Photo 1/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 spearco Intercooler | In the aftermarket, Turbonetics’ aluminum Spearco intercoolers are popular for almost every engine and are known for their ability to vastly cool exhaust gas temperature. We scored this unit off an ’00 7.3L Super Duty for next to nothing, as its original owner was actually going to scrap it. Other popular intercoolers for ’94½ to ’97 Power Strokes (which do a great job of cooling off EGT) include stock 7.3L units from ’99 to ’03 models, and even factory units off of 6.0L applications. Used 7.3L and 6.0L intercoolers can be found at your local junkyard, and they usually go for $150 to $200.
Photo 2/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 spearco Intercooler | In the aftermarket, Turbonetics’ aluminum Spearco intercoolers are popular for almost every engine and are known for their ability to vastly cool exhaust gas temperature. We scored this unit off an ’00 7.3L Super Duty for next to nothing, as its original owner was actually going to scrap it. Other popular intercoolers for ’94½ to ’97 Power Strokes (which do a great job of cooling off EGT) include stock 7.3L units from ’99 to ’03 models, and even factory units off of 6.0L applications. Used 7.3L and 6.0L intercoolers can be found at your local junkyard, and they usually go for $150 to $200.
Photo 3/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 front Of 1997 Ford F 350 | As a former ’97 Ford owner who’d installed his own intercooler, part owner of Randall’s Performance Corey Finch took on the job of fitting the Spearco behind our F-350’s grille. With essentially everything pulled off the front of the truck (grille, bumper, stone deflector, headlights), Finch located the areas of the radiator core support that had to be hacked to make everything work. He used a 5-inch hole saw blade to outline where the intercooler flanges would pass by the radiator.
Photo 4/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 cutting Core Support | Using the hole saw blade as a template, Finch took a plasma cutter to the core support. Once the initial holes were made, the excess metal was removed with a Sawzall. Then he took a grinder to the rough-cut edges and hit the bare metal with a coat of white paint.
Photo 5/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 smaller Flanges Installed | Because the original V-band flanges on our Spearco intercooler didn’t provide enough clearance around the radiator, we had to cut them off. Finch replaced them with smaller flanges off a 6.0L unit and had a local shop (which specializes in welding aluminum) weld them up for $65.
Photo 6/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 intercooler Mounting Bracket | Two stainless steel brackets, fabbed up by Finch, support the bottom of the intercooler (which rides on a 1/4-inch-thick piece of rubber). The top brackets were made from 2-inch x 1/4-inch pieces of flat steel. To both simplify and clean up the install, Finch installed nutserts for all bracket-mounting bolts.
Photo 7/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 transmission Cooler Installed | As the intercooler required the factory transmission cooler to mount closer to the grille, longer lines were needed. And although we considered upgrading to a larger aftermarket cooler at this point, the amount of additional cutting needed to make it work convinced us to tackle it later on.
Photo 8/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 intake Plenums Removed | With the turbo, factory pedestal, and intercooler plumbing (from “ATS Diesel Intercooler System,” Jan. ’10) removed, Finch pulled the intake plenums. On ’94 1/2 to early ’99 7.3L engines, the formed steel intake plenums feeding each cylinder head have 2-inch inside diameter (id) inlets, whereas ’99 1/2-and-later engines were equipped with 3-inch inlet plenums. For us, removing the stock up-pipes and exhaust collector was easy since we replaced them last year (June ’11). Pulling the passenger-side plenum called for removing the glow plug relay, disconnecting the fuel supply line at the front of the head, and moving the high-pressure oil supply line out of the way.
Photo 9/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 3 Inch Intake Plenums | Due to Irate’s turbo system utilizing 3-inch (id) piping, upgrading to a set of 3-inch inlet plenums (shown) from the ’99 1/2 to ’03 model year engine was a necessity—and a good thing. Thanks to Randy’s Engine and Machine, we found out just how restrictive our factory plenums were. We had a 2-inch inlet (’94 1/2 to ’99) plenum flow-tested, as well as these 3-inch inlet (’99 1/2 to ’03) units. The smaller plenum flowed just 241 cfm, while the larger plenum flowed 538 cfm.
Photo 10/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 bead On Intake Plenum | To keep our intercooler boots from blowing off, Finch rolled a bead around the Super Duty intake plenum inlets using Bead Form. Pushing the intake Y off the plenums is a common problem in high-boost applications, so giving the intercooler boots something extra to grab hold of is key.
Photo 11/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 applying Silicone On Intake Plenum | Because the intake plenums see a lot of boost, it’s not worth compromising on which material seals them to the cylinder heads. We used the same gasket maker that kept the stock plenums glued to the heads the past 16 years: Motorcraft TA-31 silicone sealant. Before installing the Super Duty plenums, Finch put rags in the heads and used a grinder with a Scotch-Brite pad to clean up the mating surfaces.
Photo 12/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 pedestal Base Installed | Moving on to the turbo system, Finch installed the new pedestal base, which mounts using the factory mounting pads on the block (for the factory pedestal). Finagling the up-pipe and collector assembly into place called for someone beneath the truck guiding the up-pipes onto the exhaust manifolds and someone pushing them down from up top. It was a tight fit, but thanks to the flexibility the bellowed up-pipes provide, it was a hassle-free process.
Photo 13/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 turbo Installed | Next came the turbo install, which calls for external oil supply and return lines. The new pedestal base from Irate effectively plugs off the factory oil drain location. In conjunction with the supplied oil line, 45-degree fittings, and new oil drain assembly, the factory bore in the block (originally used to mount the mechanical lift pump on ’94 1/2 to ’97 engines) becomes the new oil return (arrow). A threaded hole in the pedestal base allows the original oil supply location to be reused, and the supplied oil feed line that attaches to it can be seen here, loose behind the turbine housing. For good measure, Finch added some oil to the supply fitting on top of the center cartridge so the charger’s bearings wouldn’t be dry when initially starting the truck (we’ll go into detail on this turbo’s specs next month.)
Photo 14/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 new Downpipe | The most time-consuming part of installing Irate’s turbo system was fitting the 3-inch downpipe between the engine and firewall, which is where a 10-ton Porta Power came in handy. And because we received one of its first kits for the ’94 1/2 to ’97 trucks, the downpipe was roughly 1 foot short of reaching our existing 4-inch MBRP exhaust system. To fill the gap, Finch welded a short piece of 3-inch flex pipe to it. We then wrapped the new assembly with Design Engineering exhaust wrap from Summit Racing, which is rated up to 2,000 degrees. As we went to press, Irate had since come up with a longer, direct-fit downpipe.
Photo 15/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 map Sensor Installed | Since the MAP sensor originally sat in the factory, 2-inch intake plenum on the passenger side of the engine, we had to relocate it to the intake Y (similar to the way it is on a Super Duty 7.3L). Luckily for us, Irate conveniently welds a threaded port into its aluminum intake Y. All it took was some extra hose and a 90 degree fitting with a 1/4-inch nipple and 1⁄8-inch NPT.
Photo 16/16 | 500hp Power Stroke Part 3 upgraded 7 3l Power Stroke | The last order of business entailed modifying the air intake. After installing Irate’s 45 degree rubber hose adapter to the turbo, Finch used a 5-inch-long (4-inch-diameter) section of stainless steel pipe to link the existing K&N system to the turbo (we also decided to retain the factory closed crankcase ventilation system rather than reroute it). After that, all supplied intercooler pipes were installed and secured via DieselSite silicone boots and spring-loaded, T-bolt clamps (chosen for their ability to hold as much as 100 psi of boost).