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CELEBRATING ALL THINGS 7.3L POWER STROKE (AGAIN)

When the first-ever 7Tree Jamboree brought out the largest gathering of competition-ready 7.3L Power Strokes in existence last year, interest in the one-of-a-kind event began to grow exponentially. As a result, competitor turnout all but doubled for the second annual contest. An invite-only affair, the goal is to bring the strongestrunning ’94.5-03 7.3L-powered Ford trucks together for a friendly sled pull, drag race, and dyno competition. Instead of handing out trophies, the event declares no winners. And instead of creating a rulebook, it’s run what you brung. After all, the competitors have eyes. They can see for themselves who went the fastest at the drag strip, which truck made the most power on the dyno, and who went the farthest in the dirt.

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Two of the nastier 7.3Ls on hand belonged to Brian Jelich (right) and Tony Salokas (left). Even though it struggled to find traction the first 60 feet, Jelich’s ’00 Super Duty would blaze through the eighth-mile to the tune of a 6.93 at 104 mph, and Salokas would lay claim to a 7.69 at 89 mph. Both trucks sport built engines, big single chargers, Gen3 high-pressure oil pumps, and 400/400 injectors.

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At the first 7Tree Jamboree in 2016, 18 7.3L Power Strokes showed up. This time around, 34 of the strongest-running 7.3Ls in the country made the call. In 2017, competitors and their crew witnessed 6- and 7-second eighth-mile passes, saw more than 20 trucks clear 500 hp or more on the dyno, partook in a sled pull that came down to inches, and joined in on a free-for-all dirt drag competition.

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Daniel Sayres spent the winter upgrading his two-wheel-drive ’00 F-250 and as a result it made it down the track much more quickly this year. Despite fighting some minor traction and suspension issues, the regular cab Super Duty still managed a 7.76 at 91 mph vs. the 8-second passes it made at the inaugural event 12 months prior.

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Steven Giordano and his Super Cab F-250 trekked down from Blairstown, New Jersey. At the drag strip, the combination of an S400, 300/200 hybrid injectors, dual Terminator high-pressure oil pumps, and a BTS transmission yielded a best fuel-only pass of 8.04 at 86 mph. Then Giordano introduced his 7.3L to nitrous and the truck went 7.56 at 91 mph.

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The long-distance award went to Oregon-based Jake Enos (owner of Irate Diesel Performance) and his ’02 F-350. A couple weeks prior to the event, Enos had the truck shipped from the West Coast to central Tennessee. While he would pilot his Ford to several mid-8-second passes on fuel, it’s worth mentioning that the truck is capable of running 7.70s on spray.

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After augmenting his 210,000-mile stock bottom end 7.3L with an S369 SX-E BorgWarner turbo, 350/200 hybrid injectors, and all the supporting mods, David Beach’s ’01 F-250 responded by producing 617 rwhp on the dyno. Making this kind of power with an S300 on a 7.3L is impressive, and wouldn’t have been thought possible just a few years ago.

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Robin Ridgway is one of the better bracket racers in the 7.3L realm and a regular on the national diesel drag racing scene. True to form, her ’01 F-350 crew cab ran consistent 10.40s throughout the night.

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Anytime you visit Beans Diesel Performance, it’s hard not to notice the giant concrete burnout pad on the west side of the shop. This wasn’t lost on Joe Moore and his 7.3L-powered F-150, as he laid down one of the biggest burnouts we’ve ever seen. By the end of the 2-minute melee, chunks of rubber and cords were flying and a sizeable puddle of coolant had formed underneath the truck. Mission accomplished!

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Steven Davis’ F-350 turned in a sound effort when pitted against the Heartbreaker 2 sled. The 210,000-mile tow rig sports a set of Full Force Diesel 200/100 injectors, Adrenaline highpressure oil pump, a Dominator 66 charger from Beans Diesel Performance, and makes more than 500 rwhp.

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It was the first time out for Jacob Rupp’s standard cab Super Duty and while the 5,900-pound F-250 ran consistent low 8s at the drag strip, a weak link surfaced during the sled pull. Under extreme load and good traction, the 10.5 rear axle’s center section twisted on the axle tubes, effectively sheering off the pinion. Additional damage included bent traction bars and a twisted drive shaft. Rupp just smiled and said: “We learned. It won’t happen again.”

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Yanking the sled 374 feet would be enough for Jeremiah Dalton to lay claim to first place in the street class. Later in the day, his Super Duty would also put down a respectable 545 hp and 1,119 lb-ft of torque on the dyno.

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After swapping an S366 SX turbo for an S369 SX-E yielded him an additional 70 hp on the dyno, Roger Pilcher put his 540hp ’97 F-250 to good use in every event. He finished toward the front of the street class in the sled pull and then proceeded to run neck-and-neck with many of the higher-horsepower trucks during the dirt drags.

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As was the case at the inaugural affair, a pulling class was held exclusively for two-wheel-drive trucks. Daniel Warf’s fender-exit exhaust ’96 F-250, which was built on a strict budget, can be seen clawing its way through the dirt here. A gentlemen’s agreement among the truck owners in this class dictates that no more than $5,000 can be invested in them— and that includes the purchase price of the truck. Warf makes use of Stage 2 injectors from Full Force Diesel, a Super Duty turbo, 3-inch intake plenums, twin electric Super Duty fuel pumps, a homemade regulated return system, and a stock 17-degree high-pressure oil pump to get him down the track.

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The Hot class would pit some of the best-running 7.3L pullers in the country against each other. And just as you would expect, the competition was close—with only 10 feet separating the top finishing trucks. Here, Scott Morris’ dually is in the midst of a 314-foot, second place effort with an impressive 27.5 mph ground speed. An S510/S475 compound arrangement, Swamp’s 400/400 injectors, Gen3 high-pressure oil pump, and BTS transmission are just a few of the extreme parts gracing this monster.

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If anyone came to the event looking for a good time, it was Steve Ciolkosz and the rest of his crew. Ciolkosz was anything but discouraged after his Super Duty puked coolant (water pump) and popped a turbo on its 714hp dyno run. He and his buddies simply dug in, pulled the S475 in favor of an S476 SX-E, ditched the suspension blocks, and went to the drag strip—where the truck ran 8.0 in the eighth. During the sled pull the following day, he would take the win in the Hot Class despite having the only single rear wheel truck in the class.

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It was no-holds-barred in the Hot class and Steve Ciolkosz made the most of it by spraying nitrous, pre-turbo, during a few exhibition hooks. The added drive pressure would prove a bit much however, eventually blowing the up-pipes later in the day. Still, Ciolkosz remained committed to competing in every event—even lining up to make a pass during the dirt drags despite not having any up-pipes.

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With a nickname like Gummy Bear, you’re bound to be at the center of a shenanigan or two from time to time. Such was the case for Damon “Gummy Bear” Warren, when a few fellow pullers left a giant teddy bear waiting for him at the full-pull mark. Unfortunately, Warren didn’t quite make it to the bear, but we hear he did get to take it home with him.

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After making a fuel-only pass of 6.99 seconds at 99 mph the night before, Brian Jelich’s ’00 F-350 laid down 808 rwhp on the chassis dyno at Beans Diesel Performance. Then Jelich cracked open the bottle and backed up his 6.93 at 104 mph pass with a 1,082hp hit—which would be good enough for top horsepower honors on the dyno.

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With a bent rear driveshaft leaving him unable to compete at the drag strip, Steven Davis was able to source another one and make it onto the dyno the next day. On the rollers, his 10-second OBS cleared an impressive 673 hp on fuel and 841 hp on nitrous (accompanied by 1,589 lb-ft of torque). The 5,400-pound drag truck sports a stock forged-rod bottom end, Full Force Diesel 350/200 injectors, Dyno Proven tuning, and a box S467.7 turbo from BorgWarner.

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If you were wondering whether a factory forged-rod bottom end 7.3L with a stock cam and heads could make 700 rwhp, look no further than Caylon Golden’s ’00 Super Duty. Thanks to a set of 300/200 injectors from Holders Diesel, an S475 with a Barder Turbo Service billet compressor wheel, SRP1 high-pressure oil pump, H-11 head studs, chromoly pushrods, stiffer valve springs, and tuning from Cale Thompson of Tyrant Diesel, Golden’s short bed converted F-250 sent an impressive 724 hp to the wheels.

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Despite hurting the torque converter the night before at the drag strip, Jake White’s OBS dyno’d 619 hp on fuel and a whopping 904 hp and 1,591 lb-ft with his two-stage Nitrous Express system activated. A built 7.3L consisting of Carrillo rods, Colt Stage 2 cam, Full Force Diesel 400/300 B-code injectors and dual high-pressure oil pumps, Swamps IDM, and Gearhead Automotive Performance tuning highlight his power-making recipe.

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After setting a new dyno record for 7.3L Power Strokes at last year’s event (1,226 hp on nitrous), Matt Maier looked to rock the rollers again in 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, as low bottle pressure limited him to (a still impressive) 955 hp. However, Maier’s 1,969 lb-ft was by far the highest torque number recorded all weekend. At the drag strip, his truck was good for consistent mid-7s at 92 to 93 mph.

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The event concluded with a free-for-all in the dirt. With a fully functional Christmas tree this year, the dirt drag portion of the weekend’s festivities allowed impromptu headsup races to take place at will. For the second year in a row, Robby Ching’s TTB-equipped, two-tone ’97 F-250 was one of the trucks to beat.

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Here, Dylan Cink’s twowheel- drive F-250 faces off against the F-350 dually that trailered it to the event (owned by Louis Miguel Guereca). After swapping in a new forged-rod engine, upping the ante with 300/200 injectors, and as confirmed by a 603hp run on the Beans Diesel Performance dyno, Cink’s regular cab now belongs to the 600hp 7.3L club.

For 2017, Beans Diesel Performance would once again host the sled pull, dyno, and dirt drag portions of the event, with eighth-mile drag racing taking place at nearby Middle Tennessee Dragway. Over the course of the weekend, we were fortunate to witness more than 1,000 hp being made on the dyno, 6-second runs at the drag strip, and watching the baddest HEUI-powered trucks in the nation dig through the dirt.