List of 7.3 Powerstroke Years to Avoid (3+ Common Issues)

This blog will answer the following questions: which years of the 7.3 L Ford Powerstroke engine should you avoid? What are the common problems in the 7.3 L Ford Powerstroke engine? Which models have a 7.3 L Powerstroke engine? What are the specifications of the Ford 7.3 L Powerstroke engine?

Ford 7.3 L Powerstroke engine- Which years should you avoid?

The Ford 7.3 Liters Powerstroke engine manufactured in the following years should be avoided because of reliability and performance issues:

  • 1994-1997 
  • 2001-2003 

The problems with the engines manufactured in these years are explained below:


Ford introduced the 7.3 L Powerstroke engine in 1994, it was a newly developed engine that replaced the T444E engine. There were no major issues that resulted in expensive repairs but one of the most common problems in 1994-1997 is the loose contact in the under valve harness connector.

The under valve connector harness is used for connecting the glow plugs and fuel injector to the injector control module and glow plug output stage replay. When this connection comes loose due to engine vibrations, it causes the engine to misfire. 

The problem is easy to diagnose, simply check the electrical coupler for any loose contact or short circuit to the ground. The repair cost can be around 100 USD as the cylinder head cover gasket also needs replacement.

Another issue with these engines is fuel leaks from the fuel filter housing. The aluminum filter housing is known to develop cracks as the age and mileage of the car increase. The fuel heater in the fuel filter can also blow the fuse due to an internal short circuit. 

The replacement fuse cost only 3 USD, fuel leaks can be rectified after performing a visual inspection and replacing the affected filter housing. The cost of the new fuel filter is between  9-30 USD.


The Powerstroke engines produced between these years have problems with the camshaft position sensors. It is a severe problem and often leads to the engine not starting. One of the symptoms of a faulty camshaft position sensor is no reading of engine speed in the tachometer.

When the engine is cranked with the starter motor, the engine speed is around 200-300 RPM. This speed makes the tachometer fluctuate. 

The engine can also stall if the camshaft position sensor is not working correctly. Therefore you should check if the needle in the Tachometer moves when cranking, otherwise replace the camshaft position sensor.

The cost of the new camshaft position sensor is between 30-60 USD. when replacing check the type and correct part number of the sensor. Do not install an inductive type sensor if the original sensor is magnetic, it will not rectify the problem. The correct part number of the original camshaft position sensor is F7TZ-12K073-B.

Ford did not make any major design changes to the Powerstroke engine during its production run. Some of the changes included the use of emission control, new fuel injectors, ECU, and a turbocharger.

But the biggest change was in 2001 when Ford used powdered metal connecting rods instead of forged connecting rods. The new connecting rods are not as strong as the forged connecting rods. They cannot handle the same level of stress and PMR just breaks resulting in inadequate compression pressure.

Therefore, you should avoid these engines as the powdered metal connecting rods can snap in the middle without any symptoms. Ford started using metal powder instead of forging for manufacturing connecting rods so that the weight is reduced and the engine can run quieter.

One of the ways to check if the engine has powdered metal rods or Forged connecting rods is to unscrew the inspection screws on the engine block. If a bolt head is visible from the hole then it means the engine has powdered Metal rods.

What are the common problems in the 7.3 L Ford Powerstroke engine?

The following problems are present in all the Ford 7.3 L Powerstroke engines. These problems usually occur after 30,000 miles of running.

  • Fuel filter clogging- the diesel fuel goes through a fuel filter before it reaches the high lift fuel pump and fuel injectors. The filter collects any dirt or debris in the fuel. Hence if a fuel filter is clogged the engine can turn off due to a lack of fuel pressure.
  • Injector pressure regulation valve- it is used to regulate the pressure in the fuel system. The seal on the pressure regulating valve can get damaged or there can be a loose contact in the electrical lines. If the lines are okay then replacement valves can cost up to 300 USD.
  • Overheating – the 7.3 L Powerstroke engine is known for overheating. It could overheat due to a faulty thermostat or a coolant water pump. If the engine is still running in overheating condition, the cylinder head gasket can get damaged and the moving parts in the engine can seize due to excessive temperature.
  • The 7.3-liter Powerstroke engine uses a high-pressure lift pump. The pump pressurizes the fuel before it is injected into the cylinders. When the high lift pump fails, the engine does not start due to a lack of fuel pressure. Perform a visual inspection of the fuel bowl.

If there is no fuel in it then replace the pump. The cost of the pump replacement is 130-300 USD

Which models have a 7.3 L Powerstroke engine? 

The models with 7.3 L Ford power stroke engine are given below:

  • Ford E series full-size Van (1995-2003)
  • Ford Excursion SUV (2000-2003)
  • Ford F series (1994-2003)

What are the specifications of the Ford 7.3 L Powerstroke engine?

The specification of the Ford 7.3 L Powerstroke engine is given below:

Specifications 7.3 L Powerstroke
Engine output210 – 475 horsepower
ConstructionFull cast iron
Compression Ratio17.5:1
Fuel injectionDirect
FamilyNavistar T444E
TurbochargerSingle Wastegate
Dry weight 417-1117 Kg

The ford 7.3 L Powerstroke is lighter than its successor, the 6.0 Powerstroke. It is also lighter than the Cummins 5.9 L V6 engine despite the use of cast iron in the construction of the engine block and cylinder head cover.

The engines produced after 1999 came with an air-cooled intercooler to cool the compressed air. Ford also changed the fuel injectors to increase the injection quantity. The fuel injection is electronically controlled by a control unit.


This blog explained the problems in the 7.3 L Ford Powerstroke diesel engine. Despite its issues, it is still the highest manufactured internal combustion engine by Ford. there are more than 2 million engines still running. The cast iron construction is very durable and if the engine is maintained it will easily complete 300,000 miles without any major repairs.