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Do You Need to Bulletproof Your Diesel Engine?

In the realm of diesel engineering, the term “bulletproof” isn’t just an adjective but a commitment to performance, reliability, and sheer unyielding strength. When you’ve got a powerful diesel engine, you know how important it is to protect it. All that power, however, comes with lots of heat and wear. Outfitting your engine with higher-quality parts could help combat excessive wear and tear when you put your engine through a hard day’s work. If you’re not sure what it means to “bulletproof” your diesel engine, you’ve stumbled upon the right article.

Take a few minutes to expand your knowledge about bulletproofing a diesel engine. 

What Does It Mean to Bulletproof a Diesel?

“Bulletproofing” a diesel engine doesn’t mean making it impervious to bullets. Instead, it refers to a process or set of modifications aimed at ensuring the engine’s long-term reliability and performance. This is particularly important in high stress or extreme conditions. The term is often used in the context of Ford’s 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engines, which, while powerful, had certain design issues that could lead to premature failures. Bulletproofing, in this context, often involves addressing these known weak points.

Bulletproof Diesel even named itself after this practice and sell a series of parts to enhance your diesel engine’s performance, safety, and durability. We are using one of their parts on our 6.7 cummins that is a known weak point, the water pump.

Another 6.7 Water Pump Bites The Dust - Time to upgrade! #cummins #6.7 #diesel

Bulletproof Diesel is known for quality parts that address problem areas of specific engines, particularly around the EGR. The term is tossed around somewhat loosely in the industry, but a truly bulletproofed diesel engine has parts from this specific company installed under the hood. 

Specifically, the process consists of replacing the water pump, EGR cooler, external oil cooler, and the fuel injection control module (FICM) with certified Bulletproof Diesel parts. These specific parts help the engine remain cooler and circulate more effectively. When you’re hauling heavy loads, you won’t have an issue with overheating your engine. 

Fully "Bulletproofing" Our 6.0L Ford F350 Powerstroke (Stage 3 Install)

Pro Tip: Time to top up the tank? Get the inside scoop on What Is Off-Road Diesel and Who Gets to Use It?

How Much Does It Cost to Bulletproof a Diesel?

If you have the work done professionally with bulletproofed parts, you’re going to pay in the range of $3,000 to $4,000 for parts and installation. It’s really a small price to pay for what those particular parts will do to protect your engine’s longevity. Upgrading your engine by bulletproofing it should stave off the chance of premature EGR or injection failure due to high temperatures inside your engine. 

Ford bulletproofing
Upgrade your diesel engine and make it bulletproof.

Do You Need to Bulletproof Your Diesel Engine?

Bulletproof Diesel focuses primarily on the Ford 6.0L, 6.4L, and 6.7L Power Stroke engines. These engines facilitate heavy-duty work. Unfortunately, they sometimes come with a few common malfunctions. Bulletproof Diesel set out to create parts that would “fix” what Ford had broken in the engine’s design. 

The bottom line is that you don’t “need” to bulletproof your diesel engine for it to remain functional. However, bulletproofing your diesel engine will ensure the vehicle is in good shape for much longer. You’ll get more out of your engine if you take the time and spend the money to properly bulletproof the build. 

If you plan to run any diesel vehicle for a long time or under strenuous conditions, it’s always a good idea to understand what the common failure points are and improve them.

cummins 6.7 bulletproofing
All engines have weak points, our Cummins 6.7 is getting lots of mods, including a few parts from bulletproof diesel.

Can I Bulletproof Any Diesel Engine?

While the company Bulletproof Diesel focuses on particular problem areas, you could do your own bulletproofing by investigating problem areas of the engine and improving parts.

Here’s a breakdown of what bulletproofing typically encompasses:

Head Studs: One common issue with many high-performance diesel engines, including the 6.0L Power Stroke, is head gasket failure due to the immense pressure generated inside the engine. Upgrading to stronger head studs can prevent this failure by ensuring the head remains securely attached to the block.

Oil Cooler Upgrade: An inefficient oil cooler can cause the engine oil and coolant temperatures to rise. This can be particularly problematic for turbocharged engines. Upgrading the oil cooler can help maintain optimal temperatures.

EGR System Modifications: The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system in diesel engines can sometimes cause coolant contamination or become clogged. Some choose to upgrade the EGR cooler, while others may opt for an EGR delete. Though the latter is not legal in all jurisdictions due to emissions regulations.

Upgraded Fuel System: This includes improved fuel pumps, injectors, and filtration systems. An efficient fuel system ensures that the engine receives a clean and consistent fuel supply, thus avoiding potential damages from contaminants or fuel starvation.

Turbocharger Upgrades: Depending on the use case (such as towing heavy loads), some individuals opt for turbocharger upgrades to either provide more power or to ensure the turbo remains reliable under high stress.

Transmission Upgrades: The increased power and torque from a modified engine can strain the stock transmission. Hence, many enthusiasts also look into reinforcing or upgrading their transmissions to handle the additional load.

Monitoring Systems: With modifications and upgrades, it’s essential to keep an eye on the engine’s vitals. Installing advanced gauge systems can help drivers monitor parameters like oil temperature, boost levels, and exhaust gas temperature.

Coolant Filtration Systems: A dedicated filtration system for the coolant can help keep it free from contaminants, extending the life of water pumps, radiators, and other cooling system components.

Ford 6.0 engine
Keep your diesel truck in tip-top shape by bulletproofing it.

Join The Debate: We compared diesel versus gas trucks to determine Which Is Better for Towing?

Do All 6.0 Powerstrokes Need to Be Bulletproofed?

Again, “need” is a strong word. If the vehicle wasn’t functioning properly, then no one would buy it. You can run your Ford engine just fine without bulletproofing it its just more likely to experience a failure. Bulletproofing the engine just provides a lot more confidence that the engine will run without critical failure for longer. Bulletproofing ensures that the heat of your engine won’t be its worst enemy. 

Pro Tip: The downside to diesel is it can get stinky! Use these tips on 5 Ways to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes.

Red Ford truck parked in showroom
Not all diesel trucks need to be bulletproof, but the upgrade is always worth it.

How Can You Tell If a 6.0 Has Been Bulletproofed?

The best way to know whether or not your diesel engine is bulletproof is to educate yourself. If you know what parts to look for under the hood, it’s as simple as popping the latch and taking a look. There’s a lot of information on the Bulletproof Diesel website that will help guide you through the process of identifying the specific parts needed. 

Once you know what they look like, you won’t have a problem answering the question. If you don’t want to put in that much effort to find out, just take your truck to a local mechanic knowledgeable in the art of bulletproofing. They’ll be able to tell you whether or not your engine is bulletproof in just a few minutes. 

Uh oh: Our engine blew a head gasket. Here is why and how we fixed it.

How to Replace the Thermostat on a 6.7 Dodge Cummins Truck that Won't Warm Up and overheats
We know our engines well and do preventative maintenance and repairs to keep them running well.

Is It Worth Having a Bulletproof Diesel?

Perspective is a good way to decide whether or not bulletproofing is “worth” having done on your diesel engine. If you pay $4,000 for an engine upgrade and fortification, you may get several more years of use out of the vehicle.

If you think $4,000 is worth keeping that vehicle on the road well past its expiration date, then it’s worth it. You’ll likely save money in the long run. Do some calculations of your own, and decide whether or not bulletproofing is the right investment for you. If however, you run into one of the common problems with your engine and it’s going to need repair anyway, no sense in replacing the parts with sub-par factory originals; in this case, we recommend making the upgrade.

Do you have a bulletproof engine? If not, will you consider it? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Thursday 10th of August 2023

I went with the FASS filter system on my 8.3 Cummins after I lost my CAPS injection pump. I should not have waited.

Mortons on the Move

Monday 18th of September 2023

Ahh! Thats an expensive fix.

Philip Lund

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

I’m concerned about the cp4 going out in my first diesel 2019 f-250. Will bulletproofing help in this area? And will bulletproofing help if it’s being used as a shot distance commuter? Lastly, how do I go about getting it bulletproof?