In the automotive world, some wondrous engines truly can stand the test of time. The 7.3L Powerstroke is a true testament to that. It’s even hailed as one of the most reliable Powerstroke.
But that doesn’t mean it’s completely flawless. There’re some problems with it. And although they aren’t as frequent, knowing what they are and how to fix them is always a good thing.
So, here are 5 common 7.3 Powerstroke problems and solutions you need to know about. But before we dive into it, let’s discuss why this engine is held in such high regard.
Why is the 7.3 Powerstroke So Popular?
This engine can be summed up in just two words – reliability and simplicity. Today’s engines are filled with technology and complex mechanisms. Then you have the 7.3 Powerstroke that’s one of the most reliable Powerstroke engines.
1. Tamed Engine That Won’t Hurt Itself
This might cause you to raise an eyebrow. Why are we saying that an engine having less power is a good thing? Well, that’s because it doesn’t have so much power, which can damage itself.
Now, don’t get us wrong. It did have enough oomph to get you around with relative ease. The first 7.3 had 210 HP and 425 LBS-ft of torque. Not bad by any means.
But this is still considered somewhat mild power ratings. And if you didn’t modify the engine, a stock Powerstroke would last you for quite some time.
In fact, you could almost guarantee that it would run for 400,000 to 500,000 miles with ease. Of course, you need good maintenance, like any engine. But you get the point, right?
2. A Cool Engine
We mean this both literally and figuratively. Since the engine didn’t have unnecessary power, it kept itself relatively cool. This was particularly important since the engine didn’t have any intercoolers.
3. Simple Yet Effective Design
Another very cool attribute was the relatively simple design of the engine. It uses high-quality components that help it last for quite a long while. The block is made from cast iron; the crankshaft is made from forged steel.
Its pistons were made from cast aluminum. As you can guess, all these together make for a very robust engine build.
4. Common 7.3 Powerstroke Problems
Okay, so what are some common problems with the 7.3? There aren’t that many. And those that are present can be taken care of with relative ease as well.
5. Alternator Problems
This is a common one you’ll hear a lot of drivers talk about. There can be various reasons why the alternative might act up. One of them could be that it’s dirty.
6. Wastegate Issue
7.3 Powerstrokes may also have a turbo and boost problem. What happens is you don’t get any boost unless you reach high RPMs. This can, of course, slow down the performance of your car.
If this happens, you can bet that the wastegate is the issue here. Specifically, there is a leak. And it needs to be dealt with swiftly. You don’t need us telling you that it shouldn’t leak.
7. Faulty AC
Nothing is more annoying than the AC blowing hot air. This is another problem 7.3 Powerstroke faces. The AC blowing hot air can be caused by a leaky refrigerant.
This liquid is crucial for your AC to perform optimally. Basically, that’s what dissipates the heat and humidity. One of the reasons for the leak can be a bad hose.
8. Unnaturally Loud Exhaust
A loud exhaust can sound cool and sporty. But some 7.3 Powerstrokes can have an unbearably loud exhaust noise. One possible reason for this is the EBPV went bad.
EBPV stands for Exhaust Back Pressure Valve. This valve is meant to close during engine operation. It helps the engine get hot by allowing pressure to build up.
9. Overheating Engine
An overheating engine is another very common problem with7.3 owners. And the main problem could be the component that cools the engine. If you’ve some experience here, you know what we’re talking about.
The radiator is in charge of keeping the engine cool. If it fails to do its job, you’ll have a very unhappy and overheating engine.
7.3 Powerstroke Problem Solutions
Where there’re problems, there’re also solutions. Well, that’s how it should be. Thankfully, that’s the case with the 7.3 Powerstroke as well.
So, you don’t have anything to worry about. Here are all the solutions to the problems we just mentioned.
1. Check with Multimeter and Clean for Alternator Problems
If you’re facing problems with the alternator, the first step can be to clean it. The battery connections are a prime spot for gunk. Make sure to clean them. Debris is a complete no-go as well.
Apart from that, you can check the alternator with a multimeter. Disconnect the wire that goes into the alternator.
Then check to see if there’s still any power. Don’t forget to check the back of the alternator as well. You want to make sure there is current running there too. It would help if you had patience here.
With the engine running, it might take some time to charge up. Wait a couple of minutes and see whether it charges or not. If you don’t see it charging, then that’s the end of it. Replace the thing entirely.
2. Fixing Wastegate Leakage
There are primarily two reasons why the wastegate could leak. One is the valve ring is missing. The other could be that the diaphragm is damaged.
Believe it or not, the ring that sits on the valve can go missing. Many drivers have experienced this bizarre issue. So, what do you do?
Well, your only option is to replace the wastegate—nothing you can do for missing parts.
3. Fixing AC Problems
The AC problem can be because the hose is old and damaged. It could be rusty, which stops it from performing as it should. Simply replacing the hose should fix your problem right away.
Also, check to see the orifice valve. If it’s clogged, then that might be the culprit here. So, get that cleaned. If needed, you may need to change it too.
4. Fix the EBPV
You can check whether the EBPV closes during engine operation. If not, that is the culprit. Get that checked, and your engine will start to sound all normal.
5. Radiator Troubles for an Overheating Engine
Check for a bad radiator. If your radiator isn’t able to dissipate the heat, that’s what is overheating your engine. The car might also be leaking coolant.
Is that a problem if my engine is way too loud?
What you need to know is that the 7.3 Powerstroke is actually pretty loud by default. Most diesel engines are. If you checked the EBPV and it seems fine, then there is nothing to worry about.
I installed a turbo but still not getting the expected levels of power. What can I do?
You most probably have a problem with the wastegate. If there is a leak, you may lose power. Another good thing to do would be to check the fuel filler.
Is there a difference between the 7.3L DIT and 7.3L IDI?
These two are completely different engine platforms. They do share some similarities, though, like the stroke and bore. This makes the displacement of the two engines the same. Other than this, nothing much is similar.
The 7.3 DIT is a direct injection and has a hybrid hydraulic. The IDI 7.3L on the other hand, is an indirect injection with a mechanical injection system.
How reliable is the 7.3 Powerstroke?
The answer to this question is it’s astoundingly reliable. As we mentioned before, some regard this engine to be one of the most reliable diesel engines to this day! Now, that’s saying something.
Alright then. There you have it. Now you should have a pretty good idea about some 7.3 Powerstroke problems and solutions. The engine might sound too loud sometimes, or the boost might not be performing optimally.
All these problems aren’t something that can’t be fixed easily, though. A replaced EBPV or a well-maintained wastegate would fix it. If you have a bad AC, then just check the hose. It might be rusty.
With proper maintenance, you might just avoid the majority of the issues. So, keep that in mind.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.