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7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 10-12-2008, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 1989 7.3 IDI performance upgrades

I am currently rebuilding my 1989 F350's 7.3 IDI. I use this truck as a work truck and for towing my 30 foot travel trailer. I am going to do the full overhaul on the bottom end from new pistons to a new cam and lifters. I would like to know what I could do to get more performance out of this engine. Not that I was unsatisifed with it before, I just would like to get some ideas. I would like to know some low dollar ideas. I do need all new injectors so which ones should I get? The injector pump was fairly new so I am keeping it. I would rather not spend the money for a turbo, I have heard that for the money the performance gains are not going to be worth it for what I use the truck for. I have heard that I can turn up the injector pump but can this hurt the motor? I have also been told that an exhaust upgrade would of course be good also. I love the look of stacks but have yet to find a kit for this truck. Alot of the kits I have seen also have a y pipe in the bed instead of under the truck. I can see the benefit of not having to cut two holes in the bed but to me this just looks odd. You can build a box around the y pipe in the bed but I would rather just have the y pipe under the truck. If I decide to fabricate the system myself does anyone have any recommendations on which stacks to get? I am looking for no more than 4 inch stacks, I see some trucks around that have 6 and 7 inch stacks and to me they do not look good. I just want to make certain that whichever stacks I get that they will be tall enough since they are not going to be mounting to a y pipe in the bed. Also, with stacks do I need to worry about rain getting in them? I always wondered that. Are stacks legal for pickups in most states and is a muffler required? Not sure how this would sound either. I live in NJ. Any info would be much appreciated. I have also heard that on the non-turbo trucks the addition of aluminum wheels also helps due to the reduced weight. Not sure if that is true either. Thanks
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Aight, here we go:

1) injectors - get new ones, made by Delphi, you may want the G-code for the '93-'94 turbo applications as they supposedly give you a bit better throttle response.

2) injection pump - keep the good one you have now, yes it cane but turned up, but you can indeed burn holes in your pistons if you turn it up too much. Do you have a pyrometer (EGT gauge)? If you're turning up the pump and you don't have a turbo you really wanna have a pyrometer, as it's ridiculously easy to overfuel an naturally-aspirated engine.

3) turbo - you want one, especially for towing that 30-footer. Performance increase is significant, fuel economy apparently also improves somewhat. You wan a wastegated turbo, as the non-wastegated ones do not build up much boost unless under load.

4) stacks setup - dual 4" sounds like a good plan, look for a setup made for a '92-'97 truck, as they seem more popular in the aftermarket world. the '94-'97 trucks are PSD trucks, but bed dimensions are about the same, so whatever exhaust fits them should fit your truck as well. Also, have you thought of a single stack, like this:

And don't worry about water in the stacks, it will get there if you're running open stacks but it gets blown out the moment you fire up the engine. Downside is tho with water also comes off soot, my old turnout stack could blow that stuff good 10ft away so all my co-workers and friends were warned to not park on the passenger-side of my truck if it looks tis gonna rain today, my new stack tho I put a rain cap on it and while it can get a bit annoying at idle it works very well.

5) legal stuff - I'd imagine stacks will be okay in NJ, especially since tis a diesel truck, however you will have to have a muffler to pass inspections. Whether you really need the muffler is a different story, if you go with a turbo it really quiets down the engine, and having a non-turbo engine with straight through exhaust and a single stack I don't think that's too loud either. But, to keep it legal, yes you will need a muffler, so get one from a big-truck shop, or order one online but make sure tis made for a diesel truck.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Upgrades

If your looking for more juice, install a pyrometer, even w/out turbo you can get a bit more power by a small tweak of the IP, but you NEED a pyro before you tweak your pump. If you keep your EGTs in check you won't cause much, if any harm to your engine. If you add turbo you will need a pyro to get things tuned right. I would recomend a turbo, you will see a pretty good jump in HP and MPG.

As for stacks. 4" would be nice. You can buy kits but they are really pricey. Its pretty easy to put together your own setup with minimal welding. If you purchase the parts from a large truck shop (large like Peterbuilt) you should be able to get everything you need at a good price. I put together my dual 5" stack setup for around $400 with the 36" stacks (y-pipe in bed). Most kits you find are around $500 without the stacks themselves.

If you do run stacks I would recomend the y-pipe in the bed. I could not find a way to place the y-pipe under the bed without running the pipes under the frame rails and driveline which in my opinion would look a little funny, but would also leave them wide open for impact.

Rain is an issue, at first I ran straight pipes with flaps but these trucks don't produce enough exhaust gas to fully lift both flaps at highway speeds, I went to turnouts and was happy with those. Rain will lead to rust in the pipes along with soot filled water leaking out of joints.

I ran mine straight piped in CA and was only hassled once, but he just gave me a hard time.

You will want to mount the each stack to the bed rail in order to prevent wable. I would suggest a small section (2ft or so) of flex pipe between the motor and the y-pipe (in or under bed) to allow for frame and body flex without your exhaust wrenching on your exhaust manifolds or turbo.

By the way, if you don't go with a turbo, I would suggest testing how loud it will be straight piped before you build your entire exhaust. N/A these trucks are loud, and when the exhaust exits behind your head its even louder. With that in mind, I would suggest some stereo upgrades if you go with stacks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Funny thing is I just shortened my stack and removed the flap for a miter-cut, will see how I like it and I can always trim it down 2" and reinstall the flap - basically I had the stack a bit on the tall side so it clears my bed cap, but I decided to not install that and save it for another truck so now I can go lower with the stack. It's a 3" stack open straight up, and tis gonna rain tomorrow, will see how that's gonna work out
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input guys. If I do decide to go with the turbo should I consider different pistons? Don't the N/A engines have higher compression piston setups than the turbo engines? I was getting ready to order the engine internals and have found some good, complete kits. If necessary I can change the pistons that come with the kit. Also, who makes a good pyrometer? This is my first diesel, I don't want to do all this work and then damage something because of the injection pump not being adjusted properly. When you first install a new injection pump or as in my case re-use the one I have how do you know that it is set to an acceptable adjustment when you first start up the motor? I mean is there a danger of burning holes in your pistons before you get a chance to use the pyrometer to adjust the mixture properly? Thanks again.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Another question regarding the exhaust gas temperature...........What is a safe EGT that I should be looking for? Should this be checked at idle or should it be checked at load or highway speed? Looks like Autometer has good pyrometers. I have used there gauges in my racecars so I think I will stick with them for my Diesel.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Stock engine internals are good for up to 12psi of boost, if you want more then you need to get lower compression pistons and such. The IP should be good if left as is, but you may notice some lack of power - the usual tweak installing a turbo is turning the pump up one flat of the screw (screw takes an allen wrench, hence the term "flats), actually many do that with just n/a engines so you'd be way safe doing so with a turbo. Unlike a gasoline engine diesels don't run lean or rich, and while you can burn a hole in a piston if you put too much fuel in, if you don't put enough fuel nothing bad will happen. As for EGTs, they get high when truck's under load, such as when climbing a hill at lower rpms with a heavy trailer behind. Safe EGTs are below 1100F, so as long as you stay under that number even during a high-load condition you will do just fine.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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you honestly do not need a turbo, obviously you are content with your truck for pulling your trailer or you wouldnt be overhauling it. i take it you just want a little more guts. why waste 2000 on a turbo setup.

ideas
1. a nice free flowing exhaust- rock auto has a complete kit with a better flowing y pipe and 3 inch back with a 3 inch kit with a diesel muffler.

2. you might want to consider a homemade propane injection system there was an awesome article on here in the contents section a while back that was very detailed and was a very nicely fabbed system that gave a nice hp boost it was not as big as a turbo but it was a nice addition

i cant find it but i have it printed out and could email it to you but i bet someone on here can find it on here or has it saved.

3. turn your ip pump up a tad and get a pyrometer, not significant but will improve your power
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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oh and i forgot bullydog makes a propane setup for the internationals if you dont want to fab your own and will still be way under a turbo in price.
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1988 F250 ext. cab dually 2WD 4.56 rear
7.3 W/ ATS Turbo kit, HEAD STUDS, ZF5 single mass flywheel, 12.5 clarck clutch, 6" stacks, mickey thompson supersingles for the summer time.
American flag paint
boost/pyro/oil temp/oil press


1986 f250 Lariat 4x4 6.9L c6 auto/285-75-16's/ brand new viper red paint with my own custom interior viper red and black to match body/front flare out fenders to match newer body style bed from a 95 (custom)
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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when i had my idi i used a factory powerstroke exhaust mated up to a flowmaster scavenging y collector from jegs. it was eventually straight piped cause i was 17 and wanted to sound like a 1 stack mack, but the muffler on the obs psd's is straight through & flows pretty well. if you don't mind the engine noise i also took a sawzall to the ait filter housing & ran a k&n. it had no trouble breathing... in or out.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If i were you running stacks I would run true duals back to stacks. That would sound way better and would have more breathing room less bends and welds just more free flowing. Plus I really love the bark of non Turbo true duals. They sound amazingb

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Old 06-27-2012, 03:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You should also look into the torque cam it addresses a valve train timing issue ( the intake valve doesn't close till 42* abdc with stock cam this actually pushes the air back into intake manifold and heats it especially with turbo) they run just under $200 I think could be wrong on the price and is consider to uncork the motor from what I hear quite a bit it droped a buddy's egt by 50* and he had turned up the pump befor install he's got a sidewinder too Tho
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1990 f250 4x4 e4od 7.3l idi
Turbo ip turned down tq screw
315/75r16
3in lift
K&n air filter and home made ram air
5in stack straight pipes
165,xxx mi (I think/hope)
Large tranny cooler
16-18mpg
Soon to be turbo'd with nice cold air and wraped exhauste be for turbo
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This was posted by some one else on oil burners but should help better explain what I was trying too Well you just asked a whole mouth full. The camshaft is one of the most important parts of the engine it will make the engine make power in higher rpms or lower rpms depending on how its configured. On a conventional engine N/A usually the more lift and duration you have the better the engine preforms @ higher rpm but with a diesel engine, turbo charged that is, Usually the rpms are lower and the torque is made lower there for the time that the valves are held open during operation or travel of the piston is less cause the engine is being force fed air,turbo charging, instead of relying on vacuum.

Now this is where you need to pay attention to where your valves open and close. On a turbo charged engine before the end of the exhaust stroke both the intake and the exhaust valves should be open for a given amount of time, valve over lap, creating what they refer to as scavenging. This is when the charge air from the turbo is pushing out any remaining exhaust gases before starting the intake stroke usualy the intake valve stays open more than the entire downward travel of the piston (180 degrees of crank shaft rotation) say the intake opens @ 10 degrees BTDC exhaust stroke and stays open until 35 degrees after BDC intake stroke or 35 degrees into the compression stroke.
Right here is where what engine types differ.

Most conventional engines are still letting charge air into the cylinder during the upward stroke or compression stroke, like our engines IDI's, this cause more heat and cylinder pressure at TDCC Where as other engine types close the inlet valve before the intake stroke has ended thus letting the charge air expand in the cylinder. And when a volume of air that is already compressed, from the turbo, and is let re-expand quickly during the downward piston travel it becomes cooler decreasing the amount of cylinder pressure and heat in the combustion chamber. When this system is used it is necessary to have a larger quantity of charge air to make up for the air expansion in the cylinder Therein lies the problem and possibly some solution to the IH IDI turbo engines.

Because the 7.3 IDI inlet valve closes @ 42.8 degrees ABDC , from what i was told, the inlet air is crammed in there to the point where its probably being pushed back out of the cylinder due to the length of upward piston travel.

More then likely if the inlet valve was closed before the bottom of the intake stroke then you could have more charge air less emissions and a better balanced engine;Sweet
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1990 f250 4x4 e4od 7.3l idi
Turbo ip turned down tq screw
315/75r16
3in lift
K&n air filter and home made ram air
5in stack straight pipes
165,xxx mi (I think/hope)
Large tranny cooler
16-18mpg
Soon to be turbo'd with nice cold air and wraped exhauste be for turbo
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDIKING View Post
Banks makes a turbo kit the comes with the whole 9 yards.

By the way, banks was the OEM manufacturer for the 7.3 turbo's as well that came factory from Ford, so what you are buying is the same turbo that is on the newer 7.3 turbo motors.
.
ATS was the maker of the factory turbo system for the IDI using a Garrett turbo.




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Old 06-27-2012, 07:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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...... and it takes about 3 hours if you stay at it.
And that will happen about the time a monkey flies out of my butt. For anyone thinking of doing an installation, with every full-fledged mechanic's tool at your disposal in a good fully equipped shop garage, a Banks or ATS installation by a qualified mechanic will take about 12 hours.
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Last edited by LMJD; 06-27-2012 at 07:29 AM.
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