How To: 7.3L Powerstroke Injector Removal and Installation
The following article outlines the general procedure for removing and replacing the fuel injectors in the 7.3L Powerstroke engine. All information is based on procedural advice and knowledge passed on by Ryan Bean of Bean’s Diesel Performance. In addition, I have incorporated some helpful hints passed on by our own world famous Chef Gene, and some personal observations of my own.
Tools You Will Need:
- Inch-Pound Torque Wrench
- Small Pry-Bar
- Rubber Mallet
- Blue Shop Towels
- 13mm, 11mm, 10mm (deep), and 8mm sockets
- 24mm socket on a breaker bar
- Phillips Screw Driver
* Please Note that this procedure does not require the draining of either the crankcase or the HPOP reservoir. In general, if it’s not metioned in the instructions here, you don’t have to do it!
1.) Remove plastic engine cover, air filter assembly, turbo intake hose, CCV assembly, Intercooler Tubes, and unplug main wiring harness (10mm bolt)
2.) Start with the driver’s side (especially if you haven’t done this before) since there is significantly more room to work on this side than on the passenger side. In my opinion, it is best to finish the install on the driver’s side before tackling the passenger side. So, begin by removing the driver’s side valve cover (13mm bolts).
3.) Valve Cover Gasket Removal: Unplug the injectors by flipping down the metal clips and gently pull the plugs. Then unplug the Glow Plugs by gently pulling up on the wire plug. With everything unplugged, carefully remove the gasket being careful not to catch any wires on the injectors. This gasket will be reused.
4.) Oil Spout Removal: Since you will be prying on the injectors, it’s a good idea to remove the oil spouts now. Using a 5mm allen wrench, remove the oil spout from each injector. These will go on your new injectors, so don’t lose them.
5.) Using an 8mm socket remove the lower injector retaining bolt from each injector. The upper bolt should not be removed, as the injector collar will simply slide off the upper bolt.
6.) Start at the Back: Start with the rear most injector and work forward. This is important as the angle of the engine will allow for the majority of fuel and oil to drain into the rear cylinder. Using a small prybar apply pressure between the injector collar and the top of the head. It will take a moderate amount of pressure to get the injector moving. When the rear injector comes free, carefully remove it. At this point you should hear oil and fuel gurgling as it pours into the cylinder. Do your best to soak up the mess with blue shop towels (twist a couple blue shop towels together for this). With the shop towels in the injector hole, you can turn the engine over a few times by hand via a 24mm socket on the front crank bolt. Be careful (go slow) when doing this, as it is quite possible to launch the shop towels and a bunch oil/fuel out of the hole. Don’t ask how I know!
7.) Remove the other Three: With the rear injector removed, you can now go ahead and remove the three forward ones in the same manner. If you wish, you can place rags in the holes to soak up excess oil and turn the engine over by hand a few times. However, this is not absolutely necessary, as the oil/fuel will be cleared in a later step. Also, since they’re all out, now is a good time to make sure all of the injector holes are clear of debris and that the copper washer came out with the injector.
8.) Remove the Glow Plugs: With the injectors still out, remove all four glow plugs with a 10mm deep socket.
9.) Install Your New Injectors: Liberally coat the new injector (especially around the o-rings) with clean engine oil and carefully place it in the hole. Once in the hole, give the top of the injector a few sharp blows with your hand to seat it. Then, motivate it the rest of the way into the hole with a rubber mallet. Don’t hit it crazy hard! Just give it a few hits until the collar slides over the upper retaining bolt. Repeat this process with the other three injectors.
10.) Bolt Them Down: Insert the lower retaining bolt back into it’s hole and torque to 120 in/lb with an 8mm socket. Then replace the oil spouts, and tighten the 5mm allen bolt until snug.
11.) Replace the VC Cover: Replace the valve cover gasket, and plug the injectors back in being sure to secure the metal clip. The glow plugs are still out so you can’t plug those in, and be sure to leave the valve cover harness unplugged. Replace the valve cover, holding it on with only a couple bolts.
12.) Repeat Steps 2 – 11 on the Passenger Side.
13.) Bump Start: Now it’s time to purge any excess fuel/oil from the cylinders (remember that all of the glow plugs are out). Find the starter solenoid on the passenger side fender. Remove the little rubber cap and short the two large contacts together. You should run the engine through two 20 second cranking cycles. Give the starter a little break between cranks so that it doesn’t get too hot. After a couple cycles, all excess fuel/oil should have been purged through the glow plug ports!
14.) Install Glow Plugs: Remove the valve covers and reinstall the glow plugs. Now is a great time to switch to brand new glow plugs. If you do so, be sure to only use Motorcraft ZD-11 glow plugs made by Beru. Using a 10mm deep socket, torque each glow plug to 168 in/lb. Plug them in.
15.) Replace Valve Covers: Reinstall the valve covers. Use a 13mm socket to torque each bolt to 96 in/lb.
16.) Plug the main wire harness back in and reinstall all of the plumbing, etc. that you removed in step one.
17.) Get Ready to Start: With the valve cover harnesses still unplugged, crank the engine via the key for 20-30 seconds to help build back oil pressure. If you would prefer to crank on the engine for only a few seconds, open the top of the HPOP reservoir and fill it with engine oil. Prior to this, it is not a bad idea to cycle the key a few times to get fuel pressure back up too. Let the starter rest for 5 minutes after the long crank;
18.) Start It Up: Plug the valve cover harnesses back in. Now you’re ready to go for it! Give it about a 15 second crank. It may start, and it may not. If not, let the starter rest a couple minutes and then try again. You can here the injectors start clicking right before the engine fires.
19.) Work the Air Out: After getting your truck started, it’s not a bad idea to let it idle for a few minutes to make sure that everything is working normally. The truck may produce some white smoke at first and idle a bit rough. There is air in the system that needs to be worked out. The best way to do this is to drive the truck. The harder you drive it, the quicker the air issue will go away. Also, you may see some engine oil dribbling out of you exhaust. Remember that oil was blown through the exhaust valve in the cylinder when we purged them of oil/fuel earlier.
20.) Enjoy your new injectors!!!