The 7.3 Powerstroke engine is a diesel engine that was made for Ford’s diesel engine line. A Ford version of the Navistar T444E turbo-diesel made by Navistar International.
The Powerstroke diesel engine has a higher compression ratio that allows for more power in the vehicle with lower exhaust gas temperatures. This compression ratio makes it require less fuel to ignite and create combustion.
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine uses glow plugs instead of spark plugs to increase the air temperatures enough for ignition to take place.
Hence the 7.3’s compression ratio is right in line. The engine is used in Ford super-duty trucks and also in transit buses, school buses, and various large commercial vehicles.
What Year is Best for a Powerstroke 7.3 Diesel Engine?
The 1999 version of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine is the best of its versions. This version of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine used split shot injectors and also used a deadhead fuel system.
The split shot injectors let out a preparatory fuel shot to begin combustion before the injector lets out the main load. This preparatory injection helped reduce emissions (NOX emissions) because it burned hotter and more completely.
The 1999 version of the Powerstroke diesel engine also had an air-to-air cooler that helped to cool charged air and allow for greater horsepower potential. It also helped to reduce exhaust gas temperatures.
This version is considered the best year for the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine because that was the last year the engine worked under the old assumptions regarding environmental controls and customer expectations including ease of maintenance. The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine responded well to the challenges thrown at it.
The following are reasons the 1999 version is considered the best year for the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine;
1. Simple But Reliable
The version just like the other versions had no technical complexities or difficult components. The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine being underpowered was a longevity blessing.
It had a basic and simple computer system made up of an uncomplicated engine that did its job for a long duration.
2. It last Long
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine consisted of a simple design that used quality parts to produce an engine that could cover 400,000 to 500,000 miles. With consistent modification and maintenance, the engine could get that type of mileage.
3. Dual Long-Lasting Injectors
The engine had an injector sequence that provided a preparatory setup burst of fuel before the main load was released. This generated a hotter, more complete burn including more power for the engine.
It had a very basic design, which meant the plunger only had to work once per combustion occurrence, even though there were two injections present.
The design created a very reliable fuel injection system with injectors that lasted a long time, providing performance consistency and reducing maintenance costs.
4. A Small Number of Emission Controls
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine had an internal computer system engine that helped to regulate NOX emissions. It also had a catalytic converter.
The catalytic converter and the internal computer system engine were the features of emission control the engine had.
Emission control features are important for the safety of the environment but with too many control features, it becomes bad for the longevity of truck engines.
5. Cooling Effect
The Powerstroke engine had a lower horsepower that helped to reduce stress potential and also helped to aid in keeping the exhaust gas cooler.
The 1999 version of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine received air to air cooler which helped to cool things down even more.
What Year Of Powerstroke 7.3 Diesel Engine is Not Reliable?
The 2001 version of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine through 2003 is not reliable. These models come with Powdered Metal Rods (PMRs). These powdered metal rods degrade the performance of the engine.
The Powdered metal rods are weak equipment for such heavy-duty trucks. The previous models such as the 1999 version were equipped with forged rods.
There are some reasons these models of 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engines are not reliable. The common problems and failure points of the engines are as follows;
The presence of the PMRs (Powdered Metal Rods) as the interconnecting rods reduces the engine performance. The models with forged rods have better engine performance.
Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS)
The failure of the camshaft position sensor would cause a stalling or no-start situation while running. The tachometer moving when framing shows that the camshaft position sensor is in good condition. If the tachometer does not move, the camshaft position sensor has most likely gone bad.
Fuel filter/Water Separator
The filter housing is prone to develop cracks in the aluminum housing and leaks fuel as a result. The heating element in the filter housing can also short out, blowing a fuse and resulting in a no-start condition.
The turbocharger up-pipes were a large failure with the pipes leaking from different points but majorly from the joints. This up-pipes leakage causes the engine to lose its boost and the exhaust gas temperature to increase.
Exhaust Back-pressure Valve (EBPV)
The exhaust back-pressure valve could close when cold and get stuck. This results in noise like that of a jet engine, from the exhaust.
The ICP Sensor
A bad injector control pressure sensor causes the diesel engine to cut in and out. If oil is detected in the injector control pressure sensor connector, the sensor may be bad or may be reaching a failure point.
Why Was the 7.3 Powerstroke Discontinued?
The production of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine was discontinued because it did not meet the noise regulations and emission standards required by the federal government and the state of California.
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine is regarded as one of the most reliable diesel engines in super-duty trucks, but the engine had some issues. Most of the issues were a result of poor electrical connections.
What Year Did Ford Make the 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel Engine?
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine was introduced in 1994. It replaced the IDI (Indirect Injection) non-turbo 7.3 engine.
It was introduced to Ford’s F-Series truck and in addition to this, the Ford Excursion, Ford E-Series, and Ford LCF commercial truck.
The diesel engines were designed to be big monster engines capable of running for hundreds of thousands of miles without incurring problems.
Its solid foundation of cast iron block and cast iron cylinder head provides long-term reliability and durability.
The design offers better and greater clamping force than what can be found in the previous models before the 7.3 Powerstroke engine and even the 6.0 engine model that replaced it.
The 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine was superior and was the best in its set. The early models were simple, basic, and efficient. One of Ford’s best. It wasn’t until the later models were introduced that common problems arose in the engine.
As emissions regulation and standards increased, there was the discontinuation of the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine in 2004 and it was replaced with the 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine.