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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm looking to get into some HotShot trucking and decided to go with a dually 7.3 truck. I found a pretty nice 2002 model in August of 18 and picked it up for $5500. I'm the 3rd owner and its had a pretty hard life. The body has a few dings but the interior is in real good shape. Its a ZF-6 truck as I didn't want an auto. The engine.....that's another story. I bought it in a small town in eastern Kentucky from the second owner. The first owner was from Southhaven Ms. So its a southern truck with no rust. I managed to get it home and began to investigate the engine problems. The 300 mile trip home yielded 16mpg so something was up. It just didn't have power and was an absolute pain to start. After a bunch of normal maintenance stuff like glow plugs and relay, CPS replacement, oil treatment with a fresh oil change and some other obvious stuff it was running OK but not much power. After watching the autoinginuity run for a bit with cylinder contribution monitoring, 2-4 of the eight were missing, so injectors/harness were certainly suspect. So I did a compression test. Four cylinders were around 320 psi, two cylinders were 270 and two cylinders were in the 190psi range. The engine had suffered an overheat several months before as the previous owner indicated. Cylinder numbers 7 and 8 were the troubled ones so It was time to pull it and see what things looked like.

I'm not going to cover the pulling and all that's involved. just be aware that working by yourself, its not possible to pull the power team as a unit out the front. I had to stop, drop the ZF and then pulling the engine was just like any other. Just a bit bigger.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
So with the engine out I disassembled it and started checking things as I went. I didn't find a whole lot until I started measuring the clearances. Upon pulling the pistons I found that all the top ring groove clearances were way out. I couldn't find a spec but .055-.085" top ring groove clearance has got to be out of spec. Then on pistons 7 and 8 the top and second rings were broken. Surprisingly or luckily no cylinder scoring was evident at all. Dodged that bullet.... So, it was evident that this engine suffered one heck of an overheat to sustain that much damage. Being a Powdered metal Rod engine I checked the rods for damage and straightness. They all seemed to be OK. So on to the cylinder head strip down. I pulled a couple of intake valves and they looked pretty rough. Then I pulled the injector cups and found some more evidence of the overheat damage. The coolant passages were sure enough cracked in the intakes of both cylinder 7 and 8. I posted a question on here to see if everybody agreed with me that these cylinder heads were very heavy paper weights. We all agreed so now it was time to search for some 7.3 heads that weren't a small fortune. I found a set down in Biloxi Ms, for hundred dollars each. So a road trip with my RiffRaff injector cup puller and I was off. They both checked good so we were on the way. So once home I stripped them and checked them for any other damage. They looked pretty good except for valve wear. The intakes on these 7.3 engines seem to get pretty beat up over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So here is my build: I'm going after 450-500HP, no smoke and longevity. The first change was to go to forged rods. I managed to pick up a set of good rods and also picked up some ARP rod bolts to go with them. The crank was straight and did not need ground so that was just a set of new bearings and polishing. Because a set of different rods is now in play I had the assembly balanced. With the amount of torque and HP output this engine will create, a dual disk South bend clutch was chosen and the South Bend flywheel was included in the new balance. I also chose to utilize main studs from ARP as well. For the new pistons I chose Mahle reduced compression pistons with rings at +.020". So the Bottom end parts choice was pretty straight forward.

The top end was another story altogether. My machinist let me know that the heads would need cut .005" and new intake seats would need to be installed. I had decided to buy new OEM valves so one of many orders to come was placed to RiffRaff. I decided to go with CompCams 910 springs set at 1.78" height. That will yield about 125lbs of seat pressure. Smith brothers stage three push rods will be installed with new Ford lifters. I found a trick to getting lifters at a decent price. The same lifters were used from the 7.3idi to the 6.4. So ordering part number 8C3Z-6C329-B is a set of four lifters for a 6.4 at the cost of $58.03. A set of 16 lifters comes out to be $232.12 as compared to Ford 7.3 lifters at $35 each or $560 per set for the same lifter. I chose not to use Mahle lifters as they seem to be a bit lacking in durability. My machinist did all the seat replacements with new guides and a three angle valve job. I will be setting the new springs in with new keepers.

The fuel system is where big money seems to migrate. After talking with a bunch of vendors about the end use of the truck and the desired longevity I decided on FullForce 205cc 30% injectors, a Jelibuilt tuned Hydra, and a T4 turbo kit with a S364.5 Turbo and .91 housing. These will be driven by an Adrenaline HPOP and a full regulated return fuel system. Exhaust will be a stainless four inch Diamondeye kit. Of course this took all kinds of research and tons of emails and phone calls to come to this build level. There are also tons of small parts and "other items" needed to get this all tied together. I 'll be starting the assembly next weekend as I just got the block and the balanced reciprocating assembly back from my machinist this past week.

I did get some powder coating done on a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that turned out pretty well.
 

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Sounds pretty good and interesting. How much have you had to invest so far? Keep on posting here, please.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Right now I'm at $13k with parts and machine work. There's not too much more to get. I still have to get a Titan 60 gal replacement fuel tank, my guage package, and exhaust brake for the high dollar stuff. Then there is a new radiator, alternator and A/C compressor. That should complete the drivetrain, then I'll start on the brakes, suspension, and finally, bodywork and paint. I'm hoping to get done at around $22k in parts. As far as time, I hope to be done by this fall.
 

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Thank you for your quick response. Ok, tank, a/c etc. are extras and do not relate in the engine built. So the 13k for 500 hp sound good. Somewhere on the net I found a shop where you can get Powerstroke 7.3 with about 1000 hp for around 20k. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the shop anymore. They say, they would use only high performance parts, but I don't know how reliable such an engine will be as a daily driver. Anyway, keep on posting please.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmmm, I don't think 1000 hp for 20k is possible in an assembled engine. In all my research it seems once you cross over the 450-500hp range you're approaching custom race builds. Forged stock rods are not going to get you to 1000hp reliably, and billet rods start at around 2k. Then you'll need a girdle and piston coating along with custom piston clearancing for a non stock cam that will run you another $1000. Then there is all the custom machine work, like head porting and fire ringing. On the fuel system alone your going to spend quite a bit.
Sure would be fun to drive though....
 

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Definitely interested in this build. Good luck man
 

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Subscribed. Looking forward to following this. Nice job.
 

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Your thread title mentions building a hotshot motor as in last minute transport, Then you mention trying to build a 1000hp 7.3l for 20k for a daily driver???

If you are really planning a hotshot motor you do not want an outrageous performance oriented build. It will just lead to breakdowns, loosing money and clients all the time... Plus for the money invested in the 7.3l you'll want to build the transmission, drivelines, u joints, all the electrical. some of our 2014 dodge 3500s already have 500k miles on them. You really need a newer truck to handle the sheer miles of hauling goosenecks loaded 80+% of the time.

Or if by hotshot you mean just a heavily modified motor?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Your thread title mentions building a hotshot motor as in last minute transport, Then you mention trying to build a 1000hp 7.3l for 20k for a daily driver???



If you are really planning a hotshot motor you do not want an outrageous performance oriented build. It will just lead to breakdowns, loosing money and clients all the time... Plus for the money invested in the 7.3l you'll want to build the transmission, drivelines, u joints, all the electrical. some of our 2014 dodge 3500s already have 500k miles on them. You really need a newer truck to handle the sheer miles of hauling goosenecks loaded 80+% of the time.



Or if by hotshot you mean just a heavily modified motor?
Sorry. I was commenting on the post above that one. I have no intention of building a 1000hp engine for hotshot or towing. You're right, it's more than a bit rediculus. I forgot to quote his message.

I also haven't mentioned anything about the driveline as it's up for refreshing also.
 

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Sorry. I was commenting on the post above that one. I have no intention of building a 1000hp engine for hotshot or towing. You're right, it's more than a bit rediculus. I forgot to quote his message.

I see, so you are wanting to hot shot or currently doing it now or?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I see, so you are wanting to hot shot or currently doing it now or?
That's correct. What I'm documenting at this time is just the engine and periferals. The rest of the truck will be dealt with after the engine is back in and broken in. I've done a couple of ZF transmissions, they aren't too bad. The rear end will just get a freshening up with all new bearings and seals. Then there is brakes, and suspension. By the time I'm done she should be better than new and able to run well.
 

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That's correct. What I'm documenting at this time is just the engine and periferals. The rest of the truck will be dealt with after the engine is back in and broken in. I've done a couple of ZF transmissions, they aren't too bad. The rear end will just get a freshening up with all new bearings and seals. Then there is brakes, and suspension. By the time I'm done she should be better than new and able to run well.
Don't want to sound rude but here it is...

The 7.3l is the wrong platform to start hotshoting unless you get some super magic luck and find dedicated routes with reasonable loads. Plenty of the 2014 rams being ran have over 500k miles on them using tandem axel, single tire 25-35ft gooseneck flatbeds. As a new entrant your insurance alone is going be $750 plus through progressive for just one truck and one trailer. You'll be burning so much fuel you'll not have much time for any repairs with a 20 yr old truck. Can it be done with a 7.3l? Yes should it be done no. You'll be competing for everything as a new truck and you'll be forced to take all the lower paying freight and the 7.3l will just not be as comfortable, fuel efficient, and reliable due to its age. Not that a emissions running truck doesn't have its problems but just feel you should really reach out to others in your area who are doing it before you put all this time and money into a truck that don't get me wrong I love my 7.3l, just would never hot shot with it in a million years after all the success of a different platform.

The 7.3l engine is amazing but you drive 500k miles in 6 yrs with a 7.3l vs the newer and softer riding and stronger suspension, quitter, more powerful engine your body and bank account will tell you the difference. ps multiple trucks with 500k or more miles all 2014 or newer.... There is just too much completion out there cutting cost and corners for anyone to make a profit with out having some luck, $$$, and networking etc.

Just something to consider if you truly want to start hotshoting etc.
 

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After many many years - decades - in business... I found its best to just keep your mouth shut about what you are about to do and why, and just go do it. Right, wrong, or indifferent. If it’s what you want, just go do it. You’ll learn and you’ll adjust.

I’ve heard every reason why not to do something.

Justin is not playing nice today. Which I actually find unusual for his posts...

Enjoy! Keep up the build thread.


Watch this video. Over a million miles hotshoting on his 7.3, and still going. Happy trails PDR60!

 
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
After many many years - decades - in business... I found its best to just keep your mouth shut about what you are about to do and why, and just go do it. Right, wrong, or indifferent. If it’s what you want, just go do it. You’ll learn and you’ll adjust.

I’ve heard every reason why not to do something.

Justin is not playing nice today. Which I actually find unusual for his posts...

Enjoy! Keep up the build thread.


Watch this video. Over a million miles hotshoting on his 7.3, and still going. Happy trails PDR60!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kNHax-CHSEs
Thanks for the reply. I've seen that video, great stuff. I kind of figured I might get the negative response from someone eventually. Justin is certainly entitled to his opinion and I take it and evaluate it against my goals. I've worked hard all my life, some physically demanding jobs and some more mentally demanding. In the end its planning and preperation that makes the difference. Apparently completely rebuilding and renewing an older vehicle just doesn't measure up to a $65k new model that will need even more expensive maintenance within 2 years. One of my careers was deep cycle refrigeration. I drove my service truck, a 92 f350 over 750k miles in 6 years. I worked in almost every state in the lower 48. It was fun and challenging. That 460 was never cracked open and I did all the maintenance. Precheck is invaluable. I overhauled the transmission twice, the rear end once. When I got out of that field of work and sold it, it ran great. So we'll see how it goes. I look foward to the challenge, it will be both fun and rewarding. As far as finances go, don't worry I have that covered. By the way, I planned for insurance to be around $1200-$1500 per month. My refrigeration insurance in 92 was $400 a month with a required $5 million dollar bond required for the work I was doing. It's part of the operating costs.
 

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If you read my post, I have not made one personal attack or called anyone names. Just stated that the 7.3L albeit a great motor was not ideal for someone that's going to be newer in the industry and having to hustle as much to get established. I don't believe in coddling adults with fake butterflies/warm n fuzzies. The OP has his mind made up and is going to go for it. I simply said my piece about mods with the 7.3, and made a recommendation of a newer vehicle and that was all she wrote. Not quite sure how that's being extra mean to anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you read my post, I have not made one personal attack or called anyone names. Just stated that the 7.3L albeit a great motor was not ideal for someone that's going to be newer in the industry and having to hustle as much to get established. I don't believe in coddling adults with fake butterflies/warm n fuzzies. The OP has his mind made up and is going to go for it. I simply said my piece about mods with the 7.3, and made a recommendation of a newer vehicle and that was all she wrote. Not quite sure how that's being extra mean to anyone?
No worries. I appreciate your honesty. Keep it coming. It's great to have these exchanges of ideas. If somebody was posting about any of the careers I've held I'd share my experience also.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was able to get some more powder coating done this past weekend. I have to admit, its kind of fun and once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy. I can say one thing, if you decide to redo a part, its tough going getting the new cured powder coat off. It takes stripper and then blasting. Anyway here are some more brackets and the motor mount cradles. The actual motor mounts are spray painted with Dupicolor ceramic paint.

I'm trying to upload some video of the engine assembly but youboob isn't cooperating....
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I was finally able to get Youboob to cooperate and take a video. I'm new at the video editing so be patient. I begin the process of cleaning the engine after my machinist finished all the machine work.

 
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