7.3 Powerstroke Years to avoid – [7.3 Powerstroke Problems years]

Introduced in 1994, The 7.3 Powerstroke engines have occupied a special place in the hearts of millions. The 7.3L has had two versions of it over the years. Although most 7.3 Powerstroke engines were good, there are three years of this engine that needs avoiding. These are:

  • The 2001 Powerstroke
  • The 2002 Powerstroke
  • The 2003 Powerstroke

There are plenty of issues that have plagued 7.3 over its lifetime from 1994 to 2003. These include a failing camshaft position sensor, leaks in the fuel filter housing, faulty valve springs as well as push rods. But these are not all of the issues the 7.3 has had to deal with over the aforementioned three years span. Some other problems that were found- failing EBPVs, UVCHs, and IPRs, problems in the injection driver modules, etc.

In this article, I will go through each problem to demonstrate why Powerstrokes from 2001 to 2003 is the 7.3 Powerstroke years to avoid and are the black sheep among the otherwise legendary diesel engines.

7.3 Powerstroke Years to avoid - [7.3 Powerstroke Problems years]

Read also >> [Detailed] Which Years 6.7 Powerstroke You Need To Avoid And Why?

Worst 7.3 Powerstroke Years: (12 Reasons To Avoid)

From their introduction up until their discontinuation in 2003, the 7.3 Powerstroke engines were the kings of the road. Unlike the 6.7, the 7.3 weren’t produced by Ford, rather these were produced by Navistar International. To this day, even almost after two decades of its discontinuation, the 7.3 Powerstroke is considered to be the best engine that Navistar produced.

Despite being everyone’s favorite, the 7.3L from 2001 to 2003 was riddled with issues that contributed to its being discontinued. The problems with the 7.3 Powerstroke are as follows:

1. Failing Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS)

The failure of the CPS is one of the most common problems of the 7.3L diesel engines Ford. The camshaft sensor of a 7.3 is situated on the engine block’s lower half. The camshaft’s speed as well its position is both controlled by this sensor and this info is then related to the computer of the Powerstroke. The computer then adjusts the level of fuel supplied to the engine using this data.

When a CPS of a 7.3 Powerstroke fails, the Powerstroke computer, which is also known as PCM, cannot get sufficient data from the CPS. As a result, it cannot send any signal to the IDM of the engine for the delivery of fuel. This results in the engine not getting the necessary fuel and failing to start. This problem can very easily be sorted out by simply replacing the faulty CPS with the Genuine Ford F4TZ-12K073-C Camshaft Position Sensor.

2. Fuel Filter Housings With Leaks

Another reason to avoid 7.3 Powerstroke engines from 2001 to 2003 is their fuel filter housings that are very susceptible to leaks. The fuel pumps are made of aluminum, but the caps of these pumps are plastic. Due to the pressure and heat of the engine’s fuel system, the plastic cap wears off. As a result, fuel leaks out.

Another major reason for fuel leakage is the incompatible O-rings of the Ford engines. The O-ring coatings that Ford has in their 7.3 Powerstrokes are not compatible with the chemicals present in diesel. As a result, gaps are created around these rings causing fuel to seep out. Also, when the fuel is too tight, it causes the O-ring to be damaged. This also causes fuel to slowly spill out.

3. Faulty Valve Springs And Pushrods

The function of the valve springs is to ensure smooth opening and closing of the valvetrain and to ensure the lifter and the camshaft are always in contact. When the engine runs at higher RPMs, the springs cannot keep up which causes the valves to malfunction.

This valve spring issue can bend the push rods and so can extremely tight rocker arms, bad timing of the engine, and stuck lifters. Also, when the engines run at a horsepower that is above the stock one, this puts excessive stress on the valve springs as well as the push rods, causing them to bend.

4. Leaking Turbocharger Up-pipes

The turbocharger up-pipes of a 7.3 Powerstroke connect the exhaust manifolds and the turbocharger. When the exhaust gas passes through these pipes, they expand and contract constantly. This causes deterioration of the crush gaskets which results in leaking. This issue can be easily resolved by replacing the damaged up-pipes with the RDP Bellowed Up Pipe Kit.

5. Failing EBPVs

The Exhaust Back Pressure Valves, AKA EBPVs stabilize the operating temperature of the engine. This means it doesn’t allow the engine to take a long time to reach its operating temperature. When the EBPV fails, it causes the engine to overheat. The most common way to deal with this problem is to delete the valve altogether.

7.3 PowerStroke EBPV delete >> check out the video below:

6. Failing UVCHs

UVCH is the Under Valve Cover Harness, which as its name suggests, is situated under the cover of the valve. The valve cover is always subjected to extreme heat and vibrations, which causes the wires in the UVCH to either melt down or break due to constant rubbing with the valves. Replacing the cover gaskets of the valves is a very efficient way to deal with this problem. 

7. Failing IPRs

IPRs or Injection Pressure regulators are more prone to damage than most other parts of a 7.3 Powerstroke engine. Sometimes these get stuck, their seals, as well as wires, suffer damage and the sensors go haywire. When the IPRs fail, the engine doesn’t get the right amount of fuel, which causes a myriad of issues.

Read also >> 5 Common Ford 4.2l V6 Engine Problems You May Face

8. Issues Regarding The IDM

IDMs or the Injection Driver Module are situated on the fender’s part that is on the side of the driver. When these come in contact with water, they get either partially or fully damaged. A damaged IDM causes the car to not even start, and even when the car starts, the engine doesn’t run smoothly.

9. Clogging Of The Fuel Filters

A common problem, especially in diesel engines, is when the fuel filters clog up. When this happens, the engine will crank and will not get sufficient power. This occurs because the fuel injectors are not able to get the necessary fuels. In this case, replacing the truck’s fuel filter is the way to go.

10. Overheating Of The Engine

A very common problem in the 2001-2003 7.3 Powerstroke engines, overheating can be caused due to a whole host of reasons. These reasons include issues with the radiator, faulty water pumps, and thermostats, damaged cooling fans as well as low-quality coolants. It’s best not to drive the vehicle before all these issues are resolved.

11. Failing ICP Sensors

ICP or Injector Control Pressure sensors go bad when they come in contact with oil. Once an ICP sensor is damaged, the engine is unable to run smoothly and the throttle becomes very rough.

12. Problems In The Fuel Heater

Last but not the least, the 7.3 Powerstroke engines from the years 2001, 2002, and 2003 face problems regarding their fuel heater. I have found many trucks with their fuel heaters shorted out. These faulty fuel heaters then caused the PCM to be disabled.

What Is The Best 7.3 Powerstroke Year?

It is well documented that the worst 7.3 Powerstroke years are from 2001 to 2003. But what year is the best for 7.3 Powerstroke? The best 7.3 Powerstroke year is the year 1999.

The reason 1999 is the best 7.3 Powerstroke year is the engines in this year were designed to decrease the emission level of NOX. They also brought the horsepower potential up which reduced the temperature of the exhaust gas. Finally, the oil pump capacity was increased.

Worst 7.3 Powerstroke Years (FAQs)

1. Is The 7.3 Powerstroke The Best Engine Ever?

Although the title of the best is subjective, there is no doubt the 7.3 Powerstroke engines were the most reliable of their kind. The reason for this reliability is that 7.3 were produced before the regulations regarding emissions were imposed.

2. What Is The Most Miles Ever Put On A 7.3 Powerstroke?

On average, a 7.3 Powerstroke lasts for 400000 to half a million miles. But the world record for miles put on a 7.3 Powerstroke is held by one Mr. Freeland. He put an astounding 1.3 million miles on his 7.3 Powerstroke.

Final Words

7.3 Powerstroke engines are legendary among diesel engines. It was in production from 1994 to 2003 before getting shelved due to emission regulations. Despite being very popular, some 7.3 years have to be avoided. The 7.3 Powerstroke years to avoid are 2001, 2002, and 2003.

These engines face several problems which include failure of various parts such as the EBPV, ICP sensors, UVCHs, IDMs, IPRs, CPMs, etc. The engine is also prone to overheating due to some other issues. The best Powerstroke year is 1999.

Who Worked on This?



I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our reader.

Mahir Ahmed


I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

Leave a Comment