5 Best Starters for a 7.3 Powerstroke


Best Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Ford’s stock starter may not be the best starter for 7.3 Powerstroke diesel pickups, especially after 20 years of the hard cranking that’s required to turn over the 7.3’s 1000 pound engine.

The 7.3 stock starter is a small, under-powered unit that seems to be a high failure part after around 100,000 miles. When I first saw the difference between the stock starter and an aftermarket replacement 7.3 starter, I wondered how the tiny thing ever turned over my big 7.3 diesel engine.

And when my stock starter failed, I wrote a big article about the high torque 7.3 starter upgrade I used to replace the dead one in my 2002 Powerstroke diesel. It was a pretty in-depth look at the 7.3 starter parts and function in that article.

Since then, I’ve done a ton more research, read comments from Dead Head Diesel users, and investigated the best 7.3 Powerstroke starters I could find. And after all of that, I’ve come up with what I’d consider to be a list of the 5 “best” starters for a 7.3 Powerstroke owner, no matter your budget or circumstances.

But wait! What is the best starter for 7.3 Powerstroke? The best starter for a 7.3 Powerstroke is the Powermaster 9051. It’s “Stronger, Faster, and Tougher” than your stock starter. The Powermaster starter is a high torque 7.3 Powerstroke gear reduction starter that has a 4.75:1 gear reduction ratio and puts out 4HP at 3kw. It’ll crank your 7.3 engine over hard.

I wanted to give you a definitive example of a 7.3 starter that’s a blend between an inexpensive and unknown reliability replacement/upgrade and one that seems bomb-proof, but comes at a premium price.

But the Powermaster 7.3 starter is not the only option you have when it comes to replacing your stock 7.3 diesel starter.

Dead Head Diesel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Quick Answer: Best Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

You can get details on all these starters below, but if you’re pressed for time. I’m just gonna go ahead and give you my quick and dirty findings right up front. Here are the 5 best starter for 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engines. Plus a bonus 6th for Old Body Style Ford diesels:

  1. Best Budget Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeGladiator 17802
  2. Best 7.3 Powerstroke Gear Reduction StarterPromaster 9051
  3. Best Aftermarket 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque StarterDB Electrical SND0355
  4. Mean Green “Best” Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeMean Green MG7300
  5. Best OEM Replacement Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeFord Motorcraft OEM Replacement (NSA-17578-N)
  6. Best OBS Starter for 7.3 Diesel PickupsDB Electrical SMT0024

How to Choose the “Best” Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Okay, I’ve said this often, when it comes to replacement parts for your 20 year old 7.3 diesel, parts should:

  • Fit your budget – If you don’t have $500 to spend on a 7.3 replacement starter, guess what, you may have to get that Chinese manufactured knockoff to get you back and forth to work until you can afford a more reliable one.
  • Get the job done – If a starter starts your 7.3 diesel engine, even for a year, allowing you to get done what you need to, then the price point may be the deciding factor, not whether it will last 20 years.
  • Have some kind of decent warranty – All that being said, if a starter dies the first month, you should be able to get it replaced without spending all day on the phone with the vendor.
  • Be readily available – The cheapest, best, most reliable 7.3 Powerstroke starter you can find online is only as good as how long it takes you to get it. Especially if you’re stranded with a truck that won’t start.
  • The Correct Part – You have no idea how many times I’ve returned parts because they didn’t fit like the description said they would.

NOTE: Keep this in mind as you do your own research and read reviews. No matter what country a part’s from or how excellent or poor the components are that go into it, there’s always a percentage that come off the assembly line on “the day that quality assurance guy decided to show up late to work.” So throw out the angriest worst review and probably the most glowing one as well and get a feel for the majority of the experiences people have with a part.

The 5 “Best” 7.3 Starters

Here’s a look at five 7.3 Powerstroke diesel starters that I picked in order to fit varying budgets, reliability and availability factors. Of course that’s just a fancy way of saying that you’re going to get what you pay for … most of the time.

Because the cheapest 7.3 starter will inevitably not last the longest and may not be the “best” for someone who can pay whatever it costs to get the best 7.3 Powerstroke starter you can buy. And you can’t expect a $90, 7.3 Powerstroke starter to perform like a $400 one. We both know that’s just not the way things work.

Oh, we want them to, but sadly … they do not.

That being said, if you’re short on cash and you just need to get your 7.3 back on the road so you can go to work and pay the rent, a $90 7.3 Powerstroke starter may be the “best” one for you at that time.

So I compiled a list of 7.3 Powerstroke starter replacement/upgrades that should fit any budget and circumstance, yet still turn your 7.3 diesel over like an angry gorilla … at least for a while.

#1 – Best Budget Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Best Budget Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Let’s go here right away, because I like to “play” with my trucks and I keep an enhanced towing AAA membership just in case my love of cheap aftermarket parts bites me in the butt.

Keep in mind, most people consider “DENSO” unit 7.3 starters to be great starters, but that is dependent on where it’s manufactured. Common wisdom is, China—not great, Thailand—good, Japan—best.

So, though the description on this starter seems to imply that it’s a Denso unit, I’d suggest that given it’s price point it probably isn’t.

Nevertheless, this is a solid aftermarket budget starter for your 7.3 Powerstroke.

Mean to your flywheel, nice to your bank account.

Steve

Details: 13 teeth, 12V, 4.0KW

  • 7.3 Starter Manufacturer Part Number17802
  • Fitment – Fits:
    • 1995-2003 Ford EXXX 7.3 Diesel Vans
    • 2000-2003 Ford 7.3 Diesel Excursions
    • 1994-2003 Ford 7.3 F-series Pickups
    • 1999-2003 Ford F250, 350, 450, 550 Super Duty 7.3 Diesel Pickups
    • (Verify fitment on product page for your vehicle)
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 1 year manufacturer Warranty
    • (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – This is a budget friendly 7.3 starter option.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – No muss, no fuss and it bolts right up with 2 bolts (third bolt hole is blanked out and TTYTT, my replacement starter only had 2 bolt holes to attach it and it’s still on the road).

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – In Order for the battery cable to fit snug on the this unit’s battery stud connector, you gotta do a little “pliers” work.

#2 – Best 7.3 Powerstroke Gear Reduction Starter

Best Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

The Powermaster 9051 7.3 Powerstroke starter is a gear reduction starter that drives the starter’s pinion gear to engage with the transmission flywheel. It uses a smaller, faster motor to rotate the pinion gear at a 4.5:1 ratio.

If you wanna numb yourself with Powermaster brochures, you can do that here.

Cranks a 7.3 over like the engine owes your starter money!

Steve

Details: 13 Teeth, 12V, 3KW, 4HP

  • Powermaster 9051 7.3 Starter Part Number – 9051
  • Fitment – Fits:
    • 1994 – 2003.5 7.3 Powerstroke (Verify fitment for your vehicle)
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 1 year Manufacturer Warranty (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – It’s a made in the USA price tag equals affordable peace of mind.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – It spins your engine hard, bolts up nice and easy with 3 bolts instead of 2 like a lot of aftermarket starters, and I’ve heard no reports of having to grind the cross member to make it fit.

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – There’s not much to dislike about this starter. It even comes with “bedliner” spray on it.

Get the Powermaster 9051 7.3 Powerstroke Starter

#3 – Best Aftermarket 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter

Best 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter
Best 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque Starter

When I first hoisted this starter out of the Amazon packaging and put it next to my dead OEM 7.3 starter, I almost laughed at the size difference. Talk about overcompensating… This thing is big, heavy, and cranks your engine hard.

I run this monster on my 2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel Crew Cab. It makes children run for their covers.

Steve

Details: 12V, 13 Teeth, 4.0KW

  • 7.3 Starter Part Number – DB Electrical SND0355
  • Fitment – Fits:
    • 1994 – 2003.5 7.3 Powerstroke (Verify fitment for your vehicle)
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 1 year Manufacturer Warranty (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – Affable, affordable and blatantly … aftermarket.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – This is the starter I’ve had on my 2002 Ford F250 Powerstroke since 2016. It’s hardcore torque.

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – The breather tube fell off of it when I first got it. And the small terminal wire is a little grizzly bear to get connected to the post. Oh, and I had to grind the crossmember to get it to eek by and fit. (See 7.3 Powerstroke Starter Upgrade article for installation)

Get this High Torque 7.3 Starter Upgrade

#4 – Mean Green “Best” Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Mean Green Starter 7.3 Powerstroke

Okay, so far the “theme” of this article is bigger is better, especially bigger than stock. Well, meet the little green monster that’s the exception to that rule. Mean Green industries is a seeming newcomer to the 7.3 replacement starter market world, but they are coming at it with a mean green vengeance.

And rather than build an aftermarket starter that’s bigger, badder, and has more torque than stock, they’ve put all of that in one mean little bad ass starter that’s 1/3 smaller than the 7.3’s original OEM stock starter.

But smaller doesn’t mean less powerful. The Mean Green 7.3 gear reduction starter has a 4.4:1 gear reduction ratio and it’s main spinning shaft is supported by bearings on both ends not just one.

Right now, it’s tough to see who’s going to shake out to be the most stable supplier of this starter, but here’s a list of resellers who are currently offering the Mean Green 7.3 Powerstroke starter.

This little green monster is not fooling around.

Steve

Details:

  • 7.3 Starter Part Number – MG7300
  • Fitment – Fits:
    • 1994 – 2003.5 7.3 Powerstroke (Verify fitment for your vehicle)
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 2 year Manufacturer Warranty (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – Get out your wallet, ’cause it ain’t free.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – Made in the USA, baby. Ironically, and maybe even hypocritically, it’s small. Small enough that you don’t have to worry about clearance or grinding the frame cross member to make it fit. Aside from that, it’s cool. And I mention those intangibles, because for the price, I’m assuming it works … well.

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – Obviously, it’s got a premium price, so for the cost of roughly 3-4 aftermarket starters, the little MG7300 7.3 starter better deliver.

Mean Green Industries Inc.

#5 – Best OEM Replacement Starter for 7.3 Powerstroke

Okay, after hyping up aftermarket high torque replacement 7.3 Powerstroke diesel starters, I realize there’s a huge group of “OEM or death” 7.3 owners out there.

So for those of you who like the peace of mind you get knowing that you have genuine Ford parts under the hood of your 7.3, here’s an OEM replacement starter for your 7.3 Powerstroke.

OEM or death. Or so they say…

Steve

Details: 12 Teeth, 12V, 3kw

  • OEM 7.3 Starter Part NumberNSA-17578-N
  • Fitment – Fits 1994 – 2001 7.3 Powerstroke (Verify fitment for your vehicle)
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 1 year Ford Motorcraft Warranty (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – This starter won’t break the bank.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – If you’re an “OEM” guy/gal, this starter’s for you.

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – It’s just so … small.

#6 – BONUS – Best OBS Starter for 7.3 Diesel Pickups

Best OBS 7.3 Starter

I’ve taken some heat for leaving the OBS—Old Body Style—vehicle fitment and parts information out of a lot of the articles on Dead Head Diesel, so I’m trying to get that sorted out.

So here’s a 1994-1998 7.3 starter option.

Most 7.3 Powerstroke starters are not backward compatible with the OBS 7.3 Ford’s. So here’s one that’s designed specifically for model years 1994-1999 plus some cross fudging to 2000.

I didn’t forget you … or your magnificent square-grilled beast.

Steve

Details: DB Electrical SMT0024 – 12 Teeth, 12V, 3.6kw

  • OEM 7.3 Starter Part Number – F5TU-11000-AA 410-48006R M8T50071 M8T50071A TM000A19101
  • Fitment (Verify fitment for your vehicle on product page)
    • 1995-2000 Ford 7.3 Diesel, E-Series Vans 95-00
    • 2000 Excursion 7.3
    • 1994-1998 F-Series Pickups
    • 1999-2000 F-Series Super-Duty
  • Warranty – 30 day return, 1 year Warranty (Verify warranty and return on product page)
  • Budget – This starter’s made in China and the price reflects that.

What I like about this 7.3 starter – DB Electric is usually pretty reliable. And whether or not they import from China, I’ve had good luck with their aftermarket parts.

What I don’t like about this 7.3 starter – Will this starter last as long as your stock starter? Probably not, but it’s a good and inexpensive option to get your OBS 7.3 Ford back on the road.

7.3 Powerstroke Starter Installation Video

This article is mostly about getting you some solid options for a good starter that fits your truck and your budget. I wrote an article about the nitty-gritty details of 7.3 Powerstroke starter upgrade, removal and replacement if you want to learn more about 7.3 Powerstroke starter swapout.

Here’s an installation video to get you started.

Best 7.3 Starter for Your Powerstroke

Now that you’ve read about each one, I won’t make you scroll back up through them. Here’s the list of the best 7.3 starter for your Powerstroke.

  1. Best Budget Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeGladiator 17802
  2. Best 7.3 Powerstroke Gear Reduction StarterPromaster 9051
  3. Best Aftermarket 7.3 Powerstroke High Torque StarterDB Electrical SND0355
  4. Mean Green “Best” Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeMean Green MG7300
  5. Best OEM Replacement Starter for 7.3 PowerstrokeFord Motorcraft OEM Replacement (NSA-17578-N)
  6. Best OBS Starter for 7.3 Diesel PickupsDB Electrical SMT0024

Steve

I'm Steve. I've owned over a dozen diesel pickup trucks in my life and always worked on them myself. I'm the owner of Dead Head Diesel. I live in California. You know, the diesel "friendly" state.

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