Can Ford’s gargantuan new 7.3L overhead valve (OHV) gas engine nestled under the hood of the 2020 Ford F-250/350 Super Duty become king of the monster motors?
We think it might.
Ford fans, hardcore racers, hotrodders, and engine builders appear to be salivating at the power-making potential for the new Ford 7.3L Godzilla engine.
Brian Wolfe, the former director of Ford Racing and now retired, matter-of-factly said he’s building one for Ultra Street 1/8-mile drag racing, where it will need to make 1,800 horsepower to be competitive.
Wolfe didn’t seem to think making 1,800 hp would be a problem.
Thanks to our friend Evan Smith, a veteran automotive journalist and NHRA Stock Eliminator driver, and his excellent REVan Evan YouTube channel, we are finally getting our first up-close look at the Ford 7.3L Godzilla (446 cubic inches), and this engine does not disappoint.
Because this is the powerplant going into the Ford F-250/350 Super Duty, it’s designed and engineered for long life and durability, even under high load. Any time you build a robust engine, hotrodders and racers will find a way to push its limits for speed and power.
“We’re going to be able to get an enormous amount of power out of these engines,” Wolfe said, while reviewing this engine with Smith.
The factory engine’s compression ratio is 10.5:1 and has a 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2 firing order.
The factory engines are equipped with variable valve timing (VVT) technology, which can be locked out.
Will the Ford 7.3L Godzilla fit inside of a Foxbody or SN-95 Mustang?
Yes. Yes, it will.
In this REVan Evan video with Wolfe and Dave Zimmerman, only slight modifications had to be made to their Foxbody in order to drop in the Ford 7.3L engine, namely alterations to the oil pan, and dropping the steering rack about an inch and a half to get the crank centerline where they wanted it to be.
Check it out.
The Ford 7.3L should also fit in older 1960s and ’70s Fords, like early generation Mustangs, Fairlaines, Torinos, etc., Evan Smith said in a telephone interview.
Acknowledging that building application-specific swap kits is a big effort, and that it could be a little bit before they become available, Smith said that the 7.3L Godzilla is only marginally bigger than the 351, and should be a viable option for classic Fords.
A Closer Look at Ford 7.3 Top End and Valve Train
The new Ford 7.3 Godzilla engine is 25.5 inches wide, measured from the widest points at the top of the valve covers. That is two inches wider than the Windsor small block, and about 4.5 inches narrower than the Coyote engine currently powering the new generation of Ford Mustang.
The factory valve train is robust. The factory manifold should be able to handle most street boost and nitrous applications up to 8-9 pounds, Wolfe said, but he fully anticipates the development of performance aftermarket options.
In this next video, you’ll get a good look at the 13 mm head bolts, the four-layer MLS head gasket, the valve springs, the canted valve heads and much more.
A Closer Look at the Ford 7.3L Bottom End – Timing Cover, Timing Gear, Oil Pan, Forged Crank, Connecting Rods, Pistons, and Engine Block
“I think it’s going to turn out to be a really great race engine,” Wolfe said.
Currently 446 c.i.d., the upper limits for displacement are probably in the 470-480 c.i.d. range. Pushing it to 500 is doable, but the bore dimensions required will bring wall-thickness concerns into play.
The deep-skirted engine block is forged. Removing the oil pan, you find six-bolt mains and a forged crank.
Rods and pistons are solid for mild performance applications, but any high-horsepower or racing builds will undoubtedly involve upgraded connecting rods and pistons, Wolfe said.
ProCharger confirmed on its company blog that it was developing superchargers for the 7.3L Godzilla. We asked Smith whether the bottom end of the engine will hold up to it.
“The short answer is yes,” he said, adding that any time you add significant horsepower to an engine, you’ll sacrifice things like bearing and ring life, or head gasket sealing, if pushed too hard.
Check out the video to see the bottom-end teardown for yourself.
We’re pretty excited about engine-building opportunities this monstrous new 7.3L Ford provides, and hope you are too.