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’94 7.3L Factory Turbo Swap

Project 300: Engine Transplant
Posted September 8 2012 10:57 PM by jason.thompson 
Filed under: Diesel Engines, Tech Tips


 Project 300

’87 Ford F-250

6.9L and 7.3L International diesel 

 Project 300 is now at Underground Diesel Performance in Las Vegas, Nevada. The plan is to pull the original head gasket blown 6.9L, hard shifting ZF five-speed transmission, and clunking 10 1/4 Sterling rear axle. Then we'll put the factory turbo IDI, good ZF five-speed transmission, and updated 10 1/4  in its place.

Garrett Paulhamus (guy with tattoos in the pictures) is Underground's Shop Foreman. I (balding guy) have been following him around the last couple weeks in order to learn from his experience and expert know how. He specializes in Fords and medium-heavy-duty diesels. He's been helping me with the project when I get stuck on something. I was thinking of adding him to the first Diesel Power "Diesel Mechanic Profile". It's a section where we highlight the top diesel mechanics from around the country. It's interesting to see what technicians drive. Sometimes they have really nice trucks. Sometimes they drive beaters since they are always working on other peoples vehicles. Garrett drives a motorcycle. 

Garrett showed me a trick for removing the engine fan. He tightens it (to the left), breaks it slightly, and the removes it by turning it to the right (reverse threads). 

Wrap tap around the a/c compressor's holes after the hoses are removed. Put the hose ends in a glove or plastic bag and wrap it closed with tape. This will keep moisture and dirt from getting in the system.

He also uses a small impact for quickly removing fasteners. There's been many other tips I've learned from him but we'll include them later.


1. The oil had about a gallon of water in it from the bad head gasket.

2. If the slip joints in the turbo piping don't come loose (spray them with lube the night before) you can untighten the bolts for the up-piping to the turbo with a long extension from underneath. 

3. Removed turbo system, battery cables, water injection, throttle cable, radiator, a/c lines (make sure you get the system discharged—the system is under pressure and you can cause personal damage if you unhook it without discharging it and it also is bad for the o-zone layer), heater core hoses, vacuum hose, fuel lines, bell housing bolts, exhaust from the downpipe to the turbo, carrier bearing, driveshaft (looks like a strap got wrapped up in there), power steering lines, and cross member bolts.      

4. I've been trying different gloves out. 

5. We'll loosen the motor mounts and pull the engine later this week.

6. Notice the pulleys on the front of the donor engine are bent. This engine came out of a wreck. But it came with extra pulleys and other parts. 

7. I've now had in my possession a ’87 6.9L IDI, ’92 7.3L non-turbo IDI, and now the ultimate 7.3L IDI factory turbo. But maybe a 6.9L block and 7.3L heads is best— if its possible to do with out a lot of machining cost to drill and tap the holes bigger?

8. I have the special tools needed to rebuild the ZF five-speed manual transmission coming in the mail.


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