General questions about the 7.3L - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:20 PM
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General questions about the 7.3L

Sorry to start the new thread for this, but I asked the question and I'm thinking under the old thread it'll get buried before it gets answered. Here's the meat of it:



First, I used to be a mechanic, and I've worked on many different types of diesels from the old 5.7L GM's, Mercedes, Cummins (NT400's), Detriots, and Cats (3176's, 3208's, 3306's, 3406's, 3412's, even some 3500 and 3600 series engines). So, you can get pretty detailed and I'll understand (I think...hah hah).




What injector type is in this motor? Is it a unit injector, or is it just a fuel nozzle?

What is the replacement interval suggestion for those injectors/nozzles?

Although I've worked on many diesels, I've never owned any, before this one. What should I look for in the fuel? I only noticed one type of diesel offered. Are there actually different types? How about any additives?

Do any of the aftermarked bolt ons, like the airboxes or the fuel "chips", work well? I know fuel mileage will be one of my top priorities. I won't be hauling many heavy loads with the truck. Mostly, my son and I will use it to haul our dirtbikes (just two), and whatever riding gear we have. I will be operating the vehicle here in Colorado, at altitude. So, fuel mileage is really my top concern. Heavier hauling, such as trailers, will be rare. Oh, if those bolt ons come with added horsepower, I sure won't complain.

What fuel mileage should I expect with an unloaded F250 7.3L stock, mixed highway/city? I've talked to a bunch of owners, and the range has been everything from 13 (one person), into the high-teens/low 20's (most people), with one guy claiming 25.

I bought a truck with the 6 speed manual transmission. Are those reliable?

Also, I ran across a thread here where people were trying to locate their block heater. Is the block heater standard in 2000? If so, do you know where it's located?


What is the most efficient driving style for this engine? "Seat of the pants" sometimes can lie to a person. I remember that if a driver pushed a 3406B up on its turbo, his climbing speeds were lower than if he bounced it off the governor at around 1150 rpm's. Is this a motor I should short-shift on, or wait until it's up on the turbo? For best mpg? For best acceleration (I'll assume that will be on the turbo)? For best climbing?

Thanks,
John T.
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:47 PM
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the fuel injecttors in your truck are electronically controlled by hydraulically actuated. there is a high pressure oil pump just below your fuel filter. it will take oil provided from the base engine pump, and then pressurize it to 600-3000PSI depending on trottle position and other factors. then the electronic protion of the injector will open a valve in the injector which will then put the pressure to the amplifier piston in the injector. the amplifier pistion will then push the fuel out at approximately six times the pressure the high pressure oil pushed it down at......its a wee bit more complicated than this, but this should give you the basics. the injectors only need servicing if they are not functioning correctly. the life of an injector is directly related to fuel filter and oil change intervals. as with anything, this doesnt garantee long injector life but lack of maintanence will garantee a short life........

as far as additives and fuel, run #2 diesel in it. there is not reason to run anything else, unless you live in a cold climate in which case your winter fuel will be a blend of #1 and #2 to prevent the fuel from gelling. it will be pre mixed at the pump. I would not reccomend running any fuel additives unless it is a cetane booster. some people swear by cetane boosters and some say they tried them and had no benifit in power or milage, but it may be worth trying for a few tanks, and since all it does is raise the cetane level (basically similar to octane mesurement in gas), it wont cause any problems in and of itslelf......

bolt on mods are a double edged sword. they can and do add power and fuel economy, but their big negative is the fact that you may add them looking for fuel economy....but then you find the power they add and you cant keep your foot out of the throttle.....i know a lot of people have this problem on this forum.......its called "killing rice burner syndrome" by some .....as far as what to add....exhaust is a must, especially if your gonna chip or program it. you may not notice much if any perfromance gains by going to a 4" turbo back, but it will do nothing but help the motor and lower exhaust gas temps (EGT's)......which will go up with the added fuel a chip can add.....which can cause motor and turbo problems. Chips, programmers, and tuners can help fuel economy 1-3mpg in the milder settings, and there is a ton to research if you want to make the best decision there....but i would reccomend the exaust at the same time or before......as far as air intakes....DO NOT use a K&N air filter in a diesel, they do not filter well enough. if you ask around here, some guys are running a paper filter from napa they call the Big Honkin Air Filter (BHAF) which is a paper filter that has a ton more surface area than the stock one. other run AFE, and all the other aftermarkets........

as far as fuel economy, people make all kinds of absurd claims, but depending on driving style i would expect 10-14 MPG in town and 14-19 on the highway.....all depending on load and how you drive it......and yes, the 6 speeds in these are very reliable and you may even be able to break into the 20-21 MPG if you drive it right......

the block heater on yours should screw into the oil cooler right by the filter....and yes the heater was standard i beleave as of 2000, but the cord was not.....you may need to buy the cord........hope all this help.......Marc
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:23 PM
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maybe some answers

I would call the injectors a unit injector since they actually increase the fuel pressure with hydralic pressure from the high pressure oil pump. they are fired electrically from the computer. As far as frequency of changing them, I don't know, but I would not change them unless I had isolated the problem to them. Then it might just be O rings or electrical connectors or something else. On powerstrokes oil changes is fery important since the oil is used to build injector pressure, I change mine every 3000-3500 miles. I don't use any additives in my fuel and have not had any problems. I do try to buy fuel at places that sell alot of fuel, I've heard a few stories about contamainted fuel. I also change the fuel filter regular. There use to be #1 and #2 diesel available but all the stations I been to only have one type (haven't had any problems with It). I'm not running any chips or any thing so the other guys will be alot more help. I get 17-18 on my truck and I have 4.10 gears and an automatic E40D Transmission. I seem to get the best milage running about
65-70 mph on the interstate unloaded. I am going to stop at that because there is guys on here that have alot more expertise on the other topics

hope this helps
Jim (gbear)
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:57 PM
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Thanks for the info, guys. Much appreciated!

It does sound like those are fuel injectors and not just nozzles, since they go beyond atomization and actually do pressurization. I'm interested to poke around the fuel system to see what's up.

When I worked for Cat, we'd mess around with fuel timing and even the air-fuel ratio control valve. That was back in the late 80's/early 90's, and most of that stuff was mechanically controlled/actuated. I'd imagine that much of this is done electronically now, so there's probably little good I could do screwing with it.

I'll check into the cetane additive. And, I'll stay away from the K&N's. I do remember seeing some aftermarket air boxes. I'm not sure how effective those are.

Thanks again for the info. I'm really looking forward to this truck. I test drove a few, and they were a lot of fun.

Oh, any input on how to drive it in different conditions? Is it best to get it on the boost for all situations, or is it good to let it run low rpm's?


Oh crap, one more thing. What about oil types? I'm an oil-change-aholic with my other vehicles. But, they're all gas, and I remember the diesel oils had additives to handle the sulfur by-products in the blow-by. What are your recommendations?


thanks again!

Last edited by jtomasik; 05-08-2006 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:03 PM
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the only way to really mess with this fuel system since its computer controlled is to either mess with the IPR (injection pressure regulator), ICP (injection pressure sensor), or start messing with multiple high pressure oil pumps....which is another debate. the most common is a Defuser or 10k/18k mod which basically tricks the PCM into thinking the high pressure oil pressure is less than it actually is....thus making it produce more. your stock HPOP (high pressure oil pump) is only capable of about 3200 psi roughly when it is brand new....and its maximum PSI goes down with age....so some have messed with going to multiple pumps......there has been a big debate on it and while it is great for maximum power...my opinion on it is that it is somehting best left for the guys who have the money to replace motors if they cause failures with it.........

as far as how to drive it.....basically drive it with your head......heavey throttle will kill fuel economy...but too light a throttle will not engage your turbo, thus you will be reducing fuel economy. running it too fast...or kicking it down into passign gear often will also reduce fuel economy....basically, the fuel economy (based on how you drive it) of the modern diesel is similar to a modern gas motor....minus a few thousand RPM's on the tack........Marc

Last edited by mschn99; 05-08-2006 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:06 PM
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i drive mine like it's a gasser most of the time. but it's alot better than a gasser.
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Old 05-08-2006, 07:21 PM
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I drove mine like I stold the darn thing half the time.....the other half the time I was sitting at stoplights waiting for the light to turn green so I could drive it like I stole it again. J/K....... I got about 16mpg average....
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Old 05-14-2006, 02:03 PM
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When I lived in Colorado, driving conservatively I'd get an average of about 21mpg. The road I most travelled (back and forth to work) had a 55 mph speed limit, and I kept around 65-70 on the freeway.
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Old 05-14-2006, 06:04 PM
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This is good news. I'm hoping to get around the high teens and low 20's. But, I know sometimes I'll be throttling it, and then it's ok to get bad mileage.
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