How to Upgrade and Replace Oil Cooler On 7.3 Powerstroke

7.3 Powerstroke engines are some of the most popular engines in the world. Just like the other parts, they have a pretty good oil cooler that lasts for decades. However, sometimes the oil cooler can get damaged, and you will need to replace it. 

Oil leakage, coolant gets mixed with the oil, black smoke – these are some of the signs of a damaged oil cooler. You need to drain the coolant from the radiator, loosen the nuts, remove it from the gaskets and do other steps to remove the old cooler. 

Scroll down the article to know more on how to upgrade and replace oil cooler on 7.3 Powerstroke in this article. 

How Do I Know My Oil Cooler On 7.3 Powerstroke Is Bad?

It’s important to know when our oil cooler has gone bad to change it. Otherwise, if we continue driving with a bad oil cooler, it will cause serious damage to the engine, taking a big chunk of money out of our pocket. So let’s discuss the common symptoms you’ll see when your oil cooler on 7.3 Powerstroke fails. 

Oil Leakage

Leaking oil is the most common sign you’ll see when your oil cooler doesn’t work properly. If you spot a small puddle of oil underneath the engine, you should look at the oil cooler adapter.

The adapter connects the oil line to the cooler and has a gasket or rubber o-ring within it. When the adapter fails, it can leak and force the oil out of the cooler and the engine. The amount of leaked oil depends on the size of the leak.

Small leaks lead to a small puddle of oil on the ground, while a significant one will cause a steady stream of oil behind your vehicle. Any oil leakage will result in a shortage of lubrication in the engine.

If there is not enough lubricant, the engine will overheat and get damaged. So if you see an oil leak, you should see a professional mechanic and determine the cause behind it.

Coolant Leakage

Some oil coolers use coolant to keep the temperature of the oil regulated. The coolant goes through the tubes but doesn’t mix with oil. If the oil cooler fails, it can also leak coolant out of the engine, just like the oil. The quantity of leaked coolant depends on the size of leakage. 

Leaking of coolant will cause engine overheating problems, eventually resulting in engine damage. That’s why it’s important to diagnose this problem as soon as possible.

Coolant Mixed With Oil

Although this usually happens due to cracked or warped cylinder heads or blown head gaskets, sometimes a bad oil cooler can cause coolant to contaminate the engine oil.

As mentioned above, coolant flows around the tubes without any contact with the oil. But failed oil cooler will force the cooling system to pressurize the coolant to enter into the oil pan. 

Oil In The Coolant 

It’s just the opposite of the previous one. Internal failure in the oil cooler will raise the pressure of the oil, making it more than the pressure of the cooling system.

So when the engine is running, the oil will be forced into the cooling system. Once again, the engine will face damage due to the lack of lubrication.

Black Smoke

If your oil cooler is bad, the oil will enter into the engine combustion chamber. The presence of oil in the chamber will contaminate the smoke resulting in the emission of black smoke from the vehicle’s exhaust. 

When Should I Change Oil Filter On 7.3 Powerstroke?

If you maintain your car properly, your oil cooler will last the car’s lifespan. So you generally won’t have to worry about it. However, accidents or lack of maintenance can cause the failure of the oil cooler.

Once your oil cooler fails, it can cause serious damage to your vehicle. So if you see any of the symptoms that we have discussed, you should see a mechanic. Sometimes, the damage isn’t that big, and it can be repaired without being replaced. 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Oil Cooler On 7.3 Powerstroke?

Replacing the oil cooler includes the expense of the new oil cooler and the labour cost. However, it can vary depending on the shop, location and other factors. You’ll get a 7.3 Powerstroke oil cooler by spending $150. That being said, replacing the cooler will cost between $300 to $450 in general.

How Hard Is It Replace The Fuel Filter On 6.7 Powerstroke?

Well, it completely depends on your experience and expertise. If you are inexperienced, we’ll recommend you to pay the mechanics to do this. Again, even if you are experienced, you’ll have to devote your time and hardwork to do this. You can do this by following the steps that we will explain now.

How Do You Remove And Replace Oil Cooler From a 7.3 Powerstroke?

To remove and replace the cooler, you need to follow the steps –

Removing The Oil Cooler

  • You’ll have to take three steps before removing the oil cooler. First, you should drain the coolant from the radiator. The drain valve is situated on the driver side of the radiator. Drain the oil also. Get yourself an oil pan to collect all of these. Otherwise, the oil and the coolant will spread everywhere. 
  • Now you’ll have to remove the oil filter. Before this, remove the block heater from the oil filter base. Then loosen the three 10mm bolts that connect the rear header to the oil cooler pad along the block. When you’re loosening the bolts, keep the oil pan ready as some antifreeze will come out of that.
  • Once you are done with the previous steps, it’s time to remove the cooler. First, break the oil pump housing free from its base. Give a little bit of tug with a pry bar right behind it, and it will come out. Finally, push the oil cooler a few times with the pry bar and remove it. 
  • Now that you’ve removed the oil cooler, discard the original front and rear mounting gaskets and start pulling the oil cooler housing( the pipe) out of the headers. There is a line on the housing where you can place your pry bar and gently budge it. You’ll see the oil cooler sliding out gradually. If you find the O-rings are not in good condition, get new O-rings. Always buy genuine Ford parts to get the best performance.  
  • Once you are done with removing the oil filter and the oil cooler from the backside, come to the front side of the housing. Pull the lower radiator hose to get better access to the pair of 10 mm bolts in the front. Remove those bolts and pull the front side of the housing to get the new gasket on its mounting plate.

Reassembly 

Now you’ve removed the whole oil cooler assembly. It’s time to install the new cooler.

With the O-rings installed into the cooler, make sure you have cleaned the mounting surfaces of both the oil cooler filter housing and the front housing of the cooler thoroughly before you start installing. 

To install, put the cooler into the housing, matching it up with a notch and smack it with a rubber mallet. Don’t put so much pressure.

When you remove the housings, the gaskets don’t come out with them. So remove the old gaskets separately so that you don’t install new gaskets keeping the old ones there.

Start with the front gasket first. Position it between the front oil cooler header and the timing cover and install the 10 mm bolts. But keep these loose until you reattach the rear gasket and the rear section of the cooler. Finally, tighten all five mounting bolts. 

Conclusion

If you’ve come this far, you must know now how to how to upgrade and replace oil cooler on 7.3 powerstroke. However, we suggest you to properly maintain the engine and the vehicle so that you don’t need to go through this hassle of changing oil cooler. But if you need to change it anytime, you can do it easily by following the steps.