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2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty - Ol’ Faithful

7.3 Liters, 400 hp, and Rock-Solid Reliability

Mike McGlothlin
Aug 1, 2014
Contributors: Dakota Brock
Photographers: Dakota Brock
The 7.3L Power Stroke has a different yet unique place in today’s diesel performance world. Despite the fact that it’s been out of production for the past decade and it’s a formidable challenge to get big horsepower out of this mill, plenty of enthusiasts are still willing to give it a go with the 444ci V-8. Nathan Sparks is one such enthusiast. He made it his mission to make respectable horsepower with an engine most say can’t be modified on a budget.
Once the essentials were out of the way (such as wheels, tires, 4-inch exhaust, cold-air intake, and a leveling kit), Nate got to work doubling the truck’s power level. The tried-and-true Garrett GTP38R made it into the lifter valley, replacing the stock turbocharger. Then, in preparation for larger injectors, the factory high-pressure oil pump was ditched in favor of an Adrenaline unit from DieselSite. When funds allowed, a set of River City Diesel’s Stage 2 injectors was installed, along with a regulated-return system from Driven Diesel. Tying everything together is an F-6 custom-tuned chip from DP-Tuner.
"This truck was bone-stock just three years ago!"
Photo 2/12   |   2001 Ford F 250 Super Duty Rear View
The transmission was one area where Nathan spent a lot of his hard-earned money. Shortly after making all the above-listed modifications to the truck, what he thought was a “built” 4R100 soon began to check out. For a rock-solid automatic, he contacted the experts at Sun Coast and a local shop, Wilson Patterson Diesel, to install it. Since bolting in the Sun Coast slushbox, it hasn’t skipped a beat.
The best part about what’s been done to Nathan’s Ford Super Duty is that no sacrifice has been made in order to enjoy the added horsepower. Thanks to good tuning keeping boost at less than 40 psi, there is no urgent need for head studs. Also, the truck’s 400 to 425 rwhp keeps the powdered metal connecting rods out of the danger zone. And finally, a fully built Sun Coast transmission gives Nathan a worry-free driving experience. It’s proof once again that when it comes to the 7.3L Power Stroke, you can always teach an old dog new tricks.
Photo 6/12   |   2001 Ford F 250 Super Duty Engine
Nathan Sparks’ ’01 7.3L Power Stroke benefits from a set of Stage 2 injectors from River City Diesel, an Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump from DieselSite, and custom PCM tuning from DP-Tuner via an F-6 chip. Aside from that, the 81,000-mile long-block is completely untouched.
Photo 7/12   |   2001 Ford F 250 Super Duty Engine View 01
A regulated-return fuel system from Driven Diesel ensures flow exists throughout both heads and that the injectors are never starved of fuel pressure or volume. The adjustable fuel pressure regulator is set to 65 psi.
Photo 8/12   |   2001 Ford F 250 Super Duty Engine View
Hidden back in the factory location is the proven GTP38R turbo from Garrett. With good spooling characteristics and strong top-end performance, the ball-bearing 66mm charger is a perfect match for the Stage 2 injectors. To allow the engine to see peak boost, a Driven Diesel Overboost Annihilator (boost fooler) was also installed.
Photo 9/12   |   2001 Ford F 250 Super Duty Front View Burn Out
It may be old, but it’s no slouch... Nate can turn the 33-inch tires over at will thanks to the truck’s 400 hp (which is no doubt accompanied by 800 lb-ft of torque). Add in the truck’s standard cab configuration for weight savings, and you have a 13-second-capable rig.

Fast Facts
Year/Make/Model: 2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Owner: Nathan Sparks
Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana
Odometer: 81,000 miles
Engine: 7.3L Power Stroke V-8
Fuel: River City Diesel Stage 2 injectors, Driven Diesel regulated- return system, Adrenaline high-pressure oil pump
Air: Garrett GTP38R turbo, AEM Brute Force air intake
Transmission: 4R100 automatic built by Sun Coast
Horsepower: 400 to 425 hp (est.)
Torque: 800 to 850 lb-ft (est.)
Tires: 305/55R20 Nitto Terra Grappler
Wheels: 20x10-inch Pro Comp Alloy
Suspension: Firestone air springs (rear), Tuff Country ladder bars (rear)
Fun Fact: Time flies when you’re having fun. Just three short years ago, none of the mods listed here were on the truck.

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