Best Air Filter for 7.3 Powerstroke: Taking Care of Your Diesel Engine

If your diesel engine isn't running as it should, you may just need the best air filter for 7.3 Powerstroke motors. A simple replacement can make a world of difference.

To care properly for your Ford truck engine, there are many maintenance procedures you must follow. One important step is to replace the air filter for 7.3 Powerstroke engines. However, it isn’t always easy figuring out which Powerstroke air filter is the best for your pickup.

Best Air Filter for 7.3 Powerstroke

In this guide, we look at the best air filter options and show you how to replace them. With this simple step, you can improve engine performance and boost fuel economy.

What is a 7.3 Air Filter?

The 7.3 air filter is responsible for cleaning up the air before it gets to your engine. The Powerstroke air filter is located between the air inlet and the motor. It filters out all of the contaminants that could hurt the engine, such as pollen, smoke and dust.

Air filters are constructed with porous materials that hold back contaminants while allowing the air to flow freely. When changed regularly, you ensure only air is getting into the engine.

When an air filter isn’t used or it is worn out, the debris will accumulate in your engine. Debris gets into the cylinder walls, valves and pistons, leading to engine damage. That’s why replacing the engine air filter is considered a regular maintenance task.

How Often Should the 7.3 Air Filter Be Replaced?

Ford Motor Company recommends changing the air filter on a 7.3 Powerstroke every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. However, some people need to change the filter more often, especially when driving on dirty, rocky roads. You might also feel it requires more regular replacement if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution.

However, the best way to tell when it’s time for a replacement is when you start to notice performance issues. Because the air filter ensures the engine receives a steady flow of air, any contamination or blockage of the filter is going to lead to performance issues.

7.3 Powerstroke Air Filter Buying Guide: What to Look for

There are plenty of 7.3 air filters on the market, making it difficult to figure out which one is best for your application. Before you purchase a new air filter, you want to examine these criteria.

Compatibility

Surely you aren’t going to search out the best air filter for a Duramax diesel engine if you drive a Ford Powerstroke truck. These air filters are not going to be compatible.

You also need to think about the year truck you drive, as there could be some differences between models. When looking for an air filter for a Ford F250 diesel, you might be able to find an option that fits your truck and the F350 or F450 as well. Just check the compatibility with the manufacturer first.

Surface Area

If the air filter has a larger surface area, it means that there’s more room for contaminants to get caught. Plus, it might be less often that you have to change the filter.

Materials

Along with a great surface area, you want an air filter with a small pore size in the pleats. If the pores are too large, small contaminants might be able to get through. With a high-quality construction, the filter is sure to do its job better.

Temperature-Resistant

The air filter must offer some type of temperature resistance or it isn’t going to stand up well under the heat of your Powerstroke engine. This factor is even more important if you live in a hot, humid climate.

Simple Installation

Because you need to change the air filter often, you don’t want to spend a lot of time on the installation. With the right construction, changing the air filter has never been easier.

5 Best Air Filters for 7.3 Powerstroke: Our Top Picks

1. Napa 6637 Air Filter Review – Best 7.3 Air Filter

Napa 6637 Gold Air Filter

Napa is a top manufacturer of air filters, so you know this 6637 is going to provide the performance you want. It’s created with a cellulose/poly media for maximum durability. It also includes the Skip-a-Pleat design for stabilization. It is made to hold more contaminants than competitors.

In fact, this Napa filter is rated at 99.9% of contaminant removal. Not only will it hold more dirt and debris, but Napa guarantees the quality for the OEM changing cycle. If the filter should fail prematurely, you can get your money back.

Of course, with reviews like this, it’s clear that isn’t the case with this filter. However, some 7.3 Powerstroke trucks will need slight modifications to fit this filter. If you aren’t interested in making modifications, make sure you check the compatibility before buying.

Features:

  • Material: Cellulose/Poly
  • Efficiency: 99.9%
  • Warranty: Changing Interval
  • Aftermarket
  • Skip-a-Pleat design
ProsCons
Highly ratedMight require modifications
Effective design 
Guaranteed to last through service interval 
Reasonable price 
Napa 6637 Gold Air Filter
510 Reviews
Napa 6637 Gold Air Filter
  • Our HD Air Filters Feature a Cellulose/Poly Media w/ Skip-a-Pleat Media Stabilization & Hot Melt Stabilization Beads for Contaminant Holding Capacity That Out Performs Many of Our Top Competitors w/ a Minimum Efficiency of 99.9% Contaminant Removal.
  • NAPA Gold Filters Are Recommended For OEM Air Filter Change Intervals.
  • Air Filter Assembly for Various Equipment

2. Motorcraft FA1757 Air Filter Review – Best OEM 7.3 Air Filter

Air Filter

If you only want to trust your truck manufacturer, this Motorcraft filter is the ideal replacement. It’s created from multi-fiber high-density media that traps all of the contaminants to keep your engine running its best. Plus, the construction ensures that there are minimal restrictions while it remains 99% efficient.

The special coating ensures that there is no damage from moisture or oil while guaranteeing maximum capacity and efficiency. Plus, the company provides a 1-year warranty that gives you extra protections.

While this air filter is highly rated, there are some complaints about unusual sounds. Some users found that it created a growling noise after installation. Still, it doesn’t appear to be a rampant issue since it still maintains a near-perfect rating.

Features:

  • Material: Multi-Fiber
  • Efficiency: 99%
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • OEM
  • Special Coating
ProsCons
Near-perfect ratingMight create a minor growling sound
High-density 
Leak-proof 
OEM replacement 
Air Filter
163 Reviews
Air Filter
  • Product Type :Auto Part
  • Package Dimensions :36.83Cm L X23.11Cm W X17.53Cm H
  • Country Of Origin :China
  • Package Weight :2.5Lbs
  • Efficiently Filters Outside Air

3. Donaldson 6637 Review – Best for Heavy-Duty Applications

Donaldson B085011 Filter

If you want an alternative to the Napa model, you might prefer the Donaldson. While it isn’t a Donaldson Blue 6637, this model is quite effective. It’s originally intended for Cummins engines, so you know it is built to last.

The effective material has an efficiency rating reaching 99.9%. Plus, the price is reasonable considering the quality. Just read through those customer reviews and you will quickly find out what people love about this filter.

With a 1-year warranty, you have nothing to worry about. However, some customers did have to make some minor modifications to fit this filter. Make sure you check compatibility before buying.

Features:

  • Material: Paper
  • Efficiency: 99.9%
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Aftermarket
  • Heavy-Duty
ProsCons
High-performanceMight require modifications
99.9% efficiency rating 
Highly rated 
Includes 1-year warranty 
Donaldson B085011 Filter
391 Reviews
Donaldson B085011 Filter
  • Primary Application: Cummins 2912986
  • Primary Application: Hercules B085008, 400000642
  • Rated Flow Lr: 280 Cfm (7.92 Cmm)
  • Rated Flow Mr: 400 Cfm (11.32 Cmm)
  • Rated Flow Hr: 470 Cfm (13.3 Cmm)

4. Motorcraft FA1750 Review – Cheap 7.3 Powerstroke Air Filter

Motorcraft FA1750 Air Filter

Another OEM option for a lower cost is this Motorcraft air filter. While it is a stable and leak-proof filter, the efficiency rating is a little lower than the other products at 98.5%. However, when you are on a budget, you need to protect your truck engine for as little as possible.

This filter will still provide plenty of capacity to hold dirt. Plus, it contains a temperature-resistant polyurethane seal that ensures durability. The company even throws a 1-year warranty on the filter.

While you are going to save money, you will sacrifice some quality. Users have found that the paper cleats can sometimes collapse, especially when put under a lot of pressure. With that in mind, this might not be the best option if you push your truck to the extreme through towing, hauling or off-roading.

Features:

  • Material: Paper
  • Efficiency: 98.5%
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • OEM
  • Low Cost
ProsCons
CheapPleats tend to collapse under pressure
OEM fit 
Comes with warranty 
Easy to install 
Sale
Motorcraft FA1750 Air Filter
288 Reviews
Motorcraft FA1750 Air Filter
  • Efficiently filters outside air
  • Withstands damage from oil and moisture
  • Easy to install
  • 12 months warranty
  • Leak proof

5. ECOGARD XA5446 Review – Best Aftermarket Filter on a Budget

ECOGARD XA5446 Premium Engine Air Filter Fits Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003

You can save money with an aftermarket option too. With Ecogard, it’s simple to get the protection you need without breaking the bank. It features the same efficiency rating as the Motorcraft filter, but it comes from a different brand.

With that said, this model also includes a rubber gasket for a quality seal and it is rated for 12,000 miles. You can go a year without changing this cheap filter. Plus, installation only takes a few minutes since you won’t need to make any modifications.

While this is cheap and budget-friendly, you need to think about what you use it for. As with the last model, it’s not going to perform well under pressure, so don’t expect it to be a premium option.

Features:

  • Material: Paper
  • Efficiency: 98.5%
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Aftermarket
  • Budget-Friendly
ProsCons
Low costNot durable under pressure
Gets the job done 
Lasts up to 12,000 miles 
Fast installation 
ECOGARD XA5446 Premium Engine Air Filter Fits Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
300 Reviews
ECOGARD XA5446 Premium Engine Air Filter Fits Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
  • COMPATIBLE with Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-450 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-550 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
  • REPLACES FORD 1C3Z-9601AA, 2U2Z-9601AA, FRAM CA9400, MOTORCRAFT FA1710, FA1750, PUROLATOR A25446, A25485, WIX 46728
  • IMPROVE PERFORMANCE by changing your vehicle's air filter at least every 12,000 miles (or as recommended in your car owner's manual); to ensure your vehicle's engine has the clean and efficient air flow it needs for fast acceleration and power.
  • AVOID INCREASED ENGINE WEAR caused by dirty air intake filters that may allow damaging particles to get into the engine.
  • FACTORY FIT FOR EASY INSTALLATION.

Symptoms of a Bad Filter for 7.3 Powerstroke

When the air filter on your Powerstroke engine starts to go bad, you will notice several symptoms of failure.

7.3 Powerstroke air filter symptoms

1. Dirty Filter

A visual inspection of the filter will reveal that it is clogged and dirty. A new filter is going to be a white color, while a worn-out filter appears brown or black. If you notice a lot of dust, debris or dirt in the filter, it’s time to replace it.

2. Decreased Fuel Economy

When your fuel economy begins dropping, it’s a sign of something else that’s wrong. Considering the air filter is responsible for oxygen flow into the engine, a clogged filter can lead to poor gas mileage. While other problems can cause the same symptom, the air filter is one of the cheapest and easiest fixes, so that’s a good place to start.

3. Missing or Misfiring Engine

If you are noticing engine performance problems, changing out the air filter might help. When the engine is running rich, with too much fuel, it can lead to flooding. This problem turns into misfiring, missing or trouble starting the engine. It could also create a rough idle.

4. Engine Noise

When the engine gets the air it needs, it sounds aggressive and reliable. However, an engine that is struggling is going to create strange noises, often hiccupping or vibrating. If the engine doesn’t sound like it should, we recommend doing a tune-up and changing the air filter for the best results.

4. Check Engine Light Activates

The Check Engine Light can come on for multiple reasons, but a reduction in airflow is one. The engine requires a certain amount of air to mix with the fuel. When the filter becomes clogged, it can’t let enough air through, creating an alert with the system that something is wrong.

You will need to use your code scanner to find the DTC and fix the problem, but it could just be a simple air filter replacement that repairs the error.

5. Horsepower Reduction

Because the performance is being affected, it would make sense to lose power. Oxygen deprivation can cause a sluggish, unresponsive drive. Without the right amount of air, it’s difficult for the engine to perform. However, this is another problem that could be related to a number of issues.

6. Black Smoke

When there isn’t enough air getting into the engine, the fuel might not burn off correctly. This results in fuel leaking out of the system through the exhaust, which could cause some black smoke. Not only is this bad for your vehicle, but it also hurts the environment.

7. Fuel Smell

With this fuel leak, you might also smell the diesel as it leaks. However, this fuel smell might not mean an air filter issue at all because it can also indicate trouble with the fuel system itself.

Installing a Powerstroke Air Filter

If you don’t need to make a 7.3 air filter mod, it’s simple to do a direct replacement. Here are the steps you want to follow.

  1. Open the truck hood and find the air filter. It will be in a rectangular-shaped boxed near the front of the motor.
  2. You may need to unlatch some hose clamps and a cover. This cover is responsible for protecting the air filter.
  3. Remove the air filter, gently pulling it out.
  4. Clean any dirt from the area with your vacuum cleaner or air compressor.
  5. Install your new air filter. Make sure the rubber trim remains upward.
  6. Cover the filter back up and replace the clamps.
  7. Close the hood and take a test drive.

Here’s a great video showing how to install the 6637 air filter on a 7.3 Powerstroke.

7.3 Powerstroke Air Filter FAQ

Where is the 7.3 air filter?

Your air filter is located near the front of the engine compartment. It sits in a rectangular or square-shaped box that has an air intake hose attached to it. When you open the hood, you should gain quick access to the 7.3 Powerstroke air filter housing

How do I know if the 7.3 Powerstroke air intake is bad?

The 7.3 air intake feeds oxygen through the filter to the engine. When it goes bad, you will notice a reduction in power, trouble with acceleration and bad fuel economy. It creates all of the same symptoms as a bad air filter, but it’s much cheaper and easier to replace the filter. That’s why we recommend looking at the filter first.

What are the most common problems with the 7.3 Powerstroke?

The 7.3 is considered the most reliable Powerstroke. However, it still creates problems occasionally. Among the top complaints, you will find an overheated engine, rusted thermostat or worn-out radiator. As long as you provide regular replacement, the air filter doesn’t seem to cause any trouble.

What is the cost to replace a 7.3 Powerstroke filter?

The 7.3 Powerstroke air filter replacement should cost you between $50 and $100. The parts are going to make up a minimal part of the expense, which is why you want to replace the filter yourself if you can.

How long will it take to change the 7.3 air filter?

Changing a 7.3 Powerstroke filter doesn’t take more than 30 minutes, with many people finishing the task in just a few minutes. All you have to do is open the hood, unclamp the box and replace the filter. It’s that simple.

Conclusion

Swapping out your Powerstroke air filter isn’t difficult if you know which one to buy. Find your new Ford air filter from our list of top options and take care of your engine for many more years of service.

Recap of our top 5 best air filters:

Napa 6637 Gold Air Filter
510 Reviews
Napa 6637 Gold Air Filter
  • Our HD Air Filters Feature a Cellulose/Poly Media w/ Skip-a-Pleat Media Stabilization & Hot Melt Stabilization Beads for Contaminant Holding Capacity That Out Performs Many of Our Top Competitors w/ a Minimum Efficiency of 99.9% Contaminant Removal.
  • NAPA Gold Filters Are Recommended For OEM Air Filter Change Intervals.
  • Air Filter Assembly for Various Equipment
Air Filter
163 Reviews
Air Filter
  • Product Type :Auto Part
  • Package Dimensions :36.83Cm L X23.11Cm W X17.53Cm H
  • Country Of Origin :China
  • Package Weight :2.5Lbs
  • Efficiently Filters Outside Air
Donaldson B085011 Filter
391 Reviews
Donaldson B085011 Filter
  • Primary Application: Cummins 2912986
  • Primary Application: Hercules B085008, 400000642
  • Rated Flow Lr: 280 Cfm (7.92 Cmm)
  • Rated Flow Mr: 400 Cfm (11.32 Cmm)
  • Rated Flow Hr: 470 Cfm (13.3 Cmm)
Sale
Motorcraft FA1750 Air Filter
288 Reviews
Motorcraft FA1750 Air Filter
  • Efficiently filters outside air
  • Withstands damage from oil and moisture
  • Easy to install
  • 12 months warranty
  • Leak proof
ECOGARD XA5446 Premium Engine Air Filter Fits Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
300 Reviews
ECOGARD XA5446 Premium Engine Air Filter Fits Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
  • COMPATIBLE with Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-350 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, Excursion 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-450 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003, F-550 Super Duty 7.3L DIESEL 2000-2003
  • REPLACES FORD 1C3Z-9601AA, 2U2Z-9601AA, FRAM CA9400, MOTORCRAFT FA1710, FA1750, PUROLATOR A25446, A25485, WIX 46728
  • IMPROVE PERFORMANCE by changing your vehicle's air filter at least every 12,000 miles (or as recommended in your car owner's manual); to ensure your vehicle's engine has the clean and efficient air flow it needs for fast acceleration and power.
  • AVOID INCREASED ENGINE WEAR caused by dirty air intake filters that may allow damaging particles to get into the engine.
  • FACTORY FIT FOR EASY INSTALLATION.