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How to Replace 6.0 Powerstroke Head Studs [+Review & Replacements]

Let’s face it: stock head bolts are not good enough for performance upgrades. So, you need to get 6.0 Powerstroke head studs to make up for it. Otherwise, you could burn the head gasket in the blink of an eye.

Don’t worry, though. We know that choosing aftermarket parts for your vehicle can be overwhelming. So, we’ve gathered the best head studs available.

And to make things even better, we’ve got a simple guide so that you can replace stock head bolts for head studs.

Signs 6.0 Powerstroke Head Studs Need Replacement

Having trouble with your vehicle but can’t pinpoint the problem? Here are common symptoms indicating you’ve got damaged head studs:

1. Noise

Your vehicle is made to give you feedback, whether it be an engine flashlight or acceleration problems. But some issues can be a little bit confusing — especially when the car is stupidly loud.

One common way to tell that there’s something wrong with your head studs is when the vehicle makes strange noises.

Usually, if there’s something with the studs, the noise will go away as drivers accelerate.

As you might guess, this is a severe problem, and a certified mechanic must fix the issue.

You might be able to drive with a broken head stud. But if it started leaking, it’s too late. Thus, get in touch with a professional.

2. White Smoke

Your vehicle’s engine is designed to operate under extremely high temperatures. Still, if this becomes a regular occurrence, your engine will have difficulty keeping up with it.

That said, if the engine is overheating, white smoke is probably coming out of the tailpipe, suggesting that there’s something wrong with the head studs.

But it’s probably too late as the head studs destroyed the head gasket. To fix this problem, replace both the head gasket and head studs.

3. Coolant Loss But Can’t Find Any Leaks

Noticed that you’re running low on coolant but can’t find the leak? Well, you probably have damaged Ford 6.0 Powerstroke head studs and head gasket.

When the latter goes bad, the coolant will go into the cylinders, causing your vehicle to run low on coolant. Since your coolant is going into the cylinders, it’s not easy for you to find the leak.

4. Mysterious Milky White Color in the Oil

Noticed some white stuff in the oil cap as soon as you pulled it out? Well, you might have damaged head studs.

You see, if there’s something wrong with the head studs themselves, your head gasket will go bad, creating this weird milky white color in the oil.

As explained before, if these parts quit working, you must replace them to fix the underlying problem.

3 Best Head Studs for 6.0 Powerstroke

Head studs can do more than improving performance — they also keep the head gasket from blowing. But choosing one is no easy task. So, here are our top picks to make your life so much easier:

01. Xotic Performance 7690823 Head Studs – Best Overall

 

Highlighted Features

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • 220,000 PSI
  • Rolled threads
  • Extreme clamping force

Xotic performance’s series line of head studs is your best bet for high-performance head studs. Thus, this brand is our go-to option if we need to replace stock head bolts.

Designed for high-performance vehicles, this model will ensure that you can safely install a turbocharger without blowing the head gasket.

Moreover, these head studs are an excellent option for high pressure.

When the cylinder head goes on top of the studs, it’ll put an abnormal amount of pressure, making it hard for the stud to hold up.

These, on the other hand, are designed to resist such environments.

Better yet, they’ve included a well-explained diagram, indicating all the steps for this simple job. That way, DIYers can have a much easier time installing the head studs.

Unlike other questionable head studs, these are rated at 220,000 PSI, meaning they are pretty strong and won’t fail on you as the turbo spools up.

And last but not least, they feature a strong black oxide finish, making them resistant to corrosion over time.

“Some consumers have expressed that these are not the best choice for towing. They don’t hold up as well, and they probably will go out of service after a while. Other than that, we don’t have much to say.”

What We Liked

  • Pretty easy to install
  • Hold up pretty well
  • Optimum design
  • Mind-blowing tensile strength

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not suitable for towing

02. ARP 2504202 Head Studs – Best for Performance

 

Highlighted Features

  • Black oxide finish
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • 200,000 PSI
  • Consistent clamping force

Want to stop the cylinder heads from lifting but can’t find a great set of head studs? We got you.

ARP will ensure that your vehicle runs under proper conditions at all times with their 6.0 Powerstroke head studs.

Like the previous model we covered, this one is no different when it comes to installing. They’ve included a well-made diagram showing all the steps you need.

Rated at 200,000 PSI, these are some of the most durable head studs we’ve found. It’ll take a long time before they go out of service.

Better yet, these head studs provide the perfect amount of clamping force, allowing the head and head gasket to remain sealed to the engine block. That way, the head gasket won’t get damaged.

Unlike the stock head bolts, these head studs are designed to withstand your turbocharger’s pressure.

If you plan on adding several performance upgrades, these head studs will make this process much more manageable.

“Despite our seal of approval, some consumers have reported that this company has a hard time keeping up their quality control. Some buyers have received head studs without threads, making them impossible to install.”

What We Liked

  • Easy to install
  • Super durable
  • Perfect for performance upgrades
  • Prevent the head gasket from blowing

What We Didn’t Like

  • Studs stretch way too much

03. MTC 30244 Head Studs – Best for Money

 

Highlighted Features

  • Extreme clamping force
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • 23-pt head studs
  • High-resistant studs

Still having trouble choosing the perfect upgrade for your new turbocharger? Well, we have these cost-effective head studs from none other than MTC.

We know how much hate cheap aftermarket parts get. But even then, these head studs are good enough for most people on a budget as they provide everything you need.

As far as durability goes, these are pretty strong. Even though they are pretty cheap, they hold up pretty well under lots of pressure.

For a turbocharger upgrade, these studs are certainly an excellent choice. They are resistant and efficient than the stock head bolts.

Moreover, they have enough clamping force to hold the head down, meaning you won’t run into severe issues when going down the road.

“Unfortunately, these head studs are quite hard to install. They do not provide enough instructions, making it quite hard for most DIYers. If you’re in the market for that, you won’t find that here.”

What We Liked

  • Affordable head studs
  • Consistent clamping pressure
  • Hold up pretty well
  • Perfect for turbocharger

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can be hard to install

DIY Guide: How to Install Head Studs

Changing head studs 6.0 Powerstroke is quite tricky and requires a lot of time. But it can be easier if you know what you’re doing. That said, here’s a simple explanation for this job:

1. What You Will Need

Before moving any further, make sure to get all these tools:

  • Compressed air, thread chaser, and brake cleaner — always clean the holes in the engine block before installing head studs.
  • Soapy water — clean the new head studs using soapy water.
  • A torque wrench — you need one of these tools to torque the head studs properly.

02. Clean the Holes in the Cylinder Block

To start, clean the holes in the cylinder block using compressed air. Make sure that you thoroughly clean them. That way, the threads in the block will be perfect.

Once that’s done, spray the holes with brake clean. Next up, run a thread chaser down the thread blocks.

After that, blow the holes with compressed air. Keep doing this until you can pull in and out the head studs with no effort.

If there’s any debris inside, it will distort your torque reading and mess up the installation

3. Clean the New Hardware

After cleaning the holes in the cylinder block, clean the new head studs. This process is pretty simple, and you only need soapy water and a container with clean water.

That said, grab the head studs and pour them with soapy water. When doing this, make sure to clean them thoroughly.

After that, rinse them off with clean water. Finally, blow them dry using a rag and compressed air.

4. Install The Head Studs

Now it’s time to install Ford 6.0 diesel head studs replacement. However, before inserting them into the engine block, please use your ARP assembly lube to lubricate the threads.

When installing the head studs, please make sure they’re in the correct position. For more on this, refer to your manual.

5. Install the Head Gasket & Cylinder Head

Gently set both the head gasket and cylinder head. When installing the cylinder head, please do not drop it. You could damage the head gasket.

6. Lubricate the Washers and Threads

After installing the head gasket and cylinder head, please lubricate the washers and threads.

Take enough time for this job since skipping this part can lead to undesired results. Having done that, finger tight the washers.

7. Start Torquing

Now that you’ve set up most things start torquing the head studs. When torquing the head studs, please follow the manual for the recommended torque sequence.

This is very important as you could damage the head studs and head gasket if you mess up.

Need help installing new head studs? Then watch this short but detailed YouTube video for this job:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Got any questions about head studs? If so, here’s some helpful info about them:

What does upgrading head studs do?

If you’re installing a turbocharger, you’re going to have increased cylinder pressure. In this case, you would have to replace the stock head bolts for head studs.

Otherwise, the head bolts won’t stand a chance. For instance, this would lead to costly repairs in the future.

Can I stud my 6.0 myself?

Yes, you can stud your 6.0 Powerstroke. However, know that this job takes a lot of time.

If you’re not fond of mechanical repairs, you’ll have a hard time getting through this challenging job.

Are head studs better than bolts?

We wouldn’t say that head studs are better than bolts. This is highly subjective and depends on the application.

Sure, a head stud is a must if you’re installing a turbocharger along with more performance upgrades. But if you’re not, head bolts are good enough for most drivers.

What are ARP head studs good for?

ARP head studs are one of the most well-known head studs in the market.

They are pretty strong and have fewer problems than the competition. Overall, you cannot go wrong with this brand

Conclusion

Found the right 6.0 Powerstroke head studs? We hope you managed to find the ideal head studs for your vehicle.

With thousands of head studs, we know that choosing the right one can be daunting. Therefore, we’ve made it so you wouldn’t have trouble picking up the perfect upgrade.

Any of the three head studs we chose will achieve the results you need.

Whether it be towing or accelerating, they got your back. And to top it off, you now know how to install and diagnose head studs.

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