7.3 Powerstroke Problems: Is It Reliable? [Causes & Solutions]

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The 7.3 diesel engine is widely regarded as the most reliable Powerstroke ever produced.

It has a simple design and only requires 6 bolts per cylinder. The legendary Powerstroke also has an internal oil cooler and a fixed geometry turbocharger. Despite these impressive features, the 7.3L Powerstroke was discontinued in 2003 due to several issues.

In this article, you’ll learn about the 7.3L Powerstroke, its performance, problems, and solutions.

What is the 7.3L Powerstroke Engine?

The 7.3L belongs to the Ford Powerstroke engine family. It is the first engine to carry the Powerstroke name and was made in 1994 for Ford trucks. Its predecessor was the 7.3L IDI V8.

However, the 7.3L Powerstroke had a new design and was a huge step away from the 7.3L IDI. It also had better performance specifications and was upgraded in 1999 with an intercooler and a wastegate turbo which boosted its power output.

By the time it was discontinued in 2003, over 2.5 million 7.3L Powerstroke had already been produced.

7.3L Powerstroke Engine Specifications

  • V-8 Diesel Engine:
  • Direct Fuel Injection(DFI)
  • High Pressure Oil Pump
  • Hydraulic Electronic Unit Injectors
  • Power Control Module
  • Full life pump
  • Injector drive model
  • Fixed Geometry turbocharger

What Cars Have the 7.3L Powerstroke Engines?

The cars that have the 7.3L Powerstroke engines are mostly medium trucks. The engine was first introduced to the Ford F-series trucks. The 7.3L has also been used in school buses, large commercial vehicles, and transit buses.

Bonus: Ford 2.5L Duratec Problems: Is It A Reliable Engine?

How many Miles will a 7.3L Powerstroke Last?

With its robust build and reliability, the 7.3L Powerstroke can last for 400,000 miles on average. With good maintenance, it can go up to 500,000 miles.

Let see Hoovies Garage talk about the Ford 7.3L Powerstroke longevity and its worth. – Source: Hoovies Garage

7.3 Powerstroke Engine Problems

The following are common 7.3 Powerstroke problems, their symptoms, causes, and how they can be fixed.

Injection Pressure Regulator Failure (IPR)

The IPR is located on top of the high-pressure oil pump. Its job is to help to protect oil pressure.

Symptom

  • Rough idle and problems with engine function
  • Car stalling at idle
  • Poor shifting
  • Surging acceleration
  • Engine not starting when it cranks
  • Decreased performance

Cause

The major cause of IPR is ageing. As your engine begins to age, there’s a chance it starts to develop this issue. The IPL can fail when your regulator is stuck, sensors go bad, or damaged wires.

Solution

A failing IPR can simply be rebuilt for about $20. However, you can also pay to have it replaced altogether.

Overheating Engine

Overheating is a common problem in the 7.3L Powerstroke. More often than not, this problem is related to the state of your regulator.

Symptom

  • Camshaft swelling
  • Broken head gaskets
  • Damage to bearing
  • Damage to the core of the radiator. 

Cause

Overheating is majorly caused by a bad radiator. The radiator helps to cool down engines. Therefore, if it isn’t in good shape, it can lead to the engine overheating. Other causes include rusted/broken thermostats, water pump failure, or running a bad coolant.

Solution

The solution depends on the source of the problem. You can solve radiator problems by washing off the debris most of the time. A good power wash should get all the dirt out and fix your regulator. However, if this doesn’t fix the problem, you can replace the radiator altogether.

Exhaust Back Pressure Valve Failure (EBPV)

The EBPV resembles a Y-shaped valve. It is attached to the turbocharger’s outlet.  This valve helps to reduce the amount of time the engine takes to reach standard operating temperature.

Symptom

  • You’ll experience shuddering and lurching when the water temperature of the engine is close to reaching operating temperature.
  • Sensor doesn’t get a good reading
  • Decrease in acceleration power, and efficiency
  • Too much smoke or soot coming out from the exhaust.
  • The check engine light suddenly comes on.

Cause

The pressure valve may begin to deteriorate due to soot build-up. Unless the soot is cleaned, the condition will grow worse until you have to replace it. A pressure valve failure can also be caused by the actuator failure. The actuator operates the EBPV and it holds oil. A sludge build-up or dirty oil can cause the actuator to fail. 

Solution

You can simply clean the valve regularly to get rid of soot. To fix the actuator problem, you’ll need to replace the entire pedestal that houses the actuator. Alternatively, you can simply delete the EBPV to eliminate the problem completely.

Under Valve Cover Harness (UVCH)

The UVCH is a vital part of the fuel injector system of the 7.3 Powerstroke. The injector requires a lot of power to fire. Thus, the engine comes with an Injector Driver Module. To fire the injectors, The IDM receives voltage from the ECM. Hence, the IDM can output sufficient voltage for the injector. The UVCH’s job is to move the voltage to the injectors.

Symptom

  • Poor performance
  • Rough engine running
  • Engine misfire

Cause

Due to the heat inside the valve cover, and the engine’s continuous shaking, the connector wires can break or melt if they run against the valve.

Solution

You can repair the connecting wire as they are quite inexpensive to replace.

Cam Position Sensor Failure

The Cam Position Sensor is located on the lower part of the engine block. It controls the crankshaft’s speed and position and sends the data to the PCM. The PCM uses this data to adjust fueling. This allows it to provide optimal fuel levels to control the engine’s timing.

A sensor failure means the PCM cannot send a message to the IDM to control the cylinder it supplies fuel to and how much fuel is being supplied.

Symptom

  • Engine unable to start
  • Poor idle
  • Rough acceleration
  • Engine stops while driving

Cause

The CPS can fail due to debris or damage. It can also fail due to faulty circulation.

Solution

CPS is inexpensive and quite easy to fix. Hence, it’s advisable to always keep another one while on the road. Therefore, if your engine stops on the road due to a failure, you can easily replace it.

Sum up

Even now, the 7.3 Powerstroke is highly sought after due to its durability and reliability. It can deliver an average of 400,000 miles which is quite incredible for a commercial vehicle engine.

Despite its incredible features, it’s not quite perfect. Hence, owners need to know the common problems that may arise from time to time when you own a 7.3 Powerstroke. But with the solutions above, you can get your car engine back to life!

Read more: 4.7 Dodge Engine Problems: Is It A Reliable Engine?

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