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Old 11-18-2008, 02:58 PM   #1
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7.3 PSD, experiencing significant loss of power with truck camper+towing saturn vue

We have a 99 PSD dually with automatic, bought new in 98; except for cam sensor failure (twice) we have had no problems. We don't run a chip, and I have never had it in for service (I do my own oil change, fuel filter change). Total miles on the truck are ~76,500.

Here is the problem. On a trip to Atlanta on Sat carrying a bigfoot camper in the truck bed and also towing a saturn vue I noticed a serious lack of power as we climbed some gradual hills entering the Atlanta area. On normal interstates there is no serious problem and I cruise at 60 mph.

But on driving on a slight inclined interstate at 60 mph the speed slowly drops...I finally could get up the slight hills by going into second and then first, and even then I found myself creeping at 20 mph.

Question:

Am I overloaded; camper is 4500 lbs and the towed saturn vue is about 3000 lbs....

Or is there an engine problem?

I changed fuel filter about 10000 miles ago; the engine idles fine.

I have heard that the 7.3 liter PSD can have a chronic loss of power problems related to injector 8, something about starved fuel to that cyl.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks, HEMI
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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We have a 99 PSD dually with automatic, bought new in 98; except for cam sensor failure (twice) we have had no problems. We don't run a chip, and I have never had it in for service (I do my own oil change, fuel filter change). Total miles on the truck are ~76,500.

Here is the problem. On a trip to Atlanta on Sat carrying a bigfoot camper in the truck bed and also towing a saturn vue I noticed a serious lack of power as we climbed some gradual hills entering the Atlanta area. On normal interstates there is no serious problem and I cruise at 60 mph.

But on driving on a slight inclined interstate at 60 mph the speed slowly drops...I finally could get up the slight hills by going into second and then first, and even then I found myself creeping at 20 mph.

Question:

Am I overloaded; camper is 4500 lbs and the towed saturn vue is about 3000 lbs....

Or is there an engine problem?

I changed fuel filter about 10000 miles ago; the engine idles fine.

I have heard that the 7.3 liter PSD can have a chronic loss of power problems related to injector 8, something about starved fuel to that cyl.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks, HEMI
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:53 PM   #3
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Have you checked all the turbo boots to make sure one did not pop off.The one on the bottom drivers side is hard to see.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:30 PM   #4
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Try a new fuel filter. A restricted filter will give you those symptoms. Also, your catalytic converter may be plugged. Check also for a crushed exhaust pipe/tail pipe. Is your torque converter slipping under load? Other than wind resistance from the camper, you should be flying down the road and up those little hills there in the Atlanta area..
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:59 PM   #5
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as mike brez states. check the turbo hoses. friend of mine had the same symptoms and one of the hoses has worked loose.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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I had almost the same symptoms as you except my truck idled very rough. I was in the Pocono mountains in PA so I had it towed to the FORD dealer. They scanned for codes and then checked the fuel pressure... it was about 4 PSI according to the tech. They put a new fuel pump and it's running fine. I think the pump and labor was about $500. Hope this helps.

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Old 11-26-2008, 02:13 AM   #7
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Thanks Jim, John, and Fleetman,

Back from Atlanta after towing Saturn Vue with Bigfoot camper on bed.

Engine idels fine, sounds fine, and cruises nice on more or less straight interstates...but as one begins to climb slight inclines speed steadily drops from about 60 to 40...I can make over these inclines at 40 but it seems I should have more power.

I am gathering more information from people like you..others on this thread...in January I will take to PSD mechanic.

Fleetman: I put in new air filer and fuel filter when I was in Atlanta just a few days ago. Did not seem to improve the loss of power I am experiencing. Catalytic converter may be plugged...? Is this something I can check myself? No cushed exhaust pipl... On torque converter slipping...it would seem I could hear it slipping on load.

As you say I should be able to fly down the road....actually it use too along time ago..now that you mention, this problem may have been with me for a long time. In our 2005 trip to Oregon (with just bigfoot on bed), I do remember the engine was straining to get over some of the passes (not the big ones) in NM...at the time I thought it might have been normal.

I will check the turbo hoses as suggested by John.

Now that we are back home, I will take some time to investigate the problem.

Finally, when the engine is accelerating, I don't really hear that turbo whine sound I use to hear which makes me think this is a turbo problem,

Again, thanks, HEMI
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:01 AM   #8
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Hemi,

A plugged catalytic converter could restrict the exhaust enough that the turbo is not spooling up as fast as it should, thus you are not hearing that distinctive whine from your early 99. I don't hit the 7.3 PSD forums as mush as I used to but a plugged up converter was reported occasionally and it had the same symptoms you have. Turbos are expensive, I'd hate to see someone start throwing parts at a problem. Unless you physically cut the catalytic converter out of the exhaust system to check it, it can be a real bear to check. The factory crimp on the pipe which attaches the converter to the muffler is extremely hard to separate with out a torch to heat it up and expand things. I had to cut mine apart with a chisel and of course destroyed that portion when I replaced the muffler on my early '99 PSD. Prior to the MH in my signature, we towed a 9,000# TT all over the country And I seldom dropped below 55 mph in 3rd gear on the interstate "hills" out west, even Cabbage Hill near Pendleton, OR.

You can check the inlet side of the turbo for damage to the compressor fins by just removing the intake hose. It sounds like your air intake is still stock, is your air intake restriction indicator reading OK? Is your intake hole through the side of the fender well plugged up? Just more random thoughts.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:13 AM   #9
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Fleetman, many thanks.

Yes, air intake is stock; I blew out the intake hole with an air hose...was not plugged. Actually the air intake seems small considering the size of the filter.

Note: in your psd were you running the "chip"? My psd is still stock...I never used a "chip" but many people I know swear by them. I am thinking that I will do the chip thing before I take the truck to a mechanic.

Also, tomorrow I will have the bigfoot camper off the truck...and then will take on the interstate to run up the engine to feel the power without a load.

When you reply please tell me if your psd was chipped; thanks,

HEMI
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:28 AM   #10
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Chip only after you find your problem and I would only get one from Jody at DP Tuner. The #8 injector will cause cackle sound at idle I doubt you have injector issues. You can change #8 to a LL injector or do a regulated return. I would stop right now and check the boots good before you start cuting your cat apart. Also if you get a chip you need gauges tranny,boost,pyro. If you had a boost gauge now you could rule out boots and turbo problem.
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Old 11-27-2008, 06:04 AM   #11
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HEMI,
My PSD is not chipped. I understand chips for the early '99 are not too common but I never felt I needed one. My PCM code is still the original XLE4 and I haven't done anything about the #8 injector, again I did not see any need to. The mods I have done are the DIY Tymar intake - I sucked up too much garbage through the fender well inlet plugging up the air filter, CCV mod and straight pipe exhaust - stock 3.5" diameter. Changes made to enhance towing were a Brian's Truck Shop (BTS) transmission rebuild with three disc torque converter and a Transfer Flow 48 gallon mid-ship fuel tank. A cooling system filter and pre pump fuel filter are installed for longevity purposes.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:28 AM   #12
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DP Tuner has chips for 94 up. Go over to The Diesel Stop and ask around he is like the guru of chips like Brian of BTS or John Woods is for the Ford tranny. Your 7.3 has fordged rods and can handle the extra hp no problem. I would get a valve body for the tranny. My 7.3 has PM rods. They say the PM rods are only good for 400-425 hp before you window the block. I dyno mine at almost 390 rw hp. Post back and let us know how you are making out with your problems.
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Old 11-28-2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Your 7.3 has fordged rods and can handle the extra hp no problem. I would get a valve body for the tranny. My 7.3 has PM rods. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mike, are you talking about the piston rods?

What is a valve body for the tranny?

For the last 10 years I have just drove this truck, since it was new. I have not put any aftermarket stuff on it.

Once I get this loss of power problem solved, I will start to add a few items or gauges to the truck that will tell me about its performance and problems. Thus I will get back with you on what I should have on this truck.

It only has 76000 miles on it, the physical condition is excellent. However I have been remiss in watching for issues, for example is the turbo working ok and how can I tell if the turbo is actually working, and is the fuel pump putting out sufficient full pressure; apparently high pressure is required for a good running diesel.

I did check the boots, they look snug with no breakes, but I do see evidence of oil (not fresh, but light accumulation which has attracted or mixed with normal dust or grit you see on an engine) around each boot and on the aluminum...what is flowing through the boot...exhaust, pressure created by the turbo?

Is there a book available for the 7.3 psd, like "7.3 psd for dummies"; I need to become familiar with engine systems....I do understand the gassers (before fuel injection)....and in high school (50s) I rebuilt a chrysler hemi for my 40 ford...but those days have been over for decades...now engines with electronics is a major item on any powertrain.

Many thanks to Fleetman and Mike for keeping this thread alive.....

HEMI
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Old 11-28-2008, 03:15 PM   #14
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HEMI Yes connecting rods. Here is a cheap and very easy way to beef up tranny. Or you can go this route. My boots have soot/oil all over them also. A CCV would help alot.
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