Modernizing a 7.3L Power Stroke with Today’s Technology in Turbocharging, Injection, and Programming

by Carter Toni

Through the path of a long time, Ford’s 7.3L Power Stroke engine has earned itself a status as a reliable workhorse. Although the engine has not been created in nearly 16 years, still it includes a die-hard following within the diesel community. It’s not uncommon for truck proprietors to market their newer model to obtain a 7.3L-powered rig. Their recognition are visible in industry too, with prices sometimes outpacing later-model Ford trucks.

Really the only downfall to Ford’s fabled 7.3L Power Stroke is the quantity of power the engine makes-or insufficient it. First, take into account that the engine was condition from the art if this first arrived on the scene, with respectable power figures. Also, not a powerhouse is among the factors which makes the engine reliable. The issue is, people’s outlook during just how much power an electric train engine should make is skewed. Our prime bar set by modern diesel-exhaust is among the culprits another is aftermarket performance parts’ capability to really boost power. But newer trucks have drawbacks: their cost tags and a few of the big upgrades that may be performed could cause reliability issues.

Within our ongoing series about transforming Jared Lehenbauer’s new-to-him (somewhat neglected over time) ’01 Ford F-250 right into a truck that meets his requirement for a dependable tow rig, we concentrate on making engine enhancements. Time of hard use have began to consider a toll around the 7.3L. Under heavy load, the turbocharger (7.3 Turbo) sometimes constitutes a squealing noise, the engine from time to time runs rough (injector cleaner helps smooth it), and when the18 wheeler sits greater than a couple of days, it is not easy to begin (HPOP is losing prime due to oil seeping beyond the injector O-rings in to the fuel). So, it is now time to update a few of the worn engine components and spice up the output for additional efficient towing, without losing the dependability the18 wheeler is renowned for.

We designed a call to KC Turbos to speak to the crew in regards to a new drop-in turbocharger for that 7.3L that they been focusing on: the KC300x. We discussed our setup and just what we expect to do using the engine. The people at KC assure us they’ve the best setup (turbo configuration, injectors, and ECM tunes) to make use of using the KC300x for waking the18 wheeler up, improving towing, and supplying excellent driveability.

After making some quick repairs (replaced injector O-rings) to make certain the18 wheeler was reliable for that trip, we jumped within the Super Duty and drove east to Apache Junction, Arizona, to KC Turbos.

Upon coming at KC Turbos, the very first order of economic is putting the ’01 Ford F-250 around the dyno to obtain baseline power and torque figures (later on comparison). But, prior to the test, KC Turbos’ James Bolen disconnects a classic Banks Six-Gun unit to guarantee the ECM includes a true stock calibration for the baseline dyno run.

The18 wheeler is backed to the dyno and safely strapped lower. We’re careful using the 37-inch tires, because they are not created for speeds near to 100 miles per hour. With Charlie Fish (KC Turbos’ owner) in the controls, the18 wheeler has the capacity to muster 226 hp and 474 lb-foot of torque available trim.

Following the baseline run, an electrical Hungry Performance Hydra 7.3L Power Stroke Performance Programming Nick is installed. The Hydra will work for stock trucks since it provides 15 slots for custom ECM calibrations. Additionally, it gives users “No Start” and “Module Bypass” settings, together with change-on-the-fly capacity. For that transmission, the Hydra adjusts the shift technique for each tune (using the injector and turbo setup), therefore the gear box can better handle power increases. This selection is essential in order to a regular transmission (like ours) survive.

The truck’s ECM is taken away therefore the Hydra Nick could be installed in to the rear slot. Before setting the nick in position, the contacts around the ECM’s circuit board should be cleaned. James connects the communication cables towards the nick before setting it up within the slot. This will make it put in the plastic holder to become reinstalled within the truck. Note: The plastic mount store the ECM in position should be modified for that Hydra installation.

Using the ECM and Hydra installed, the18 wheeler is guaranteed around the dyno again for an additional test. Before firing the engine, James downloaded six SDK Performance ECM calibrations (HeavyTow, LightTow, Tow, Daily, StreetRocker, and HippieKiller) in to the Hydra after which place it on LightTow. This will give a stock truck with a decent power gain.

The tune did boost efficiency, only to 253 hp and 568 lb-foot of torque. This can be a bit lacking our intended mark of 290 hp and 650 lb-foot of torque, which Charlie has witnessed with this particular configuration. Phone dyno graph reveals a fall off in power, so Lead Turbo Specialist Austin Seals inspects the stock setup for any boost leak.

After examining the boost system and never coming up with any leaks, Austin removes the intake to examine the turbo. There, he finds a broken compressor wheel (the result of a thrust bearing with an excessive amount of finish play). The shaft easily moves out and in by hands, that is harmful to some turbo’s service time (its days were numbered). Having a bad turbo, our dyno time has ended. Had the turbo been good, the program ended up being to operate in segments, using the injectors installed first and so the turbo, to record the advancement of power gain.

Having a worn-out turbocharger, the engine reaches its limit for power. After moving the18 wheeler to the rear of the store, James starts the upgrade process by taking out the intake and charge pipes. Using the charge pipes taken care of, the intake X-pipe can also be removed.

Austin removes the valve covers after which pops the rear injector on every bank to permit the injector oil galleys to empty in to the rear cylinders. This will make it simpler to obvious the cylinders of oil before beginning the engine.

As the oil drains in the galley, the turbocharger is unbolted and removed.

The stock pedestal (right) supports an actuator which is used using the stock turbo’s exhaust backpressure valve. Because the new KC300x turbo doesn’t have an EBPV, the stock pedestal is substituted with the KC Turbos piece around the left.

All of those other injectors are dislodged using their seats having a prybar and removed.

Austin unboxes a brand new injector and lays it up for grabs for any side-by-side comparison using the original piece. Instantly, the injectors are similar, however the Full Pressure Diesel Performance unit around the right is really a Stage 3 Hybrid 205cc injector (the biggest KC recommends using using the 300x turbo) having a 30-percent-over nozzle. These injectors feature tungsten-coated plungers and barrels, as well as their bigger nozzles are engineered to supply better fuel-delivery control during combustion cycles. The Hybrid is made to make use of a stock high-pressure oil pump.

Before installing the injectors, Austin attaches the oil deflectors he taken off that old units.

The injectors are set up within the heads after which sitting down in position having a rubber hammer.

The fill up-pipes and Y-collector are removed.

Around the right would be the new KC Turbos up-pipes and collector. Bellows permit heat expansion and therefore are flanged (with gaskets) in the collector to supply better sealing compared to stock pipes with compression couplings.

The brand new up-pipe set up remains loose to alleviate the turbocharger installation.

The pedestal and new KC300x turbocharger are set up within the engine valley. KC Turbos’ KC300x turbocharger is really a journal-bearing turbo that utilizes a BorgWarner 300sxe-style turbine wheel. Ours were built with a 73mm turbine wheel along with a 63mm compressor plus a .84 A/R housing for faster spooling. The turbo is built to be great for towing and all sorts of-around performance, so it ought to be a great fit for the truck.

Prior to the turbo was guaranteed in place, the up-pipes and downpipe were attached.

The glow plugs were removed, and also the valve covers focused on the heads with two bolts to secure them in position. The engine will be cranked to pressure any residual oil (from taking out the injectors) from the cylinders with the glow plug port. Valve covers were then removed and also the glow plugs reinstalled. Normally when you are performing this kind of work, that old glow plugs could be replaced permanently measure. They were merely a couple of several weeks old, so that they were reinstalled.

The injector and glow plug wiring are run underneath the valve cover and also the wiring harness plug is built-into the valve cover gasket on 7.3Ls. It may be beneficial to examine the wiring and plugs for just about any damage that may cause issues afterwards. We went ahead and replaced all of the old wiring and also the gaskets with new substitute units from Sinister Diesel to make sure we do not have any wiring problems or leaks that will require us to get rid of the valve covers.

Using the turbocharger installed and also the valve covers back on, we unboxed the Charge Pipe package and Intake Manifold package from Sinister Diesel. Both kits include the required boots and clamps for installation. Also resting up for grabs is KC Turbos’ (black) intake boot that’s designed to utilize the 300x.

Phone new intake manifold installed. Sinister’s two-piece design is a lot simpler to set up compared to factory X-pipe-also it looks good.

Austin carefully installs the Sinister charge pipes. Then he turns his focus on installing the intake boot around the turbo.

All of those other injectors are dislodged using their seats having a prybar and removed.

Charlie installs a large Honkin’ Air Conditioning Filter around the finish from the intake to handle new turbo’s intake-air requirement. Based on Charlie, the filter which was around the truck wouldn’t have a superior enough flow rate for that new setup.

Using the engine together again along with a testdrive implemented to make certain things are being employed as it ought to, the F-250 dates back around the dyno to determine what sort of figures the adjustments assist the engine produce. Setting the Hydra on SDK Tune 6 (HippieKiller), the18 wheeler put lower 453 hp and 960 lb-foot of torque (with 37-inch tires) prior to the power fell off. Charlie wished for additional power (nearer to 500 hp), however the truck’s stock fuel product is less than the job. Upgrading the fuel system having a better lift pump will yield an electrical gain, but having the ability to greater than double the amount stock horsepower and torque (having a stock fuel system) for under $5,000 is a superb update for an older truck. Along with a truck normally isn’t driven around using the ECM calibrated towards the greatest power setting.

Using the turbocharger installed and also the valve covers back on, we unboxed the Charge Pipe package and Intake Manifold package from Sinister Diesel. Both kits include the required boots and clamps for installation. Also resting up for grabs is KC Turbos’ (black) intake boot that’s designed to utilize the 300x.

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