By on May 30, 2018

2018 Ford Super Duty, Image: Ford

Ford’s upcoming heavy duty gasoline truck engine, codenamed “7X,” was believed to be a 7.0-liter V8 built with the express purpose of replacing the 6.8-liter Triton V10 and perhaps the 6.2-liter Boss V8.

While the program will indeed bear fruit at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant next year, there’s a new report claiming the mill’s layout should stir memories of famous engines of yore. We’re talking a large displacement (7.3 liters), iron block, and pushrod valve actuation.

An administrator at the SVTPerformance.com forum, citing internal sources, claims the upcoming V8 is an overhead valve design displacing 7.3 liters. The mill is just one of a series of engines expected to be spawned from a large dumping of OEM (and government) cash.

Ford’s Windsor engine plant, once home to the famous and beloved 255 Windsor (har, har), was in dire need of new product before the funding announcement. The old SOHC 6.8-liter, unceremoniously relegated to the E-Series cutaway, larger commercial trucks, and motorhomes, was on its last legs.

We’ve heard rumblings about a new 7.3-liter before. Earlier this year, a 2020 model year oil requirement document made the rounds on Ford forums, revealing a 7.3-liter gas engine and a disappeared 6.2-liter.

Scrapping overhead cams in favor of pushrods would create an engine with a smaller footprint, potentially widening the list of applications. Ford could save weight by utilizing a compacted graphite iron block, like that seen on the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. There’s cash savings to be had by going the standard iron route.

We don’t have any specs for the alleged 7.3-liter, but power figures would obviously need to surpass the output of both the 6.2-liter and 6.8-liter. The largest gas V8 in the Ford stable makes a maximum of 385 hp and 430 lb-ft, while the V10 tops out at 320 hp and 460 lb-ft. Again, there could be a range of displacements coming from Windsor. While a 7.0-liter is the go-to speculation, there’s also wind of a project dubbed “Godzilla.” Maybe they’re one and the same.

Time will tell what Ford brings us. Parts are expected to begin flowing into a retooled Windsor Engine in November.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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44 Comments on “Is Ford Going the Pushrod Route With Its New V8?...”


  • avatar
    IBx1

    “Ford” and “7.3” make me loose between the thighs, but “7.3” and “gasoline” belong nowhere together outside of a Zonda.

    I wish they could just build more of the real 7.3 they had.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The Navistar/Ford Powerstroke diesel? We’ll just have to see how to get that old beast to meet emissions standards…

      I love the 7.3L, but I don’t know why it gets so much love and people forget about the 460 from the same period. The 7.5L V8 had more horsepower and about as much torque as the 7.3L diesel. The diesel did get significantly better MPG though.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        You said it yourself, the 7.3 got the same mileage unladen as it did pulling a house, but the 460 was a pig like any large gas engine. Besides that, the 7.3 is a veritable million-mile engine with basic maintenance.

        The way to make it meet emissions standards is to show how much it saves on emissions compared to building 5 other trucks to match its service life.

        • 0 avatar
          Maxb49

          “Besides that, the 7.3 is a veritable million-mile engine with basic maintenance.”

          The 460 is a veritable 500,000 mile engine with basic maintenance.

          Fun fact: The same engineer designed the 460 Ford and the 472/500 Cadillac.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I continue to think the 7.3 was overrated because they couldn’t hack it in transit bus service, which involves slow-speed, constant start-stop operation. Two separate batches of 7.3-powered cutaway buses my agency had were constantly beset by powertrain problems.

        The agency swore off cutaways after that and bought small Cummins-powered “real” buses instead, powered by the 8.3 ISC. Nearly identical fuel economy and far better reliability in that application.

        • 0 avatar
          IBx1

          The van 7.3 was a different engine more closely related to the pre-’99 OBS trucks with the older turbo, derated injectors, and wonky up-pipes that had to clear the firewall. Idling for extended periods of time in applications like an ambulance would wash the cylinder walls with fuel since they run too cold at a regular idle, but under use they go forever. If you’ve ever seen an International school bus with the truck hood and square headlights, those are 7.3s as well (T444e in International-speak).

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “…I continue to think the 7.3 was overrated…”

          Not just that, but the 460 was “underrated”, thanks to its “restrictor plate”. A Ford tech told me about it. He owned at 460 dually to pull his toys.

          I’ve owned both, but prefer the 460, yes minus the restrictor, found in the huge intake hoses and it narrows the passages to the size quarters.

          Why did Ford sandbag it? Take one guess.

    • 0 avatar
      bhtooefr

      To be fair, the 7.3 (and the 6.9 it was developed from) started as the International Harvester MV-446, which was a 446.9 cubic inch, or 7323 cc gasoline engine. (The 6.9 and 7.3 diesels were both smaller bore, but the same stroke, and the same architecture.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Love it. Put it in a car.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    This engine is the only thing that could make me retire my rusty but bulletproof 8.1L. The HD manufacturers have left a huge space between a 400 lb ft small block gas engine and a 900 lb ft diesel. Diesel economics just don’t make sense anymore unless you are pulling heavy all the time. Even then a gas big block with 80-90% of the capability at a far lower running cost will be tempting to many I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Bill Wade

      I have a new RAM Cummins but still tow many times with an 8.1L Suburban. With my 10,000lb toyhauler the RAM gets 10.5, the Suburban 7.6. The only real reason for the RAM is a bit more pleasant experience towing because the engine isn’t at high RPM on hills. The difference in mileage hardly makes up for $60k or the maintenance of the diesel.

      Can you imagine how powerful the 8.1L would have been with direct injection and variable valve timing? Likely increased mileage by better than 1 mpg and increased both hp and torque by 3 digit figures.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    Good! Maybe this will get GM to finally make an iron block HD 7.0 liter for their HD pickups. Been stuck with the 6.0 for far too long.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      My company rented a 15-passenger Chevrolet Express with one of these and I was pretty impressed with its giddyup. I can see why they’ve stuck with it, but of course more power is always welcome.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    They should go retro and offer a flathead V8. The shade tree mechanic would be back in business, think of the aftermarket part sales…cha-ching!

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This needs to go in the Raptor.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    No replacement for displacement.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryan

      Dan,

      My father is in his mid 60’s and I am in my late 30’s. I cannot even begin to put a number on how many times he has said your above comment to me.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’ll be 41 in about a week but my Old Man generally said that whenever we stuck our heads under the hood of a car at a car show and laid eyes on a big block.

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        There really is no replacement for displacement, though.

        Want to make your engine’s peak efficiency higher for a given power output? Make it bigger, increase static compression, and then use either early or late intake valve closing to bring dynamic compression back down to safe levels. You have less intake air than you started with, but you have more expansion, and therefore that less intake air gets more work done.

        Really, the reason for downsize-and-turbocharge is an attempt to optimize for light loads, at the expense of high load efficiency. However, there’s other ways to do that – cylinder deactivation, clever use of variable valve actuation (as in BMW Valvetronic engines, Mazda SkyActiv-G, Fiat MultiAir, Toyota Valvematic, and Toyota VVT-iW and VVT-iE engines), and full hybridization (shut down the engine and run on electric, or load up the engine to recharge the batteries, at light loads) come to mind. All of those approaches can allow displacement without light load inefficiency.

  • avatar
    TW5

    What could be better than replacing the cylinder head gasket without removing the timing chain? Pushrods are still the best, even if displacement restricted marketplaces have forgotten.

  • avatar
    carve

    Pushrods make for a much more compact engine. I don’t like the iron block though. Heavy and less efficient cooling.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    It’s about time the 6.8 Triton kicks the bucket. I don’t know how it’s possible to make a V10 unsexy but Ford snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on that one.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I believe Ford will base it’s decision on the most economical choice for manufacture.

    The use of as much existing tooling will be made along with design considerations.

    Does a commercially biased large gasoline engine that opeates under less stress than a comparable car engine needs as much “tech”?

    The best choice would of been maybe the use of a smaller diesel. Many of our light trucks run 5 litre plus 4 cylinder diesels. Would this make for a better work vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      If you can make a case to the fleet operators that the cost per mile, reliability, and serviceability of a 5-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine is better than something like this, than it may be a better work vehicle. I don’t know those numbers, but US fleet operators that have a bunch of HD trucks obsess over costs and uptime.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well the fact is that UPS, who purchases thousands of gallons of fuel per week has stopped buying diesel home delivery trucks and have switched to gas power for lower cost per mile and greater uptime.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Welp, there you have it.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I’m guessing UPS, FEDEX, utilities and similar have done the math.

          They’ve nothing against diesels, but the new Rule of Thumb, if a gas engine can reasonably do the job of a diesel, you get the gasoline engine.

          And this started happening before DEF/SCR diesel emissions.

          What they do in Australia/Africa may not apply here.

  • avatar
    James2

    Ford has gone the overhead cam route since the Modular V8 came out all those years ago. Would they really go back?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If true, this seems like a gamble that future administrations will retain the no-enforcement, see-no-evil approach to fuel-economy standards of the current administration. That strikes me as a risky gamble.

    An updated 7.3 pushrod would make nice power-to-weight but would have absolutely terrible, horrible, no-good fuel economy. Think 10 mpg unladen and 5 mpg when towing.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I think that’s a bit far, if they could do the same magic GM did with the 6.2L then I don’t see how the 7.3L couldn’t manage at 15 avg and possibly 18HWY.

      More displacement means more time in 4 cylinder mode.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Ford so far has not gone in for cylinder deactivation except as part of their fail safe cooling over temp operating strategy, so I wouldn’t expect it on a application that won’t be subject to CAFE rules.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Despite my earlier comment I have zero expectation that this ends up in a car and *very* little hope it ends up in a 1/2-ton or BOF SUV.

      This will be the domain of 3/4-ton and up. I don’t anticipate the ‘250/350’ class being subject to CAFE (or whatever) under any likely future Dem administration and the 650/750/Class C Motorhome vehicles will almost certainly stay exempt as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Ford already said it was meant for raptor and super duty, would be nice to see it in a passenger car as well but not holding my breath Ford pulls its head out of

      • 0 avatar
        bhtooefr

        Heavy duty vehicles (including heavy duty (class 2a and 2b) pickups) are under a separate CAFE program from cars, light duty (class 1 and 2a) trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles (class 2b): https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/final-rule-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-fuel-efficiency

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      @Dal,

      I get between 10-12 mpg with my 8.1, and it hardly matters city/highway, towing or not. This with an old school big block with its roots in the 1960s. An all new 7.3 with direct injection, modern engine controls, etc should be able to make a relatively unstressed 425-450 hp with better fuel economy than the old 496.

      Your comments about standards are on the money though, and why I have never for a second put any stock into the idea that this engine will end up in the Raptor or Mustang. Those vehicles are actually subject to the tougher regulations and already make similar power numbers with better fuel economy (at least on the sticker). It doesn’t make any sense to me to move away from hard earned Ecoboost/5.0 branding for a high torque, low revving truck engine in a performance vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>If true, this seems like a gamble that future administrations will retain the no-enforcement, see-no-evil approach to fuel-economy standards of the current administration. That strikes me as a risky gamble.<<

      Sure, we could get another pay for play regime in the future like the prior one. There is still enforcement today, just opposition to admittedly extreme new fuel economy standards rushed through in the last minutes of a dying regime in an attempt to hamstring the incoming government.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I don’t see any gamble other than possibly being optional on the Raptor this is for F250 and up which has always been exempt from CAFE and was intended to stay so under the original 2025 rules.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    When a 6.2 pushrod V8 has the same over all characteristics of a DOHC 5.0, and in a smaller over all package, what’s there to think about?


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