Buying Used and Getting Back to Basics
Right back at it with Project My2K and it’s time to add some supporting upgrades since we’ve added some bigger wheels and tires and offer that engine a little extra help to keep up with the demands of performance tuning. This truck has a little extra horsepower under the hood now, and a much heavier set of tires, so we need to look at improving its ability to get slowed down. A replacement set of performance brake rotors and pads from EBC Brakes will not only improve overall stopping performance but help fight brake fade and heat while towing.
With that said, under enough heavy abuse, it’s not unheard of to have stock rotors warp from excessive heat, so we’d assumed the truck had been used for a lot of heavy towing in its past life as there was some definite shimmy under braking. The brake pads had been changed at some point in life, but the rotors appeared to be factory Ford originals so at 172k on the clock now, it was time. The brake pads were showing lots of life left, with plenty of thickness left but upon close inspection, you could see glazed over spots and some cracks developing.
The Stage 8 Super Truck heavy duty brake kit from EBC Brakes is the perfect stock replacement upgrade package for a daily driven and heavy towing application as it combines the firm pedal feel and longevity of a semi-metallic brake pad, with vented high-performance style rotors. The Orange Stuff Heavy Duty brake pads use a specially formulated pad material that offers great gripping power that won’t fade away under high heat and strain of slowing heavy loads. Designed specifically for a light duty pickup, this semi-metallic pad has been heat scorched to reduce bed in times and has deep V-grooves to catch dirt and dust debris to improve ventilation through the pad without losing grip. The black coated Sport Rotors offer three wide sweeping slots to help induce cool air into the contact area to help keep rotor temperatures low preventing brake fad under heavy load. The added drilled dimples help prevent stress cracks from developing extending rotor life as well. This rotor and pad combo have been proven to reduce braking temperatures by up to 200-degrees while helping the mating surface true and flat for more uniform pad wear and improved pedal feel.
Obviously anytime you’re servicing the brake system you should pay attention to the brake calipers and be sure the floating pins are greased for easy caliper movement and all the caliper pistons work as intended. There would be no shame in replacing the calipers at this point as well, but all four on this truck seemed to be in great condition. After installing the new EBC Heavy Duty package, the first initial test drive showed an instant improvement in stopping power with a firmer pedal feel and quicker stopping response with less pedal input. Under the stresses of towing, the rotors and pads felt positive while slowing a load on long downhill grades and they’ve been super quiet with no squealing or squeaks coming from the pads, also very pleased with brake dust control as the wheels don’t show any signs of buildup at all.
Moving on to the engine side of things, not long ago we installed a new 6-position Revolver chip and Insight CTS3 monitor for some extra performance and improved drivability. The Revolver made a significant improvement in overall drivability, the truck has so much more spunk its crazy anyone could continue driving a 7.3L Power Stroke without tuning. It’s really a major change in just how the truck gets itself down the road. Unfortunately, the bigger performance tunes, like the 100hp and 140hp tunes are showing us weak points within the rest of the engine systems.
Under heavy load, or a wide open throttle run, we’ve noticed our Injection Control Pressure (ICP) is falling quite a bit from where it should be. This ICP, is the pressure of the oil being fed to the injectors and controlling how hard fuel is injected into the combustion chamber. The Edge Revolver and PCM is asking the high pressure oil system supply 2800-psi of ICP at wide open throttle, but our factory high pressure oil pump is struggling to keep up. On our chassis dyno runs we were seeing ICP drop as low as 1900-psi, and that means our fuel isn’t going to be as efficiently burned in the cylinders, which means we aren’t getting the full potential out of the engine. We’re giving up some power, generating more smoke than we need to, and just losing some efficiency. This is a common problem in a HEUI design and the 7.3L has always been plagued by it.
To resolve this, we could install a brand new high pressure oil pump, or upgrade the pump to an aftermarket unit, but we opted to try something new on the market first. Something a little easier on the check book and installation side of things. The Rail System from Full Force Diesel was developed to help the 7.3L run higher injection pressures by simply suspending a rail inside the oil log cavity of the cylinder heads. The rail takes up space within this cavity, meaning less oil volume is required to fill it, thus reducing the required flow from the pump. The lower oil consumption allows more pressure to the injectors at a lower HPOP duty cycle.
The install is straight forward and only took about an hour with the help of some air tools. You just need to gain access to the oil rail plugs on the front of the cylinder heads, slide in the back half of the rail kit, thread the front half on to it, then slid the completed assembly all the way into the log. Install the new rail plug and start cranking on the engine to refill that oil cavity so the engine will fire. Full Force says they’ve tested this system with everything from stock injectors up to 350cc Hybrid injectors with great success. They’ll work with factory pumps or upgraded pumps and HPOP crossover tubes as well.
While we haven’t had a chance to get back to the chassis dyno to see if the rail system made improvements to the horsepower and torque outputs, we can attest for their ability to maintain a higher injection pressure. Running the same tuning, our truck will now hold 2200-2300psi under heavy load and wide open throttle. This added pressure will equate to better overall engine efficiency and a more complete burn within the cylinders. No, we still can’t maintain the 2800-psi being asked, but it’s better. We’ll most likely end up replacing our high pressure oil pump next, but it’s great to know a simple modification like this FFD Rail kit is worth the investment and time to install.
EBC Brakes USA
Full Force Diesel