English: Line art drawing of a diesel engine.

English: Line art drawing of a diesel engine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford introduced the world to its powerful 7.3L Diesel engine in 1994 and for the next decade no truck would come close to matching the Power Stroke’s popularity. The Power Stroke ended production in 2003 but features such as the electronically controlled HEUI injector system have contributed to a legacy of over 2 million vehicles still on the road. 

ITEC Lays the Groundwork 

In 1987 the International Truck and Engine Corporation (ITEC) was contacted by Ford to manufacture a heavy-duty diesel engine for the F-250 and F-350 model trucks. The bore of the 6.9L engine was increased to 4.11 inches, giving birth to the 7.3L IDI diesel engine. The engine performed respectably and would remain in use until mid-1994 when Ford changed from indirect injection to direct injection in the legendary 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine

The 7.3L Power Stroke Introduces Direct Injection 

Naturally aspirated engines such as the IDI are preferred by many drivers because of concerns that turbocharging puts additional strain on engine that reduces its lifespan. However the 1994 edition of the 7.3L Power Stroke has proven to have longevity surpassing any similar engine, consistently lasting for 350,000+ miles. The Power Stroke utilizes a more efficient direct injection system to inject the fuel charge directly into the combustion chamber. 

Direct Injection Through the HEUI System 

Direction injection in the power stroke is offered through the Hydraulically Actuated Electronically Controlled Unit Injector. Each of the 8 engine chambers has its own 90cc shot fuel injector which require the use of two electronically-controlled oil pumps. The pumps use two high-pressure rails to increase fuel pressure at the injectors. Supercharged, direct injection into the combustion chamber allowed the new 7.3L diesel engine to increase available horsepower from 185 horsepower in the naturally aspirated, indirectly injected IDI to an impressive 275 HP and 165 lb-feet more torque in the 7.3L V8 Power Stroke diesel engine. 

An Engine Built to Last 

The 7.3L boasted performance unmatched by any other diesel engine offered on the market at the time, which is why over 2 million remain on the road, even a decade after production ended. Efficient direct injection made for a hugely popular and powerful truck engine which could last through heavy use and extreme conditions and became an industry standard for durable engines. 

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