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Old 10-13-2016, 12:52 PM   #11
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I have a friend with a 2003, 7.3, SMB who just went through similar issues. It turned out to be a Bad connection to the pressure regulator and after replacing the Injection pressure regulator his issues were gone.
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:42 PM   #12
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bemerritt, Yes it can do damage if your FP is dropping below 45-50. You can damage injector o-rings (they're NOT fun to replace on a van), or if you really push it on hills, you can score a cylinder or two! See my first post. In a diesel, your fuel is also constantly recirculating and cooling the engine as well. If your 7.3 is stock, you have a dead headed fuel system, which means the least amount of fuel is available to the last injector on each side! If you are buying the Spectre or other replacement tank, you should also do complete "Hutch mod", pre-pump filter, and either FRX from Riffraff or full set of regulated return lines from CNC Fab. Either one will prevent starvation and trapped air. The Harpoon mod is not necessary on the spectre tank as the steel fill and vent tubes are already shorter inside, so you can fill up all the way! I would highly recommend modifying your filler assembly as well if you don't have the type that accepts the larger truck stop type fill nozzles. It is great on road trips. When you drop the tank, you are probably going to find the pick up foot either broken off or cracked. DieselOrings has that too and great write-ups on all these related mods. Sometimes the problem is guys can read too much on this and think they need an Airdog or Fass pump and filter as well, or guys will watch Bill on Youtube and think porting out "Banjo bolts" and gutting the check valve from the filter bowl will improve flow! He's wrong on those items. Trust me when I tell you, your factory Bosch fuel pump is proven to be far more reliable and supplies plenty of fuel even to single shot injector 7.3's pushing 450 hp. I can perform all above mods including tank replacement in about 8 hours with no lift. FRX or CNCFab return lines are maybe another 3-4 hours taking my time and doing it right. Best part is afterward there's no cackle (from all the air), and injectors will last far longer! Cheers!
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:58 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks for making me stay up too late looking into that. Truly a wealth of information you have provided and sounds exactly like my problem.

Still researching, but my local Ford place wants $400 just to drop the tank and clean the existing screen, so thats a no go. Either going to do it myself or hope the people installing the bigger tank are game for it.

It does seem liek some of the kits say that they do not work on the E-Series. Also, the FRX from Riffraff says it works on 99 and up. I am a 98, any idea what changed or prompts that claim?

EDIT: After further research, 98 is a 99. Or at least an early 99. Hence the gap between 97 and 99 when looking at the splits.

Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bemerritt View Post
Wow, thanks for making me stay up too late looking into that. Truly a wealth of information you have provided and sounds exactly like my problem.

Still researching, but my local Ford place wants $400 just to drop the tank and clean the existing screen, so thats a no go. Either going to do it myself or hope the people installing the bigger tank are game for it.

It does seem liek some of the kits say that they do not work on the E-Series. Also, the FRX from Riffraff says it works on 99 and up. I am a 98, any idea what changed or prompts that claim?

EDIT: After further research, 98 is a 99. Or at least an early 99. Hence the gap between 97 and 99 when looking at the splits.

Thanks!
Wasn't my intention to worry you, just inform you. Look, here's what human instinct causes to happen when we break down. First we look all around because we're all fixers. Then we get frustrated because we can't figure out something we've never seriously worked on previously. Then we post a question so all the other fixers can chime in with what the problem was last week on their future ex-brother in law's van. So we google all of their worst case scenarios and we feel the same as when we google a minor health problem, right? Then we just want to buy all the highest quality parts that could make it through WW3, so we don't have to feel like a horseless cowboy ever again! I get it, but it makes no sense. Especially on a diesel, throwing all kinds of parts and sensors at the problem will leave you broke fast.
Don't get down about E99 vs. 99+. They each have advantages. Here's some good news about your 7.3, yours has forged rods and the later ones only came stock with PMR's (Powdered Metal Rods). Yours can handle extreme power easily with no worries of breakage. That should make you feel a-little better!
Now, I re-read your first post. Your van drives along o.k., then when you hit the hill it really struggles.
Here's how a mechanic reads that same sentence: 1) Starts, runs, drives, normal under NO real load. (Starts to climb hill) Under load - engine falls on it's face. 2) Failing under load suggests low fuel pressure condition. 3) I need to test fuel pressure under load to verify how low it is dropping. 4) There is no Step 4 until Step 3 is completed.
Diagnostics is the key here! There is probably a highly experienced diesel tech (not the usual dealership gas engine parts changer) right in your area that has a guage adapter for your engine sitting right in his toolbox next to a high quality FP gauge, etc. I recommend at least paying him for diagnostics and then go from there. It will be way cheaper than running around for 1/2 day and spending $200-$250 on something you may never need again.
Above someone mentioned the FPR. It's not likely in this case. What he's referring to that is a common problem, is the tin nut on back of the FPR can work loose and your engine will run crappy (almost all the time) until you tighten it. Or if the sensor goes bad, your engine will run crappy almost all of the time! Not what you described. The hill is the dead give away here!
The Early 99's have 2 inch intake plenums and 4 bolts on the turbo compressor cover, and no AIH(air intake heater) in the spyder. The turbo pedistal is much shorter than the later raised ones. These are the main reasons that aftermarket parts for 99+ don't always fit. There's just as much poor advice on the internet as solid advice, but you can bet on real experience every time. That's the only reason I recommended that for diagnostics purposes. Cheers!
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:07 AM   #15
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Don't worry, all your info has been greatly appreciated and I have learned a lot about the 7.3 in the last week.

Scangauge installed and ICP looks to be within the ranges posted.

Dropped the van off to get the tank upgrade. When the tank gets dropped, the usual tank mods will happen.

Then I have a permanent pressure gauge getting installed and will also have a diesel mechanic look it over. Fingers crossed its that simple.

It's just so funny, I can convince myself that it is driving fine on the flats, but up hills i can floor it and I don't get the power im used to.

Lastly, you are totally right about about throwing money somewhat blindly at the problem. Luckily I cooled my jets and patience set in. Luckily I wanted to upgrade the tank anyways and the mods to the fuel pickup sound like they should be done regardless. Scangauge had been on my to buy list. Fuel pressure gauge....ya, maybe didn't HAVE to have it, but should be a good tool in the long run.

Any recommendations on having the fuel pressure sensor before or after the filter? I got the adapters to mount it straight to the filter, which seems like a clean way to do it. I am leaning towards before filter and just keeping up on the filter maintenance. That way I am basically monitoring the fuel pump and the filter that I plan on putting inbetween the tank and pump. Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:28 PM   #16
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You can install the pressure gauge on either side but I personally wanted mine after the fuel bowl (in between the fuel bowl and the heads) so i could monitor the pressure going to the motor. That is honestly the only reason i wanted to install the gauge (well that and the fact that I had the bowl out for a rebuild)

Since you now have the scangauge, what are your IPR readings & ICP reading while heading up the hill?
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:34 PM   #17
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I was only monitoring ICP up the hill, but it hit about 2500
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:55 PM   #18
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That number seems good assuming your motor is stock (doesnt have a tuner) and assuming you didnt have the accelerator pedal to the floor. IPR readings will help tell if your IPR is working properly. Since you have the scangauge, you can eliminate a bad icp, ipr or hpop via the readings.
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Old 10-20-2016, 05:57 PM   #19
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I think 2500 to 2600 was with the pedal to the floor
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Old 10-20-2016, 06:21 PM   #20
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IIRC you should be about 2700-2800 PSI and IPR should be 37-40% (give or take a few) with your foot to the floor.

At idle the number should be between 470-500 PSI and 9-12% respectively. Hope that helps.
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