The Story Of A 600 HP, Stock Bottom End 7.3L, Part 1
Surviving 10 Years At High-Horsepower
Picture the way diesel performance was 10 years ago. At the time, tuned 6.4L Power Strokes—capable of dynoing 570 to 590 hp and collecting 12-second timeslips at the drag strip—ruled the roost as far as average, daily-driven, do-everything late-model trucks were concerned. Of course, the Duramax and common-rail Cummins offerings weren’t far behind, with 500hp tune-only trucks rampant throughout the population. For any 7.3L Power Stroke enthusiast, where 500 hp was a big deal (and took some extensive work to achieve), it was plain to see they were going to be left behind. In an effort to remain relevant in the world of 500 and 600hp daily drivers, yours truly embarked on a series of upgrades to help bring his ’97 F-350 up to speed.
Because a Cummins swap wasn’t on the table, it was either A. take a chance on the factory 7.3L holding up to big power, or B. fork over the cash to start fresh with a built 7.3L. Thanks to a limited budget at the time, I elected to go with option A. Although many 7.3L owners had stacked a 600-rwhp combination on top of the factory rotating assembly and managed to keep their engines alive, there were plenty of horror stories out there, too. Despite not knowing whether my own 175,000-mile Power Stroke would live or not, I decided to roll the dice anyway and see if it could. Ten years later, the 225,000-mile 7.3L Power Stroke in this OBS Ford is still ticking.
This series will highlight the parts that got the truck to the 600-rwhp mark, as well as the sensible driving techniques that were used to keep the stock bottom end alive for so long.
Irate Diesel Performance
Power Hungry Performance
Riffraff Diesel Performance
Unlimited Diesel Performance