Early-model diesel trucks are making a big comeback as enthusiasts look for ways to enjoy all the benefits of owning one without the $50,000 sticker shock. Best of all, there's no shortage of great project vehicles being advertised online and in print for under $10,000 if you do some searching. Sure, the truck might have 100,000 miles on the odometer, but if you start with a good engine like the Ford 7.3 Powerstroke, you can get years more out of it by just doing a few upgrades and keeping up with the maintenance, namely, filtering your dirty oil.

The 7.3 has been around long enough to the point where any major problems have been worked out, its displacement can't be matched by any other light duty truck and you can definitely find a smoking deal on one. Ford stopped offering the 7.3L in 2003, so those still on the road probably have at least 100,000 miles on the engine, unless they've been garaged. One consideration with the 7.3 is that it requires cleaner oil than most. It uses a HEUI (Hydraulic Electric Unit Injector) style fuel injection system that relies on extremely high oil pressure to create fuel pressure. When looking for more fuel pressure in a Chevy or Cummins you would add a larger fuel pump, generally belt driven. On an early Powerstroke it's different; you need to increase oil pressure with a HPOP (High Pressure Oil Pump). The injector then uses oil pressure to "squirt" diesel into the cylinder. With this system clean oil is critical if you're going to see maximum reliability and performance. This is not to say that clean oil isn't important to all other engines, it is, and a Duramax, Cummins, or any other diesel or gas engine will benefit from continuous clean oil immensely.

Costs Of Oil Changes
We all know that diesel engine oil is pricey, and these vehicles use lots of it. Most people put (conservatively) around 15,000 miles a year on their trucks. If we keep up on our oil changes (which means a minimum of five changes a year at a $100 a pop, using standard petroleum based products), you'll spend $500 per year. Count on doubling that amount if you want synthetics. Granted, synthetic oil will generally last longer than petroleum oil and the efficiency is better in terms of lubrication, but in either case the oil getting into your engine, especially the 7.3L, needs to stay clean. So one of the best methods to keep your operating costs down is to use a high-quality oil filtering system. There are several on the market and they all have their pluses, but one of the better known systems is made by Filtration Solutions.

What The FS2500 Does
The FS2500 is a bypass filtration system that filters your oil down to 2 microns. Since it's a bypass-type setup you don't have to fret about clogged filters if you forget to change them-oil bypasses the filter and continues to lube the engine (while it may seem silly to go so long without changing your filter, imagine an over-the-road driver putting hundreds of thousands of miles a year on a truck, it's easy to forget to change the oil). With little to no particulates getting in the oil, engine wear is reduced because there are few particulates remaining to grind on the cylinder walls, valve guides, bearings, etc. If you're constantly running clean oil, you can easily extend your engine life. Keep in mind, a remote bypass-type system does not replace a factory engine-oil filter; it works in conjunction with one. For our project, we used an Amsoil spin-on and its diesel synthetics.

The Installation Process
Installation of the FW2500 was simple; it was two connections and a canister. It came with the best set of installation instructions we've seen in a long while. Full color, high-resolution pictures of every step made a huge difference. For this install, the crew at Pick-Up Parts in Mission Viejo, California, provided a helping hand and hoist! You don't need a hoist, but it did make the job less painful on the back. It had been about 3,000 miles since the 7.3 had seen an oil change so we opted to drain the fluid and change the factory filter, making sure to fill the filter first. From there we needed to find the pressure and return plugs located next to the Ford filter assembly. This is where the instruction's photos really came in handy. The FS2500 even came with a 1/4-inch square Allen type tool to remove one plug from the motor. Outside of that we used only four common wrenches and a drill.

Draining The System
As we mentioned, to complement the remote mounted FS2500 kit we also used the Amsoil Ea099 spin-on (nano micro filter) oil filter at the engine in place of our factory unit. We attached the supply and return lines from the FS2500 and ran them down the driver's side frame rail. The FS2500 required two holes to be drilled in order to mount it. It comes with a template that made things easier. The brake and fuel lines on this truck run down the side of the frame so be careful not to create a second "unwanted project" by drilling into one of these. After the FS2500 was bolted up and the lines tapped into their correct fittings, we topped off with Amsoil synthetics and stamped it done. It took approximately 45 minutes from start to finish.

Maintenance
Filtration Solutions recommends changing the filter element once every 10,000 miles and having the oil tested at the same time. The idea is to continue this cycle every 10,000 miles until the oil analysis says its time to change it, or drain it once a year and replace the factory filter as well, whichever comes first. The filters are inexpensive ($26) and can be purchased at most major diesel performance truck shops.

With the money you can save on oil changes, the cost of the FS2500 will pay for itself in no time. Because of their reputation for performance and their formulas for pre-smog diesels, we used Amsoil products because they are designed for use in pre-ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) engines like the 7.3. When the EPA mandated that diesel be scrubbed of most of its sulfur content, it posed a problem for engines that were designed to get some of their lubrication from the sulfur itself. Amsoil has taken this into consideration and formulated oils, synthetic or not, to help solve this lack of lube.

The Bottom Line
The FS2500 removes just about all particulates from your oil, which translates to extremely long oil drain intervals and greatly reduced engine wear. This means less maintenance and a healthier, longer running engine. When we checked the oil right after the install of the FS2500, even with new oil, it had dirty residue. Brand new, high quality oil, contaminated by the remnants of 170,000 miles of abuse. After two tanks of diesel we checked it again, the oil looked was perfectly clean. The system took just 600 miles to clean the oil to the hue of vegetable oil. Then 2,000 miles later it still looked new. The truck ran smoother, had better (and quieter) cold startups and felt much more consistent in the performance department. We had to drive this truck at a quarter throttle in the morning because it rattled and clanked so loud until it warmed up. Not anymore. Certainly our good results are due to the Amsoil synthetics as well as the FS2500.

Editor's note: In a future issue we will test a different type of oil-bypass system from Amsoil.

SOURCE
AMSOIL
925 Tower Ave.
Superior
WI  54880
800-777-8491
http://www.amsoil.com
Pickup Parts
23854 Via Fabricante
Suite B-2
Mission Viejo
CA  92691
949-472-0390
www.pickuppartsmv.com
Filtration Solutions Worldwide
18931 W. 158th Street
Olathe
KS  66062
888-440-9056
www.fs2500.com
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