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How to Pick Out the Right Ford Powerstroke Diesel Aftermarket Exhaust System

There are a lot of options when it comes to diesel pickup exhaust systems for your Ford Powerstroke Diesel.  Each generation of Ford F-Series have their own specific quirks and designs.  With this tech article we want to help give you some of the basics for each style of truck so you can better pick out the right system for your truck.


Why install a new exhaust system in the first place?

The main reason most truck owners install an aftermarket exhaust system is for better horsepower and torque.  A free flowing exhaust system reduces back pressure on the engine and allows hot exhaust gases to exit the engine faster.  By making the engine more efficient at moving exhaust out of the engine, horsepower and fuel economy increases. 

The second reason is that a larger than stock exhaust will lower exhaust gas temperatures.  This also increases engine efficiency as well as lengthens engine life.  If you have a truck that works hard towing or hauling heavy loads.  The lower you can keep the exhaust gas temperatures, the longer the engine will last. 

Third, most truck owners like to replace their factory exhaust system to get a nice performance exhaust tone for their truck.  By installing a turbo back exhaust system, you will be able to hear the turbo whistle better and gain a nice powerful sound from the exhaust. 


Which size exhaust is best for you? 4” or 5”?

Horsepower wise there isn’t much different in the two sizes.  Most of the newest trucks already come with a 4” size exhaust on it.  Replacing it with an aftermarket system reduces restrictions and changes the sound.  Up to about 600-700 horsepower a 4” will flow enough and you will not see a horsepower increase by going to 5”.  If you are going beyond that horsepower level, 5” is recommended.

There are two main reasons that Powerstroke Diesel truck owners would select a 5” exhaust.  The first is for sound.  A 5” exhaust will have a deeper big truck type of sound to it.  The second reason is that a 5” exhaust will run lower exhaust gas temperatures (egt) than a comparable 4”.  If you are towing or hauling heavy loads, a 5” might be the best choice for you to get your temperatures down.


Generations of Powerstroke Diesel and Exhaust Notes:


94-97 Ford F-Series 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel Exhaust Systems

The first 7.3 Powerstroke came from the factory with an extremely restrictive turbo down pipe and a 3.5” exhaust the rest of the way.  They have a catalytic convertor and a large restrictive muffler. 

The aftermarket exhaust companies offer a turbo back system that includes a 3” mandrel down pipe.  This is as large of down pipe that can fit between the engine and firewall, but is a nice improvement over the stock setup.  These are usually a pain in the butt to install so be prepared. 

Systems are available in 4” or 5” after the down pipe.  The 5” turbo back systems have a short piece of 4” after the down pipe then expand to 5”. 


99-03 Ford Superduty 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel Exhaust Systems

Ford introduced the Superduty line in 1999 with the famous 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel engine.  These trucks all had a 3” down pipe which ran into a catalytic convertor on most trucks.  The exhaust then expanded to 3.5” from there back with a fairly restrictive muffler.