Problems? Visit 7.3 Powerstroke Forums List


Unless you like spending between $2,000 and $8,000 restoring or replacing your engine:

  1. Be sure to change the air filter according to schedule;
  2. Do not let it run low on oil.

Suspension, Steering, Brakes

The Death Wobble means your front suspension needs work.



Burning Oil

Black, blue, or white smoke?

Blue Smoke Preliminary Diagnosis

  • Check your air filtration. Is the air filter clean? A dirty or collapsed air filter can cause sucking and burning of oil. Also, if you’re still running the factory air box, check to see if (or how many) you have missing/broken tabs or spring clips that should be sealing the filter to the top lid.
  • Pull off the fuel filter and look for evidence of oil backing up into the fuel filter assembly. This can be caused by a torn fuel injector O ring. The motor oil is under much higher pressure than the fuel and so it bleeds over into the fuel system and gets burned as fuel.
  • If you have a exhaust back pressure sensor/valve (EBPV) the tube to the sensor could be leaking or disconnected, or it could be plugged up. The EBPV is a pretty unnecessary device that makes your engine heat up a little faster. It does this with a rod that sticks out of the passenger side of the pedestal and clips to a flap (the exhaust back pressure valve) on the same side of the turbocharger. When the sensor sends a signal, oil is allowed to push the rod out, which closes the flap. When there is no signal, a spring pushes the rod back in and the flap opens. The flap can stick, causing loss of power when driving. To fix this, simply unplug the sensor (even where weather reaches -50 degrees F.). If you are installing a turbocharger without an EBPV on it, then also unplug the sensor and the rod will remain retracted. On the 2003 7.3 the plug is at the base of the turbocharger pedestal.
  • Blow-by? Remove the oil filler cap and float a ping-pong ball on the open oil fill neck. It should float without being blown off. Or loosen the oil filter cap and it should not lift. Or lay the cap upside down on top of the filler neck and it should sit there or slowly vibrate off, but not be blown off. If the test fails you have blow-by.
  • Remove the air intake hose from the air filter to the turbocharger intake. If there is oil in it or in the intake that continues to the turbo, this could be a bad turbo bearing or could be crank case ventilation (CCV) coming through the breather hose in top of your valve cover elbowing up into the air intake opening that you just exposed.
  • A bad turbo-charger will cause blue smoke that loads up while idling and clears once underway. Pull the cold side of the turbo intake off and wiggle the wheel-shaft. If it’s really sloppy, you need a turbo. If the truck has the original turbo, take the intake to the turbo off, and with the engine turned off look at the outer perimeter of the compressor wheel in the turbo. If the fins are quite worn or have missing pieces, they have been effectively sandblasted by poor air filtration which will erode the metal from the wheel. That ‘dust’ has most likely wiped out the sealing between the rings and the cylinder walls.
  • A bad turbocharger is likely to push oil down to the intercooler. Check for that. If you let that condition go too long, the intercooler may have to be removed and cleaned.
  • Injectors can be tested and rebuilt as needed. … “I sent injectors to Rosewood and they all checked out fine (awesome people to deal with)”
  • The tuning control chip (Powertrain Control Module – PCM) may need to be re-burned for new injectors (definitely if you are making an upgrade). The PCM can be on the wrong setting. If there is a “stealth mode,” (probably not a factory option) that is not for driving. It is for ordering at the drive-thru. There is also a standard eco/street mode and a tow/haul mode. Modes are changed by turning a switch (somewhere).
  • A quick check for a bad cylinder is to unclip the wire from the top passenger side right by the hood hinge and touch it to the positive battery terminal. Listen for an even bright pace of turnover (the engine won’t start). If it lopes there is a bad cylinder. This could mean valve stem seals need repair, or a broken ring, or scored cylinder (this probably means you will need a new block). Cylinder walls get worn out of round, and oversize routinely (with poor air filter maintenance) which is a common cause of wear that leads to burning oil. When checking for bad compression with a pressure tester, crank the engine enough to ensure excess oil has been worked out of the cylinders. If in fact you do have a cylinder down, the labor to fix -rebuild-repair a Powerstroke and do a good workmanlike job of it is astronomical. You can in fact spend 10,000 in a big hurry on one. Find a running take out, or buy a roached out truck with a good running engine and swap ’em.
  • Cylinders can be checked for oil leakage in a shop, besides compression. Doing a visual, look for oil residue on any exhaust ports where the manifold [connects to the block?]. Sometimes you can see leakage that would indicate a cylinder.
  • And there’s more here to add.
  • 2000 Powerstroke 7.3 Burning Oil
  • My 7.3 Burns a Lot of Oil

Turbo Charger and Pedestal Replacement

You can rebuild your turbocharger, get it rebuilt, or you can replace it with a standard unit or an upgrade. Probably the best source will be KCTurbo, which they know the 7.3 well.

During replacement the four nuts that hold down the pedestal and the two nuts that hold down the turbocharger get torqued down to 18 ft/lbs (video says spec is 216 inch/lbs, which is the same thing). Torque the metal to metal joint connector bands to 62 inch/lbs (video gives some extra, to 100 inch/lbs) There are two of these. One is at the back of the turbocharger.

Take the clamp on the passenger side off first to see how it works. To get the back clamp loose required removing the nut entirely (which meant the bolt detached and fell to the ground), using a short crowbar over the top of the turbo to pop loose the “first” section, then pulling the clamp open attempting to spray WD40 onto the other side and tapping a long 3/8″ extension against the bolt side of the clamp to get the “back” section to pop loose. After more tappings and pryings and mostly waiting for the WD40 to loosen the bottom section, it came loose, too. In the youtube below, to put it back together, the clamp is placed on the up-pipe with the nut threaded just on the end of the bolt but the back end of the bolt is not in the clamp. The clamp is pushed back so that it is not on the lip of the pipe in its finished position but is back so the front of it is flush with the front of the up pipe. After the turbo is in place the clamp is pulled toward the turbo to its final position. Then the back of the bolt is put into the clamp, and it gets torqued down.

If oil has filled the “valley” below the bottom of the turbocharger mounting pedestal (and possibly dripping down onto the bell housing on the passenger side of the transmission), then either the turbo “O” rings have been leaking where the turbo is bolted down or the oil rings under the mounting pedestal have been leaking.

Your turbocharger replacement kit includes turbo o-rings, but the pedestal o-rings are separate.

Turbocharger removal/installation steps, by Riffraff.

Turbocharger Innards: J&H Diesel Turbocharger Troubleshooting Guide


The job should take 10 hours never having done it before.

AC code injectors are 160 cc (which is larger than the new standard) 0% nozzle (which is standard. I think this was the original injector for this engine which was changed for a quieter design. These are more efficient than the newer nozzle spec and will give more power and lower engine temps. Check them out at KCTurbo.

The Living on Wheels video says you don’t have to remove the crankcase vent (CCV) if you use an open-end wrench on the top side of the driver’s side head cover.

The wiring harness should be replaced, since wire insulation could be cracked.

Installing modified injectors requires downloading a custom tune. The Living on Wheels video has software on a laptop connected under the steering wheel and I think is plugged in to a power jack under the ashtray.

You can replace the glow plugs, too, but Stephen Cox says these trucks start fine without glow plugs so it may not matter. If you change them, their tips can break off during extraction. Check them! And use Ford Motorcraft brand to ensure quality! Aftermarket parts can  not be trusted here.

After fuel injector installation, restarting will require a boost because the engine has to be cranked until the fuel recharges in the system. Crank 20 seconds then give the starter a rest. Repeat. Once started there will still be air in the lines and some driving will clear that.

Oil Leak

See Deadhead Diesel

Engine Oil Additives

F250 (which size engine? mine is 7.3) diesel holds 15 quarts.

Superchargers are very sensitive to inadequate lubrication upon startup.

In the list below, Suprotec says it should be added three times. This seems like a good rule of thumb for any treatment. Also do not overuse.

  • Rev-X Engine Oil Treatment – Additive Diesel
  • BestLine Diesel Engine Treament
  • Archoil AR9100
  • Resurs Diesel Oil Additive (Russian) – This decreases oil use, increases compression, cold start protection, etc. 1 150g bottle for up to 6 litres of oil. Recommended with every oil change. $24 on eBay
  • Resurs Next Generation Nano Remetalizer (but it doesn’t say for diesel) – If you have to shake a product, don’t buy it. This product does not need to be shaken and so metal particles don’t settle to your oil pan, but circulate. It does not treat the oil (So I figure it goes well with XL Nanolube, below).
  • XL Nanolube oil additive for gas/diesel. Low surface tension nanofilm eliminates dry starts. XL also stops burning of oil. Detox: treat twice and for large engine use 12oz each time. 2 8oz for $38.50 Made in USA. I LIKE THIS PRODUCT
  • TuFoil Engine Oil Treatment for gas/diesel 237 ml – Guinness “world’s most efficient lubricant”. 8oz for $17.25 on eBay. (treats how much oil?)
  • XADO Maximum Metal Conditioner for Diesel Truck – Engine Oil Additive – This resurfaces worn areas for better compression, less oil use, cold start protection, etc. Treats up to 45 quart capacity for $129 on eBay.
  • Prolong Engine Treatment (Oil Additive) Diesel/Gasoline
  • Omega 909 super engine oil additives treatment lubricant for diesel/gasoline – I am less impressed than with others. 45ml treats up to 7 litres for $34 on eBay.
  • Suprotec Offroad 4×4 Diesel compression restorer (Russian) – This resurfaces worn areas with a metal that retains oil resulting in better compression and better lubrication on start-up. Usage instructions are robust. $71 on eBay!
  • Suprotec Active 2 in 1 – Two 90ml bottles treats car or light truck twice.
  • Suprotec Active = ATOMIUM Diesel Active Plus Engine Oil Additive

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