7.3 Powerstroke Starter Upgrade - MORE CRANKING POWER

This 7.3 Powerstroke starter upgrade I found on Amazon will turn your diesel engine over like a 300 pound gorilla!

The first time I started my 2002 Ford F250 Powerstroke after upgrading to this starter I thought it was going to break something.

Yes, it was that powerful! But don't take my word for it—you can read dozens of reviews from Amazon customers saying the same thing.

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Upgrade
Buy 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter n Amazon

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Problems

There are several reasons that your 7.3 Powerstroke may have trouble starting or fail to start at all. Believe me, I chased batteries, cables, and fuel delivery before finally figuring out that my 2002 F250 7.3 Diesel's starter was simply worn out.

And all that was after 2 replaced batteries (though they were weak/dead as well) and the auto parts store swearing up and down that there was nothing wrong with my starter ... after they bench tested it and passed it as good.

After twenty years a a couple hundred thousand miles, your starter will most likely develop problems.

OEM 7.3 Starter Issues Include:

  • Long crank times
  • Weak or weird cranking
  • Clicking while cranking - (Most likely weak or dead batteries)

The trouble is, a host of other common 7.3 problems can cause the same symptoms as a weak or dead 7.3 starter.

One telltale sign of a bad 7.3 starter is that the cranking speed will start out okay but progressively slow until it almost stops.

Bench test your 7.3 starter

One quick way to tell if your starter is weak or dead is to remove it and take it in to your local auto parts store and have them bench test it. I'm not the best guy in the world with a multimeter, so this is my 7.3 starter test of choice—take it to your local auto parts store.

Careful though, mine tested fine at the auto parts store but was dead nonetheless. I read several other forum posts where this exact thing happened to other 7.3 Powerstroke owners.

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Location

We're a little bit ahead of ourselves though...

First, let's identify the 3 main parts of the 7.3 Powerstroke "starter."

1 - 7.3 Starter Motor Assembly - This is the big mechanical part of the starter that actually physically cranks the flywheel. And it's located right behind the crossmember under the vehicle on the passenger side.

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Parts Diagram

2 - 7.3 Powerstroke Starter Solenoid - this is attached to the 7.3 starter and is the electrical component of the starter. It supplies the juice to actuate the piston so the starter can engage the flywheel gears.

3 - 7.3 Starter Relay - This is a relay generally mounted inside the engine compartment on the passenger fender. 

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Relay

7.3 Starter Solenoid vs Relay

Careful—many people use the terms starter "relay" and "solenoid" interchangeably. They aren't the same thing.

In electrical terms, the 7.3 starter relay is an on/off switch whereas a 7.3 starter solenoid is an electrically controlled device that activates a piston. The starter relay provides a high current voltage source to the starter. It's main function is to control a high current supply via a low current circuit.

In terms of 7.3 Powerstroke starters, the solenoid is mounted on top of the 7.3 starter. The 7.3's solenoid is used to activate the starter's bendix drive. (see diagram above)

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Relay Location

This is a video of a Ford F150, but it has a great look at the location of the 7.3 Powerstroke starter relay wiring and its location on the inside of the engine bay, passenger-side fender. Also, there's some good explanations around troubleshooting a bad relay.

Post 2001 Starter Relay

The 2002 and after 7.3 starter relay looks more like a big black fuse than the round terminal-looking relay of previous model years.

**7.3 Starter relay location variation:

There were a lot of electrical changes after the 2001 model year 7.3 Ford Diesels. Moving the fender mounted starter relay was one of them. The central junction box—dash fuse panel—now houses the starter relay for the 2002 7.3 Powerstroke starter.

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Relay Location Diagram

There were a lot of electrical changes after the 2001 model year 7.3 Ford Diesels. Moving the fender mounted starter relay was one of them. The central junction box—dash fuse panel—now houses the starter relay for the 2002 7.3 Powerstroke starter.

Best Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke?

Though the particular 7.3 starter upgrade I recommend in this article may indeed be the best replacement starter for your ailing 7.3 Powerstroke's tired old starter, it's not without its annoyances...

There are two "challenging" things you'll find when you go to replace your OEM 7.3 starter.

One - This 7.3 starter replacement upgrade is much bigger—almost twice the size of your OEM starter. And that's a good thing, but some F250 7.3 Powerstroke year models require that you use a metal grinder and grind down about 1/8" off the cross member. Otherwise, in order to get this 7.3 starter upgrade to fit between the cross beam and the starter socket.

Yep, I said grinding the frame! I did it—sparks and all—and though it wasn't what you might consider an easy install, it wasn't that bad. And afterward, this new high torque starter slipped right into position.

The second annoyance I encountered was that the 7.3 starter ground screw that comes with this new high torque model is so tiny that it can be maddening to get it connected to your 7.3 starter's ground terminal once the starter's mounted. Add to this the fact that you'll be screwing the 7.3 starter ground screw in blind and by feel...

HINT: I turned the ground screw and the circular electrical lead that it goes through around and connected them from the opposite side of the starter ground screw hole. Worked like a charm.

Oh, and whereas your factory starter may have been mounted with three 7.3 Powerstroke starter bolts, this starter attaches with two—there's a metal blank over the third starter bolt hole. (see image)

7.3 Starter Bolt Mounting Location

After grinding a little off of the crossmember to get the right clearance from the mounting position to the frame, it fit pretty well.

Upgrade My 7.3 Powerstroke Starter

Looking to crank your engine over no matter what, this starter isn't fooling around! You can get one on Amazon for your own 7.3 Powerstroke by clicking the image or the button below.

7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter Upgrade
Buy 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter n Amazon

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Removal

I guess I could list out all the 7.3 starter removal steps... But once again, FordTechMakuloco on YouTube does an excellent job of detailing how to remove your 7.3 starter. Enjoy...

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Part Number

OEM Part Number - 228000-8420, TG228000-8420

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Upgrade Part Number (DB Electric) - SND0355

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Bolt Size

The above 7.3 starter takes 2 bolts instead of 3.


7.3 Starter Bolt Torque Spec

17-21 lb/ft, 22-28 Nm

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