Information on a 1997 Ford 7.3 Diesel

by Rob Wagner
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The 1997 Ford 7.3-liter Power Stroke (also spelled Powerstroke) turbodiesel engine was manufactured for the Ford Motor Company by Navistar International Corp. Navistar manufactures International trucks. The 7.3 Power Stroke diesel was a popular engine that powered Ford F-250 Series and larger trucks. Ford Econoline E-Series vans also were equipped with the Power Stroke.


The Ford 7.3 diesel was launched in 1988 as a non-turbocharged V-8 engine. The 1997 version was part of the 1994 to 2003 family of turbodiesels that emerged from the first generation diesels. Diesel Power magazine named the 7.3 Power Stroke to its Top Ten list of best diesel engines ever produced. More than two million were manufactured during its nine-year run, far outnumbering Dodge, GMC and Chevrolet diesels combined. Due to its durability and the high number of engines available, the 7.3 turbodiesel is considered one of the best replacement diesel engines for trucks, according to (See References 1-3).


The 1997 7.3-liter (444 cubic inches) V-8 features a 17.5:1 compression ratio, with a 4.11-inch bore and 4.18-inch stroke. It’s equipped with a hydraulic electronic direct fuel injection unit. Horsepower was rated at 215, although some models were rated at 225 horsepower. Torque was rated between 425 and 500 foot-pounds. (Torque is the twisting force generated inside the turbodiesel to give the truck its acceleration and pulling power.) The 1997 Ford F-350 equipped with the 7.3 turbodiesel was capable of hauling a 3,520-lb. payload (See References 1 and 3-4).


The engine was based on the International T444E diesel. The only difference was the “Power Stroke” moniker given to diesels installed in Fords. The 1994 to 2003 turbodiesel family employed different technology from the previous generation. Its fuel pump and a separate high-pressure pump worked in tandem to boost the fuel pressure directly into each fuel injector of the hydraulic electronic direct fuel injection system. In addition, the engine features a single standard waste-gated turbocharger configuration (See References 1-3).


The Ford 7.3-liter turbodiesel outperformed Dodge and General Motors in torque and overall performance by 2001. However, the 1997 Fords were fairly consistent in overall strength with the 1997 Dodge, and generally performed better than 1997 Chevy trucks. The closest comparable turbodiesel powering the 1996 to 1997 Dodge trucks was the Cummins 5.9-liter feature, with a 215-horsepower rating. The Cummins generated 440 foot-pounds of torque, slightly better than the 1997 Ford’s 425 foot-pound rating. Later produced 1997 Fords matched Dodge in torque. General Motors’ 6.5 turbodiesel didn’t stack up to either Ford or Dodge. The GM 6.5 could barely muster 200 horsepower by 1997 and peaked in torque at 440 foot-pounds only in 2001 (See Resources 1-3).

Crate Engines

Although the 7.3-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel is considered outdated by 2010 standards, the engine remains an acceptable replacement, or crate engine, for older model Ford trucks. Ford’s parts supplier, Motorcraft, offers remanufactured diesel engines built to Ford factory specifications. Crate engines also can be ordered through third-party suppliers. A remanufactured 7.3-liter turbodiesel sells for up to $6,000 and features a 2-year warranty (See References 2-3 and Resource 4).

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