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Engine oil requirements
The most common problem with Ford's 7.3 Direct Injection Turbo diesel is related to engine oil change interval and type of oil being used. It is critical for proper engine operation that the customer or technician servicing the vehicle check that the correct oil is being used. This engine uses a high pressure oil pump to operate the fuel injectors. Typical system pressures are 500 psi at idle, 1200 at 3300 rpm in neutral, and 3600 psi at full load acceleration. Oil for the PowerStroke requires an anti-foaming agent to prevent the oil from aerating, which would result in poor fuel injector spray patterns and reduced power. Depending on vehicle usage, the anti-foaming agents are depleted in 3000-5000 miles.
The only oil recommended for the PowerStroke by Ford is Motorcraft Super Duty 15W40, 10W30. Each of these has the proper additives in them for use in a diesel engine including the anti-foaming agents. The 15W40 is recommended for normal climates, the 10W30 for temperatures below 20 degrees fahranheit. For temperatures below -10 degees, 5W-30 is recommended. There are other oils, however, that do meet all the requirments for use in the PowerStroke. The specifications the owner needs to look for on the label are the API rating of CF-4/SH or CG-4/SH or higher. Some other oils with the correct ratings are:
Fuel and air filters
Another problem that arises, usually during wet weather, is the "water in fuel light" staying on. Diesel fuel attracts moisture, and unfortunatly water does most of the damage to a diesel's fuel system. Normaly the "water in fuel" light only comes on at cold starts when the water has had a chance to seperate from the fuel in the filter housing. If the water is not drained regularly, it will mix with the fuel due to the agitation caused by the fuel pump, and if there is enough water in the filter the light stays on. You should drain the fuel filter at least once a month, more if the weather is wet. On early 97 and older F-series the drain is accessed through the opening on the engine trim cover. The yellow drain lever can be seen at the 7 o'clock position on the fuel filter housing. Turn the lever one quarter of a turn clockwise to open it. If the fuel does not drain, you may have to crank the engine over. On the late 97 F-series, the engine trim has been cut down, but the drain lever is in the same position as is the Econoline vans, but the vans need the air filter housing removed to access the drain. On the 99 PowerStroke engines, the drain has been moved to the ten o'clock position and is turned one quarter turn clockwise, and the key turned to the on position to allow the electric fuel pump to expell the fuel. 98.5 and newer Econolines have a cable attached to the filter drain, which is near the transmission dip stick. The fuel drains onto the front crossmember, so you may want to install a piece of hose at the end of the drain pipe to prevent messes.
If the fuel becomes very contaminated, you'll want to change the filter. Some aftermarket filters have a square-cut o-ring seal instead of the lip type of the original [IMAGE]. I recommend using the Ford Motorcraft filters FD4595 for the 94-98 and FD4596 for the 98.5-2K or their Racor equivalents: IN F4595 and IN F4596. The WIX 33518/NAPA Gold 3518 used to be identical to these, but reciently they changed design (without changing part numbers) to a square cut lid seal and a weak grommet-like lower seal which tends to split. The fuel filter also has a pin in the top which opens a valve inside the filter housing standpipe. Some aftermarket filters have a shorter pin than necessary which results in the valve not opening completely and this can cause lack of power concerns. The fuel filter should be changed at 15,000 mile intervals.
On the 97 and older, the filter housing cover can be removed using a large screwdriver to turn the cover by laying it across the cover and twisting against the ridges on the cover. The 99 fuel filter cover (as well as the earlier design) can be removed with a 4 inch oil filter wrench. On both types of filter housing, the new o-ring needs to be lubed with fuel or oil and installed onto the housing--not the cover--with the lip facing up.
Do not use any fuel additive containing alcohol or ones that would allow water to pass through the fuel system to be burned off in the cylinders. The tolerances of the fuel injectors are so precise that this could cause damage and failure of the injectors from the lack of lubrication. Also using fuel not ment for highway use could cause damage to the injectors or the catalytic converter. Ford does have a fuel additive for use during break-in periods such as when the injectors are serviced, and is recommended for use any time fuel quality is in question; P/N F8AZ-9C077-AA. In cold weather conditions Stanadyne's Performance/All Season Fuel Conditioner (P/N 29409[pt]).
Above all, do not mix gasolene in with the diesel fuel. If you have an algae problem, there are fuel conditioners to correct this, too.
The larger F-series air filter (Motorcraft FA-1617) should be good for as long as the fuel filter, depending on dust conditions, but the Econoline (FA-1618), the 99 F-series (FA-1675) and 99.5 F-series (FA-1680) use a smaller filter (the E-van uses two). It would be a good idea to check the air filter(s) on these once a week in dusty conditions and replace them every other oil change, and to keep a spare. Or you could purchase an after market "washable" filter element such as those sold by K&N or Amsoil. When inspecting or replacing the air filter, inspect the filter housing drain and clean it as necessary.
Cooling system maintenance
The cooling system on any diesel has special concerns. It's possible for the coolant to cavitate--produce tiny bubbles--that can with time cause pin holes throught the cylinder walls from the water jackets. For this there is an additive; Ford P/N FW-15 or FW-16, Fleetguard P/N DCA4; that needs to be maintained in the coolant. Generally this means installing 8 to 10 oz of the additive to the cooling system every 15000 miles. Another method is to monitor the cooling system with Fleetguard's DCA4 test kit P/N CC2602 or CC2602A. This measures the level of DCA4 in the system, then you add the amount of SCA/DCA as required to reach a nitrite level of 1.2-3.0 PPM. The cooling system should be drained (and flushed if you live in an area with especialy alkiline water) and refilled with a fresh 50/50 mix of coolant/distilled or demineralized water and one pint of the additive for every two gallons of coolant/water at 30,000 miles. Use only a ethylene glycol-based coolant, preferably low-silicate.
Antifreezes I can recommend:
Ford has approved using the gold HOAT coolants in their vehicles as far back as the 1999 model year, providing the cooling system has been thoroughly flushed to remove all traces of the green coolant. If regular tap water is used instead of distilled or demineralized water, the recommended service interval is only 50,000 miles.
Ford does not recommend using propylene glycol-based coolants in any of their vehicles, or "universal" coolants that claim to be a replacement for any color antifreeze. They also have not approved the use of any organic acid tecnology (OAT) extended life coolants (ELC) in the PowerStroke cooling system.
Do not use starting fluids for hard starting problems. With the glow plug system, starting fluids can ignite as the key is turned on causing engine damage. Keep your batteries and charging system in good condition, note any problems with the glow plug cycle, and if you experience a hard cold start problem, plug in the block heater, if your truck is equiped with one. This will heat the coolant enough to aid in starting. If you do experience hard starting, get you truck serviced as this condition could cause other system problems if left unrepaired, such as starter failure.
Care should be taken when installing performance enhancing devises or "chips", or modifing any electronic engine component such as configuring the exhaust back pressure valve to act as an engine brake. This can cause driveability problems, "check engine" light to come on, and may affect your warrenty.
If you truck has an automatic overdrive transmission and you tow, remember that there is no engine braking in overdrive. It is recommended that the overdrive be cancelled when towing in hilly areas to prevent accelerated brake and transmission wear and transmission overheating.
You may want to pick up some items to carry with you, especially for long trips:
At least 2 quarts of the engine oil that you use. Don't mix two different oils, their chemical additives may not be compatable.
A pint of the Fleetrite CH1824392 or Lubrizol 888 anti-foaming conditioner.
A fuel filter; either a screwdriver or oil filter wrench to open the filter housing; 2 feet of 5/16 hose to attach to the filter drain and something to drain it into (ie, a coffee can).
At least 2 pints of the F8AZ-9C077-AA fuel lubricity conditioner, or
Stanadye Performance/All Season Fuel Conditioner.
A pint of the FW-15/-16 DCA4 coolant conditioner.
If you own an E-van or 99 F-series, air filter(s).
An accessories drive (serpintine) belt--you may not be able to install it yourself, but at least you won't be stranded for lack of one.
Some other non-essentials: An oil filter, 5 gallons of diesel, jumper cables, a CC2602A test kit for the DCA4, and an extension cord for the block heater.
Chances are, with as many of these engines out there, you'll come across another PowerStroke owner that carries some of these items if you are in need, but it's always good to be prepared when on a trip.
For general service and maintenance information and Check List for any vehicle click HERE
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How the PowerStroke Injection system works
6.0 PowerStroke and Torqshift Information
Links to other sites on the 'Net
www.thedieselstop.com; (The Ford Diesel Website/Ford-Diesel.com) information and discussion for Ford diesel owners
InterMotive, INC.; Overdrive inverters for automatic transmissions and other devices
International Truck and Engine (Navistar)
Amsoil product information--lubricants and filters.
Diesel Injector Service; For all of your diesel engine needs: Injection systems, filters, O-ring kits,
accessories and fuel conditioners
Get high quality OEM replacement parts from Parts Geek.
PowerStroke Mail List;
Information and discussion on 1999 and up Ford F Series Trucks & Ford Vans with the
Ford/Navistar Power Stroke 7.3L Direct Injection Turbo diesel engine.
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Power Stroke Registry
An organization for PowerStroke owners; quarterly publication
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