locations on the body for a simple installation. The bar’s design also provides ample clearance for all the accessories.
We installed a Mishimoto 6.4L Power Stroke Upper Support Bar on George Sayner’s ’08 Ford F-350, a truck that has undergone several radiator replacements due to cracking. With the new support, there is a noticeable increase in front-end stiffness, and after months of moderate use, George reports everything is still very solid with no radiator issues.
Photo 3/28   |   Mishimoto Automotive ships its 6.4L Ford Power Stroke Upper Support Bar with everything needed for installation. All you have to supply are tools and about 30 minutes (give or take) of your time.
Photo 4/28   |   The batteries are disconnected and removed so the radiator mounts on the backside of the upper support can be accessed and the radiator unbolted.
Photo 5/28   |   Battery removal.
Photo 6/28   |   Radiator mounts removal.
Photo 7/28   |   Plastic clips and retainers are carefully removed so they can be reused on the new support.
Photo 8/28   |   The power steering cooler, intercooler, horns, and hood latch are unbolted from the original support bar. Then the six bolts that secure the support to the body are removed and retained for later use.
Photo 9/28   |   Hood Latch unbolted.
Photo 10/28   |   Power steering cooler unbolted.
Photo 11/28   |   Support bolts unbolted.
Photo 12/28   |   With everything disconnected, a small pry bar helps with removal of the support, which must be extracted vertically from the body.
Photo 13/28   |   A side-by-side comparison shows a distinct difference between the flimsy factory support (bottom) and the heavy-duty steel Mishimoto unit (top). The replacement weighs in at 19.8 pounds (almost three times the weight of the stock support).
Photo 14/28   |   There is a definite difference in the mounting ends of both parts. The cast-steel anchors on the new support eliminate any twisting.
Photo 15/28   |   Mishimoto support end
Photo 16/28   |   All the necessary installation hardware is included.
Photo 17/28   |   The rubber bumpstops for the hood are installed and measured for correct height, which is the same as the original piece.
Photo 18/28   |   The support is set in place and the bolts are installed in the ends to hold it in position. The bolts are left loose until everything is mounted in place.
Photo 19/28   |   Front view of installed bolts in place.
Photo 20/28   |   All coolers and accessories are reinstalled using the supplied hardware.
Photo 21/28   |   Power steering cooler reinstalled.
Photo 22/28   |   Intercooler bolt placed.
Photo 23/28   |   The antirattle grommet for the horn bracket is reused on the new support. Plastic retainers are installed in the appropriate tabs.
Photo 24/28   |   Once everything is in place, all the hardware is tightened down.
Photo 25/28   |   Intercooler bolts tightened.
Photo 26/28   |   Radiator mounts tightened.
Photo 27/28   |   The final task is reinstalling the batteries, then closing the hood and going for a twist-free testdrive.
Photo 28/28   |   Installed upper support bar.

Sources

Mishimoto
Wilmington, DE 19803
877-466-4744
http://www.mishimoto.com

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