Alternators help to regulate and improve the voltage output in the batteries and the engine. But bad alternators with bad connectors can make the injector modules misfire by sending mismatched signals due to improper voltage output.
I had to switch out the alternator in my 7.3 Ford quite recently due to similar issues. At first, I tried to fix the connectors to resolve the wiring problems. However, the alternator itself was still heating up too much, so I decided to scour the market for better options instead.
In today’s write-up, I’m going to attempt to provide some insight into the world of alternators to help you pick better. Additionally, I’ll jolt down the 5 best alternators for 7.3 PowerStroke alongside a short overview of their special features. So, the next time you’ll be in the market for a new alternator, this guide is all you’ll need to make the best buying decisions.
5 Best Alternators For 7.3 PowerStroke
What’s a Ford without the sensational sound of the revving PowerStroke on the road? To ensure that your new 7.3 PowerStroke is working at full capacity, check out the 5 best alternators for 7.3 PowerStroke in this segment and choose the best one per your budget and feature requirements –
1. DB Electrical Afd0070 Alternator [Best-In-Slot For Heavy-Duty Ford PowerStroke]
The DB Electrical Afd0070 Alternators are curated specifically for diesel-only engines, hence they’re a perfect fit for the Ford PowerStrokes.
Features & Benefits
Ford-Specific Alternator: The DB Electrical Afd0070 Alternators are compatible with the following Ford vehicles –
- Ford E-Series Vans 1995-1997
- Ford F-150 to F-350
- Pickup 1972-98
- Super-Duty E-450 Series (2002-2003)
Premium Craftsmanship: These electrical alternators can solve your wiring issues since the alternator design prohibits the intertwining of the wires. The alternator weighs around 14.3 pounds i.e. the material is premium but lightweight.
Heavy-Duty Rectifiers: The Afd0070 alternators can exercise more efficiency due to heavy-duty rectifiers. In addition to compensating for the incoming HP losses, the alternator produces more voltage over time without wearing out.
Incredibly Affordable: The DB Electrical Afd0070 Alternator costs a little over $100, making it one of the most affordable options on today’s list. Plus, there’s a 1-year warranty, so if the alternator doesn’t fit, you can easily try out another option.
- Super fast installation
- Multiple plug-ins
- Breathable design
- Highly affordable
- Can handle up to 130 amps easily; 150-160 amps periodically
- Doesn’t fulfill the amperage requirements of Ford 1999-2000
- May require a separate set of batteries
All in all, the DB Electrical Afd0070 Alternator is a super reliable option if you don’t want to spend a lot. You can easily install it within half an hour and save up on labor costs too.
2. Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternator [Best For Consistent Performance]
If you’re tired of fluctuating voltage output, try out the Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternator for a consistent performance.
Features & Benefits
Ford-Specific Alternator: The Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternator works well with the following Ford models –
- 1993-97 F-350
- 1992-05 Ranger
- 1992-97 Aerostar
- 1993-96 Bronco
- 1993-03 E-150
- 1993-03 E-250
- 1993-96 E-350
- 1991-00 Explorer
- 1993-02 F-150
- 1993-97 F-250
Material: Bosch is well-known for using only original components for its alternators. The parts aren’t remanufactured in the factories and as such, they’ve been engineered to take on the harshest operating conditions.
Welded Set-Up: With all new components, the Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternator can meet high electrical demands without overheating. All the electrical waypoints are welded to provide better insulation for the flow of power.
30% Extra Longevity: Compared to contemporary alternators, the Bosch Automotive AL598N alternator can offer up to 30% extra longevity.
Self-Lubing Technology: In addition to the external welding, the AL598N alternator comes with self-lubing brushes to allow a consistent flow of voltage at all times.
- Consistent voltage output
- Sturdy build
- Works well in extreme weather
- Perfect OEM positioning for 1995 Ford Mustangs
- Battery issues can easily cause the alternator to malfunction
- Loud whirring noise when positioned inappropriately
While the Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternator costs a lot more than some of the contemporary options, it’s the best-in-slot for a selected few Ford Mustangs. And with proper installation, there’ll be no extra noise or HP loss.
3. DB Electrical 400-14044 Alternator [Best For Cool Engines]
If you’ve been experiencing overheating issues with your alternator, try out the new DB Electrical 400-14044 Alternators to optimize your engines effectively.
Features & Benefits
Low Amperage: The amperage is capped out at 110 amps in this alternator. The low amp rate helps to regulate the proper amount of voltage output without overheating.
IR Regulators: The IR precision regulators help with the overall air compression and the relief flow is 5 times more effective than conventional regulators. And the easy mounting is further proof of the brilliant alternator design.
Superior Cooling System: DB Electrical is well-known for manufacturing its alternators with high-temperature epoxy. So, even if the engine heats up, the epoxy helps to absorb the external temperature so that the voltage doesn’t drop.
Perfect Fitment: The alternator comes with a dimension of 5.71 x 4.91 x 5.05 inches – which is perfect for a plethora of 7.3 PowerStrokes. The design is based on the OE originals, in terms of both dimensional stability and overall performance.
- Rough terrain-friendly alternators
- 15-minute installation
- Most value-for-money option
- Fits right in with most of the older Ford models
- Might need a battery extension
- May experience troubleshooting with newer Ford models
I’d recommend going for the DB Electrical 400-14044 Alternator if you’ve got a Ford Ranger or Aerostar. While the alternator may seem underpowered due to low amperage, the steady performance actually leads to an increase in efficiency.
4. Bosch AL7526N Automotive Alternator [Best For Flexibility]
If budget isn’t an issue, I’d highly recommend going for the Bosch AL7526N Automotive Alternator due to its robust charging capacity and durability.
Features & Benefits
Corrosion-Resistant Springs: The wiring system in this alternator is not only advanced in terms of technical lineups but also in terms of durability. The springs prevent both physical and chemical corrosion inside the chambers.
Enhanced Shock Absorption: With the Bosch AL7526N Automotive Alternator, you won’t have to worry about any breakage due to excessive friction. The self-lubed brushes alongside the springs help to increase the shock absorption capacity of the alternator and prevent the loss of voltage.
Flexible Connectors: The AL7526N alternator is one of the best-in-slot for 7.3 PowerStrokes due to the flexible connectors. You can change up the amperage to gain a higher voltage output without corroding any of the output diodes.
Robust Charging Capacity: As a former user of the Bosch AL7526N alternator, I can tell you that the charging capacity is the most impressive feature of this little alternator. After switching out the old F-150 alternator, I was worried that the AL7526N would take much longer to charge up. But even in an idle set-up, the alternator matched the previous pace.
- Perfect amperage for 7.3 PowerStrokes
- Powerful control over the motor
- Incredible charging capacity
- Great for heavy-duty performance
- Pretty expensive for an alternator
- Might need to replace the 5-groove pulley
Though short-lived, I had a fun time with this alternator, especially because it didn’t give me any charging issues. However, I’d recommend getting a Motorcraft pulley or using the 8-groove pulley from the previous alternator to accommodate the 7.3 PowerStrokes.
5. Bosch Automotive AL7606N Alternator [Best For High Voltage Output]
Lastly, the Bosch Automotive AL7606N Alternator will be a great fit if you want maximum engine power for your Ford.
Features & Benefits
- Heavy-Duty Wiring: The Bosch Automotive AL7606N Alternator replaces the wiring system for better connectivity and breathability. The system is designed to protect the wires from friction, heat, and humidity.
- Enhanced Module Control: Even with a high voltage output, I noticed that the Bosch AL7606N Alternator kept the injector modules in check at all times to prevent loss of power. Hence, if you’ve been having misfiring issues due to more voltage in the system, try switching to this alternator instead.
- High Voltage Output: With this alternator, you can experience a volt capacity of 14 volts easily with enough horsepower. Additionally, the amp rate is capped at 135 amp, but the system can handle a periodical surge in the amperage without disrupting the volt and charging capacity.
- Premium Construction: The Bosch AL7606N Alternator has the same bolt locations as the factory-installed alternators in most of the newer Ford models. Plus, even with a smaller pulley, you won’t face any placement or friction issues.
- Straightforward and beginner-friendly installation
- Allows modifications to increase efficiency
- Helps to equalize the voltage differences
- Doesn’t draw too much starter voltage
- Can handle an amperage rate of 135-150 easily
- Needs an 8-groove pulley for maximum output
- Needs a separate belt tensioner for proper latching
Although it’s number 5 on today’s list, the Bosch AL7606N Alternator is actually one of my favorites in terms of construction and performance. However, as it’s really expensive, it’s not exactly the most value-for-money option.
When’s The Right Time To Change Your Alternators?
Alternators don’t go bad in a day. There will be plenty of warning signs beforehand to indicate the upcoming failure. Here are a few signs that will let you know whether it’s time to switch out your current alternator for a better one –
Battery Light Stays On
If you look at the dashboard and notice that the battery warning light is pretty much on 24/7, it’s time to check for a faulty alternator. Because if the battery isn’t receiving enough power, the alternator isn’t keeping up with the volt capacity.
There are two ways to determine whether the problem lies with the alternator or the battery.
One. Take the engine to full power slowly and keep an eye on the dashboard for the battery light. If the light continues to get dimmer and dimmer, then it’s likely an alternator issue. Compared to the required battery voltage, the alternator isn’t able to provide enough output voltage in cases like these.
Two. If the battery light continues to get brighter instead of dimmer, then check in with the battery instead. If the battery starts to wear out, it can’t keep up with the required volt capacity any longer. As the alternator continues to provide more voltage than needed, the battery starts to malfunction.
Frequent Horsepower Loss
If you’re getting around 50-55% efficiency on your alternator, it’s decent enough to cover the horsepower losses. For instance – if the normal efficiency on your alternator is 20% after meeting the mechanical requirements, then the power output is barely 1/5th of the provided HP.
So, if the engine is providing around 10 HP, then with 100 amperage and 15V, only 2 HP will remain and the rest will dissipate internally to cool down and power the alternator. That’s why it’s so important to go for an alternator with a highly effective cooling system, to minimize the HP loss.
And if you start to notice even more of an HP loss, i.e. if the alternator efficiency goes down the 20-25% mark, then there’s a chance the internal coils have worn out. Look for better alternators with more foolproof heat transfer systems to ensure enhanced protection for the coils in the future.
Injector Modules Misfiring
If the connectors at the back of the alternator become faulty, then even with max voltage output, the engine can misfire. A bad connection can burn out the wires and cause the accessories to pull unnecessary voltage from the system.
The batteries will then have a hard time equalizing, and eventually, there will be a significant voltage drop. One battery will start to draw more voltage from the starter, while the other one will perish due to the lack of enough voltage. And when that happens, you’ll experience run ability problems i.e. the injector modules will receive improper signals due to the faulty connector and misfire more often.
If the wires are intertwined badly, a sudden upsurge in voltage can drive up the heat and cause the rubber protection around the wires to melt. In addition to slowing down the system, you’ll start to smell the subtle pungent smell.
Depending on the severity of the situation, there might be smoke around the connectors as well. The first thing to do in these cases is to shut down the engine so that the wires cool down naturally. Afterward, take out the connector and rewire everything after replacing the burnt-out sections.
How To Buy The Right Alternators For Your 7.3 PowerStroke?
While the aforementioned 5 best alternators for 7.3 PowerStroke certainly will help to narrow down your choices, you need to figure out your requirements as well. Depending on specific problems, different types of engines will respond to corresponding features better.
So, here’s a short buying guide on alternators to help you figure out what your PowerStroke needs the most –
The higher the amperage of the alternator, the more the voltage output and the overall power efficiency. With 7.3 PowerStrokes, you should aim around at least 120-130 amps. However, remember that alternators with high amp rates will cost significantly more.
And most often than not, anything over 150-160 amperage is overkill for diesel engines. Hence, you don’t have to spend unnecessarily just to get more power in your vehicle.
The desired voltage output for 7.3 PowerStrokes should stay between 12-14 volts. Additionally, the battery should have a similar volt capacity to handle the power load.
To know if your engine can support the replacement alternator, check in with the Amazon Garage Filter. Put in your vehicle year and model to know the specifications of the engine and the alternator. Then cross check the size requirements with the replacement alternator to see if it fits.
Material & Design
Low-quality alternators come with poorly designed connectors that develop cracks due to continuous vibration. Plus, the wires will get frayed over time and cause the injectors to misfire. So, make sure to get welding wires with more strands to reduce the amount of voltage resistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to spot the voltage problems in the passenger-side battery?
First, notice if the passenger-side battery is burning out faster than it should i.e. providing a low output over time. Afterward, perform cold cranking amp tests on each battery to determine their respective voltage output.
If the passenger-side battery draws less voltage, then it’s having trouble equalizing and hence, sending the wrong signals to the injector. Upgrade your batteries immediately and fix the equalizing procedure under these circumstances.
Can you use a 6.0 alternator on a 7.3 engine?
In short, yes. The 6.0 alternators have a larger case and they also provide a higher output compared to the 7.3 ones. You’ll have an extra middle wire to work with and consecutively, the connectors have a wider diameter.
You can also use a 6.4 alternator to get more power on your engine. However, in both cases, you’ll face battery light issues due to the lack of a direct line. Another common problem is the lack of suitable pigtails for the connectors.
What’s the maximum amperage limit for 7.3 alternators?
100 amp is enough to get efficient horsepower output without much power loss in the process. But a 7.3 alternator can handle up to 130-150 amps before the fuse blows out.
How does an alternator improve the efficiency of the battery?
An alternator produces a large amount of AC voltage by rotating the field current via magnetic resonance. This large amount of AC voltage is further converted into strong DC voltage with the help of the output diodes. The DC voltage powers up and regulates the efficiency of the batteries.
Is it a bad sign if the 7.3 alternators are putting out less than 14 volts?
A 7.3 alternator in good condition should offer a voltage output of 14-14.4 volts to the designated PowerStroke. If it starts to provide less than 10-12 amps, then it’s time to check for connector and amperage problems in the alternator.
How to increase the alternator efficiency of the system?
An alternator normally requires around 50-55% efficiency to maintain a proper voltage output. However, with the subsidiary mechanical requirements to run and cool the alternator, the efficiency often drops further below.
But you can enhance the power output by regulating the amperage and turning up the output voltage. You can also switch to synchronous rectification to tunnel more voltage.
So, there you have it. It wasn’t easy to find the 5 best alternators for 7.3 PowerStroke, providing the shortage of decent alternators in the market. But, rest assured that you won’t be disappointed with the performance of these selected few alternators, as they’re the best of the bunch.
However, I’d recommend DB Electrical 400-14044 Alternator as my top choice, in terms of efficiency and practicality. Whenever there’s a voltage difference, the alternator tends to heat up significantly which adds to the output problems.
The superior heat resistance of the DB Electrical 400-14044 Alternators will protect both the alternator and the battery while ensuring a proper flow of power to the engine. Also, notice that the price point is just over the $100 mark, which is an absolute steal considering the efficiency.
Again, if you’re looking to go for all-new components with enhanced charging technology for better output, I’d recommend going for the Bosch Automotive AL7606N or Bosch Automotive AL598N Alternators instead. While they cost a lot more compared to the DB 400-14044, they offer more brand value & can meet higher electrical demands.
Don’t forget to check out the buying guide to curate the selective list of criteria for the designated 7.3 PowerStrokes. Let me know if today’s recommendations were of any help, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you face any problems.