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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody,

I would really appeciate your opinion/assistance; as you are in a better position (being in the US and close to manufacturers) on a peculiar subject of the bullbar impact on diesel engine performance!?

I just got an F-150 3.0L Diesel PowerStroke Lariat (2019). I also got installed a FabFour bullbar from a local (Australia) distributor and on their website there was nothing indicating any issues with diesel engines. However, when I was looking for some other parts on FabFour (US) website I noticed a warning label regarding the bullbar I got: "Currently Does not work with Diesel Option" (Premium Front Bumper | Fab Fours).

I would like to understand why is this warning? No other bullbar manufacturer makes this warning for any other bumper even though I don't see that FabFours is any more obstructive to air flow than any other bumper? I tried to get those details from FabFours but but no help really; so I thought maybe someone on the forum would have an idea of why would a bullbar have a problem speifically with turbo-diesel engines? I took the car to a local diesel performance shop and they said that they could not see any issues given the sizes of coolers etc. I can understand that heat could be a problem and I would not have a problem to put better coolers / fans / air intake etc. but the guys here are saying that it was not necessary.

To make things worse, I pulled a caravan a few weeks back and 200km down the road I got the 'Reduced Engine Power' sign. The truck would not accelerate anywhere higher than 40 miles/hr. Took the truck to the dealer and they said that codes indicate that 'turbo failed' (overboost or something). Of course I got 'scared' if this could anything to do with the bullbar but I cannot see any reasonable explanation. If there was overheating there would be overheat signs all over the codes (or would it?). I thought it was a problem with sensors but the mechanic said - turbo. The car is with the dealer waiting repair but I am kind of in a dilemma to take the bullbar off - but why?

Anyhow, does anyone have any experience on this? Did anyone with F-150 3.0 diesel have any problmes with their bullbars/engines?

Cheers,
Nenad
 

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Welcome, Nenad, great to see you here. The guys who actually know the answers will be along soon, but my just guessing is there is no issue with the bumper and cooling. I am guessing the issues are with the various sensors in the grille area, maybe cruise control? Others have had the turbo issue. Hope someone who actually knows pops up to help.
 

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Pretty clearly displayed on their website
1961

Seems like manufacturer did a thorough job by providing five (5) different brackets for relocating Adaptive Cruise Control based on which bumper you purchase = they actually field test that their product(s) works

Questions for the manufacturer:
  1. Did you ask the manufacturer (FabFour) why they have that disclaimer on their website?
  2. Perhaps they field tested their product on an F150 PS Diesel and encountered same issues that you did?
  3. Perhaps they have a customer who installed/encountered same issues you have & decided to add the disclaimer?

I think you need to start with the manufacturer to get to the root cause why they felt it was necessary to add such a disclaimer to their website = you really need to direct your questions to the manufacturer rather than forum owners here to guess what your problem is...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thank you for the reply. I did contact them thinking that the issue would be with sensors / air bag / cruise control etc. and one of their reps suggested that: "the technology is not an issue or airbags. You have will have issues with intercooler which will result in overheating."

But I did not have any issues with overheating; for me that would be an easier case than a turbo failure.

I guess I'll have to revert back to them, but I do not think they did a field tests and/or would have sufficient numer of cases; it's probably as you said in no. 3: "Perhaps they have a customer who installed/encountered same issues you have & decided to add the disclaimer?".

But I thought if there was anyone else with 3.0L engine that have a bullbar on the forum? Any issues?
 

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@nenad - my guess would be that the Bullbar design you got interferes with airflow over the Charge Air Cooler:
  • CAC removes heat from air coming off turbocharger before entering the intake manifold
  • Screen Capture is from Page 53 of 3.0L Diesel Coffee Table Book
  • Note how the height/width of CAC is much smaller than radiator or air conditioning condenser
  • Possible that factory location of CAC in proximity to Bullbar reduces air flow & CAC efficiency
1989
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@nenad - my guess would be that the Bullbar design you got interferes with airflow over the Charge Air Cooler
I think you're right and I will have to modify the bullbar. Below is a photo as it looks right now and I'll have to give it to the guys from FabFours - it will not work with diesel. I will post a 're-designed' bumper to allow better flow and also accommodate that adaptve cruise control radar wich is just behind that plastic piece above the plate.

In any case, thank you all, I'll re-post with an updated photo and a new test drive.

Cheers.

2081
 

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nd I will have to modify the bullbar. Below is a photo as it looks right now and I'll have to give it to the guys from FabFours - it will not work with diesel. I will post a 're-designed' bumper to allow better flow and also accommodate that adaptve cruise control radar wich is just behind that plastic piece above the plate.

In any case, thank you all, I'll re-post with an updated photo and a new test drive
Yes you're definitely going to need airflow to the lower grill that's now 100% covered by the bar. You will probably blow your engine if you tow anything like that. Cooling on the diesels is way more critical. Its the same reason why in the wrangler gladiator the diesel option has less towing capacity than it's much weaker gasoline counterpart... they couldn't fit enough cooling into the small grill.

The intercooler grill also has active grill shutters that open and close based on temperature. if there's no airflow there, there will be no cooling which can be dangerous. If it were me, i would get it modified ASAP, or take it off until you can get it modified. Good luck!
 

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Nice looking truck and setup when installed = too bad it interferes with the air flow over the CAC.

I think the CAC is mounted low (below the grille) right where the bumper is, and the near solid Bullbar design is restricting airflow. Since it is intended to cool the air coming from the turbo, I guess the opposite is true that lack of cooling is causing excessive heat back to the turbo. The description of the CAC says it is increasing the density of the compressed air to the intake, but in practical usage I now view the CAC as something to wick the excess heat away from the turbo.
 

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Nice looking truck and setup when installed = too bad it interferes with the air flow over the CAC.

I think the CAC is mounted low (below the grille) right where the bumper is, and the near solid Bullbar design is restricting airflow. Since it is intended to cool the air coming from the turbo, I guess the opposite is true that lack of cooling is causing excessive heat back to the turbo. The description of the CAC says it is increasing the density of the compressed air to the intake, but in practical usage I now view the CAC as something to wick the excess heat away from the turbo.
That is true it does increase the density of the air though cooling which helps the engine run efficiently. So another side affect, aside from increased heat, would be reduced power, and increased fuel consumption as less O2 will make it into the chambers.
 

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Same reason the license plate on some EcoBoosts are mounted to the side.
 

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I’ve noticed for the EcoBoost trucks there are a few companies that make high-mount intercoolers to accommodate aftermarket bumpers or hidden winch setups. Any chance something like that would work for the 3.0L Power Stroke?

Also, OP, I have a Ranch Hand Summit bumper on my truck that works just fine with the factory mounted intercooler, if by any chance you’re looking for a different bumper
 

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@nenad - I think @[email protected] is onto something here, as there are a handful of aftermarket manufacturers who exclusively make "high-mount" larger intercoolers for the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoosts, which suffer for the same issue of not enough airflow over the factory turbo intercooler.

For example if we borrow from the Cooling system upgrade thread that @navyR113 recently started, Mishimoto is an US company (located in DE) which appears to just manufacture cooling system upgrades in the form of radiators and turbo intercoolers. They make a custom replacement for the EcoBoost intercooler that has following features:
  • Direct fit for the 2015+ Ford F-150 EcoBoost
  • 10°F (5.5°C) reduction in intake air temp
  • 77% increase in internal core volume
  • 163% increase in external fin surface area
They also have a link to a product-specific engineering report with their Dyno test results to support the above claims.

Since cooling system redesign is all a company like Mishimoto only does, maybe a call or e-mail to them with your pics and your issue would prompt them to develop a kit for our 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesels? They already have an F150-specific intercooler product, so hopefully the mounting of the intercooler is near handled, and this would be more of piecing together a F-150 Intercooler Boot Kit specific to our 3.0L Diesel engines. Only other thing that comes to mind would be how the shutter system would work with the new intercooler -- since they had to deal with this for the EcoBoosts, they probably already have some experience in this area.

Might be worth a shot of at least asking Mishimoto the question as I am impressed by their engineering and they are definitely experts in this area. Perhaps they can see the need for a 3.0L Kit in their product lineup since they have already done the hard part with their replacement intercooler design for F150s.

Mishimoto's Contact Us web page has an area on the right to ask questions = I submitted a question asking if they have any plans for a Boot Kit to support their intercooler on our F150 3.0L V6 Diesels...
 
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@nenad - I think @[email protected] is onto something here, as there are a handful of aftermarket manufacturers who exclusively make "high-mount" larger intercoolers for the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoosts, which suffer for the same issue of not enough airflow over the factory turbo intercooler.

For example if we borrow from the Cooling system upgrade thread that @navyR113 recently started, Mishimoto is an US company (located in DE) which appears to just manufacture cooling system upgrades in the form of radiators and turbo intercoolers. They make a custom replacement for the EcoBoost intercooler that has following features:
  • Direct fit for the 2015+ Ford F-150 EcoBoost
  • 10°F (5.5°C) reduction in intake air temp
  • 77% increase in internal core volume
  • 163% increase in external fin surface area
They also have a link to a product-specific engineering report with their Dyno test results to support the above claims.

Since cooling system redesign is all a company like Mishimoto only does, maybe a call or e-mail to them with your pics and your issue would prompt them to develop a kit for our 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesels? They already have an F150-specific intercooler product, so hopefully the mounting of the intercooler is near handled, and this would be more of piecing together a F-150 Intercooler Boot Kit specific to our 3.0L Diesel engines. Only other thing that comes to mind would be how the shutter system would work with the new intercooler -- since they had to deal with this for the EcoBoosts, they probably already have some experience in this area.

Might be worth a shot of at least asking Mishimoto the question as I am impressed by their engineering and they are definitely experts in this area. Perhaps they can see the need for a 3.0L Kit in their product lineup since they have already done the hard part with their replacement intercooler design for F150s.

Mishimoto's Contact Us web page has an area on the right to ask questions = I submitted a question asking if they have any plans for a Boot Kit to support their intercooler on our F150 3.0L V6 Diesels...
A high mount intercooler for these engines would also require a new lower radiator fan shroud as the engine fan pulls air through the intercooler in it's current location. It could also increase coolant temperatures due to hearsoaking the radiator from airflow going through the intercooler first.
 

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Pat from Mishimito rep;lied to me at 6:37PM last night (Sunday!) with the following response:

Thanks for the E-mail! Unfortunately, at this time we do not plan to offer a direct fit boot kit for the 2018 F150 Turbo Diesel. I am sorry for any inconvenience. However, I will be happy to add your information to our product suggestion list! If we do decide to come out with a product that matches your description, we will be sure to contact you!

Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.

Thanks,
Pat Muschamp
Mishimoto Automotive
302.762.4501
Not overly surprised by their response, as they are going after the markets where they think they can make $$$ = Ford makes a lot more F150 2.7L and 3.5L EcoBoosts than our F150 3.0L Diesels...

May want to take the approach like when the power goes out = they might react if everyone starts calling & inquiring to prove to them that there is a market...

Since I have no-dog-in-this-fight, I'll leave this up to OP to continue the chase... I am however impressed with Mishimoto from an engineering perspective and company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Happy new year to everyone. Once again, thank you all for your input.

I looked into the option of upgrading the intercooler but I was concerned about the warranty here in Australia. I any case, I did some mods to the bumper as shown in the photo. I have also changed the grille to the raptor style hoping that would also improve the overall cooling.

2135


I removed the part of the bumper to hold the adaptive cruise control radar and then cut a rectangular in the bumper in front of the intercooler. Made a cover with similar pattern as the grille. We'll take it for powder coating in black tomorrow. Took a car for a drive; no issues. I don't think it will be needed but I thought of making an air inlet duct / scoop to force all the air to the intercooler but wanted to check how it works without it.

Mounted the adaptive cruise control radar in the middle as you can see below, tested it and it works. I'll have a plastic cover with F-150 logo made around it to minimise the rain / water interference. Once all done I'll take my caravan (cca. 3.5 tonne) for a drive and we'll report if the issue has been solved :)

2136
 

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@nenad - well that should certainly help! Now I am wondering if you have too much venting and if you'll need some form of scoops to pipe the air towards the intercooler? Your Bullbar bumper appears to protrude out (by design) almost a foot beyond the standard bumper. I took a quick look at mine, and between the bumper and plastic covers, there are two air inlets that I assume lead to the active grille shutters that come before the intercooler and radiator. Where are these active grille shutters mounted in your setup? Since these are intended to help with cold weather operation, maybe the shutters are not required down under.

Compared to your original pics, where do you plan to mount your front license plate?

Thanks for posting back with your "upgrade" and please let us know if your changes fixed your original issue.
 

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Hi Nenad. Interesting read. I have a truck virtually identical to yours but with a Gitsham Bull Bar. Have been getting Charge Air Cooler faults and suspect it may be the Bull Bar as well.

Just wondering if the additional ventilation you have cut into he Bull Bar has solved the issue ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Finny,

I think that has solved the issue. I am saying 'think' because just last week I took the 3.5 tonnes caravan down South to Esperance (some 2000km round trip in few stages) and in the second or third stage the engine reduced power sign came up brifely. Normally the 'engine reduced power' I experienced before would limit the speed to some 60km/hr; however, this time it was just a brief sign, a bit of lost power / response and nothing after that. I did not push it but I brought the speed up to 90-100km/hr and got to Esperance without any further issues.

Two things to notice there - (1) it was just after I refuelled (I read somewhere that not properly closed cap may result in engine light) and (2) I had the car on cruise control for about 200km before the light came up. I suspect the second cause as one should not tow with cruise for that long; however, after getting to Esperance I cleaned the fuel intake opening to make sure the self-closing cap is properly closing and left it overnight. No sign next morning. Drove back from Esperance to Perth (800 km) averaging 90-110km/hr - no further issues. Without caravan there was no any issue what-so-ever and I am pushing the truck, so that's why I am saying 'I think'.

Next week I am going up North for another 2-3Ks drive with caravan and I'll let you know if I had any further issues. However, I am positive that air flow is an issue with bull bars on diesel engines.
 

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Hi Finny,

I think that has solved the issue. I am saying 'think' because just last week I took the 3.5 tonnes caravan down South to Esperance (some 2000km round trip in few stages) and in the second or third stage the engine reduced power sign came up brifely. Normally the 'engine reduced power' I experienced before would limit the speed to some 60km/hr; however, this time it was just a brief sign, a bit of lost power / response and nothing after that. I did not push it but I brought the speed up to 90-100km/hr and got to Esperance without any further issues.

Two things to notice there - (1) it was just after I refuelled (I read somewhere that not properly closed cap may result in engine light) and (2) I had the car on cruise control for about 200km before the light came up. I suspect the second cause as one should not tow with cruise for that long; however, after getting to Esperance I cleaned the fuel intake opening to make sure the self-closing cap is properly closing and left it overnight. No sign next morning. Drove back from Esperance to Perth (800 km) averaging 90-110km/hr - no further issues. Without caravan there was no any issue what-so-ever and I am pushing the truck, so that's why I am saying 'I think'.

Next week I am going up North for another 2-3Ks drive with caravan and I'll let you know if I had any further issues. However, I am positive that air flow is an issue with bull bars on diesel engines.
Great thanks for the update Nenad.

I have been getting charge air cooler error codes as well so suspect I need to get the grinder out to the Bull Bar ! There are vents but quite small.

I am also towing a 3t van so let me know how your next trip goes .


Happy F Trucking.
 
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