30 Oil-Fired Dinosaurs Hit the Dyno
If you’re still interested in 7.3L Power Strokes in the year 2018, you’re either one of two kinds of people: 1) You’re the owner of a workhorse that just won’t quit; or 2) you’re hell-bent on making your 7.3L competitive. When the most powerful 7.3L Power Strokes in the nation were once again summoned to the annual 7Tree Jamboree at Beans Diesel Performance, we were looking forward to seeing a bunch of old Fords tear up the drag strip and hook to the sled.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for this year’s invite-only gathering. After a slow-moving weather system dumped several inches of rain on the area and kept temperatures below 40 degrees, there was no other choice but to cancel the pulls and drag races. But even though the festivities on both pavement and dirt were rained out, it didn’t put a damper on the fun. Instead, the action moved indoors to find out who could make the biggest number on the chassis dyno.
All told, 30 trucks would be strapped to the rollers, and before the affair was over 21 made at least 600 hp or more. With no shortage of full nitrous bottles, more than a dozen ghetto-foggings took place as well—one of which produced a new 7.3L horsepower record. While the dyno was occupied we were also able to mingle with truck owners, many of whom pulled their trucks out of the rain, popped their hoods and partook in an impromptu version of cars and coffee—although this rendition might’ve been more aptly named “7.3s and beer.” Here, we’ll run down the parts combinations of some of the most powerful trucks in attendance, kicking off with the top 10 finishers on the dyno.
Rain or shine, the 7Tree Jamboree brings out the best of what’s left of the 7.3L world. The people are genuine, the camaraderie is contagious and the caliber of trucks is impressive. As a bonus, the event serves as a reminder that true 7.3L diehards will stop at nothing to keep pushing the ancient, 444ci, HEUI-injected V8 to new heights.
1. T.J. Salokas—1,305 hp / 2,093 lb-ft
After Steven Davis’s OBS F-350 broke the 1,000 rwhp barrier, things were starting to heat up on the Dynocom dyno at Beans Diesel Performance (more on Davis’s numbers below). Then, an hour before midnight, T.J. Salokas backed his ’01 F-350 onto the rollers. A few minutes later history was made. First, the healthy Super Duty laid down a solid 787 hp on fuel, followed by 994 hp on nitrous via a .110 jet. Then it was time to ghetto-fog the North Jersey Ford on top of that. As we go to press, Salokas’s 1,305 hp is the highest ever recorded for a HEUI-equipped 7.3L Power Stroke.
So what makes Salokas’s 7.3L tick? It starts with a fully built engine from Carson Stauffer Diesel, complete with a half-filled block, crankcase girdle, Manley Performance rods, de-lipped and fly-cut 15:1 compression pistons, a Gearhead Automotive Performance Stage 2 cam and Stage 2 ported and fire-ringed heads from Carson Stauffer. Big fuel and oil comes in the form of high-flow, 400/400 injectors and a Gen3 high-pressure oil pump from Swamp’s Diesel, while JeliBuilt Performance handles the PCM tuning. A Forced Inductions 76mm S400SXR (a.k.a. “Gangster 76mm”) provides the hard hit up top and it’s a big reason why the truck makes nearly 800 hp on fuel.
2. Steven Davis—1,008 hp / 1,729 lb-ft
One of the few high-horsepower 7.3L owners to turn down the ghetto-fog option, Steven Davis decided to stick with the setup he uses at the track: considerable fuel and a progressively controlled Nitrous Express system. Thanks to a set of Full Force Diesel 300/200 hybrids, Honey Badger Sr. high-pressure oil pump, a box BorgWarner S467.7 and Gearhead Automotive Performance tuning, his ’95 F-350 made 674 hp on fuel. On the bottle, the OBS Ford picked up more than 330 hp, boosting the truck into four-digit territory.
3. Chuck Dorsey—988 hp / 1,866 lb-ft
As a tuner of 7.3Ls and a builder of 4R100s, you can bet that Chuck Dorsey has a lot of R&D in his ’00 Super Duty. It came as no surprise when his 350/200, dual high-pressure oil pump, S369 SX-E equipped F-350 cleared 640 hp and 1,264 lb-ft on fuel. After a small shot of spray was introduced those numbers jumped to 751 hp and 1,442 lb-ft. Then, opting for the full ghetto-fog treatment, just shy of 1,000 hp was squeezed through the non-wastegated S369 SX-E.
Pieced together using Brian Crower rods and de-lipped factory pistons, the 7.3L in Dorsey’s Super Duty was built to handle the abuse it was subjected to on the dyno. The amount of horsepower the S369 SX-E was able to support impressed us, too. In fact, Dorsey’s 988 hp is one of the highest numbers we’ve seen out of an S369 SX-E charger. Like most invitees present at the Jamboree, he is able to run the S300 BorgWarner thanks to a T4 mounting kit from Irate Diesel Performance.
4. Alis Hill—950 hp / 1,578 lb-ft
Not even a 289,000-mile stock bottom end could keep Alis Hill and the Diesel Shop LLC crew from getting in on the ghetto-fogging hijinks. The big blast of N2O the standard-cab F-250 received was good enough for 950 ponies and 1,578 lb-ft of torque. On fuel alone—and thanks to a set of Full Force Diesel 350/200s and dual HPOPs, a 5-blade Stainless Diesel S475 and JeliBuilt Performance tuning—the two-wheel-drive Super Duty made a very respectable 738 hp.
5. Andy Inman—940 hp / 1,926 lb-ft
With so many trucks making extra horsepower via open nitrous bottles, it was only a matter of time before the event experienced a casualty. When the big S476 SX-E on Andy Inman’s stock bottom end 7.3L failed to come up on boost quick enough, a head gasket was sacrificed. But even though a head had lifted, Inman’s OBS still came away with an impressive 940 hp and 1,926 lb-ft showing.
Based on a stock forged-rod bottom end, Inman’s 7.3L benefits from all the standard 7.3L top-end mods (Comp Cams 910 valve springs, Smith Brothers pushrods and ARP head studs), but packs a serious punch in the fuel, oil and air departments. Unlimited Diesel Performance 300/200 injectors, Full Force Diesel’s dual high-pressure oil pumps, the aforementioned S476 SX-E and Dorsey Diesel tuning combine for a very streetable 680 hp without the aid of nitrous.
6. Steve Ciolkosz—932 hp / 1,816 lb-ft
If we learned one thing at last year’s 7-Tree Jamboree, it’s that Steve Ciolkosz likes to party. He doesn’t allow things like stock connecting rods to keep him from running 450/400s, an S475 and a healthy dose of nitrous. Even after his 7.3L pushed coolant, he topped it back off with tap water and pressed on, determined to make a good number. Following a tuning change (a nasty file from SDK Performance), his ’99 F-250 went from 641 hp to 753 hp on fuel—and then picked up nearly 200 more via ghetto fog.
Starting with a factory forged-rod bottom end with 170,000 miles on the clock, Ciolkosz added Comp Cams 910 valve springs, chromoly pushrods and ARP head studs up top—along with a Gen3 high-pressure oil pump and the previously mentioned 450/400s and S475 turbo. After his business on the dyno was finished, he paid a visit to the infamous Beans Diesel Performance burnout pad and proceeded to shred the rear BFG All Terrains. “Send It” is an understatement as far as Steve Ciolkosz is concerned.
7. Roger Pilcher—912 hp / 1,786 lb-ft
Yet another example of a stock bottom end 7.3L cranking out big power is Roger Pilcher’s ’97 F-250. In between each Jamboree, his OBS seems to find another 70 hp. Now with 225,000 miles racked up, his fuel-only horsepower checks in at a stout 610 hp, along with 1,180 lb-ft of torque. On the bottle (or should we say, on the ghetto fog?) his two-tone, solid-axle ¾-ton made a whopping 912 hp. During the summer months you can find Pilcher religiously hooking to the sled. Year round you can find him behind the wheel for nearly every other purpose, as the truck serves as his daily driver.
Pilcher’s power combination is surprisingly simple. He runs a set of Full Force Diesel 205/100 hybrid injectors, an Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump from DieselSite and SDK Performance tuning. Slight port work helped open up the factory heads, beehive valve springs eliminate valve float and creep, and Smith Brothers chromoly pushrods sit in place of the bend-friendly stockers. Boost production comes by way of an S369 SX-E from Barder Turbo Service mounted via a T4 system from Irate Diesel Performance.
8. Jeremiah Dalton—846 hp / 1,693 lb-ft
After unhooking his ’00 F-250 from the triple-axle enclosed trailer it towed to the event, Jeremiah Dalton’s Super Duty proceeded to clear 594 hp and 1,215 lb-ft on fuel. Then the bottle was turned loose on the intake and another 250 hp was added to the equation. Dalton’s six-speed Ford makes use of 250/100 injectors, an S467.7, a factory 17-degree high-pressure oil pump and completely stock heads—not even the valve springs have been upgraded.
9. Mike Satkowski—829 hp / 1,496 lb-ft
Even though Mike Satkowski trucked all the way from Connecticut with the hopes of seeing what his slicked OBS could do at the drag strip, he didn’t let the rain spoil his fun. His solid-axle F-250 would make 588 hp on fuel while aboard the rollers, and then clear 829 hp on giggle gas. Full Force Diesel 300/200 hybrids, an SRP1.1, Irate T4 turbo kit and a billet 5-blade Stainless Diesel S468 make up his power-making recipe, along with a built bottom end to absorb all the punishment. So far his sub-7,000-pound OBS has been as quick as 12.0 at 108 mph in the quarter mile.
10. Daniel Sayres—742 hp / 1,380 lb-ft
Although Sayres has owned his ’00 F-350 for 13 years, the past few have been the most exciting performance-wise. His build is proof that a 205,000-mile stock bottom end 7.3L can be treated to select upgrades (Comp Cams 910 valve springs, chromoly pushrods, ARP head studs installed one at a time) and survive big horsepower. So far, Sayres’s standard cab screamer has trapped 123 mph through the 1320, which confirms that the lack of bottle pressure he experienced at this year’s event kept his dyno numbers lower than they should’ve been.
Fueling in Sayres’s F-350 is provided by a set of Full Force Diesel 250/200 injectors with an Aeromotive A1000 supplying them. Ample high-pressure oil volume is provided courtesy of a Gen3 bolted above a stock 15-degree HPOP from an OBS truck. The 7.3L breathes through an S467.7 integrated into the 7.3L’s lifter valley thanks to an Irate Diesel Performance T4 mounting kit. Despite utilizing one of the milder injectors found at the Jamboree (if you can even call 250/200s mild), Sayres’s truck made a jaw-dropping 709 hp on fuel while aboard the rollers. A progressive nitrous system—with a stone-cold, 15-pound nitrous bottle—added another 33 hp to the mix once it was activated.