Ford 7.3 Gas Problems & Issues: An In-Depth Guide

May 3, 2024

When the 7.3 Ford gas engine hit the scene in late 2019, it was framed as a best-in-class powerhouse motor. For heavy-duty truck owners, it represented a more economical alternative to the 6.7L Power Stroke, a diesel-fueled engine known for its reliability, torque, and durability.

Fans of the Ford Super Duty series hoped they could enjoy the convenience of gas while also experiencing power and torque comparable to diesel engines. While the 7.3 Ford engine certainly packs plenty of punch, it has proven less durable and resilient than the time-tested 6.7L Power Stroke.

The 7.3 gas engine is not necessarily all bad; that said, like all newer designs, it has experienced more frequent problems than well-established motors. Join us for an insightful journey into the typical issues that plague the Ford 7.3 engine, equipping you with the foresight needed to master these challenges.


The 7.3 Ford: Overview

Before we get into Ford 7.3 gas problems, it’s important to understand why the 7.3 was built, what its specifications are, how it has evolved, and what its market reception has been.

Background and Specifications

The 7.3 engine is a V8 with 7.3 liters of displacement and up to 430 horsepower. It is:

  • Able to produce up to 468 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 rpm
  • Available in the Super Duty F-250 and F-350 pickups
  • Offered as the standard option in the F-450, F-550, F-600, F-650, and F-750 trucks.

Ford also offers a version of the 7.3 engine in select E-series vehicles.

The Ford 7.3 gas engine was not the first gasoline-powered engine to be featured in Ford’s Super Duty line of trucks. In fact, Ford has been offering gasoline configurations of the Super Duty line for decades.

The immediate predecessors of the 7.3 Ford engine include the 6.2L Boss V8 and the 6.8L Triton V10. While both of these engines offered upwards of 400 lb-ft of torque, neither could keep pace with the Ford 7.3 gas engine in terms of raw power. The 7.3 Ford gas engine boasts over 400 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful Super Duty gas engines ever.

Evolution and Features

Ford has been working to optimize the 7.3 gas engine since its release. Specifically, the manufacturer offers several variations of the engine, including a dyno-certified version that produces slightly less horsepower but more torque. The upgraded E-Series line includes a specially calibrated 7.3 engine that offers reduced fuel consumption.

Overall, it appears that Ford has made an effort to find and fix several Ford 7.3 gas problems. However, some issues don’t manifest right away, so it will take a few years to see whether Ford has actually resolved the motor’s more significant concerns.

Market Reception

When Ford announced its new 7.3 gas engine in late 2019, F-Series fans nationwide buzzed with anticipation. Over the next several years, Ford continued to dominate the truck market with its F-Series line, which includes the Super Duty trucks equipped with the 7.3 engine.

However, like all automakers, Ford did experience a dip in sales during the pandemic. This downturn is more likely attributed to supply chain disruptions rather than Ford 7.3 gas problems.


Key Features of the Ford 7.3 Gas Engine

Now that you know a bit more about the 7.3 gas engine’s origins, let’s dive deeper into its technical specifications and innovations.

Technical Specifications

Building upon the prior discussion, the 7.3-liter engine is a colossus in its class, offering an abundance of horsepower that translates into commanding performance.

However, it’s not all brawn. It features an advanced control system engineered to optimize performance, enhance torque, and amplify power delivery efficiently.

The 7.3 is a V8, which means it has eight cylinders in a V formation — the most common layout for eight-cylinder engines. It also has a 7.3-liter displacement and weighs in at 538 pounds. For comparison, the 6.7L Power Stroke weighs in at 981 lbs. Shaving nearly 400 lbs off the Super Duty can help with acceleration, responsiveness, and fuel economy.

The 7.3L engine is crafted with a pushrod design—a testament to engineering simplicity that affords ease of maintenance and a more compact profile. Despite its nod to classical engineering, this powertrain delivers a formidable thrust, courtesy of its substantial horsepower and vigorous torque, seamlessly blending time-honored design with raw, modern power. Whether you want to easily merge onto the interstate or haul a heavy trailer, the 7.3L engine is up to the task.

Innovations and Enhancements

Today’s consumers expect more from their vehicles, even rugged work trucks. Ford was mindful of that expectation when designing the 7.3 gas engine, which uses modern technology to maximize its performance.

One of the standout features is its variable-displacement oil pump. It’s like having a smart thermostat for your engine’s oil, providing just the right amount when needed and saving energy when it’s not. This translates to better efficiency and a happier engine in the long run.

In addition, the engine uses a cast-iron block and forged steel crankshaft. Think of these elements as the engine’s backbone, built to withstand serious stress and wear. Ford had to overbuild the 7.3 engine to withstand all that extra torque and horsepower.


Specific Issues with the 7.3 Ford Gas Engine

While Ford Super Duty trucks exhibit numerous admirable attributes, potential owners should exercise due diligence, especially concerning engine integrity. Problems with Ford 7.3 gas engines can vary from trivial nuisances to severe malfunctions. The spectrum of your Ford’s problems can encompass more than just the engine, with gas-powered models encountering more frequent complications than their diesel counterparts. It’s essential to be mindful of the following issues that may arise with Ford Super Duty trucks:

Wiring Harness Failures

The wiring harness is like the nervous system of your engine. It transmits signals and makes sure the engine functions as designed. However, this crucial component can act up. Wiring harness failures can manifest in many ways, from flickering lights to unresponsive accessories.

The 7.3 engine is prone to wiring harness issues related to the spark plug wire. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting fuel in the cylinders. If the spark plug wire has a short, it might not ignite or may be out of timing. This is known as a cylinder misfire. If your truck is experiencing misfires, you’ll know about it. Misfires cause strange noises, excess vibration, and a decrease in performance.

The fix? Check for frayed, corroded, or torn wires. Since spark-plug-related wiring harness issues are the most common, start by looking under the hood. You’ll need to find a reputable mechanic if anything seems out of place. The good news, though, is that wiring harnesses are relatively inexpensive. However, the labor to install them can get a bit expensive.

Transmission Problems

When Ford released the 7.3L engine, the company paired it with a brand-new 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift transmission. Harnessing the formidable strength of the 7.3L engine for hauling heavy loads can exert significant pressure on the transmission. This likely informed Ford’s decision to pair the gas-powered Super Duty with an upgraded transmission, ensuring that it could reliably manage the demands of its big new engine.

However, the transmission is one of the most complicated components of any vehicle. As a result, it’s no surprise that this relatively new transmission has developed a reputation for various problems. Some common issues to be aware of include rough shifting, failure to shift, and diminished performance.

The good news is that transmission concerns are some of the rarer Ford 7.3 gas problems. Transmissions are also covered under the powertrain warranty, meaning the dealer should cover any repairs or replacement costs for the first five years or 60,000 miles — whichever comes first.

Always pay attention to how your vehicle sounds and performs. If you notice any unusual noises, lags in shifting, or drop in performance, your transmission might be to blame. It never hurts to have your truck inspected by the dealer to check for transmission issues, especially if it is under warranty.

Stock Lifters and Cylinder Scoring

Lifters are vital in keeping things running smoothly inside your engine. The lifter is a cylinder that assists with the engine’s opening valves. Each cylinder has at least two lifters, one for the intake and another for the exhaust valve.

When lifters malfunction, it can impact the movement of the cylinders, leading to scoring. Think of scoring as scratches and discoloration on the piston and valve wall. If left unchecked, scoring can cause a piston to seize. Some signs of cylinder scoring include:

  • Misfires
  • Soot in the engine oil
  • Increased oil consumption
  • Sooty tailpipes
  • Audible tick
  • Soot on your bumper

If your 7.3L engine seems to be burning through oil, ticking, and suffering from misfires, you’ve probably got a lifter issue. There is no fixing this one on your own. You’ll need to head to the dealer.

What they do next will depend on the severity of the problem. If the lifters are bad, they can replace them to prevent further scoring. However, if significant scoring has already occurred, they may have to rebore the cylinder or replace the engine altogether.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore signs of lifter failure. Scoring can be extremely costly or even impossible to fix in extreme cases. If your engine seizes, you’ll need a new one altogether. The dealer will cover warranty repairs. However, if you have to pay out-of-pocket for a new 7.3L engine, it’ll run you over $9,000, not counting labor.

Unsmooth Starting

When your Super Duty rolled off the lot, it started up immediately, and that big 7.3L engine began rumbling. However, unsmooth starting is emerging as another common Ford 7.3 gas problem. Instead of roaring to life, your engine will sputter for a few seconds or even fail to start altogether.

Unsmooth starting is usually accompanied by another issue: rough idling. Your truck idles anytime you are at a complete stop. Ideally, your vehicle should idle smoothly, minimizing fuel consumption. Rough idling isn’t just annoying; it wastes fuel and can place undue strain on your engine.

Figuring out why your engine is idling rough and struggling to start can be tricky. Lots of components impact the way your engine starts, including the battery and starter. Something as simple as a weak battery could leave your truck struggling to start.

A skilled mechanic can expertly diagnose your truck, systematically identifying the underlying issue. Often, they’ll initiate the troubleshooting with the simplest fixes—like swapping out the battery—before delving into more complex and potentially costlier repairs.

Poor Gas Mileage

On paper, the 7.3L gas engine gets around 18 MPG while cruising the highway and 14 MPG in the city. But your actual fuel efficiency will vary based on a bunch of other factors, including which vehicle you have, your driving habits, and whether you are hauling.

For instance, the F-250 is lighter than the F-450, and the smaller truck will likely get better gas mileage. Towing a heavy load crushes the truck’s fuel efficiency, with some reports that the MPG drops into the single digits.

Let’s face it: the 7.3 isn’t known for going easy on the fuel. No one expected it to push 30 MPG in fuel efficiency. However, this behemoth of an engine has developed a reputation for underperforming on fuel efficiency estimates. In some cases, you might even experience a sharp drop in gas mileage.

The 7.3 is already going to be high in fuel costs. The last thing you want is to lose what little fuel efficiency the truck does offer. Use the truck’s heads-up display (HUD) to track your fuel economy. Every once in a while, reset your trip calculator and see how your fuel efficiency changes over time. If it suddenly drops, you might have a fuel delivery issue.

Gas Fumes in the Cab

Smelling gas fumes inside your cab is definitely not part of the driving experience you signed up for. Yet, it is one of the common Ford 7.3 gas problems you might encounter. This could be due to a leak in your fuel system or damage to your exhaust pipes.

If you start smelling gas fumes in the cab of your truck, get somewhere safe as quickly as possible and exit your vehicle. Turn it off, roll the windows down, or open the doors, and give it a chance to air out. Gas fumes can be incredibly dangerous or even fatal. If you feel your truck is unsafe to drive, call a tow truck and have it taken straight to a licensed mechanic.

Since the fuel delivery system is part of the powertrain, repairs should be covered under your 60,000-mile warranty. However, if your dealer is trying to avoid resolving the issue, you might have to seek help under your state’s Lemon Law.

Vibration or Unusual Noises

Every engine has a unique hum, and if you have had your Super Duty for a while, you know exactly what your engine should sound like. But if you start hearing odd noises or feeling unusual vibrations, your engine is trying to tell you something.

Vibrations and unusual noises can be linked to all sorts of issues. It could be something simple, like a loose hose clamp under the hood, or you could face a more severe problem, like a misfiring cylinder. If you hear an odd noise, pull over and take a look under the hood. Hopefully, it will be something simple and obvious, but if it’s not, you might need to see a mechanic.

In the meantime, pay close attention to the vibration or noise. Determine whether it is constant or only occurs under certain conditions, such as driving over 60 MPH.


Let Lemon Law Resolve Ford 7.3 Problems with Timothy Abeel

Are you tired of dealing with Ford 7.3 gas problems? If so, it might be time to seek help using your state’s Lemon Law. When it comes to Ford Lemon Law claims, Timothy Abeel & Associates is the team for the job.

To learn more about Lemon Laws, check out our free resource: How Does Lemon Law Work? If you think you might have a Lemon Law claim because of your 7.3 Ford engine problems, connect with our team and let us take it from there. We will evaluate your case, outline your options, and help you find a lasting solution.

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