7.3 Powerstroke Exhaust Upgrade Guide

Despite being a nearly 30 year old engine, the 7.3 Powerstroke still has one of the biggest followings of any Ford turbo diesel to date. They are literal torque monsters, putting down up to 525 lb-ft directly from the factory. While the 7.3 is perfectly capable from the factory, the potential is really what gets enthusiasts interested. The modifications are nearly endless and can truly transform the engine. That’s where 7.3 Powerstroke exhausts come into play.

Exhausts are one of the most common modifications for Ford turbo diesel engines for a few reasons. They are relatively cheap and easy to install and also bring an array of benefits. Throwing an exhaust on your 7.3 Powerstroke can yield moderate power and torque gains, reduce EGTs, improve mileage and, most importantly, make your truck sound as cool as it looks.

7.3 Powerstroke Exhaust Benefits

  • Decreased EGTs

  • Improved fuel efficiency

  • Marginally improved power and torque

  • Deep and rich exhaust tone

  • Pronounced turbo whistle

Before we jump too far into talking up the benefits of a 7.3 exhaust upgrade, it’s important to mention that a turbo-back exhaust isn’t going to turn your truck into a rocketship. While it is possible to gain 10-15 horsepower and a similar amount of torque from a quality turbo-back, your butt-dyno isn't likely to register a difference. If you’re looking to upgrade your exhaust for power gains alone, you’ll likely be disappointed. However, with the addition of other modifications like an upgraded intake and a tune, those gains can become more noticeable.

With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about the main reasons why people buy 7.3 Powerstroke exhausts. One of the biggest reasons that enthusiasts choose to upgrade is for the benefits that they have to exhaust gas temperatures. In some cases, a larger diameter turbo-back exhaust can reduce exhaust gas temperatures by 150-200 degrees

Overall, an upgraded exhaust will help keep engine and EGT temps down which is important for longevity. Additionally, tuning increases stress on the turbo by increasing boost levels and an exhaust will help reduce that stress by reducing backpressure. If you are tuned, an exhaust will help improve the reliability of the turbo.

While all of those performance benefits add up to something, let’s be honest, the improved sound is the best part. The unrestricted path from the turbo to the exhaust exit will produce some pretty sinister sounds from both the turbo induction and engine itself.

Complimentary Mods

As we established before, a turbo-back exhaust for your 7.3 Powerstroke will provide only marginal performance gains, and none that you’ll likely notice with your butt dyno. With that being said, there are ways to maximize the performance of an aftermarket exhaust by combining it with other performance mods. 

A Powerstroke turbo-back can provide more significant power gains when paired with other performance modifications that improve exhaust flow and airflow overall. An aftermarket 7.3 Powerstroke air intake is the best complimentary mod to make the most of an aftermarket exhaust. The more air that enters the engine, the more exhaust gasses it produces, which is where an aftermarket exhaust has an advantage over the stock setup.

Of course, a tune is the most important piece of this equation. Without a tune, the engine’s PCM will fight against the changing airflow and exhaust parameters, pretty much nullifying the positive effects of the mods. A tune is needed to get the full benefits of an aftermarket exhaust and pretty much any other performance modification. 

If you are interested in learning more about the best performance modifications for the 7.3, take a look at our Best Budget 7.3 Powerstroke Performance Mods Guide.

Other Exhaust Considerations

When choosing an exhaust for your 7.3 Powerstroke, there are a few things that you need to think about first. Your main considerations should be sound, price, build quality, and fitment. All of those factors can vary quite a bit when it comes to aftermarket exhausts, so it’s important to know what you want before pulling the trigger.

There are a few different styles of exhaust available for the 7.3 Powerstroke. Since most of the 7.3’s didn’t come with emissions equipment, turbo-back systems are the most popular. As the name suggests, they bolt directly to the turbo and go all the way back to the exhaust tip. There are also kits that go from the downpipe back, or from the catalytic converter and back, albeit they are less popular.

Price and build quality are also pretty heavily correlated when it comes to 7.3 Powerstroke exhausts. Expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $400-$600 for a quality turbo-back exhaust. In that price range, most options are made from 304 stainless steel, guaranteeing longevity and corrosion resistance. 

Another important consideration is exhaust sizing. The two most widely available systems are 4″ and 5″ systems. This refers to the diameter of the exhaust piping. A 4″ system is going to reduce exhaust backpressure by about 80%. A 5″ system will reduce it even more. You’ll also typically see EGT reduction in the 150-200 degree range, with a 5″ system being on the higher end and a 4″ on the lower end. Most 7.3 owners will find that 4” is plenty and 5” is simply unnecessary.

Our Top 7.3 Powerstroke Exhaust Recommendation

Upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust is a popular modification for the 7.3 Powerstroke. A very popular modification. As a result, the aftermarket is full of options. The sheer number of exhausts can get overwhelming and it can be hard to decide on one particular exhaust. But, that’s why we’re here. 

It is generally concluded in the Powerstroke community that the MBRP 4” Turbo-Back exhaust is the highest quality, budget friendly exhaust option for the 7.3 Powerstroke. It really checks all of the boxes. As a 4” turbo-back exhaust, it provides the best balance of performance benefits, reducing EGTs by around 150 degrees while maintaining enough exhaust velocity to keep the turbo happy.

If you are looking for a rich, muscle car-esque sound, the MBRP is the exhaust for you. It comes without a muffler, so it is a loud exhaust compared to others with an included muffler. Despite it being loud, it produces a tasteful sound that is pretty much universally loved in the community. 

MBRP 4" Exhaust Benefits

  • Approx. 18whp and 28wtq power gains
  • Reduced exhaust backpressure
  • Muffler-less for maximum performance
  • 1-2mpg fuel economy increases
  • Lower EGTs
  • Louder exhaust note
  • Direct bolt-on with all hardware included

7.3 Powerstroke Exhaust Guide FAQ

What is the best 7.3 Powerstroke exhaust?

While the question of the best 7.3 Powerstroke exhaust is subjective, our vote goes to the MBRP 4” Turbo-Back exhaust. It truly is the best bang for the buck turbo back system on the market for the 7.3 and provides a sound that is universally loved in the community. It provides some impressive performance benefits too, including reduced EGTs, marginally improved power and torque, and better fuel economy.

What are the best performance modifications for the 7.3 Powerstroke?

Outside of a turbo-back exhaust upgrade, some of the most popular Powerstroke modifications include a cold air intake, a tune, an upgraded intercooler, and a boost fooler. Some of those mods compliment a turbo-back nicely. For example, an upgraded air intake, tune, and turbo-back combo would yield some pretty impressive performance gains over a stock F150. 

What are the performance benefits of a 7.3 Powerstroke exhaust?

Most enthusiasts buy an upgraded exhaust for their truck for the sounds. However, there are some impressive performance benefits to an upgraded turbo-back exhaust too, including decreased EGTs, improved fuel efficiency, and marginally improved power and torque.

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txtag. 2024-04-22 01:20:21

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