Not everyone sets out to perform a general repair on their truck and then proceeds to add 300 hp to it—but that’s exactly what David Beach ended up doing to his ’01 F-250. With the 7.3L Power Stroke’s factory up-pipes beginning to leak, he decided to upgrade to a more durable set, which then morphed into the need for a completely new turbo arrangement in the valley. But then, what purpose does a larger turbo serve without more fuel to go along with it?
In order to know exactly how far he could push things, Beach first had to find out which type of connecting rods resided in the block. And after pulling the pipe plug next to the oil cooler pad, he was relieved to find studs on the rod caps, which meant his 7.3L was equipped with forged steel rods and not the weaker powdered-metal units typically found in ’01-03 model year engines. As far as his horsepower plans were concerned, this meant full steam ahead.
Starting with the turbo, a complete T4 mounting kit from Irate Diesel Performance was selected to replace the factory system. The turbo mount opens the door for 7.3L Power Stroke owners to run any T4-flanged charger on the market. Beach’s turbo of choice would be one of the latest gems from BorgWarner: the forged milled wheel (FMW) S369 SX-E, which offers the flow of a S400 frame charger but comes in the compact package of a S300. Intercooler piping, 3-inch aluminum intake plenums, and stainless steel up-pipes were also included in the Irate kit.
In true all-or-nothing fashion, Beach would step up the fuel side of the 7.3L’s HEUI equation considerably. The stock injectors were replaced with 350cc hybrid units from Unlimited Diesel Performance, fuel supply was ramped up courtesy of an Irate Diesel Performance competition system (complete with a Fuelab lift pump and a regulated return setup), and a Beans Diesel Performance sump kit was installed in the fuel tank. For the time being, the stock 17-degree highpressure oil pump handles the oil supply needs for the injectors, and custom PCM tuning from Gearhead Automotive Performance ensures the stock pump can keep up.
With a parts list of what he would need to put together a competition-ready 4R100 from fellow 7.3L guru Matt Maier, Beach had family friend Wayne Runion—a Ford tech with 40 years of experience— build up the four-speed automatic. Complete with billet input and intermediate shafts, a billet Overdrive planetary, Alto clutches, John Wood Automotive accumulator body, cast-iron tail housing, and a Precision Industries triple-disc torque converter, this transmission is ready to handle anything the 7.3L sends its way. For added insurance, a transmission cooler from a 6.0L Power Stroke was installed, as well as a manual lock-up controller for sled pulling and drag racing purposes.
While the last couple of years could be characterized as an endless string of modifications for Beach and his Super Duty, he’s learned a lot along the way. Between himself and good friend Hastings Foote, nearly every wrench that’s been turned on the truck has taken place in his or his friend’s driveway. “The only time my truck’s ever really been to a shop was when So-Flo did the traction bars,” Beach says.
This winter, the wrenches will be turning once again, as he plans to double down and add stiffer valve springs, stronger pushrods, head studs, a larger (or second) high-pressure oil pump, a fuel cell, and a little nitrous to the mix. Judging by what he’s accomplished so far, we have no reason to doubt his F-250 will have the potential to run low 12s or high 11s come spring. DW