Best Ford 7.3 Power Stroke Intake Upgrades
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Best 7.3 Powerstroke Performance Intake Upgrades

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake is a founder of 8020 Media and one of the lead writers at DieselIQ. He has over 10 years of experience in the automotive industry and is the proud owner of a 2002 F-350 7.3 PowerStroke. When Jake isn’t working, he’s usually wrenching on his PowerStroke, single turbo BMW, or Miata track build. Jake delivers tons of knowledge and hands-on experience and is a valuable asset for those looking to take their diesel to the next level. He is highly knowledgeable on Powerstroke and Duramax diesels.

Intake upgrades are an easy mod to unleash extra power, sound, and efficiency on the Ford 7.3 Powerstroke. Many refer to intakes as cold air intakes or performance intakes. They’re without question one of the best cost effective upgrades. However, making a decision can be tough with so many options on the market.

If you’re looking for bigger power gains than just an intake, check out our Best 7.3 Powerstroke Mods article which covers tuners, exhaust, and turbo upgrades. It’s easy to add over 100whp to a 7.3 and our article will teach you just how to do that.

Below is a picture of my 2002 F350 and it’s cold air intake from Boosted Performance. After discussing benefits of an intake upgrade I’ll cover my personal setup and intake recommendations.

7.3 Powerstroke Intake Upgrade Guide
7.3 powerstroke boosted performance intake on my 2002 F350

7.3 Powerstroke Intake Upgrade Benefits

  • 8-15whp gains
  • 15-25wtq gains
  • Quicker throttle response
  • Increased fuel economy
  • Lower EGTs

Performance benefits are likely among the top reasons most upgrade their 7.3L intake. A free flowing system helps the engine breath in air more efficiently. HP gains with a performance intake come in around 8-15 horsepower. You’ll also likely notice slightly quicker turbo spool and engine response. Another added benefit is an improvement in fuel efficiency, with fuel savings around 1-2mpg.

Lastly, intake mods generally help lower exhaust gas temperatures (EGT). It’s a great benefit as lower EGT’s help reduce back-pressure thereby making the turbo and engines jobs a bit easier.

Open vs Closed Intakes

An open intake design leaves the filter open to the surrounding air. On the other hand, closed intakes are housed inside a box. How does this affect flow?

An open intake will generally flow slightly better, all else equal. However, both systems will function the same on a lightly modded 7.3 Powerstroke engine. If you’re opting for an upgraded turbo or aggressive tunes then you may notice ever so slightly better results with an open intake.

I recommend open intakes personally – they have great airflow than closed intakes and therefore offer better performance gains. They are also cheaper and easier to install.

Best 7.3 Powerstroke Intake Mods

The above is all there really is to intakes. It’s pretty simple stuff. Nonetheless, intake mods are a popular choice on the 7.3 Powerstroke for good reason. They’re a simple bolt-on mod that are easy to install and come in at a good price for the benefits.

My favorite option is what I’m currently running: the 4″ open intake from Boosted Performance. However, if you do want a closed intake I recommend the S&B option. I ran this one before getting my open intake but it didn’t provide much sound and the plastic look-thru shield cracked and didn’t seal very well.

1) Boosted Performance 4″ Open Intake

7.3 powerstroke boosted performance intake

The Boosted Performance 7.3 Powerstroke intake upgrade offers an amazing balance of price, quality, fitment, and power gains. The open design and large, high-quality S&B filter ensure maximum air-flow, performance, and sound. It features 4″ aluminum, CNC mandrel bent piping with a clean wrinkle black finish for reduced heat transfer.

For $249 – and free shipping – it’s one of the best priced intake upgrades around. Combine that with a top-tier S&B filter and quality piping it’s hard to go wrong with the Boosted Performance intake.

Price: $249.00 w/ free shipping

Buy Here: Boosted Performance 7.3 PowerStroke Intake

2) S&B Closed Box Intake

S&B Filters is one of the top choices for a lot of 7.3L Powerstroke owners. We use S&B filters on a few of our own cars with great results. They have offerings for 1994-1997 OBS trucks as well as the second gens. Both come in at $329.00 and use a closed airbox design with their own in house S&B filters.

This is a proven product that offers excellent quality and results. It’s also a solid price for an airbox design. According to S&B their intake improves airflow by 53% (98-03) and 42% (94-97). If you’re looking for a closed box 7.3 Powerstroke intake the S&B option should definitely be in the cards.

Price: $329.00

Buy Here: 1994-1997 S&B Cold Air Intake

98-03 7.3L PowerStroke S&B Intake

Intake Upgrade Summary

We believe intake mods should be towards the top of the list if you’re looking to mod your truck and bring it a bit closer to the performance of the diesels being produced today. They offer considerable benefits like 8-15 horsepower gains, quicker spool and response, lower EGT’s, and better fuel economy. All of that for only about $200-400 depending on which intake system you opt for. Intakes are also easy to install, so it’s tough to find any downsides.

We prefer open intake systems due to the increased air flow. Look for an intake kit with a quality, high-flowing filter from companies such as S&B or K&N. The Boosted Performance 4″ intake is our favorite pick for the balance of price, quality, and performance.

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