Restrictions in a fuel system not only rob horsepower, but the extra stress on pumps and injectors will reduce their service life. With a good, clean supply of fuel your rig will run better, produce more horsepower, last longer and will most likely get better mileage.

After a few years on the road the Ford 7.3L’s in-tank fuel filter clogs up, restricting the aforementioned fuel flow. But Ford designed this system with another fault. Being a return-type system (fuel is supplied to the engine, it uses what fuel it needs and returns the remainder to the tank in an endless loop of supply and return) the return is too close to the fuel pick-up. This may not sound like a problem, but the return is generally filled with tons of little air bubbles. The pick-up ends up taking its supply of fuel from this frothy area of the tank. This frothy, air-filled fuel greatly hinders performance and overall engine efficiency.

The fix can be found using a kit made by Driven Diesel. This kit includes all the fittings needed to relocate the return line and delete the stock in-tank filter. Also included is a canister-style fuel filter and mount to replace the one filter that’s being removed from the tank. This filter is easily obtainable from just about any truck stop or auto parts store and will stop harmful particles in the fuel from damaging the frame-mounted supply pump.

Installation does require either removal of the bed or dropping the tank to access the fuel pick-up. We headed to our local shop, Pick-Up Parts in Mission Viejo, Calif., for the procedure. All said and done, the install took just a few hours to complete.

The Driven Diesel kit includes all the necessary parts for installation.
Removing the ring that holds the fuel pick-up was next. This generally requires a special tool, but using a simple 2×4 and a rubber mallet works as well. We were very careful not to damage anything during this step.
The first step is dropping the tank. We made sure it was as close to empty as it could possibly be, which makes dropping the tank out from under the truck much easier. Removal took the guys at Pick-Up Parts about 20 minutes to complete.
With the in-tank assembly removed, you can see here what we’ll be working with. That white canister contains the filter that clogs. It needs to be removed and discarded. The black pick-up umbrella was saved and reused.
The pick-up umbrella needed to be modified to fit so a simple drill bit, mounted in a vice, was used to ream out the tube.
With the filter canister removed, a pipe fitting and small piece of stainless tubing found in the Driven Diesel kit was added to extend the pick-up to the base of the tank. We made sure to measure carefully to be sure the pick-up would be roughly one-half to three-quarters of an inch away from the base of the tank when installed.
This is the fuel return line from the engine. Here we installed yet another fitting and length of tubing to move the air-filled fuel return well away from the pick-up.
The return line has an intentional bend in it that needs to be clocked correctly to avoid the fuel level sensor float.
The modified pick-up umbrella reinstalled with a supplied hose clamp on the modified supply line.
Next came the fuel filter assembly to replace the restrictive one removed prior. The filter mounts on the frame in between the tank and the fuel pump utilizing a bracket that simply sandwiches the frame.
The entire assembly was then reinstalled in the tank and the tank was mounted back up underneath.
On the bench, the filter manifold was put together using Teflon tape on the various fittings.
With the filter manifold done it was then mounted to the frame bracket with supplied nylon locking nuts. Notice the new fuel line from the tank. It’s the new fuel supply line to the fuel filter. It was simply attached to the stock supply fitting atop the tank using multiple hose clamps.
The new supply line attaches to the filter manifold using a barbed fitting and hose clamp. Fuel at this point is not under any pressure so more substantial fittings, such as banjo or NPT types, are not necessary.
Next we ran the line from the filter to the pump. Removal of the stock fuel line requires pulling this plastic clip/lock from the fitting using a flathead screwdriver.
Next, a length of fuel line simply attaches to the fuel pump using two hose clamps. Again, this fuel line is not under any positive pressure at all.
Installation done. It’s a good idea to pre-fill the filter prior to installing it. This will lessen the time needed to purge air from the system. To purge any remaining air all that was needed was about ten key cycles to activate the pump.


Driven Diesel

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