When it comes to diesel engines, few names carry the same weight as Ford's Power Stroke. The story of this legendary line of engines began in 1982 when Ford Motor Company partnered with International Truck and Engine Corporation (later re-named Navistar, Incorporated) to create a new standard in diesel engine technology. Their goal was to design an engine that was not only more durable and powerful but also more capable than anything else on the market. The result was the 6.9L Indirect Injection (IDI) engine, which was the first Ford pickup diesel.
Despite its modest 170 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque, the 6.9L IDI engine was an instant hit in the pickup world. It was soon followed by the 7.3L IDI diesel engine, which was produced from 1988 to 1993. However, it was the 1994 release of the first Power Stroke turbo diesel engine, the legendary 7.3L, that truly revolutionized the industry.
With the addition of a waste-gated turbocharger, HUEI fuel injectors, and an air-to-air intercooler, the 7.3L engine boasted incredible power and torque, making it an instant hit among pickup owners. The 7.3L's performance and durability earned it a spot on Diesel Power Magazine's list of the top ten diesel engines ever produced. Production of the 7.3L ran non-stop through early 2003, cementing its place in diesel engine history.
In 2003, Ford introduced the next-generation 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine, which featured variable geometry turbocharger technology, an exhaust gas recirculation system, and an advanced, second-generation fuel injection system. The 6.0L was a groundbreaking engineering breakthrough that further cemented Ford's reputation as a leader in diesel engine technology, but these engine was plagued by head gaskets and egr issues.
The Power Stroke legend reached new heights in 2007 with the launch of the 6.4L diesel engine. With twin turbochargers and high-pressure common rail fuel injection, the 6.4L delivered an astonishing 350 horsepower at 3000 RPM and a peak torque output of 650 lb-ft at just 2000 RPM. While it had class leading horsepower and was a great truck to drive, it was also plagued by head gasket and emmision system problems.
Today, the Power Stroke legacy lives on in the current 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine. Released in 2011, this engine was built from scratch with a state-of-the-art design. It features "Instant Start" glow plugs for quicker starts, a lightweight compacted graphite iron engine block, aluminum cylinder heads, and piston-cooling jets for longer engine life. The 6.7 Powerstroke engine is a great platform and has become very reliable.
The Ford Power Stroke diesel engine line has come a long way since its inception in 1982. Each new engine has brought new levels of innovation, power, and capability to the industry, cementing the Power Stroke name as a legend among pickup owners. With the current 6.7L Power Stroke engine, the party is far from over, and we can expect Ford to continue pushing the boundaries of diesel engine technology for years to come.