Best Radiator for Ford (7.3, 6.7, 6.4, 6.0) Powerstroke Review
The pride and joy of the Ford engineering team, the Powerstroke engine is a mighty beast. It’s capable of putting out up to 500HP/1000 torque and is all-around solid. This motor is at the heart of the F-Series trucks and doesn’t need much maintenance to serve. It does, however, require a strong cooling system to keep it from overheating. Is the factory setup up to the task?
Well, not quite: while the water pump, hoses, fan, and all the other components are decent, the radiator is a bit too “slow”. When pushed hard, it might fail at cooling the antifreeze properly, which can (potentially) lead to engine failure. That won’t be a problem with the Best Radiator for Ford (7.3, 6.7, 6.4, 6.0) Powerstroke, though. So, join me, and let’s check out the finest aftermarket options!
Best Radiator for 7.3 Powerstroke Review
You might think that 6.0 is the first Powerstroke engine to hit the markets, but it’s actually the other way around. That’s right: the 7.3 motor is the oldest one in the set. Introduced back in 1994, it boasts an impressive power output (430HP/475 torque). However, it doesn’t have a very impressive cooling system per se and tends to break down.
So, if you drive an older-generation F150 truck and want to keep it from harm’s way, take a good look at the nominees for the best radiator for 7.3 Powerstroke. I only picked two rads for this list, but they’re both quite impressive and will easily handle the most challenging tasks.
1. Mishimoto MMRAD-F2D-99 – Best Performance Radiator for 1999 Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
With the 7.3 Powerstroke being a somewhat old engine, it needs a premium radiator to deliver its a-game. You’ll get exactly that with Mishimoto’s unit. It boasts enhanced coolant capacity and is crafted from the finest materials. This is an all-aluminum product that can handle temperature extremes pretty well and lasts for a long time. On top of that, it requires very little knowledge, skills, and a modest toolset for the installation.
The only downside is the price. It is pretty steep compared to the market average. But, if you’ve got some extra bucks in the wallet and want the best-of-the-best quality, MMRAD might be exactly what the doc ordered. It’s reliable, highly efficient, and delivers a strong performance.
Are you in the market for a top-notch replacement radiator? Then Mishimoto might be the right choice. The above-average coolant capacity, all-aluminum body/tanks, and fast, hassle-free installation turn it into a must-have.
2. Mishimoto MMRAD-F2D-95 – Best Radiator for 1995 7.3 Powerstroke
Here, we have another top-notch radiator by Mishimoto. So, what’s the difference between the two? Well, F2D-95 is mostly suited for early-generation Powerstroke engines and fits the 1995-1997 Ford vehicles like a glove. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be done with the installation in no time! The radiator is available in two different configurations: two- or three-row cores.
What’s really important, this unit is significantly cheaper than the “elder brother” and will be more suitable for the average Ford truck/SUV driver. Sadly, the packaging quality leaves a lot to be desired. Some units arrive bent and dented, while others have broken fittings. This only concerns a small percentage of packages, of course.
Despite the minor issues with quality control, this radiator is a keeper, especially if you drive an older Ford. It is very cheap and carries excellent value, thanks to the premium build quality, decent efficiency, and flexible design.
Best Radiator for 6.7 Powerstroke Review
Here, we have the most expensive and impressive Powerstroke engine to date. While the HP output isn’t ground-breaking (475 horses), the 1050 torque rating is, indeed, quite astonishing. For some drivers, that’s an overkill. On the other side, if you’re in the market for a potent motor, this could be it for you. Now, 6.7 is a newer unit (manufactured in 2011) and features a more reliable and efficient radiator.
It’s still not ideal, though, and might give up on you in the middle of the road. To avoid that, consider investing in the best radiator for 6.7 Powerstroke. What does it look like, though? I’ve got the top deals right here!
1. Mishimoto MMRAD-F2D-11V2 – Best Radiator for 6.7 Powerstroke 2015
Let’s start the list with one of the best aftermarket radiators for the 6.7-lit motor. It features an extended fin surface area, which equals superior cooling efficiency and effectiveness. According to the official specifications, this unit is 10% thicker and provides a ~40% boost in antifreeze capacity. As for the main body, it’s got internal struts and extruded tubes that make it crack- and leak-resistant.
Last, but not least, the company covers it with the trademark lifetime warranty. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of it if need be. On the downside, you’ll have to pay big bucks for this radiator. It’s a matter of commitment, and if you’re ready to do that, F2D-11V2 won’t disappoint in the long run.
While this radiator is quite pricey and might not fit every single Ford owner’s wallet, it is an all-around impressive unit. The engineering quality, cooling efficiency, capacity, and pressure tolerance make it worth your while.
2. Garage-Pro JCWP13230GP – Best Radiator for Ford F-Series 6.7L Engine
Did the factory radiator break down recently, and you’re looking for a replacement? Garage-Pro might be able to help with that, as this company takes very little time to deliver its products to customers. Shipment is done at no extra cost, of course. Another big pro is the simple, intuitive installation routine, which isn’t always the case with the 6.7-lit Powerstroke.
More good news: tests have proven that this radiator is incredibly well-suited for heavy-duty hauling and towing tasks. Therefore, if you carry lots of cargo around or like to camp with a trailer, put this one on the list. Just remember that QA can be an issue sometimes with Garage-Pro.
Quick, 100% charge-free delivery across the country (with some minor quality control issues) and effortless installation are this product’s biggest selling points. Plus, it delivers a strong, steady performance during towing – also very important for a third-party radiator.
3. Pacific Best CD13230 – Best Radiator for 2012 Ford 6.7L
Did you know that corrosion is one of the biggest nightmares for any radiator? That’s true, and while aluminum is very strong against it, extra protection will still come in handy. You’ll get it with Pacific Best. Every single radiator from this brand goes through a series of tough tests before leaving the factory. As a result, you won’t have to worry about performance or compatibility issues.
Moreover, it is one of the cheapest third-party rads for the 6.7-lit Powerstroke. The cooling efficiency isn’t very impressive, though. Yes, it’s much better than what the stock gear can deliver, but still not on par with the more capable (and more expensive) radiators.
If a reliable, well-protected, and affordable radiator is what you’re looking for, pay extra attention to Pacific Best. It will keep the 6.7-lit Ford engine nice and cool, although it’s not the most efficient option on the market.
Best Radiator for 6.4 Powerstroke Review
This is the first light truck engine with a factory dual-turbocharger setup. Originally, it featured an advanced filter that kept emissions to a minimum. Unfortunately, it had a big negative effect on fuel efficiency, which is why the next model in the line-up – the 6.7-lit motor – doesn’t include it. With a power output of 350HP/650tq, 6.4 is a pretty decent engine. But, the stock radiator is known to leak.
That’s why it’s very important to get a replacement rad as soon as possible. So, which one of the following units is the best radiator for 6.4 Powerstroke? Let’s find out!
1. Mishimoto MMRAD-F2D-08V2 – Best Performance Aluminum Radiator for 2009 Ford 6.4 Powerstroke
Is this the finest third-party radiator money can buy? It might very well be because it does have a long list of pros. First of all, it is engineered from premium-quality aircraft-grade aluminum with a brazed core and TIG-welded tanks for maximum durability. Along with that, F2D-08V2 features strengthened top/bottom plates – they keep the core from bending and losing its efficiency.
Add mounting pegs that greatly reduce the impact of the vehicle’s torque on the radiator, and you’ll see why Mishimoto is considered a top-three product. The only con has to do with the fuel cooler hoses. F2D-08V2 is slightly larger than the factory unit and fits too tightly, putting unnecessary pressure on the hoses.
Market-leading build quality and durability are the biggest reasons to put Mishimoto on the list. It delivers a steady performance regardless of the road, weather, or engine temperature. Too bad it pushes against the cooler hoses.
2. Pacific Best CD13022 – Best Aftermarket Radiator 6.4 Powerstroke
This is one of those OEM-compliant parts that fit the vehicle just like stock gear. With Pacific Best, the installation process will be a walk in the park. The package includes all the necessary hardware for a swift, trouble-free installation – no need to get any extra stuff. And, if something goes wrong, you can always reach out to the professional customer support team.
They are quick to respond and very helpful. What I didn’t like about this otherwise excellent radiator was the anti-corrosion protection. The core is crafted from aluminum, and it’s resistant to most natural elements. However, I’d like to see an extra protective layer for peace of mind.
As a user-friendly 6.4 Powerstroke radiator, Pacific Best is a safe bet. Its design meets all the OEM requirements and fits the mounting spots easily. And while its rust resistance is mediocre, that’s compensated by the client-oriented customer support team.
3. American Cooling Solutions 24403 – Best Replacement Radiator for 6.4 Powerstroke
Remember: the core is the very heart of any radiator, as it does most of the work. And as for the American Cooling radiator, it features a unique core that’s equally heavy-duty and lightweight. Crafted from aluminum, it is a workhorse that’s pretty great at keeping the engine cool. It also comes with hose-barb fittings that keep rust/corrosion at bay.
The zinc coating makes resistance to natural elements even stronger. Last, but not least, this radiator is protected by an MBG/replacement guarantee. The only minor con is limited compatibility. ACS only fits the 2008-2010 6.4 Powerstrokes. On the bright side, it works with Ford’s super-duty trucks like the 350, 450, and even 550 models.
There’s very little not to like about the American Cooling Solutions radiator. It is lightweight, efficient, and, above all, reliable. Superb protection against rust/other elements and the money-back guarantee make it an even better pick.
Best Radiator for 6.0 Powerstroke Review
In mid-2003, the original Powerstroke – 7.3 – was replaced by the 6.0-lit edition. The new motor had been powering Ford’s super-duty trucks for four full years (until 2007). The powertrain isn’t chart-topping, though: 325 horsepower + 570 pound-feet of torque. This is one of the least reliable Ford engines, actually, and has problems with the EGR and the oil cooler.
And, while an aftermarket radiator might not necessarily fix those issues, it will still be a great investment. The best radiator for 6.0 Powerstroke can keep the motor cool and help you avoid expensive repairs.
1. Mishimoto MMRAD-F2D-03 – Best Aluminum Radiator for 6.0 Powerstroke
Some radiators only work with super-duty vehicles. Others deliver their best performance with lightweight trucks. But if you invest in the F2D-03 rad, you’ll get enhanced compatibility and all-around solid efficiency regardless of the car. It also boasts a 100% aluminum body with proper-quality, TIG-welded tanks. Together, they’re capable of “fighting” extreme heat and keeping the temperature at comfortable levels
And if you do lots of towing behind the wheel of your Ford, Mishimoto will also be a reasonable investment. A quick note: for the most part, the installation runs smoothly. However, you might have some compatibility issues with the factory shroud. It fits nicely but tends to leave a tiny gap on some vehicles.
This radiator has quite a universal design and is equally good for lightweight and heavy-duty trucks as well as hauling and towing. On top of that, it features an all-aluminum body and TIG-welded, long-lasting tanks.
2. CoolingCare BEI-COOLCARE-0004 – Best Replacement Radiator 6.0 Powerstroke
Here, we have another flexible radiator for the 6.0-lit Ford motor. You can get it in two different configurations: with one row of tubes, or four. Obviously, the second option is more expensive, but even the single-row rad is quite alright. Fast delivery within the States is another advantage of ordering from CoolingCare.
The same is true for the lightweight body and vacuum-brazing furnace welding. Leak-tested, this product is capable of handling tough situations and preventing engine overheating. And, according to the manufacturer, it is 25-30% better at cooling (which is proven by third-party tests). Unfortunately, the included hose barbs are of poor quality and don’t fit.
Leak-tested, TIG-welded, and up to 30% more efficient, the CoolingCare radiator is a bargain for the average Ford driver. It fits the 6.0-lit Powerstroke easily and takes little time to arrive at your doorstep. The hose barbs are faulty, but that’s only a minor con.
3. Prime Cooling B01LX2F9UP – Best Radiator for 6.0L V8 Turbo Diesel Powerstroke Engine
Alright, this is the final stop for today. Prime Cooling is a known player on the market of cooling gear, and this radiator is a fine example of that. It comes with an internal transmission cooler and is covered with a lifetime warranty. You’ll also get a 14-day refund policy: if you detect manufacturing detects, don’t hesitate to get in contact with support.
Prime Cooling is a rather cheap radiator, by the way, one that won’t leave your wallet empty. As for the bad news, it doesn’t always line up with the factory mounting spots perfectly. To make it work, you’ll have to apply a lot of force, and with a bit of luck, it will sit right where it belongs.
Cheap, backed by a generous warranty, and a perfect fit for most Ford trucks – that’s the Prime Cooling radiator in a nutshell for you. However, depending on your truck/SUV, it might be a bit of a challenge to mount.
Aftermarket Radiator or OEM?
Unless you’re a pro mechanic or know your way around gear, you’re probably a bit confused by these terms. Well, let’s set the record straight. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. That means the radiator was specifically engineered to be a perfect fit for one single brand (say, Ford, Toyota, or Nissan) – it’s an identical replica of the factory gear. On top of that, OEM gear features premium build + material quality and an official warranty.
However, these parts are quite expensive. In contrast, aftermarket parts are significantly cheaper (thanks to large-scale production) and fit a wide range of nameplates. Now, mostly, the specs of an aftermarket part are very similar to that of the stock radiator. But, you won’t get the same quality assurance as you would with an OEM part. Furthermore, the installation process may pose a challenge.
6.0 Powerstroke Radiator Upgrade
I mentioned briefly in the intro that 6.0 has a rather modest power output and is a bit faulty in design. So, the big question here is – should you seriously think about a 6.0 Powerstroke radiator upgrade, or will it be an unreasonable investment? Maybe you’ll be better off replacing the manifold with a header or updating the air intake system? Well, the answer is no, and here’s why: even the least impressive motor can potentially overheat.
And, given the issues with the in-block oil cooler, EGR materials, high-pressure oil system, and head gaskets, the engine will be constantly maxed out and pushing the limit. That’s why a premium-quality third-party radiator will be a great purchase, especially if you off-road a lot and want to expand the Powerstroke’s life cycle.
Powerstroke Radiator Replacement
So, you picked a perfect aftermarket radiator for your Ford vehicle and are ready to say goodbye to the stock gear. But how do you remove the old radiator and install the new unit, though? That’s exactly what we’re here to figure out! There’s nothing hard about the replacement routine. Just follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be done in no time:
- The first thing you gotta do is drain the coolant
- Next, disconnect the hoses from the stock radiator
- With that out of the way, use a 1/4” drive ratchet to get rid of the bolts
- To remove the shroud, put the positive cable to the side
- I recommend lifting the radiator a bit – that will make it easier to access the shroud
- Be careful not to damage the fan wires
- Crawl underneath the vehicle to remove the retainers
- Alright, now the stock radiator can be taken out
- Carefully slide the new unit into the factory spot, and get it connected – that’s it!
We just checked out 11 top-notch radiators for the Powerstroke engine. Next, we learned the difference between OEM and aftermarket and checked out a fast and easy radiator replacement guide. Now it’s time to talk a bit more about the actual radiators and the key factors that set a mediocre unit from a premium product. We’ll talk about efficiency, capacity, installation, build quality, and more. Stay tuned!
#1: Real-World Efficiency + Coolant Capacity
What’s the biggest reason for switching to a third-party radiator? To upgrade the cooling system, of course, make it more efficient! That’s right: effective cooling is the #1 job of any rad and should be the first thing you check. Usually, manufacturers indicate how big of an improvement you can expect compared to the stock gear. On average, decent-quality units are 20-25% more efficient, which is quite a great result.
However, if you’re ready to pay a bit more, you can get a 30-45% boost. As for coolant capacity, it’s pretty self-explanatory – the more liquid the tubes can hold, the better they’ll be at, well, keeping it cool. If you want the aftermarket radiator to make a real difference, it needs to be superior both in terms of efficiency and capacity.
#2: Plastic, Aluminum, and TIG Welding
This is actually the best combination for any modern-day rad. Plastic tanks have proven to be quite reliable and allow engineers to keep the production cost low. As for the core, the tubes, and the fins, see that they’re crafted from aluminum. Any other material won’t be nearly as good. Aluminum is equally lightweight, flexible, sturdy, and handles extreme heat – a defining factor for a radiator. And what is TIG welding all about – is this really important?
Yes, it is: TIG is one of the most reliable welding techniques, especially for aluminum, and provides extra durability. Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to check whether the radiator has a cap and a drain plug. The cap successfully raises the so-called “boiling point” of the antifreeze. As for the plug, it keeps the coolant free of metallic particles that slow it down.
#3: Cores and Rows
Should you buy a cross-flow or a down-flow radiator? The answer is simple: if it’s an older Powerstroke-run vehicle that you’re driving, down-flow rads will be exactly what the doc ordered, as they’re taller, thinner, and take less effort to install. Newer trucks and SUVs, in turn, will greatly benefit from cross-flow units. These are wider, more efficient, but might take some time to mount properly.
Next, we’ve got the rows. You’ve probably already seen two- or three-row radiators. Well, are they more efficient than single-row rads? Not quite: while the extra rows of tubes do add to the unit’s efficiency, that’s not a rule of thumb. Some engineers deliberately only use one or two rows but make them incredibly effective.
#4: Fitment + Hassle-free Installation
As mentioned earlier, if you want the installation process to go as smoothly as possible, invest in an OEM radiator (or any other gear, for that matter). On the other side, if you’re good with your hands, a solid-quality aftermarket unit will also do. Just make sure that it’s 100% compatible with your engine and vehicle to avoid big problems during the replacement.
With a powerful engine like the Powerstroke, you gotta always keep overheating in mind. So, if you do heavy off-roading every weekend, and live in a hot and humid area, best believe the stock radiator won’t be able to protect it for a long time. That’s why today, I wanted to introduce you to the best third-party rads for Ford’s fan-favored motor.
To make navigation easier, I broke down the list into four different sections, each with a set of radiators for a specific engine – the 6.0, 6.4, 6.7, and 7.3 editions. Take some time and read into the pros, cons, and verdicts to make the right choice. Plus, don’t forget about the FAQ and the Buyer’s Guide. And if you’ve got a personal favorite, share it in the comments!