Which 7.3 Powerstroke Years to Avoid? (Problems Explained)

The 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel engine was a massive success for ford. Notably, due to the dramatic modification in 1999, the success has soared higher than ever before.

Unfortunately, despite its reputation as one of the most dependable diesel engines, the 7.3 Powerstroke failed to fulfill certain emission standards in 2003. 

Consequently, due to some other common issues, the manufacturer stopped producing the 7.3 Powerstroke in the first quarter of 2003. During the same year, 7.3L was replaced by 6.0l.

Continue reading to learn about the common reasons for the failure of  7.3 Powerstroke. Also, find out which years are great for 7.3 Powerstroke and which year model you should avoid.

Lists 7.3 Powerstroke Years to Avoid

Starting with the short answer: you must avoid purchasing 7.3L Powerstroke in the model years 2001 to 2003.

1. 2001 Powerstroke problems

Due to heavy changes in the year 1998-1999, Many problems have evolved after that, particularly the noise issue. 

The 7.3L split-shot injectors are the main source of noise in this engine during these years. Surge difficulties were also widespread on turbochargers from 2000 to 2003. As a result, it’s best to avoid the Powerstroke 7.3l in 2001.

2. 2002 Powerstroke problems

Besides the CPS, EBPV, and many other problems that evolved during the years (2001-2003), The more specific reason why It is better to avoid the 2002 Powerstroke 7.3l is:

In 2002, Ford decided to replace the forged connecting rod with the Powdered metal rods (PMR), which decreased the performance of the engine.

3. 2003 Powerstroke problems

Because of its failure to fulfill California noise standards, which necessitates lower emissions, Ford opted to replace the 7.3L with a 6.0L in the first quarter of the model year 2003. 

Competing manufacturers, on the other hand, were developing trucks with comparable or superior performance capabilities. So, why should you purchase an engine that has an environmental regulation issue? 

Description of the Chronology of the Events that occurred 2001-2003

As stated earlier, 7.3L was a huge success for Ford. Soon after the release, it took place in the hearts of young people. 

Early 2001 Powerstroke used forged connecting rods. In 2002, it decided to replace the forged connecting rod with the Powdered metal rods (PMR). 

However,  there is a problem: Usually, the diesel engine is used for heavy-duty, whereas the Powdered metal rods are considered weaker equipment for heavy-duty trucks.

Although this modification was not as awful, it fails to operate when the engine exceeds 450 horsepower. As a result, this has a significant impact on 7.3L’s performance.

On the other hand, during the same year, Powerstroke failed to meet the noise regulation, which necessitated the use of catalytic converters. In mid-2002, Ford installed a catalytic converter, which, I may be wrong, influenced the engine’s performance.

Due to these facts, Ford discontinued the production of the Powerstroke 7.3L in the mid of 2003. This is why you must avoid purchasing 7.3L Powerstroke in the model years from 2001 to 2003.

What Makes This 7.3L Powerstroke Years Worth Avoiding? (Common Problems)

I tried to figure out some of the most prevalent causes of 7.3l Powerstroke failure.

1. Failure of the CPS (Camshaft Position Sensor)

CPS was one of the significant issues and a common failure point of Powerstroke 7.3l.  The device is an electronic device that helps control the ignition system timing by monitoring the crankshaft’s position in a diesel engine.

When this sensor fails, the truck will not start or stall while driving. If you have a 2002 Powerstroke and are experiencing this problem, the simplest solution is to replace the stock CPS.

2. Leak in the Fuel Filter Housing

This can be considered the minor failure point of the 7.3L Powerstroke. IT happens when the filter housing or fuel bowl is vulnerable and cracks in the aluminum housing, causing fuel leaks. 

Also, the heating element in the filter house can short out and create a no-start condition. In addition, the plastic-made cap on the filter house develops wear over time and creates cracks, causing leak fuel.

3. Leaks in the Turbocharger Up-Pipe 

Here is another failure point of 7.3l Powerstroke. A turbocharger is a major component of any vehicle. When there is a leak in the up-pipes, it  causes the engine to lose the boost. It also  increases the temperature of the exhaust gas.

4. EBPV Failure

2001-2003 Powerstroke 7.3L was also prone to EBPV failure. The primary function of the EBPV, or exhaust back-pressure valve, is to quickly return the engine’s operating temperature to normal. If you have the EBPV failure, deleting the EVP is a common option.

If you look closely, Most of the problems were caused by faulty electrical connections Depending on the year. The UVCH (under valve cover harness) was prone to losing contact with glow plugs or injectors, resulting in difficult starts or misfire issues. 

From 1994 to 1997, Powerstrokes had two connections running into each bank, while from 1999 to 2003, they just had one connector going into each bank, making troubleshooting the harness easier in the early years.

Which 7.3 Powerstroke Years Worth Buying?

Since there are substantial performance improvements in powerstroke 7.3 from 1998 to early 1999 , the Years 1999-2000 Are considered the best year for 7.3L Powerstroke.

From 1994 to 1997, Ford maintained steady improvement and innovation in its 7.3L Powerstroke diesel engine. 

During this time, the 7.3L Powerstroke engine became known for its  excellent non-wastegate turbocharger, cam-driven mechanical lift pump, 4-speed automatic transmission, and many other upgrades.

However, in 1999, the manufacturer brought a massive change for 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel engines. 

Changes include an Air-to-air intercooler, New 4R110 Automatic Transmission, ZF-6 speed Manual transmissions, etc.

Comparison Table 

Look at the table below. Here, you get to know the differences in specs of 7.3l Powerstroke between two different times. 

The year 1994-1998 SpecsThe year 1999 Specs
E40D 4-Speed Auto transmission4R110 Automatic Transmission
5-Speed Manual TransmissionZF-6 speed Manual transmissions
Horsepower 210-225Horsepower 225- 235 and 275 in 2003
425-450 lb-ft500-505 lb-ft
No Air-To-Air Intercooler Air-To-Air Intercooler Added
Cam-driven mechanical lift pumpUpgraded to Electric lift pump 
New truck Body style Old Truck Body style
Single Shot Fuel InjectorAll 1999 trucks receive split shot injectors.

As you can see, the above table shows the dramatic changes made to the 1999 Powerstroke 7.3L engine.

From 1994 to 1997, 7.3 Powerstroke had single-shot HEUI or hydraulically actuated electronic unit injection fuel injectors, whereas, from 1999, it was equipped with Larger split-shot Injectors.

On the other hand, The 1995-1997 trucks use a Cam-driven mechanical lift pump, whereas the 1999-2003 trucks use an upgraded electric fuel pump.

Also, the changes are made to the Body-style, transmission, intercooler, and other parts and equipment.

So, From the above discussion, it is clear why 1999 or 2000 Years  7.3 Powerstroke is Worth Buying.


Soon after the first release of 7.3L in 1994, it was named one of the best diesel engines ever produced by Navistar International. However, as described earlier, the engine developed problems in 2001-2003, and unfortunately, Ford discontinued the production of 7.3l.

So finally, you have your answer: which years are great for 7.3 Powerstroke and which year model you should avoid. Also, you have learned some of the common reasons for the failure of  7.3 Powerstroke. I hope you found this information helpful.

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