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April 02, 2018 4 min read

In 1994.5 the Powerstroke was introduced, replacing the 7.3L IDI engine. Along with the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks, it was used in the E-Series. The 7.3L engine was produced for Ford by Navistar International. It featured single-shot HEUI (hydraulically actuated electronic unit injection) injectors and used a high pressure oil pump (HPOP) to actuate the injectors. It also featured a cam-driven fuel pump.

In 1999, the 7.3L received a face lift. In addition to a body style change there were multiple changes under the hood. These changes included the addition of an intercooler and wastegated turbocharger. Split shot injectors were also introduced. In the previous years, single shot injectors were used. The single shots injected a single shot of fuel per combustion cycle. In the split shots, there’s a small pre-injection of fuel followed by a larger injection. This is used to both deaden the noise, reducing fuel knock & for emissions. In California trucks, split-shot injection was introduced in 1996. In 1999, the Excursion was also introduced.

The 7.3L was in production until mid 2003 when the 6.0L was introduced. Ironically, many claim the 7.3L was the best engine and the 6.0L was the worse. However, it is worth noting that the 6.0L was used in everything from ambulances to rescue trucks and from utility trucks to work vans and of course pickups. The 6.0L was also the first light-duty pickup to begin complying stricter emissions standards including the use of EGR systems. While their EGR coolers were prone to fracturing and their oil coolers were also prone to failures many of the issues and complaints were due to lack of maintenance and owner neglect. For example, the HEUI injectors relied heavily on quality oil. Stretching or neglecting oil change intervals is detrimental to injector health. Additionally, the 6.0L often faced head gasket failure due to only having 4 torque to yield (TTY) bolts per cylinder. Increased cylinder pressure related to oil cooler/EGR failure, increased boost, and aftermarket tuning can stretch the bolts and decrease claiming force. The aftermarket performance industry thrives on 6.0L repairs and upgrades.

In 2008 the next wave of emissions equip engines were introduced when the 6.4L hit the market. The 6.4L brought many changes with it. First and foremost, it was the first light-duty pickup with compound turbochargers from the factory. This provided better throttle response. Ford also transitioned to common rail fuel injection in which a high pressure fuel pump (HFPF) feeds 2 fuel rails which in turn feed each injector. The 6.4L also features a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and dual EGR coolers. The DPF filter captures soot and particulates, reducing black smoke. These trucks periodical go through regen cycles in which fuel is injected into the DPF and soot is burnt off. This combination reduces NOX output but does increase fuel consumption.

With all of the issues seen out of both the 6.0L & 6.4L, Ford’s reputation was in the dumps. Class action lawsuits trumped the headlines and the public was certain the Powerstroke was done. Then at the end of 2010, Ford said, “hold my beer” and released an entirely in-house built 6.7L Powerstroke.  Out of the big three, this was the first light-duty diesel built entirely in-house and it was coupled with a Ford built transmission, the 6R140. From its inception, the engineers referred to it as the Scorpion which is said to be due to the unique turbocharger location and intake/exhaust arrangement.This engine came with a lot of changes proving that Ford learned from past International engines shortcomings and was out to create the best engine possible. This was no small feat as they were required to meet tougher emissions standards while meeting the customer’s exceptions of higher horsepower and torque over a wider RPM range. As of 2018, the engine has undergone a handful of changes including updating the turbocharger from the GT32, a single sequential turbocharger (SST) with a high number of failures, to the GT37.

Ford’s continued improvements to the Powerstroke platform have proven that they listen to their customers and value their feedback.

The chart below follows the progression of the Powerstroke diesel, from its inception to the current engine.


Model Year




210hp/ 425ft-lbs

7.3L Powerstroke engine introduced


210hp/ 425ft-lbs


215hp/ 450ft-lbs


225hp/ 450ft-lbs


Interim year with no 7.3L produced


235hp/ 500ft-lbs

Body style change. Intercooler, wastegated turbocharger, and larger injectors are introduced. Excursion was introduced.


235hp/ 500ft-lbs


250hp/ 550ft-lbs

7.3L calibration increases horsepower and torque


250hp/ 550ft-lbs


250hp/ 550ft-lbs

Last year for the 7.3L


325hp/ 560ft-lbs

6.0L introduced & it was the first emissions equipt light-duty diesel with an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler.


325hp/ 560ft-lbs


325hp/ 570ft-lbs

Body style change. Last year for the Ford Excursion


325hp/ 560ft-lbs


325hp/ 560ft-lbs


350hp/ 650ft-lbs

6.4L introduced, featuring common rail injection & compound turbocharger design. It featured a diesel particulate filter (DPF) designed to reduce NOX output. Body style change.


350hp/ 650ft-lbs


350hp/ 650ft-lbs


400hp/ 800lb-ft

6.7L was introduced. Code named, “Scorpion” by Ford engineers. This engine & transmission were built in-house by Ford rather than Navistar, International. Body style change occurred.


400hp/ 800lb-ft


400hp/ 800lb-ft


400hp/ 800lb-ft


440hp/ 860lb-ft

Turbocharger change & high pressure fuel pump output increased. Transmission featured less clutch counts than previous model years.


440hp/ 860lb-ft


440hp/ 925lb-ft

Body style change.


450hp/ 935lb-ft

Internal engine changes including a connecting rod change.

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