Using modern technology to modernize a 7.3L Powerstroke
Through its 7.3L PowerStroke engine, it has been a reliable workhorse for decades. In spite of the fact that this engine hasn’t been manufactured for nearly 16 years, there is still a following for it in the diesel community. There is nothing unusual about selling a newer model of truck to upgrade the engine to a 7.3L. In fact, these trucks are sometimes more expensive than Fords that are newer.
It’s only drawback is the lack of power the engine produces-or, in other words, the infamous 7.3L PowerStroke. It is worthwhile to remember that the engine’s power numbers were impressive when it was released. Additionally, the engine’s low power output is another factor that makes it reliable. In our minds, an engine should be able to produce a certain amount of power. Diesel engines in modern times set a high bar for performance, and aftermarket performance parts provide the power enhancement needed. Despite these advantages, modern trucks have some disadvantages, such as high prices and the fact that some upgrades can affect their reliability.
Jared Lehenbauer’s new-to-him (somewhat neglected over the years) ’01 Ford F-250 will be transformed into the reliable towing vehicle he needs. The 7.3 Powerstroke EBPV Delete has begun to show signs of wear after years of hard use. When under heavy load, turbochargers squeal, engines run rough (injector cleaner can help), and if the truck sits for more than a day or two, it is difficult to start (HPOP is losing prime due to oil seeping into the fuel). We must replace some worn components in the engine in order to make it more reliable for towing, without sacrificing the truck’s dependability.
I talked with the team at KC Turbos about a new turbocharger they are working on: the KC300x. We discussed the engine setup and our plans. A KC product is able to wake up the truck, improve towing, and provide excellent driveability (turbo configuration, injectors, and ECM tuning).
We hopped in the Super Duty and drove over to Apache Junction, Arizona, to visit KC Turbos and replace a few injector O-rings.
The ’01 Ford F-250 is put on the dyno (for later comparison) after arriving at KC Turbos. James Bolen from KC Turbos disconnected an old Banks Six-Gun unit prior to testing to ensure our ECM was calibrated for a baseline dyno run.
The dyno is secured with straps and backed onto it. 37-inch tires are not designed to withstand speeds near 100 mph, so we are cautious about using them. KC Turbos is owned by Charlie Fish, a man who can generate 226 horsepower and 474 lb-ft of torque.
After the baseline runs are complete, the Power Hungry Performance Hydra 7.3L Powerstroke Performance Programming Chip will be installed. There are 15 ECM calibration slots available on the Hydra. A user can also disable module starting in addition to setting parameters to prevent module loading. Hydra tunes vary shift strategies (which include injector and turbo sets) to cope with power increases. This feature is crucial to the survival of a stock transmission (like ours).