How to: Clean the 7.3 engine - Diesel Forum -
'99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the '99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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How to: Clean the 7.3 engine

Hello all, I have been asked how I keep my engine clean and after trying to explain this several times, I decided to post this short write-up on my process. This has worked for me, but always use at your own risk. I am sure there are a lot of other methods, but here is mine. Keeping a clean engine is the best way to find leaks ASAP and to perform general maintenance without washing around the area you are working on first. Hope this helps someone out!

Cleaning the 7.3 engine
*This is my method of cleaning a 7.3 engine. These methods have always worked for me, but use this at your own risk. I protect all parts that may be affected by this process*

To clean your engine, go to a retail storeís auto section and buy the Purple Power cleaner and degreaser. Do NOT use the Castrol brand, it is by far the strongest and may damage some parts. Ford and other companies also make an approved engine cleaner as well. I use a low pressure, gas powered pressure washer with a variable pressure nozzle. Use the most powerful water you have available to you, power washer or water hose with pressure nozzle. As a rule of thumb, when determining the right water pressure, don't use water pressure that is too strong to spray on your bare leg. (Be VERY careful doing this as pressure washers can cut skin very easily on high pressure)

Start with a cold engine OUT OF THE DIRECT SUNLIGHT, like first thing on a day off or weekend day. (NEVER clean an engine that is at operating temperature) Use the water source you choose to wash the entire engine, including the engine valley, with plain water. Wash from all around the front of the truck, not just the front, and get a step or small ladder to wash the engine from overhead and both the left and right sides. Then, spray the entire engine with your cleaner HEAVILY while the engine is still wet. Make sure you get plenty of cleaner in the engine valley and any other heavily oiled areas. Let this soak for 10-15 minutes and do not let it dry. Lightly spray water to keep it wet if you need to. Then spray off the engine with your water source from all sides and above, including the engine valley, until ALL soapy residue is gone and only clean water is seen and on the ground. Blast away all soiled areas and repeat the entire process if your engine is extremely dirty. TAKE YOUR TIME

When I am finished rinsing, I use air (a leaf blower or compressed air) and dry the engine as much as possible. I then take the truck for a drive to heat the engine and evaporate the majority of the water from the cleaning. I LIGHTLY spray all bare metal parts with WD-40 (or similar) to protect from rust to finish the job.

This is addicting as when you have a clean engine, you want to keep it that way. Plus, any new leaks are very easily found. Hope this helps out someone to get those engines clean.

2001 F-250 4X4 CC SB 7.3 4R100 3.73, BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA/KO, Motorcraft filters, Mile Marker manual hub locks w/ESOF (No hub "floating"), AIH delete, Rust-Oleum bed coating, Silverstar Ultra headlamps w/ clear headlight assemblies, 5,000K LED interior lamps; Moog greaseable u-joints, ball-joints, front hub assemblies; retractable bed hitch, original black CPS (BEST "mod" I have), Energy Suspension bushings, Red Heavy Duty ELC, Edge Evolution 15001 (for gauges), Walker BTM, Donaldson AIS
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 01:12 AM
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The first time I ever degreased my engine was only a couple months ago.

It was a night and day difference. I also made sure to clean the oil pan, transmission, by the starter, the oil cooler and took off both intercooler tubes and all the boots and clean them all inside and out.

Then, took the driver's side battery box/air filter assembly off and got in areas you wouldn't otherwise be able to. So much crud from years of neglect . . . gone. I didn't even know the fuel supply and return lines had colored ribbed plastic surrounding them. I thought they were just black. Even took a 5 gallon bucket full of water and poured it on the engine valley.

My leaf blower is KIA, so I had to use a sponge to get the water out of the engine valley, but when I got it to the point where I was using a paper towel to wipe down the engine valley and get it completely dry, as odd as it sounds, it was a great feeling of accomplishment.

Only going to be able to do this a couple more times before it gets too cold to get myself all wet.

I also need a short barrel pressure washer wand. I've seen them online before. They basically have no extension from the pistol grip, just pop in the fitting and go.

1999.5 F250 creeping up on 400k.

Check your wiring harness: Chaffed wiring at driver's valve cover.

Keep everyone (and yourself) updated:7.3 mileage and repair thread

If you insist on throwing parts at your truck to fix the problem, go big--don't forget the driver's side frame rail.

If your ICP connector has oil in it, change it. Don't argue, just change it. Don't check other things first, just change it.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-17-2012, 03:08 AM
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Do you guys have pics of before and after?

2000 F350 4Dr 4x4 7.3L Powerstroke

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