Ever since the first vehicles were created over one hundred years ago, people have been modifying and upgrading them. There are several reasons for wanting to make an upgrade. Some drivers are looking for more power, others are trying to make their engines more reliable, and many folks are just trying to make their vehicle an extension of themselves and their personality through customization, but usually when a vehicle is modified, it is for a combination of these reasons listed above.
While cars have always been a popular choice for modification, over the past few decades, many more performance upgrades have become available for trucks, especially diesels. For many years trucks were thought of only as work vehicles, but manufacturers have realized that many are now being used as daily drivers and are just as likely to haul around a family as they are to carry around a work crew. Nowadays, trucks are equally capable of pulling a boat to your favorite fishing spot on a Saturday, delivering a skid steer loader to a job site on Monday morning , and taking the whole family out to eat on a Wednesday night, making them popular duel use vehicles. While all the major auto manufacturers produce trucks, one of the most popular for work and play are Ford trucks powered by the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel.
The 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel Engine
The first 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engines hit the market in 1994. This V8 engine was the first to use the now-famous Powerstroke name and was an all-new design even though the layout and size was similar to Ford’s previous generation diesel truck engine. It gets its 7.3 name from its displacement of 444 cubic inches (7.3 liters) and can be found in some of Ford's most popular trucks produced from 1994 up until 2003. Utilizing an iron block and aluminum heads with four valves per cylinder, it featured a single turbo and was continuously upgraded over its production life with the addition of an air-to-air intercooler and a wastegate to control exhaust gas flow.
The 7.3 Powerstroke proved to be a real workhorse with as much as 275 horsepower and up to 525 ft-lbs of torque available from the factory. While these numbers are sufficient for many, with some modification this engine is capable of a lot more, which makes trucks featuring the 7.3 Powerstroke some of the most popular vehicles to modify. There are many performance upgrades available but listed below are the five most popular upgrades that will also increase horsepower.
1. 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo Upgrade
One of the best and most obvious 7.3 Powerstroke upgrades available is an upgraded turbocharger. Turbochargers on diesel engines have proven to be a way to gain power that is affordable, and most importantly, reliable. These engines left the factory with a single Garret turbo that is adequate for work and recreational use, but a turbocharger is made up of parts that are subject to not only moving at high speeds but also extremely high exhaust temperatures, which will cause wear and tear over time. A worn-out turbocharger can be rebuilt with stock or upgraded components, but this can be a time-consuming process. Skill and precision is needed to be sure the turbocharger’s components are perfectly balanced, and everything is reinstalled correctly. So, while a rebuild is possible, a replacement turbo is the best and most popular choice.
Several options are available for drop-in, do it yourself turbos that can be installed by a knowledgeable and competent truck owner. Which replacement turbo you choose will depend on what year model truck you have, and how much additional power you are looking to gain. The most important thing to consider when buying a turbo is to be sure you are purchasing a high-quality part from a reputable place that specializes in diesel trucks. Cheap Chinese turbos are a dime a dozen online but installing a turbocharger of dubious quality can be catastrophic and end up costing you a lot more down the road. For the best 7.3 Powerstroke turbo upgrades available, check out our website to find the turbo that is right for you.
2. 7.3 Powerstroke Exhaust Upgrade
Diesel trucks are known for their unique sound compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, and a lot of this has to do with their exhaust systems. Replacing the stock exhaust system on a diesel truck is another popular modification that can increase horsepower and performance. Replacing the exhaust on your 7.3 Powerstroke powered Ford truck with a larger diameter system allows for better exhaust flow, reduces backpressure, and helps lower exhaust temperatures.
Back pipes, exhaust tips, and complete exhaust systems can be replaced by any truck owner with the right set of tools, a friend or two to help with lifting and fitting, and a positive attitude. One of the best reasons to go with a 7.3 Powerstroke exhaust upgrade is because it is one of the most affordable options out there for increasing horsepower. Just like with a turbo upgrade, you will want to stay away from cheap off-brand exhaust systems made from low-quality components. The best high-quality brands available for any 7.3 Powerstroke exhaust upgrade can be found here along with all the necessary hardware to complete the job.
3. 7.3 Powerstroke Fuel Injector Upgrade
As far as engine components go, upgraded diesel fuel injectors are one of the top 7.3 Powerstroke performance modifications out there. Injectors play the crucial role of delivering diesel fuel into the combustion chamber of a truck's engine, and stock Bosch injectors and stock replacements do an adequate job but upgraded injectors can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing horsepower. Just like with many other components, which upgraded injectors you install will depend on what year model truck you have, and how much horsepower you are looking to gain.
Stock replacements are readily available, but several options for high-quality upgraded performance injectors for the 7.3 Powerstroke are available in our online store along with o-rings, seals, and sleeves needed to perform an injector swap. Many of these upgraded injectors can utilize stock fuel rails and other components, but some more extreme injector swaps will require other upgrades such as an engine tune, which brings us to or next 7.3 Powerstroke upgrade.
4. 7.3 Powerstroke Tuners
The most popular 7.3 Powerstroke performance upgrade that does not require any parts swapping is an engine tune. Also referred to as a “chip,” an engine tuner is an electronic device that communicates with a truck’s electronic engine management system, usually through the OBDII port, that allows you to read engine data and make changes as needed. There are many engine tunes available, and they can provide everything from horsepower gains to increased fuel economy. Some modifications such as high-performance diesel injectors will require a tune to be able to function at full capacity, but a tune can also be used on a completely stock engine for gains in performance and horsepower.
Which engine tune you choose for your 7.3 Powerstroke will depend on what modifications and upgrades you have already completed, and how much power you are looking to get out of your engine. And just like all of the other upgrades listed, you will not want to buy the cheapest tuner that you can find on the fringes of the internet. A cheap tuner will lead to heartache and expensive repairs bills down the road. To find the best 7.3 Powerstroke tune for your needs, check out and look at everything that is available. From a slight boost in performance to substantial horsepower gains, they have everything you could possibly want when it comes to upgrading your engine management system.
5. 7.3 Powerstroke Intercoolers
Many diesel and gasoline-powered turbocharged engines feature an air-to-air intercooler. An intercooler is a great way to help keep things cool under the hood of a turbocharged vehicle. Upgraded intercoolers are often larger than the part they are replacing and allow for a higher volume of air to be cooled than a stock component. Upgrading the intercooler on a truck with a 7.3 Powerstroke engine has long been a popular way to increase performance and horsepower, especially when other components like the turbo are also being replaced.
An intercooler can be an easy part to replace, especially for truck owners who like a good DIY project. Stay away from cheaply made intercoolers found online, as they are bound to leak and cause all kinds of performance loss issues. All the best performance 7.3 Powerstroke intercoolers available can be found in our online store, along with all the hardware such as clamps, hoses, and couplings needed for a successful install.
Use the Best Parts Available
The key to any successful 7.3 Powerstroke performance upgrade is to use the best parts available. Whether you are looking to upgrade your turbo, exhaust, injectors, engine management system, or intercooler, Blessed Performance has the parts for you. They offer performance parts combo packages for the 7.3 Powerstroke and can even work with you to create a custom performance package with all the best quality parts to help you reach the horsepower and performance numbers you want. The first step of any 7.3 Powerstroke upgrade is to check out Blessed Performance. Give us a call or send an email if you have any questions. Have confidence that you are ordering the best parts available. Install them yourself, or have your favorite independent shop install them for you. And most of all, enjoy the increased horsepower under the hood of your truck!