6.0L Powerstroke vs. 6.6L Duramax

6.0L Powerstroke vs. 6.6L Duramax

31st May 2022

Ford and General Motors have been rivals for over 100 years. On the racetracks, the highways, farms, and job sites all across the United States, they have battled to gain the trust and loyalty of the American consumer, and this rivalry and competitive spirit can be seen in the diesel-powered trucks produced by both of these companies. Ford trucks powered by the 6.0L Powerstroke and General Motors trucks powered by the 6.6L Duramax have been rivals since the day these models hit the road, and even years after production of these trucks has ended, truck enthusiasts are still fiercely loyal to these trucks, and they continue to be upgraded and modified today.

History of the Ford Powerstroke and GM Duramax

Diesel engines have been used to power commercially available trucks since the 1920s. Ford began producing diesels for the general public in 1982, and all Ford diesel truck engines since 1994 have carried the Powerstroke name. Powerstroke engines were initially developed and produced for Ford by Navistar International, which is headquartered in Lisle, Illinois, and is formally known as International Harvester.

After producing heavy-duty trucks, equipment, and tractors for decades as IH, Navistar transitioned from agriculture products to making mostly engines for commercial vehicles and diesel power plants for trucks. The first Ford truck to bear the name Powerstroke was the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel (also known as the Navistar T444E) which replaced Ford's former diesel engine, which also had a displacement of 7.3 Liters. The 7.3 Powerstroke was replaced in 2003 by the 6.0 Powerstroke, which could be found in Ford trucks up until the 2007 model year, and all subsequent Diesel trucks produced by Ford have continued to carry to Powerstroke name.

General Motors had been producing diesel-powered vehicles with varying degrees of success when the first Duramax powered trucks arrived in 2001. These engines were produced by DMAX Ltd, which was a joint effort between General Motors and Isuzu Diesel Services of America. The Duramax engines were built in Moraine, Ohio, and diesel engine trucks produced by General Motors still carry the Duramax name today.

6.0L Powerstroke

The 6.0 Powerstroke engine began appearing in Ford trucks in 2003 as a replacement for the 7.3 Powerstroke and was eventually replaced by the 6.4 in 2008. The 6.0 featured an iron V8 block just like its predecessor, but unlike the 7.3, it featured 32 valves instead of 16. It also featured a single turbocharger like the 7.3 but utilized an upgraded variable vane geometry turbo with an intercooler instead of a wastegate. It has a bore and stroke of 95mm x 105mm with a displacement of 6.0 liters.

The 6.0 Powerstroke initially produced 325 horsepower and 570 ft-lbs of torque. It is most commonly found in Ford Super Duty trucks, but was also available in Econoline vans and the Legendary Ford Excursion SUV. The 6.0 Powerstroke experienced some problems during its production run involving everything from fuel injectors to head gaskets, but many improvements were made during its production run, and these engines have continued to be developed after production ended by aftermarket parts suppliers. They can now be built to produce more power and greater reliability than ever before, making them a popular choice for truck enthusiasts.

6.6L Duramax

The 6.6 Duramax diesel engine found in General Motors trucks produced from 2003-08, known as the LLY and LLY/LBZ, was a replacement for the previous Duramax engine, which was known as the LB7. Like many of the Duramax engines produced over the years, it utilizes a V8 format using four valves per cylinder, with a bore and stroke of 103mm x 99mm resulting in a displacement of 6.6 liters. Since many of the Duramax engines produced over the years feature this same layout and displacement, they can often be confused with each other.

The 6.6 Duramax features a Garret variable geometry vane turbocharger with an intercooler and initially came from the factory producing 310 horsepower and 590 ft-lbs of torque. Many improvements were made over the previous generation of Duramax engines including updating the valve cover, which allowed injectors to be removed without the valve cover's removal. The 6.6 produced between 03-08 also saw many upgrades during its production, such as upgraded internals, upgraded fuel delivery, and an upgraded EGR, which improved emissions and increased horsepower and torque. Even when production ended, this generation of 6.6L Duramax continued to be developed by aftermarket parts suppliers and proves to be a sought-after powerplant for modification today.

6.0L Powerstroke vs. 6.6L Duramax

On paper, the 6.0 Powerstroke found in Fords and 6.6 Duramax found in GMC trucks are very similar. They both feature a V8 engine configuration, unlike the inline format found in rival Dodge's Cummins engine, and they both feature four valves per cylinder. They both feature a single turbo which utilizes variable vane technology instead of a wastegate and feature an intercooler.

These two rival engines are also similar in size and displacement, and they put up similar numbers power-wise when they initially arrived (325 vs. 310 hp and 570 vs. 590 ft-lbs of torque) and were continually developed over their production run. They feature different fuel injection systems and experienced different problems during their lifespan, but upgrades were developed that increased power and reliability making both of these engines popular today. The biggest and most important thing they have in common is that both are easy to modify.

Because both engines have been continually developed by aftermarket parts suppliers, they can easily be rebuilt, modified, and enhanced to provide more power and reliability than ever before. Any problems that these engines had during their production run have now been rectified and improved, and any part imaginable is available in the current market. With so many 6.0 Powerstroke parts and 6.6 Duramax parts available, the sky is the limit when it comes to upgrading trucks featuring these engines, so it's impossible to choose a clear winner in a head-to-head battle; you can go as far (and as fast) as your budget will take you.

Diesel Engine Upgrades

With the 6.0 Powerstroke engine and 6.6 Duramax engine being so similar, it's no surprise that the top upgrades available for both are similar. Listed below are some of the most popular upgrades currently on the market for these trucks.

  • Turbos – Turbochargers contain parts that move at extremely high speeds and are subject to intense heat, so it's not surprising that they will wear out over time. Rebuild kits are available, but a high level of precision is required to rebuild them, making the most popular choice a replacement turbo. These can be purchased as part of a do-it-yourself kit and can be replaced by any knowledgeable truck enthusiast with the right attitude. There are multiple choices out there, but it is essential to use a high-quality turbo because using a cheap turbo found overseas on the internet will sacrifice reliability and cause numerous headaches down the road.
  • Exhausts - Upgraded aftermarket exhaust systems are another popular upgrade for 6.0 Powerstroke and for 6.6 Duramax engines. Exhaust systems are an affordable and easy way to add horsepower and will allow you to modify the way your truck sounds. Exhaust systems are easy to install and are available in different sizes and styles, so you can choose the one that suits you and your truck best.
  • Intake Systems – Air intake systems are another popular upgrade for the 6.0 Powerstroke and for the 6.6 Duramax. The best thing about an upgraded air intake is that it is one of the easiest aftermarket parts to install. An upgraded air intake can save weight, add horsepower, and help dress up the appearance of your engine bay. There are several options out there that utilize different filters and are different shapes, so you will need to choose the one that best suits you. An air intake is also one of the most affordable upgrades out there for both the Powerstroke and Duramax, making it an excellent choice for any truck enthusiast.
  • Electronics and Tuning - If you have a truck that is powered by a 6.0 Powerstroke or a 6.6 Duramax, then chances are you have been asked, "do you have a chip?" This is due to the fact that electronic and tuning upgrades are possibly the most popular upgrade for a diesel truck, and they are more affordable than ever. By "tuning" and modifying a truck's engine management system, you can increase horsepower and reliability at the click of a button. Most tuners utilize a truck's OBDII system and can be turned on and off as needed. So, if you are just looking to gain a few horsepower, or have built a racing engine with all performance components that needs to be managed, then there is a tuner out there for you.

Get the Best Upgrades from Blessed Performance

The biggest thing to keep in mind when upgrading a 6.0 Powerstroke or a 6.6 Duramax is to use the best parts possible. There are a lot of cheap parts of dubious quality out there that can be found on the fringes of the internet and online auction sites, but by using these parts, you will be sacrificing reliability and potentially your own safety. For the best performance parts currently available for diesel trucks, check out the folks at Blessed Performance. All the parts mentioned above for Ford Powerstroke and GM Duramax engines, plus many more, can be found in our online shop. They carry the highest quality parts on the market and can even help you come up with a performance package to suit your personal needs. Do not hesitate to call or email with any questions, get the best performance parts available headed your way, install them, and find out for yourself whether the Powerstroke or Duramax comes out on top!