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When we decided to build out a truck camper for overland travel, we knew we wanted a reliable full size truck. A Ford Super Duty with the 7.3 L Powerstroke seemed like one of the best options. After much research and scouring the internet for 7.3 Powerstrokes for sale, we ended up with a 2000 7.3 Powerstroke.

This post is all about our 2000 Ford F350 7.3 diesel truck. I wrote a separate post about our Four Wheel Pop-up Camper. These are the sections that will be covered in this article.

2000 7.3 powerstroke Ford F350

Why a 2000 7.3 Powerstroke Ford F350

When we were shopping for a truck, we were still considering different flatbed truck camper options. Because of this, we decided to focus our truck search based on these parameters:

  • 3/4 or 1 ton truck so it would have the ability carry any of the campers we considering.
  • Four wheel drive so we can explore some of the backcountry roads we were hesitant to explore before.
  • Single rear wheel to keep the width of our build narrower than a dually.
  • Gasoline or pre-DEF diesel (2006 or earlier) engine.

Eventually we narrowed our search down to a Ford F250 or F350 with the Triton V10 gas engine or the 7.3 Diesel engine (not to be confused with Ford’s new 7.3 gas “Godzilla” engine). Ford’s older 5.4 V8 seemed like it would be too anemic to handle what we wanted to do with the truck. 

  • We preferred the exterior / interior look of the truck
  • Proven reliability record
  • There are more of these used trucks for sale compared to other options we were considering

We ended up buying a used 2000 7.3 Powerstroke for the base of our full size truck camper build. It is the XLT short bed single rear wheel model with the 7.3L diesel engine, four wheel drive, automatic transmission, 3.73 gearing and crew cab (four full size doors).

From all appearances, the truck seems to have been well kept and is in good running order despite having just over 203k miles at time of purchase.

This truck gave us the most carrying capacity along with an engine that has legendary reliability. A quick internet search will yield stories of 7.3 L Powerstroke trucks with over 1 million miles.

2000 F350 7.3 Powerstroke Specs

Features / Upgrades of the Truck

Engine

While we want to leave the engine relatively stock, the Sinister Diesel components were chosen to address some known issues and “pretty” up the engine compartment a little.

The dual alternators (which came stock) give us additional amperage allowing us to charge the camper while we drive, run an air compressor and winch.

The PHP Hydra Tuner has 16 settings that allows us to adjust the tuning of the engine on the fly. We typically leave it in economy mode which provides 40 additional horsepower and better fuel economy. We typically get 14 mpg on level roads and 12 mpg in the mountains. 

The truck came with a 5″ exhaust that we had removed because it was simply too loud. We replaced it with a stainless steel 4″ exhaust system and a 51″ muffler that has eliminated all of the exhaust drone noise when going down the highway.

Drivetrain/Chassis

  • ATS torque converter
  • Gear Vendors Gear Splitter
  • Redhead Steering Box
  • Rancho steering stabilizer
  • Titan Fuel Tanks

Gear Vendors Gear Splitter is a secondary overdrive. It provides a half or split gear for every gear in the truck. If we are traveling on the highway and turn it on, it will provide a second overdrive gear and drop our RPMs. We typically do not drive fast enough to engage it while cruising on the highway but we do use it when we are climbing hills. It’s great for those times when you feel like one gear is too tall and the other too short. 

Redhead steering box provides better turning power for larger wheels and the Rancho steering stabilizer helps keep things under control.

The 51 gallon Titan Fuel Tanks upgrade replaced the 29 gallon stock fuel tank. This has been one of our favorite upgrades because it provides us with a 600+ mile range. This is great when off-road when you don’t know when the next fuel station will be and it allows you to bargain shop for fuel and fill up less often.

Suspension / Tires

When we first got the truck, it had 35” tires on with 16” wheels. We decided to go with 18” wheels for a better ride and shorter 34” tires. This provides a great balance of on-road comfort and off-road capability along with better fuel mileage. 

To air the tires back up, we have the VIAIR 450p air compressor. This is a 100% duty cycle compressor meaning it can run constantly without having to stop and cool. The compressor will air our tires up from 35 psi to 65 psi in 6 minutes/tire. We’ve found that gas station air compressors do not provide enough pressure to air up large truck tires. 

With the weight of our camper, all of our stuff and us, we found that the stock suspension needed some help. The ride was comfortable on-road but we found that when off-road, the stock springs were too soft to control the body sway from bumps we’d go over. The solution was to add a heavy duty leaf in the front, one in the rear along with two additional overload springs. This has done wonders to help better control the truck off-road while still being comfortable on-road.

Body

The Ranch Hand bumper is one of our favorite features of the truck. It’s a steel bumper featuring 1/4” and 1/2” steel plating. There is a mount for a winch along with a hitch receiver. It’s also wide enough for me to stand on when working on the engine. While it’s heavy (around 300 lbs), we feel the tradeoff is worth the protection it provides. 

For the headlights, we upgraded from the stock halogen bulbs to LEDs. The stock lights were terrible and the LEDs are only slightly better. We’re currently looking for a better solution. 

To help with the poor headlights, we installed two Lightforce ROK 40 flood lights. These are great on the road and help us see much better at night. When off-road, we also have the Lightforce single row light bar. It is has a spot pattern and is the perfect pairing with the ROKs to help us see on dirt roads at night.

When we bought the truck, it came with a steel flatbed which we sold and installed an all aluminum Norweld tray. This is what our camper is mounted to and it provides added storage along with a 43L aux water tank.

Interior

Our first upgrade to the interior was to remove the aging aftermarket stereo and install a new Kenwood that has Apple CarPlay. We’ve found CarPlay to be essential for us because it allows us to use the GPS on our phones and control and display it on the stereo along with audible turn by turn instructions. There is also support for numerous other apps like Pandora, Music and Gaia. 

While the front seats were comfortable for short drives, I found my back in pain after a couple hours of driving. The Scheel-Mann Varios seats offer 10 points of adjustment so I can now sit in the truck for hours on end without being in pain. Kait has also found that they help her to be much more comfortable on long drives. While this was an expensive upgrade, we figured that with the amount of time we spend driving, the new seats are well worth the expense.

Along the driver’s side front door, I installed the Element E50 fire extinguisher. It provides a 50 second discharge which is 4x longer than a standard 5lb bottle. This fire extinguisher will work on A, B, C and K classes of fires – which is good in case we have an engine fire.

The Acumen Mirror Dash Cam was installed so we could record what is happening in front of us along with having a rear camera when backing up. The form factor of the Acumen is such that it’s shaped like the rear view mirror and easily clips onto it. The rear camera is wide angle, allowing us to easily back into a spot without worrying about hitting anything. It records both front and rear cameras.

The pillar gauges had already been installed in the truck but they are another essential item to have in our diesel truck. They allow us to monitor boost pressure, transmission temperature and a pyrometer to monitor EGTs (exhaust gas temperatures) so we don’t damage the engine or transmission by overheating. 

Finally, we removed the rear seat and built an all aluminum storage system to help organize all of our stuff (tools, food stores, etc). We have our hanging closet in the backseat area as well.

Future Upgrades

  • Rear locker. This would provide us with the ability to lock the rear axle in difficult terrain to gain better traction. 
  • Rock sliders. These would replace our current steps into the truck and provide some protection from rocks as we go down the trail. 
  • Winch. A winch is great insurance to have when off-road to help you self-recover if you’re stuck or to potentially help others.
  • AGM batteries. Currently running two Interstate Group 65 CCA 850 lead acid batteries purchased from Costco.
  • In cabin soundproofing to help deaden the engine noise (old diesels are LOUD)

We plan to take our truck to a Power Stroke specific shop to have them look through the truck in detail and repair / replace any of the aging items that are prone to fail in a 7.3 with this many miles. 

That’s it for now. As we continue to make changes to the truck, we will update this post. 

7.3 Powerstroke Resources

We’ve come across quite a few 7.3 Powerstroke resources that have helped us during the research, buying and now maintenance/troubleshooting stage. The resources are listed below in alphabetical order and I’ll continue to update this section.

Ford 7.3 Powerstroke