By Dean Larson

Photos: Ford

“The 7.3-liter is gonna rise again!”

Well, it sort of has — in a spiritual sense. Ford has indeed revived the 7.3-liter displacement, but it’s not the old bulletproof direct-injection Navistar diesel blue oval fans remember. The 7.3-liter PowerStroke diesel engine, in production from 1994 to 2003, achieved respectable horsepower and economy, with million-mile reliability and mechanical simplicity. Ford’s new 7.3-liter engine, code named Godzilla, aims to be the same dependable workhorse, but as a compact and economical gas-powered package for the 2020 model year.

Filling the gap between the 6.2-liter gasoline engine and the 6.7-liter PowerStroke diesel, Ford claims the 7.3-liter engine will be the most powerful gas V8 in its class. Ford has declined to reveal power figures at this time, but claims the engine will be a significant step up into a whole new segment, and an ideal engine for 3/4 and 1-ton trucks and fleet vehicles. For reference, the 6.2-liter gas engine produces from 385 to 411 hp (based on application), and 405 to 434 lb-ft of torque. The current 6.7-liter PowerStroke produces 450 hp and 935 lb-ft.

One look down the list of specifications backs up Ford’s claims that the engine will be simple, strong and produce sufficient torque. To start, the engine displaces a massive 7.3-liters, or roughly 445 ci, a displacement that was found to lead to an ideal stoichiometric ratio for the desired power output. A cast iron block and forged steel crank were selected for strength, and the engine makes use of variable camshaft timing.

Ford 7 3 2

Interestingly, the engine was designed as a cam-in-block, or pushrod setup with two valves per cylinder. While an overhead-cam four-valve design is proven to breathe better at rpm, Ford has optimized the engine for low-rpm torque, and the cam-in-block setup allows for a more compact packing of the valvetrain.

Also incorporated into the new design are oil cooling jets, which shoot oil at the underside of the piston to cool it under heavy loads. Port fuel injection is also used, presumably for its ability to cool the intake air charge. The engine package is designed to work with Ford’s new 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission.

A simple and reliable engine under the hood of thousands of work trucks might have you thinking that the new 7.3-liter will be the next hot Ford swap — a big Ford LS in some ways. While you won't be winding it up to 7,500 rpm in stock form, the new engine would have some ideal characteristics. For one, it’ll be compact for its displacement, which you’ll be thankful for in a swap situation. It’s also going to be simple and plentiful, and likely powerful too.

The new engine will be available for the 2020 model year, which means they'll start trickling into the scrap yards soon after if enough vehicles wind up totaled. So be sure to write to us when you become the first to wedge this mill under the hood of a Cobra or the like!


Language has been clarified regarding the 7.3-liter displacement leading to an ideal stoichiometric ratio.