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I have a '94 7.3 vin K turbo diesel. A while back it started losing some power on hills. As in I'd put it to the floor and get nothing sometimes, just plug along. Other times it would respond as expected and power up the grades. Two days ago it started sounding louder, both at idle and working, same general sound just louder. Yesterday it started the 'clacking' while at idle and power, jumping from normal 'quiet' operation to being really loud. It happened for various durations at various RPMs. For the last couple miles getting home it also started surging and coughing like a plugged fuel filter would do. Not bad or constant but noticeable. Until then it was performing fine just loud. I've been having an issue with bad fuel and have changed the filter multiple times in the last few months, including yesterday after the issues just to see. There was no change. The only other thing I've done is top off the oil. I'm not what you'd call a mechanic. I know how to do what I know how to do and am picking up more all the time. Not sure if this is something I'd want to tackle but need to figure out what the issue is first. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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It sounds like you're describing a fuel knock. Look at the top of the injectors for wet spots, that is where the most common place is for air intrusion is. That knock you describe is from the injectors getting a slug of air, or lack of fuel. From there it is anybody's guess. Air comes from many places and will leak in where fuel won't leak out. Usually the bonnets on top of the injectors (which are sealed with O-rings) will start leaking, and the knock is the first sign. After a while, it won't want to start.
 

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mine was doing that and it was a injector going out. changed it and worked and sound normal after that. the way i tested it was to have it running and break loose each line to the injector tell you find one that dont make a change in the sound of the truck and thats your bad one. not saying this is your problem just giving you something to try.
 
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