The 4 Most Common Ford 7.3 Powerstroke Engine Problems

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Sudden breakdown in machines is not new to all engine owners; and just as it is with all other engines, so it is with the 7.3 Powerstroke engines. They all tend to develop a fault anytime, but before they do, they show you a couple of signs and symptoms.

The most common of the 7.3 Powerstroke engine problems include:

  1. Injector Problems
  2. Leaks In Turbocharger Up-Pipes
  3. Exhaust Back Pressure Valve (EBPV) Failure
  4. Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor

Apart from these problems, others may show up, but it is best to be wary of the symptoms to prevent them from developing more severe deterioration.

What Are The Most Common 7.3 Powerstroke Engine Issues?

1. Injector Problems

The primary function of the injection system is the provision and atomization of fuel to the injectors while timely regulating fuel quantity. Before there can be proper combustion, the injection system is required for providing the needed fuel quantity sequentially.

The average lifespan of an injector is 100k miles. However, this depends on the body of the injector, including the nozzle faults. Should any of these parts malfunction, it will result in reduced performance of your 7.3 Powerstroke engine.

A few things are noticed when your injection develops faults. The first thing to note when you have a faulty malfunctioning injector is the emission of black smoke even when your vehicle is not in acceleration mode.

When you notice a white smoke while you are accelerating, it is an indication that your injector is loose. A pop-up smoke while igniting your 7.3 Powerstroke engine indicates your engine is healthy.

What Causes Fuel Injector Failure

The 7.3 Powerstroke engine is a direct-injection engine that can fall prey to issues associated with DI engines.

The main causes of the 7.3 Powerstroke injector-related failure include:

  • Failure To O-Ring: Your 7.3 Powerstroke engine injector can become leaky due to the damage of the O-ring. The O-ring links the fuel rail to the injector and once it becomes brittle, or hard due to excessive heat from the engine, the injector will start to leak internally or from outside.
  • Clogged Injection System: Another reason your 7.3 Powerstroke engine injector can start to malfunction is when the injector is clogged or becomes dirty. A clogged injector causes the fuel in the injector to escape. In the process, it will leave brittle deposits inside the injection system.
  • Dirty Injector: Usually, the injector absorbs the heat that the engine gives off after shutting off the engine. The control valve of the injector can become dirty or partially clogged due to hard deposits of fuel or gunk.

What To Watch Out For

  • Ignition Difficulties: An injection problem will make it challenging to start your engine, especially if the required fuel amount is not supplied to the right places.
  • Engine Misfire: This is due to insufficient fuel supply. It can sometimes mean there is a clogged or dirt in the injector or an injector not opening.
  • Vibration: When there is no fuel supply into the injector, the matching cylinder will refuse to fire, resulting in vibrations during driving.
  • Fuel Leak: There can sometimes be traces of fuel when you examine your injector. A fuel leak is caused by a damaged seal which gets worse if not fixed in time.

What To Do

Fixing a dysfunctional injector in a 7.3 Powerstroke engine can sometimes be straightforward. You can carry out a manual inspection of the injection system. Repair any minor damage encountered.

However, it is best to request the service of your mechanic if you find it challenging to perform a simple DIY. At times, solving this specific 7.3 Powerstroke engine issue only requires you to clean the injector system.

If your injector is leaking from inside or outside, the best fix is to change the O-ring. For cracked internal components or broken injector tap, you’ll need to get a new or used injector. You can also replace the seals and washers of the fuel injector.

The good news is whether it is cleaning or replacement, it comes pretty affordable. You can install the new injector or components easily too with the right tool.

How To Prevent Damaged Injectors

Preventing your injector from getting leaky, clogged, or dirty is one way to lengthen the lifespan of the injector and enhance the efficiency, performance, and longevity of the engine.

  • Run Regular Clean-Ups: The cost of cleaning or overhauling your 7.3 Powerstroke engine injector is relatively affordable, whether through a DIY or hired service.
    Cleaning up of the injector at regular intervals (at least every 25,000 miles) prevents a breakdown of the component. The longer and more often your journey is, the more you should inspect and clean the injectors.
  • Use Fuel Injector Cleaner: You should remember that an injector is prone to deposit build-up and can be contaminated by fuel, even by high-grade fuel.
    The best thing to do to keep the injector in great health is to constantly add additives to your fuel tank. The fuel injector cleaner can also serve as a power booster to your car and increase its mpg.
  • Regular Engine Servicing: Scheduled maintenance is a great way to prevent your 7.3 Powerstroke injector from leaking or getting blocked and ultimately keep your engine from coming down with issues.
    Change the oil and oil filter as recommended. An efficiently running engine will relieve the injector of unnecessary pressure, while a regular change in the oil filter will ensure free and proper flow of fuel.

2. Leaks In Turbocharger Up-Pipes

Turbocharger up-pipes are one of the components of this engine’s exhaust system. If there is a leak in these pipes, your 7.3 Powerstroke engine will start experiencing power loss. The leaks in these joints are mainly observed, resulting in a rise in exhaust gas temps (EGT).

The pipes have a crush donut exhaust gasket for linking the pipe to both manifold and turbo. With the continuous flow of glass, there is contraction and expansion in the pipes. Within some time, it results in causing a deterioration of the crush gaskets, resulting in leakage.

What To Watch Out For

There should not be a sudden leak in turbocharger up-pipes without showing you any of the following related symptoms:

  • Acceleration Loss: A turbocharger leak will cause your engine a slow input reaction, indicating a failing turbocharger.
  • Exhaust Smoke: Once you notice leaks in your exhaust system, you will see the formation of distinctive smoke burnout. This symptom means there is a fault with your turbo.
  • Poor Functionality: A leak in the turbocharger will affect the overall health of your 7 3 Powerstroke engine, ranging from ignition to driving.

What To Do

Since turbocharger up-pipes leak can result in the engine’s overall performance, it is safer to attend to this problem immediately to prevent a sudden breakdown. Getting this problem fixed requires you to locate where the leaks are coming from. You may use a water hose to clean it thoroughly.

While you clean, you should avoid applying too much pressure. One of the likely sources of the leak is the O-ring. If the leak is from this source, it is best to change it. If the leak also comes from the pipes, replacing them will be the best solution.

3. Exhaust Back Pressure Valve (EBPV) Failure

This Y-shaped component mounted to the turbocharger’s outlet is prone to developing faults. Also sitting connected to the turbo is an actuator that helps in controlling the backpressure valve. The EBPV helps in reducing the engine’s time needed to make it operate at an average temperature.

A solenoid or regulator is the third component that makes up the EBPV which majorly regulates oil flow to the actuator. A low engine temperature will make the actuator close the valve, creating a back pressure like how it happens to the engine when under load.

During cold weather, the actuator forces an opening and stick-opening of the valve. Furthermore, it is a usual practice for the system to leak oil which requires rebuilding the whole exhaust back pressure valve.

Since it is a regular practice to leak oil and actuator fault, coupled with the cost of repair, people commonly adopt deleting the EBPV.

What To Watch Out For

Your assumptions about your 7.3 Powerstroke engine of having a bad EBPV may be correct if you notice any of these signs and symptoms:

  • Power Loss: This problem is due to a blocked valve affecting overall engine performance. Ignition can also be challenging at times.
  • Reduced Fuel Efficiency: It goes without saying that every issue, whether mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic, may cause fuel inefficiency and thus affects the optimal performance and delivery of your car.
    Once the exhaust backpressure valve is failing, you may notice increased fuel consumption, forcing you to visit the gas station more than normal.
  • Loss Of Acceleration: Suppose that the exhaust backpressure valve of your car engine fails, one of the easiest signs you will need to look out for is a loss in acceleration.
    This is a common symptom because the EGR system cannot redistribute exhaust fuel into the engine in order to reduce NOx emissions and the amounts of temperature that get into the cylinder.
  • Check Engine Light Comes On: An issue with EBPV sometimes sets off the engine light engine, indicating a fault with the valve. If you look at your dash and notice that the check engine illuminates, one of the components to suspect is the exhaust backpressure valve.
  • Excessive Soot From The Exhaust: Excessive smoke when you ignite your engine indicates your EBPV is failing. This smoke can be white or bluish, indicating incomplete combustion in the combustion chamber.

What To Do

Leakage in EBPV will result in make EBPV becomes faulty. The pedestal may be the source of the leak, so if you are not sure of the source of the leak, you should try to find it.

Ensure to clean the EBPV to make sure it is not the source of the leak. Be very careful not to tamper with other sensitive parts while cleaning the valve.

There are two options to fix this specific 7.3 Powerstroke engine problem. You can either opt to install a new O-ring; otherwise, you will be required to replace the pressure valve.

4. Faulty Camshaft Position Sensor

If you notice a shutting-off in the truck, difficulties in ignition or start, it is safe to assume that there is a failure of the camshaft position sensor in your 7.3 Powerstroke engine.

CPS ensures that your engine delivers the required fuel to the appropriate cylinder, even at the necessary time and in the right sequence.

This problem may allow you to have a problem-free drive from the start, but as time goes on, you may experience sudden and expected stops, cranking, and refusal to start again. Once the experience turns out to be normal, it is a sign that your engine has a failed CPS.

What To Watch Out For

Apart from sudden stop and failure of your engine to restart, your 7.3 Powerstroke engine will show you other symptoms such as :

  • Unexpected Engine Failure: This may include stalling, power loss and slow acceleration, among others.
  • Start Difficulties: A bad sensor may mean there is an issue with your CPS. Difficult starts can happen when your car is at rest or even while driving.
  • Check Engine Light Illuminates: In most cases when the camshaft position sensor fails, you may notice that the check engine light will come on. Although there are many reasons the light can illuminate, the best idea is to have the problem properly diagnosed by a professional technician to come up with an accurate reading.
    To confirm whether the camshaft position sensor is the problem, the technician will need to scan the ECM to see the codes that come up.
  • Power Loss: A failing camshaft position sensor can cause the engine to lose power and therefore perform poorly on the road. No doubt, there are a number of reasons your car can experience power failure; let a certified mechanic scan the problem to come up with an accurate reading and code.

What To Do

If you notice any of these symptoms in your engine, they are an indication that there is a problem with your CPS. The best thing to do to correct a dysfunctional CPS is to consider a replacement. You may need to diagnose the problem to make sure that you’ll be applying the right solution in the long run.

However, before you replace it, make sure the battery cables are first disconnected. Carefully bring out the dysfunctional CPS and place a new one, and while you do this, be careful not to damage any other parts.


1. Is The 7.3 Powerstroke A Good Engine?

Yes. Typically, a 7.3 Powerstroke engine is good and reliable due to its simple design and can last longer with proper maintenance.

Subsequent generations of 7.3 Powerstroke engines have incorporated emission controls into their design, making them one of the most reliable Powerstroke engines on the market. Models such as the 2000 Ford F-250 diesel pickup truck boast amazing reliability.

In addition, the engine amasses low engine speed, conservative power, and iron components that make it atop its competitors. With proper servicing and maintenance, the 7.3 Powerstroke engine can last 400,000 to 500,000 miles. This is one of the topmost mileages among Ford engines.

When it comes to towing, the 7.3 Powerstroke engine is a pretty strong machine with a high towing capacity. On average, the first generation 7.3 Powerstroke models, like F-250 Powerstroke, can load up to 14,000 pounds.

2. How Many Miles Can The 7.3 Powerstroke Engine Run?

With adequate maintenance, this engine can go beyond 200k miles before it will require overhaul or replacement. Being a direct fuel injection engine, the 7.3 liter has a reputation for longevity and durability.

It doesn’t easily overheat. Thanks to its simple design, the 7.3 liter Powerstroke uses 6 bolts per cylinder and features an externally positioned oil cooler with a fixed geometry turbo.

3. What Are The Specs Of The 7.3 Powerstroke Engine?

Features: Specs:
Oil Capacity 15 Quarts
Configuration V8
Displacement 7.3L
Engine 7.3L Powerstroke V-8
Injection Direct Injection System
Max. Torque 505 LB-FT to 525 LB-FT

Final Thoughts

The engine gets older with time, and when this happens, there is reduced performance. By solving the above common 7.3 Powerstroke engine problems, your engine is guaranteed to have an extended lifespan.

Once you notice any strange performance about your engine, it is advisable to call your mechanic’s attention if it is a problem beyond your DIY experience. In summary, the Powerstroke engine is one of the best engines out there if given regular maintenance.

These problems may degrade the quality lifespan of your engine lifespan. However, with timely intervention, you can prevent these problems and keep your engine in the best state.