The First Ever 7.3L Power Stroke-only Event

For many of us, the 7.3L Power Stroke was the first diesel we came to respect. Even though it packed a conservative 210 hp in its mid ’94 debut, it was light-years ahead of the IDI engines it succeeded—in terms of technology, power, and durability. Throughout its production run and beyond, the 7.3L earned a reputation for being one of the most reliable workhorses ever assembled, and along the way, a large aftermarket following for the 444 ci V-8 developed. That following still exists today, and among the highly modified crowd, it’s downright extreme.

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One of the key orchestrator’s behind the event, Steve Constable, made several hooks with his two pulling trucks. Here, his built-on-a-budget 2-wheel drive does what it does best at the end of the track—pulls the front end several feet off the ground. In a friendly competition with Damon Warren, both parties set a budget of $5,000 (including the purchase price of the truck) to build 2-wheel drive pullers to have fun with. Other rules limit their injector size to 238cc, and they can be equipped with nothing larger than 100-percent over nozzles.

After traveling 1,000 miles from Berlin, Connecticut, Mike Satkowski let it all hang out in every event. With countless passes under his belt at the drag strip, he was able to go from low 8s to a 7.81 in the eighth-mile by the end of the day.

Steven Davis’ regular cab OBS proved to be the fastest of the bunch. The gutted, caged, and nitrous-fed OBS weighs in at just 5,450 lbs., and clicked off an impressive 6.91 at 98 mph. That’s 10.80s in the quarter-mile. Not bad for one of the simpler setups we came across at the event.

Steven Davis’ regular cab OBS proved to be the fastest of the bunch. The gutted, caged, and nitrous-fed OBS weighs in at just 5,450 lbs., and clicked off an impressive 6.91 at 98 mph. That’s 10.80s in the quarter-mile. Not bad for one of the simpler setups we came across at the event.Thanks to Matt Maier, Steve Constable, and a few others, the idea of getting the strongest running 7.3L powered trucks in the country together for a friendly weekend competition was born, and planning followed shortly thereafter. The one stipulation came in the form of it being an invite-only gathering. Competitors, nearly all of which were familiar with pushing the limits of the 7.3L platform, were handpicked to make the first-ever 7Tree Jamboree a success. The event would entail a trip to Middle Tennessee Dragway’s eighth-mile track, followed by chassis dyno action, sled pulls, and dirt drags taking place at nearby Bean’s Diesel Performance.

Matt Maier, who helped create the event and works for Irate Diesel Performance, has made a name for himself over the last 4 to 5 years while campaigning his 11-second OBS. He has illustrated time and again how much abuse a factory forged rod engine can handle with the right combination of parts. On this pass, his 6,900-lb. F-250 sprinted to a nitrous-assisted 7.17-second eighth-mile at 96 mph. Just for the record, he has run 7.0s in the past.

Damon (Gummy Bear) Warren has been in the sled pulling game for quite a while. In addition to campaigning a wheel lifting two-wheel drive OBS puller, his healthy crew cab still gets it done in four-wheel drive classes. His truck would finish Second (383.29 feet) in the first round of the Hot class, and take Third Place (422.64 feet) in the second go round.

It wasn’t a four-wheel-drive-only show by any means. One of the two-wheel drive competitors was Daniel Sayres’ ’00 F-250. While he couldn’t find good traction in the eighth-mile, an 8.01 at 89 mph proved he was in the 590-ish hp range on a set of 250/200’s, S467.7 turbo, Gen3 high-pressure oil pump, BTS transmission, and Gearhead Automotive Performance tuning.

Backing up his 7.81-second pass at 86 mph, Mike Satkowski’s OBS laid down 588 hp and 1,105 lb-ft. of torque on the dyno. He would be the first of 16 trucks to hit the rollers at Bean’s Diesel Performance.

Looking to get past a personal best of 738-rwhp on the dyno, Steven Davis’ did just that thanks to a .106 jet and plenty of bottle pressure. Once the rollers stopped spinning, his truck cleared 861 hp at the wheels.

If anyone came to the event to have a good time, it was Roger Pilcher. The 53-year old Wisconsinite recently became addicted to modifying his ‘97 F-250, and he turned the truck loose in every event. While Roger’s truck sported one of the milder setups at the event (205/100 injectors, Barder S366 turbo, electric fuel system), he did manage to clear a very respectable 470 hp on the dyno and runs 9.60s at the track.

Dylan Cink brought his immaculate regular cab, two-wheel drive F-250 up to the event from Fort Worth, Texas. Benefitting from 250/200 injectors, a Smeding Diesel billet S468, Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump, a BTS transmission, Bean’s Diesel electric fuel system, and Gearhead Automotive Performance tuning, it put down 592 hp. Imagine having that kind of power on tap in a 5,440-pound truck! Maybe that’s why he enjoys street racing against Mustangs, Camaros, and the like as much as he does.

After making 861 hp on the dyno (which backed up his near-97-mph at the dragstrip), Matt Maier went for broke on the nitrous side of things. First, he upgraded from a .073 and .099 jet setup to a .110 and .99 arrangement. Then, on the dyno operator’s que (Ryan Bean), another stage (the equivalent of a -6 line) would be sprayed pre-turbo—better known as ghetto fogging.

And there you have it, the most horsepower we’ve ever seen made by a 7.3L Power Stroke: 1,226 hp at the wheels. It’s been a long journey for Matt, but he’d be more than happy to tell you it’s been worth the trip. Perhaps the best part is that with 350/200 injectors, BTS dual high-pressure oil pumps, a box S467.7 turbo, head studs, valve springs, and pushrods sitting atop a stock forged rod bottom end, there’s nothing crazy about his setup. It’s proof that good tuning and the right parts go a long way.

Who knew the chassis dyno could be so destructive? In the middle of his first dyno run, the tail housing of the transmission let go on Brian Robbins’ OBS puller (“Night Train”), which led to all sorts of mayhem.

Along with bending the rear drive shaft into an L shape, the rear end yoke disintegrated. But, in keeping with the spirit of the event, half a dozen guys (including one of Bean’s lead mechanics) volunteered to do whatever it took to get Brian’s truck up and running again so he could participate in the sled pull.

Putting in a full night’s work in order to get the truck ready to pull the next day, a new driveshaft was built and bolted into place. The transfer case appeared to be salvageable so it was reused. By 2 a.m., the truck was ready to hit the track in a few short hours.

When the smoke cleared and all the dust settled, we were witness to a 6-second eighth-mile pass, more than 1,200 hp being made on the dyno, a dozen trucks hooking to the sled, and 3.5-second blasts through 300-feet of dirt. The best part? When someone’s truck broke, everyone pooled together to fix it. When there was downtime between events, everyone mingled. There were no cliques, no hidden agendas, no drama. It was a flashback to how diesel events used to be. Needless to say, we’ll be back for round two! DW

Five years in the making, it was nice to see Tony Salokas’ truck show up at the 7Tree Jamboree. It is one nasty ride, and Tony’s goal is to run mid 11s in the quarter-mile on fuel, and 11.0 on spray. This is how the truck looks prior to heading to the dragstrip—with a 30×14 M&H cheater slick gracing each corner.

Talk about a sleeper! Tony Salokas’ ’01 Super Duty made the most fuel-only horsepower out of anyone at the event (714 hp). Then, and even though he was running low on nitrous, Tony sprayed the truck to 830-rwhp before calling it a night. A built engine (with Manley rods, fly-cut and coated pistons, girdle, half-filled block, done-up heads, Gearhead Stage 2 cam), 300/200s, Gen3 high-pressure oil pump, Barder S475, and BTS transmission rounds out this truck’s built-for-battle setup.

Taking home the win in the stock class was Steven Davis’ tow rig. The crew cab OBS benefits from a set of 200/100 injectors, Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump, Dyno Proven tunes, and a Dominator 66 charger. Right before pulling the sled out the back door, Steven threw the truck on Bean’s dyno as well, in which it put down a very impressive 524-rwhp.

After his driveline carnage was repaired, Brian Robbins held nothing back on the pulling track, hooking to the sled a total of three times within a 2-hour period. The truck put together a Second and a Third Place finish on the day, and averaged 27 mph while storming down the track.

Chuck Dorsey’s F-350 Super Duty made a respectable 465 hp and 994 lb-ft. of torque on the rollers. The engine sports a set of Full Force Diesel Stage 1.5 injectors, an Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump, and a GTP38R. Chuck also does all of his own tuning (Dorsey Diesel).