How to Detect 7.3 Powerstroke ICP Sensor Failure? Symptoms Explained

The 7.3 Power Stroke engine is extremely well-known for its longevity and mileage. This revolutionary medium-duty diesel engine helped to change the diesel pickup market completely. Using this engine, users are easily able to hit 500,000-1,000,000 miles on the road.

But despite the numerous positive aspects, 7.3 has shown many failure symptoms. Therefore, people have often questioned how to detect 7.3 PowerStroke ICP sensor failure symptoms. Curious to know more? Scroll down below!

About the 7.3 Power Stroke

The 7.3 Power Stroke was the first electronically controlled turbo-diesel engine designed for Ford. They are known to be one of the most reliable of the ford series so far and will last you for a long period of time.

Compared to its previous models, such as the 6.0 and the 6.4, the 7.3 Powerstroke has proven to be extremely reliable. Even when you might be cranking up the fuel or even sticking on a contrasting turbocharger, the 7.3 can be easily depended upon.

Due to its unique fuel system, it is the go-to engine choice for used Ford diesel, and therefore, its demand explains its steep price. Although, more affordable options are available in the market.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad 7.3 Powerstroke ICP Sensor?

The Injection Control Pressure, also known as the ICP, is used mainly in diesel engines. It is used to send data to the Engine Control Module (ECM)/ Engine Control Unit (ECU). The ICP is responsible for controlling the Injector Pressure Regulator (also known as the IPR) valve in the Ford 7.3 Powerstroke.

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A faulty ICP Sensor can cause several problems. Some of the most common ones, as mentioned by users, have been stated as follows –

  • Not being able to start the engine at all
  • Experiencing random power loss or having trouble while accelerating
  • Rattling/humming noise coming from the car
  • Oil leaking out from the ICP sensor
  • Valve cover harnesses do not stay connected
  • Incorrect signal voltage

TIPS: Use PC-based scanning software FORScan to check the ICP sensor’s health without a mechanic.

During these cases, try figuring out the exact sources of the problems first. For example, the oil leak may originate from the valley.

How to Detect 7.3 Powerstroke ICP Sensor Failure?

One can simply check the ICP sensor located in the engine by unplugging its tag. Any fault within the engine is detected by the internal lights.

Yet, as mentioned previously, the main problem with the 7.3 Powerstroke is due to its sensor failures. This can also be caused due to lack of care, such as not cleaning clogged-up debris in the radiator, as well as prolonged use.  

The symptoms can be detected within the problems themselves. For example, when the Ford diesel ICP is malfunctioning, the first symptom might be the engine not starting or running roughly. This might happen due to the lack of injection pressure building. So, fuel isn’t sufficiently delivered to start the 7.3 Powerstroke.

Other symptoms can include:

  1. High RPMs can increase boost pressure and cause a leak from the Intercooler or spider boots. This can cause a power loss.
  2. Oil leak on the bell housing, coming from the passenger side, that is almost certainly coming from the top side valley.
  3. If there is a lack of fuel in the fuel pump, it can cause the lift pump to go bad. You will find it under the driver’s door within the frame rail.
  4. The standard Injection Control Pressure (ICP) voltage is within the range of 18 to 30 volts. If you see otherwise or no reading at all, there is undoubtedly a problem with your sensor.
  5. If the wiring harness cracks with prolonged use of the 7.3 Power Stroke, loss of voltage is bound to occur.
  6. Another source of power drop is the injectors losing oil pressure. The injectors run on hydraulic pressure from the oil pump, so if your oil is low, they may not fire correctly.
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What steps to Replace Faulty ICP Sensor in 7.3 Powerstroke?

  1. Disconnect the battery cables and the pigtail connector first. Pay attention to how the retaining clip functions and behave accordingly.
  2. Second, get a 5/8′′ crow’s foot wrench and take out the old one. If the faulty one isn’t the original, the wrench size may differ.
  3. After that, apply clean oil to the O-ring and install it. A 1-1/16′′ deep socket or wrench may be required for the new item.
  4. Finally, lubricate the new sensor’s connections.

Ways to Prevent and Resolve the Sensor Failure

Once you find out the root of the problem, focus on finding its solution.

  • Change the Fuel Filter

Firstly, resort to changing the fuel filter. Track down the source and suspect all the fuel delivery systems, including electrical.

  • Check the HPOP for Oil Leak

As mentioned previously, for an oil leak on the bell housing coming from the passenger side, check the HPOP if the oil is leaking excessively. If just a little, then the turbo pedestal might be the source. If you are having trouble pinpointing the exact location, try washing the engine.

  • Change Filter and Replace the Lift Pump

Make sure to change the fuel filter and the drain valve during these types of situations. Replace the lift pump. Diagnose its condition and analyze if replacing it will be necessary as this process will be expensive.

  • Replace Faulty Wiring

In case of a faulty wiring harness, completely replace the previous one and purchase a new one to ensure omitting its problems altogether.

  • Avoid a Rusty Oil Pan
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A rusty oil pan can be simply prevented with the help of a rust preventer and bed liner.

  • Use Stick Shift

It is sometimes recommended to use a stick shift while using the 7.3 Powerstroke, although their autos are comparatively much stronger than similar engines.

  • Unplug Connector

In a few cases, unplugging the connector may also be a solution, as it causes the engine to run smoothly. But this also causes the ICP to fail.

How Often Should You Inspect or Service 7.3 Powerstroke ICP Sensor?

During routine maintenance, the part can be inspected. Keep an eye on the ICP and IPR duty cycles. The starting values are 450-550 at start and 550-750 at idle.

Some report that their sensor failed after 60k or 70k miles of use. Some people haven’t had a problem in over a decade.

I hope you understand what I’m saying. There is no recommended interval for routine checkups.

Conclusion

After several years of using the same engine, people have claimed that the reputation of the 7.3 Powerstroke is seemingly well deserved despite the short-lived aspect of the automatics.

Yet as people worry about detecting its failure symptoms, many are assured after learning that there are, in fact, several ways to do so. If you have an issue with your car randomly shutting off, it is most likely a problem with your engine.

Therefore, if you ever hear someone ask how to detect 7.3 Power Stroke ICP sensor failure symptoms, let them know what to do.

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Brian Polk

Brian is an automotive expert who has 12 years of experience in the industry. He has worked on a variety of cars, from high-end luxury vehicles to budget-friendly options, and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He is passionate about automobile and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, whether they are looking to purchase a new motorized vehicle or simply learn more about the inner workings of these machines. In his free time, Brian enjoys working in his automobile workshop and spending time at the track.

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