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Automotive Your Way

Writing this series of articles is long overdue, and because of how long it as been since some of these events took place, I'm sure I'm going to get some names/details wrong. I will do my best to give credit where due, as this was really a "Community Development" project in the early years. It was also proof of just how valuable the Forums were, particularly when compared to todays social media groups. The kind of discussions we had, the research shared, the testing done and the ability for so many people to follow along, do it themselves, or look at it years later was exactly what made the forum format so valuable.

In late 1999, Jason Lester created a website called F*rd-Diesel.c*m. You will understand why I've *'d out some letters shortly. This site was a vBulletin Forum for the discussion of Ford trucks with Navistar diesel engines (6.9L & 7.3L IDI and 7.3L Powerstroke). I joined this site about a year later, in September of 2000, after purchasing my 2001 7.3L PSD Super Duty. At the time, I was just an enthusiast, new to diesel but not to modifying my vehicles (I can't leave anything alone). I loved that truck and was enthralled with everything Powerstroke. There wasn't a ton of aftermarket at that time, I remember there being exhaust systems from Jardine Performance, Dynomax and probably Banks. There were underhood modules for tuning, possibly the SuperChips Gold or Banks chips (I never actually had or dealt with those) and I don't think (but I could be wrong) that OBD programming a 7.3L was possible yet. The "Diesel Performance" industry that we think about today was very small, and had really no significant internet presence yet (at least from the Ford diesel perspective).

I can say without question that my membership and participation in, along with my constant need to tinker with my vehicles, resulted in the early 2001 formation of INNOVATIVE TRUCK PRODUCTS (later ITP Diesel, and now Driven Diesel), and the subsequent years spent working on and developing products for these trucks. I think it is pretty safe to credit the forum for enabling a TON of the 7.3L Powerstroke performance modifications that we take for granted today. The biggest players in 7.3L Performance were all there in those early days, guys like David Lott from Diesel Innovations, Bob Riley from Diesel Site, Jonathan Ryan from Swamps Diesel, Dennis Perry from TSPerformance, and so many others. This was a crazy knowledgable group of enthusiasts, and it was a blast to be part of the early days of 7.3L modification and performance development (before it could all just be ordered from some website). became (still around today) in late 2002, after Ford Motor Company forced Jason to turn over the original domain name. It's a forum worth checking out, but unfortunately through ownership changes, software upgrades and major site overhauls, it looks like a lot of the really great early threads have been lost.


With the release of the 1999 Ford Super Duty came the introduction of split shot fuel injectors. These injectors featured a pilot injection event prior to the main injection event, which resulted in a noticeably quieter combustion process (the engine sounded a bit less "diesely") as compared to the 1994.5-1998 7.3L Powerstroke engines that had single shot fuel injectors. At some point, truck owners started to notice that under certain conditions their engines made a strange sound. Online conversations about the infamous "Cackle" took off, and ultimately led a group of us to start messing around with fuel system configurations to try to make it go away. The issue became a big enough complaint with Ford that later trucks were delivered with a different fuel injector in the #8 cylinder (AE instead of AD, commonly called a Long Lead injector) in an attempt to remedy the problem at the factory. The AE bandaid didn't have the desired result, and the fuel system modifications still proved to be valuable in those trucks as well.

The next couple of blog articles will cover some of the research that was done back in the early days of I will cover Regulated Return kits in detail, discuss the different flow options, and cover the pros and cons of each. I will also cover the well known (but often misunderstood) "Hutch Mod"...including how it was discovered, what it is really about and why people today have the wrong idea about it. After those articles, I've got some others that will be based on much more recent research that I have performed on our fuel system flow bench, and that relate more to what is happening in fuel system needs and designs today.

FUNNY BLAST FROM THE PAST (while I'm on the topic)

I can't talk about all of the people that were part of the fuel system research back in the day without mentioning one interesting Canadian member, if you were on the forums back then, YOU'RE WELCOME for the smile I'm about to put on your face. Kim Lux made quite the name for himself by trying to fix the Cackle problem by modifying the injector internals. He was an incredibly smart individual, but the way he talked to people was pretty offensive to some, and his poor business practices (taking money and not delivering product) really put a damper on his progress. I ran 2 sets of his injectors, and I can say that whatever he was doing made a crazy big reduction in the noisiness of the combustion events, but both sets had other issues (smoking, missing, etc) and couldn't be run for any length of time. In the end he certainly wore out his welcome, I think some people may have had had a bounty on his head (joking of course), he seemed to just vanish one day and nobody seemed to miss him.

7.3L/6.0L NOTE: While the discussion in several of these articles seems to focus heavily on the early research that was performed on 7.3L Powerstroke trucks, the exact same principals apply to the later 6.0L Powerstroke trucks as well. The OEM fuel system design from the 99-03 7.3L to the 03-10 6.0L is almost identical, and the same modifications serve the exact same purpose and provide the exact same benefits.


Article 1 - OEM Fuel System Design Basics / Comparison

Article 2 - Aftermarket Fuel System Design History

Article 3 - Aftermarket Fuel System Design Comparison

Article 4 - Air in Fuel (pt 1) - What is the "Hutch Mod" and Why?

Article 5 - Air in Fuel (pt 2) - How Do FASS / AirDog Pumps Work?

Article 6 - Aftermarket vs OEM - Which is Best / How to Decide

Article 7 - 7.3L Fuel Temperature / Fuel Cooler Testing

Article 8 - 94-97 OBS Selector Valve Flow Issues

Article 9 - Fuel Pumps, Injector Sizes and Required Flow

Article 10 - 7.3L/6.0L Cylinder Head Fuel Rail Flow

Article 11 - Why Are Driven Diesel Products More Expensive Than The Competition?