When Did Ford Quit Making The 7.3 Diesel?

The 7.3 Powerstroke debuted in 1994, replacing the non-turbo 7.3L IDI (indirect Injection). The Powerstroke was a game-changing development in the automobile industry, as it woke up the previously sluggish and underperforming 3/4-ton Ford pickup, producing significantly more power and exceeding its predecessor. The 7.3 Powerstroke may be a grandpa in terms of power and performance in today’s current diesel terms, but it was a marvel of performance and power in the world of heavy-duty pickups in its day.

So, when did Ford discontinue producing the 7.3L, and why did they do so? The last year of the 7.3 Powerstroke engine was produced until roughly mid-2003, when it was replaced by the 6.0L since it failed to fulfill federal and “great” state of California emissions and noise rules. Despite the fact that it had blazed the way in 1994, the 7.3 was also phased out due to its lack of power in compared to the ever-improving performance of competitor diesels from GM and Chrysler. Unfortunately for Ford (and Navistar International), the newly designed, more emissions-friendly 6.0L Powerstroke would swiftly develop a reputation as one of the most troublesome diesel engines ever built.

Continue reading to learn more about the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel’s 9-year history, troubles, and improvements.

The 7.3L Powerstroke is widely recognized as one of the best and most reliable diesel engines ever made, however even with its stellar reputation, the 7.3 had its share of flaws and issues. The 7.3 has more problems than you might expect, but the beauty of this engine is that most fixes are simple and require just a basic understanding of diesel engines. We’ve compiled a list of the 7.3 engine’s most common difficulties and drawbacks below.

On the 7.3 Powerstroke, wire chafing is fairly prevalent, and the injector wiring harness is particularly notable since it has a tendency to burn the glow plug and injector terminals. This can result in misfires, harsh running, no start, and a variety of other issues. The 42 pin harness, which can rub against the driver’s side valve cover and cause problems similar to the malfunctioning injector harness, is another common location. It’s a fairly simple fix for both of these problems, but it can be challenging because some of the symptoms the truck exhibits may lead you to believe the problem is with your glow plug, injectors, or sensors rather than with the wiring. If sufficient research is not done, this can end up costing much more than necessary. Before leaping to conclusions, it’s always a good idea to do some study on the subject.

CPS (College of Public Safety) (Camshaft Position Sensor)

The CPS is unquestionably one of the most well-known problems with the 7.3L, but it was less common in later model years. When the CPS fails, the truck will not start and, in some situations, will shut down unexpectedly while driving. However, because the tachometer will stop moving when cranking the engine, it is typically very easy to diagnose. It can be quickly and efficiently replaced using basic tools, but it’s a good idea to have an extra one on hand because getting stuck in the middle of nowhere is never a fun moment.

3. Heating Element & Fuel Bowl

I’d prefer to start with the gasoline heating element, which has a tendency to short out, causing a fuse to blow and the truck to not start. This happened to me with my 99 7.3 just last year. I was on an elk hunt and when it was time to load up and leave, I tried to start my truck but it wouldn’t start. When the key was turned, the fuel pump did not turn on, and the tachometer did not move. I assumed it was the CPS because the tac was not moving, but the fuel pump was spanking new, so I knew something else was amiss. To cut a long tale short, after about 20 minutes of searching for a solution, I discovered the blown 20A fuse and replaced it, unplugged the fuel bowl heater, and she started up again as if by magic. It’s a good idea to have a few spare fuses in your truck just in case. If I hadn’t had a new fuse, I would have been in a lot of trouble. Furthermore, the fuel bowl housing is composed of low-cost cast aluminum, which is prone to cracking and leaking fuel into the engine valley. Not only that, but the fuel bowl seals and O-rings are prone to cracking, resulting in leaks. As a result, make sure to look for all of these items.

EBPV (Exhaust Backpressure Valve) failure is a possibility with 7.3s that have a lot of miles on them. The valve will stick in one of two positions, causing the truck to run badly and emitting a loud jet-like exhaust sound. I had this problem with my truck as well, and when it was cold and I tried to accelerate, the truck was extremely sluggish, wouldn’t create boost, and just ran rough all over. When this happens, you may either replace it or, if you don’t have the money, unplug the EBPV when the truck is hot and the valve is open as a temporary workaround. The truck will operate normally now, but it will take a little longer to warm up from a cold start.

These are just a few of the most prevalent 7.3 Powerstroke problems. We are not attempting to discredit the 7.3 because it is a wonderful engine; rather, we wanted to make you aware that it does have a few flaws. As previously stated, the 7.3 was retired due to emissions and noise laws, as well as the fact that it had simply become outmoded in the diesel industry. Diesel engine technology and power had advanced beyond what the 7.3 could properly provide. In comparison to the 2003 7.3L Cummins engine, which produced only 275 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque, the 2003 5.9L Cummins engine produced 305 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque. The Powerstroke, as you can see from the comparison of specs, was in desperate need of replacement. With 325 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, the 2003.5 6.0 Powerstroke outperformed the 5.9, putting Ford back on top, at least in terms of power.

The 7.3L was regarded as one of Navistar International’s best diesel engines, and while it is a terrific engine, it does have its own set of issues and limits, as detailed above. It was subsequently phased out due to failure to fulfill emissions and noise standards. I hope you found this material to be useful in your pursuits and that it answered any issues you had. Thank you for reading, and please take a look at some of our other writings regarding the 7.3L Powerstroke.

Is Ford bringing back the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel?

This is done on purpose. Ford could have made its new big-bore gasoline truck engine any size it wanted, but it went with a 4.22-inch bore and 3.98-inch stroke for each cylinder. When the cylinder volume is multiplied by eight, the displacement is 445 cubic inches, or 7.3 liters. The dirty and indestructible 7.3 Powerstroke from the 1990s and early 2000s was Ford’s first direct-injected and turbocharged diesel V-8. Those torque ogres were basically Navistar bus engines that spat sooty smoke rings at the weight of pickup vehicles. Many of them have piled up round-trip-to-the-moon mileage, and the phrase “seven point three” is still a comforting phrase for F-series Super Duty devotees. If truck purchasers adopt a profound and unexplained notion that Ford’s new V-8 is equally everlasting, Ford will be sorry. It would have been a 7.4 if there had been extra eight cubic centimeters each cylinder. However, this is not the case.

How good is the Ford 7.3 diesel engine?

If it’s not a 5.9 Cummins, it’s a 7.3 Powerstroke when you hear “yes, my buddy has a diesel with 500k+ miles at his ranch.” These engines’ engine blocks and internals were over-built and over-engineered for the truck’s power output, making it one of the most dependable and trustworthy diesels ever made.

The B50 Life of the 7.3 Powerstroke is 350,000 miles, which means that 50% of engines will last longer than 350k miles before failing. While I did identify a number of issues with the 7.3 above, they are mostly minor and inexpensive to fix. Although catastrophic engine failure is almost unheard of, every engine has its flaws. It usually has to do with wiring/electrical components like sensors and the like for the 7.3.

Aside from the items on this list, expect some maintenance as these trucks age and pass the 200k mile mark. It’s not uncommon to need to replace the turbocharger (which is surprisingly simple and inexpensive), a water pump, possibly the fuel pump, and other high-stress or pressurized components.

Front-End Suspension

This is a suspension post, not an engine trouble post. However, in comparison to other vehicles, the front-end of these F250/F350 Super Duty trucks requires a little more maintenance. It’s most likely due to the engine’s size and weight, which causes some extra wear and tear. Bushings, ball joints, tie rods, and all the other fun but essential suspension components do wear out. This includes the steering gearbox, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS) Failure

The camshaft position and speed are controlled by the CPS sensor, which is located on the bottom side of the engine block, slightly above the crankshaft damper. This information is relayed to the Powerstroke’s computer, or PCM. The camshaft positioning data from the sensor is used by the engine’s computer to alter fueling to deliver enough fuel levels at the right moment to control engine timing.

The CPS on the 7.3 is universally acknowledged as the engine’s most common or frequent failure area. The PCM then sends a signal to the injector driver module, telling it how much fuel to deliver to which cylinder using the CPS signal. When a sensor fails, the PCM receives no signal and so is unable to transmit a signal to the IDM instructing it to provide fuel. As a result, your 7.3 does not receive the fuel it need to start or run the engine.

Despite numerous design improvements throughout the years, it continues to be a common failure spot. The dark grey and purple CPS sensor, which was recently released, has proven to be the most popular among owners. We recommend purchasing a second one for $23 and keeping it in your glovebox in case your CPS fails while you are driving or on a trip. Because replacing the sensor is so simple, there’s no reason to risk becoming stranded and having to pay for a tow.

Powerstroke Leaking Fuel Filter Housing

The gasoline filter housing, often known as the fuel bowl, is susceptible to cracking and causing fuel leaks. The top for the pump is made of plastic, while the pump itself is made of metal. The pressure of the fuel system, along with the heat from the engine bay, can cause the cap to wear out or crack over time, allowing petrol to spill and leak. Aftermarket gasoline filter caps of poor quality are the most prone to cracking and leaking. While it is less common, we have encountered cracks in the aluminum housing itself, but they are quite unusual.

O-rings, in addition to a damaged cap, are a common cause of a leaking fuel filter housing. It’s thought that the chemicals in diesel fuel don’t mix well with the coating Ford uses on its o-rings and oil seals. The chemicals can cause breaches around the o-rings, allowing gasoline to get through. In colder temperatures, the o-rings on the drain valve are known to shatter, producing leaks.

A third possible reason is overtightening the gasoline cap, which bends the o-ring and causes the cap to drip slowly.

Turbocharger Up-Pipe Leaks

The turbo up-pipes connect the exhaust manifold to the turbocharger and are part of the 7.3’s exhaust system. To connect the pipe to the manifold and turbo, the factory pipes use crush donut gaskets. The piping expands and contracts as exhaust gases pass through it. The crush gaskets deteriorate and leak as a result of this expansion and contraction over time.

Symptoms of Leaking 7.3 Up-Pipes

Because the OEM up-pipes are prone to leaking, most people will choose for improved up-pipes once their OEM set fails. Stronger gaskets will be installed on upgraded piping to avoid leaks. Additionally, upgrading this component can help improve the exhaust system’s sound and deep tones. This XDP upgrade kit is a wonderful alternative for people wishing to replace their pipes at a low cost without adding too much extra exhaust noise.

Bent Push Rods / Valve Springs – 7.3 Powerstroke

While bent push rods and failing valve springs are two independent issues, they frequently occur together. The valve springs ensure that the valvetrain opens and shuts smoothly, as well as that the lifter stays in touch with the camshaft. Because the springs do not have a high seat pressure, valve float can occur at high RPMs. When the spring pressure is too low, the valves can “float” or fail to seal completely at high RPMs.

You’ll probably hear some engine noises, get a low compression test in one of the cylinders, or cause more significant engine damage. If the spring breaks instead of floating, the valve can be pushed into the cylinder, causing damage to the piston, cylinder head, and other internal engine components.

A weak cylinder, which can be caused by valve spring difficulties, is a typical cause of push rod failure. This problem can also be caused by stuck lifters, improper engine timing, and overly tight rocker arms. Engines with more horsepower than standard place more stress on the push rods and valve springs, causing them to flex. Upgrade to performance springs and rods capable of handling the higher power if you’re running aggressive power and greater fuelling.

Exhaust Back-Pressure Valve (EBPV) Failure

The EBPV is a Y-shaped valve that is attached to the turbocharger outflow. An actuator, which is likewise coupled to the turbo, controls the back pressure valve. The exhaust back-pressure valve’s job is to shorten the time it takes for the engine to reach normal operating temperature. An EBPV solenoid or regulator, which controls the flow of oil to the actuator, is the system’s third component.

When the engine is cold, the actuator closes the valve, resulting in backpressure as if the engine were running. Backpressure causes a buildup of hot exhaust air within the engine, causing it to warm up more quickly. The actuator is known to compel the valve to open and stick-open in cold conditions. Furthermore, the system frequently spills oil, necessitating a complete repair of the EBPV system. Due to the frequency of oil leaks and actuator failure, as well as the cost of repairing both, removing the EBPV is a popular alternative.

Under Valve Cover Harness (UVCH) Failure

The UVCH is a vital component of the 7.3 Powerstroke’s fuel injector system, without getting too technical. The injectors require a little more power than the batteries can deliver in order to fire. As a result, an Injector Driver Module, or IDM, is installed in the engine. The IDM gets the signal or voltage from the ECM to fire the injectors and then outputs a voltage that the injectors can handle. The UVCH is an electrical connector that connects the IDM to the injectors and transfers voltage.

The under valve cover harness, as the name implies, is located beneath the valve cover. The connecting wires can either melt or rub against the valves and break due to the heat under the valve cover and the frequent shaking of the engine. Because one cylinder’s UVCH connection may break while the rest remain intact, the problem is usually localized to a few cylinders. There is one wire on each side of the engine, and the repair is rather affordable.

(IPR) Injector Pressure Regulator Failure – 7.3 Powerstroke

The IPR, or injector pressure regulator, is a device that sits on top of the high-pressure oil pump (HPOP) and regulates oil pressure. To regulate and control the amount of pressure the HPOP builds, the IPR works in conjunction with the PCM and the injection control pressure sensor (ICP). As a result, oil pressure is applied to the fuel injectors, ensuring that the engine receives the precise amount of gasoline required to run. The 7.3 Powerstroke’s HEUI injection system uses the HPOP to control the amount of fuel the injectors spray into the engine, rather than a typical high-pressure fuel pump.

The IPR is known to fail as your 7.3 engine ages for a variety of reasons, including the regulator being stuck, seals failing, sensors failing, wiring becoming corroded, and so on. If the IPR fails, the engine will receive too much or too little fuel, which can cause a variety of issues.

Powerstroke Failed IPR Symptoms

The IPR’s failure symptoms are nearly comparable to those of the ICP and HPOP since it acts in tandem with them. IPR valves may be rebuilt for roughly $20, however a brand new IPR valve will set you back around $200 for the part alone.

What years are Ford diesel engines to avoid?

The 6.0L Powerstroke is a well-known engine. Because of the engine’s poor performance, Ford and Powerstroke’s parent company, Navistar, were involved in a lengthy court dispute. Ford said Navistar produced a faulty engine. Ford has ignored unsatisfactory test results for the 6.0L Powerstroke, which could have prevented post-production issues, according to evidence.

As the Powerstroke suffered catastrophic failures, expensive engine replacement warranty claims flooded in. The cab of the vehicle had to be removed for the majority of these repairs. Because to this engine, many owners have lost faith in the brand. A series of recalls affecting this notoriously problematic truck are listed by Consumer Reports.

Is the 7.3 Powerstroke still in production?

Ford’s 7.3L Power Stroke engine has established a reputation as a dependable workhorse over the course of many years. Despite the fact that the engine hasn’t been produced in nearly 16 years, it continues to have a devoted following among diesel enthusiasts. It’s fairly uncommon for truck owners to trade in their more recent model for a 7.3L-powered vehicle. Their popularity is reflected in the marketplace, with prices occasionally outperforming those of later-model Ford trucks.

Does Ford own Cummins?

It’s a popular misconception that Cummins is owned by car companies such as Ford or Chrysler. Cummins Turbo Technologies, in fact, is a separate firm that designs, manufactures, and sells a whole range of diesel and natural gas engines.

What year 7.3 is the best?

The short answer is that the 1999 7.3 Liter Power Stroke V-8 was the engine’s final year of operation under outdated assumptions about environmental controls, customer expectations, and general maintenance ease. While the Power Stroke is generally regarded as a superior engine, it had almost a decade of service under its belt by 1999, and any bugs had been ironed out.

The end product was a tough workhorse of an engine that handled nearly every task thrown at it. Plus, it was diesel, which brought with it all of its benefits. The 7.3, on the other hand, had its own set of advantages.

Incredible Longevity

The Power Stroke engine was built with high-quality parts and a straightforward design to generate an engine that won no street races but lasted 400,000 to 500,000 kilometers. To get that kind of mileage, the engine had to be stock and well maintained, but even abused, the 7.3 Power Stroke engine was good for at least 300,000 miles.

Few Emissions Controls

Emissions regulations are good for the environment, but they shorten the life of truck engines. To control NOX emissions, the 7.3 Power Stroke depended on its internal engine computer system. It was also equipped with a catalytic converter. However, that was the end of the emissions control features.

Future Power Stroke engines, on the other hand, had a gas recirculation system that had a number of concerns, including valve troubles, cracked coolers, tainted oil, and early coolant fouling. Diesel particulate filters were added to future versions. Those two adjustments alone almost guaranteed that a vehicle with a 7.3 liter engine would not get very high mpg.

Basic but Reliable

The 7.3 Liter V-8 isn’t going to win any technical or exotic component honors. The 1999 remake was no exception. The 7.3 Power Stroke was unsophisticated in comparison to today’s engines.

The block was gray iron, while the crankshaft was forged steel. Until 2000, the rods were made of forged steel. The pistons were made of aluminum that had been cast. It possessed a standard V-8 engine with one camshaft, two valves, and two pushrod cylinders, as well as simple hydraulic lifters that didn’t need to be calibrated or broken.

The 7.3 was underpowered in comparison to today’s engines, but that was a gift in terms of longevity. It lacked the bells and whistles found in today’s engines. It has a basic and straightforward computing system. All of this added up to a simple engine that just did its job for years.

It Ran Cool

The 7.3’s stress potential was minimized by lowering the horsepower and torque ratings, which also helped to keep exhaust gas cooler. The 7.3 received an air-to-air intercooler in 1999, which further cooled things down.

Cooler Oil Via an External Oil Cooler

In a 7.3, the engine oil had to work extremely hard. The PSI of engine oil was boosted to 3,000 thanks to a high-pressure circuit. Engine oil heated up quickly due to the extreme pressure. The 7.3 had an external air chiller to help with this. The oil was not only cooled by outside air, but the cooler also had large corridors that never became clogged.

Dual Injectors

An injector sequence in a 7.3 Liter V-8 provided an initial setup blast of fuel before the full load was released. This resulted in a hotter, more thorough burn and increased engine output. It was, however, designed in such a way that the plunger only had to work once each combustion event, despite the fact that there were two injections.

The design resulted in a highly reliable fuel injection system with long-lasting injectors, lowering maintenance costs and ensuring consistent performance.

Why is the 7.3 so reliable?

“The critical factors for any diesel engine surviving forever are robust, iron parts, conservative power, and low engine speed—and if a 7.3L has been carefully maintained its whole life, 400,000 to 500,000 miles is nearly certain.”

Is 6.0 or 7.3 engine better?

Was the 7.3L engine genuinely superior? Sure. That assertion, however, is very dependent on what you’re basing your judgment on. The 7.3L is the clear winner in terms of dependability, durability, and simplicity. The 6.0L has it beat when it comes to horsepower, drivability, and passing modern-day emissions rules.

In the end, both engines have advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to figure out which one checks the most boxes in the categories that matter to you.