Return to Diesel Tech Section.
7.3L Power Stroke Diesel
The 7.3L Power Stroke is arguably one of, if not the most favorable diesel powerplants ever offered by one of the Big 3 (Ford, GM, and Dodge). During its production span, which started mid-model year for 1994 and ended after the 2003 model year, the 7.3L outsold GM and Dodge diesel powered trucks - combined. The popularity of International's 7.3L can be attributed to its successful design. The 7.3L was everything that owners looked for in a diesel, and then some. At the other end of the spectrum, Ford's pickups made an excellent platform for the engine. While not quite as simple as the mechanical indirect injection motors that predated it, the 7.3L proved to be a reliable, rugged, and long lasting engine. It is not uncommon to come across one of these engines that has passed its 350,000 B50 without a hiccup, and you'll find that some have even managed the mile million mark with relative ease.
Fuel economy may have fell short compared with the capabilities of today’s high pressure common rails, but people were satisfied with the fact that the engine could acheive better fuel mileage than the gasser alternatives. Remember, in this engine’s lifetime, diesel was cheaper than gasoline, and fuel was more affordable compared to today’s prices. Not everyone needs a medium duty engine in a light duty package, but who doesn’t like a healthy dose of overkill? The 7.3L, which is essentially the same engine as the International T444E, was used in an array of medium duty applications with GVWR as high as 66,000 lbs. These applications include, but are not limited to, school buses, tow trucks, service trucks, dump trucks, and water trucks.
There is no arguing, the 7.3L Power Stroke is a workhorse. The most powerful 7.3L Power Stroke (in stock trim) was offered in the 2003 Super Duty, the last year it was produced for Ford trucks. Torque peaked at 525 lb-ft at a very low 1,600 RPM, while a maximum 275 HP was produced at 2,800 RPM. By today’s standards, the engine may seem underpowered. However, the 7.3L, with its low RPM torque and flat torque curve, is more than capable of towing your triple axle tow hauler up any hill you point it.
The 7.3L Power Stroke is unbiasely considered one of the best diesel engines ever produced, and it’s no wonder why. 6.0L, 6.4L, and 6.7L Power Stroke diesels have big shoes to fill, given the legacy that the 7.3L left behind. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder so many people wish it was still enlisted in active duty today.