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How to Care For and Maintain Your Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
The 7.3 Powerstroke has a well earned reputation for legendary reliability. Produced from 1994 to 2003, some of these engines are approaching 25 years of age. Although the engine itself is quite durable, various engine subsystems are subject to wear and tear, and will eventually need to be renewed. We still see considerable volume of these ‘classic’ trucks in our shop regularly.
One of the most critical components on a diesel engine are the fuel injectors, and the HEUI (hydraulic electronic unit injectors) used on the 7.3 are no exception. A set of injectors will last between 250,000 and 350,000 km depending on driving habits and fuel & oil quality. One component of the injector subject to wear is the plunger and barrel assembly. A worn plunger and barrel will result in lower injection pressure and inaccurate metering of fuel.
Other wear items in the injector include the nozzle, nozzle spring, poppet valve and poppet valve spring. Wear in these components can lead to poor atomization of the fuel, delayed end to injection and timing issues. This can cause hazy exhaust, low power, poor fuel economy and in some instances a fuel knock.
We recommend brand new Alliant Power injectors, which are the OEM original and best injector available for this application. We also install remanufactured injectors from Pure Power for customers looking for a high quality, cost advantaged solution. If you’re not sure that your injectors need to be replaced, you’ll be pleased to know that our sister operations in Surrey and Nanaimo both test HEUI style injectors. We are happy to remove these injectors and have them tested for you.
The Importance of Healthy Wiring
Proper condition of the engine wiring harness is vital for correct engine operation. Wiring can break down over time due to extreme under hood temperature changes as well as mechanical stresses. We carry replacement pigtails for most underhood applications on the 7.3. We also carry improved valve covers that eliminate the internal plug connection for improved reliability. Failure of the under valve cover harness can cause glow plugs and injectors to work intermittently or not at all, leading to starting and driveability complaints.
No discussion of diesel engine maintenance would be complete without touching on fuel quality. Two important qualities of diesel fuel are lubricity and cetane rating. Lubricity refers to how well the fuel lubricates the moving parts of the fuel system.
Cetane refers to how quickly the fuel ignites inside the engine. Using fuel with increased lubricity can significantly prolong the life of all fuel systems components. Fuel with a higher cetane rating gives improved fuel economy, increased power, decreased emissions and decreased noise.
We carry Stanadyne additives, which improve both lubricity and cetane. Additionally, Stanadyne Performance Formula also provides anti-gel protection for cold weather operation and corrosion prevention to protect against water contaminated fuel.
The 7.3 Powerstroke Injector Drive Module
One of the hardest working and often overlooked fluids in the 7.3 Powerstroke is the engine oil. In addition to lubricating and cooling the internal components of the engine, the oil is also used to actuate the fuel injectors. A high pressure oil pump located in the valley of the engine feeds engine oil at up to 3000 psi to oil galleries in the head. When the injector receives power from the IDM, the poppet valve opens, admitting high pressure oil into the injector body. An often overlooked step in diagnosing problems with the 7.3 is the inspection of oil level and condition.
In some cases, an oil change is all that is needed to clear up a minor driveability complaint. Of course, it is important to change the oil on a regular basis, and to use high quality oil and filters when doing so. We are proud to be stocking and selling Delo 400 oil for these trucks.
With over 2 million engines produced during its 9 year production run, these engines will continue to work hard for years to come. With our quality parts, fast service and Diesel Done Right expertise, you too can keep your 7.3 Powerstroke working hard.
Get in touch to learn more!