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im thinking of picking up an 85 f 250 with a 97 7.3L turbo diesel put into it. it's an extended cab with 1 ton running gear. the motor and tranny have about 178,000 kms on it. i've never owned a diesel and im not too familair with them. how is this motor for reliablity and power? what should i be looking for when i take a look at the truck? and yes i tried the search menu
 

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im thinking of picking up an 85 f 250 with a 97 7.3L turbo diesel put into it. it's an extended cab with 1 ton running gear. the motor and tranny have about 178,000 kms on it. i've never owned a diesel and im not too familair with them. how is this motor for reliablity and power? what should i be looking for when i take a look at the truck? and yes i tried the search menu
Where to start. Wow I love that motor, I have 2 trucks with that setup. Just a blast to drive, and so many things you can do to modify the performance. The motor is pretty famous for reliability, and definately NOT lacking in the power department. Biggest difference between it and a gas engine is the power right off of the line, but a few quick mods and that little issue will be gone :toothless

When you go to look at it use your common sense, it should start quickly and idle smooth. Make sure you get to start it from a cold start, that is pretty important and will tell you a lot about the condition of the glow plugs and batteries. Watch for blue smoke to show it is burning oil after it is warmed up, not a good sign.

I'm sure others will chime in too, sounds like a great find :beer
 

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If it knocks terrible at a cold start and goes away when warm don't be alarmed.7.3's and the current motors from ford all create a knack knack sounds.It's typical and happens to my works new 6.4 that we use.As stated watch carefully for blue smoke as that's oil burning and that's not something you want to deal with.I will agree with the 7.3's reliablity and long lasting parts, a guy down the road has a 7.3 tow truck and it's got 900k miles on original parts and while it burns oil and knocks like a mofo it still runs decent.
 

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Wow what a find....if the price is right.

Take a look at the top of the intake around the injectors. Look and sniff for fuel leaks. 7.3s have a problem with factory injector o-rings leaking after the first 100,000 miles. The parts are less than 5.00 dollars, but you have to move the turbo to get at each injector to replace. If you can do this work...go for it...if not budget close to 400 dollars. Take a good look at the ball joints, especially if it's been in a damp/salty environment. Another aspect you'll want to check is the coolant ph. Get the test strip from Ford to check ph. Unless the coolant additive been mixed with the coolant and refreshed periodically, the engine can lose a cylinder liner from electroysis. What I've seen is a case whereby the liner leaked coolant into the cylinder and the piston hydro-locked. Of course this means a tear down for more than a few dollars.
 

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The 7.3 is the most sought after Diesel... I waited for 3 months to find the right one for me. The Trucks with them in it are holding their value very well. Its a no brainer to go with these engines.

Ofcourse the make a knack Knack knocking sound... its a diesel its how they run.

Now, with that being said. The 97 is a computer controlled Diesel. Yes, start it cold and watch for blue smoke or white smoke just like a gas engine... some black somke under throttle could be a good thing if modded and chipped. If not, something is wrong. The 7.3 does not blow Black soot when runnign properly.

Since its a swap, be very critical in you inspection of all mounts, wiring, and functionality. I think it would be very benificial for you to go look at and drive a truck that cam factory with one of these before you can truly asess this one.

If its a F250, but has a 1 ton running gear... as in its had the axles/tranny/engine/transfer case swapped out of an F350.... thats a lot of good stuff possibly set up bad.

Depending on your budget, the 97-02 Trucks with 150,000 miles on them are everywhere and can be had around $10,000. One thing you really have to consider about this purchase is also the cost of ownership. Diesel is about $.50 more per gallon right now. Oil Chaanges are about 4X the cost. Parts are really expensive, and not just anyoen has knowledge of the Diesel engine.
 

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Fuel may be more expensive, but all the diesels I've owned/been around that run right get great fuel mileage compared to a similar gas truck.
 

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Expedition with 5.4L (Roughly 5400lb Truck) got 15.8Mpg on the Highway
F250 with 7.3L PSD (Rougly 7500lb Truck) get 19.1Mpg on the Highway

Both traveling with no Trailor.

In town the Diesel is worse, not sure how much worse... but Overall I am getting 13.5 out of the Diesel and I am not a lead foot at all. I also got the Same out of the Expy.

Same drive to work in both, same time of year.
 

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I had a 97 F350 with the diesel. Its a 225 horse engine and had decent power. It had 4.10 gears, and my 99 with a 235 horse engine and 3.73 gears had way more power and accleration then the 97 did. Only a 10 horse difference with the power rating but it felt like AT LEAST a 50 horse difference on my butt dyno. Like I said it had decent power, but compared to the 235 horse engine it was doggy. Still reliable as hell and I'd buy another in a second.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks for all the info. i was aware of checking the ph in the rad but i wasnt sure if that was a common issue or not. its an extended cab with a box from a 92 unfortunalty and from the sound of it, it might be multi coloured. he's asking 5,000 obo so its something i think is worth while to look at. for performance upgrades does a banks power chip work on something this old?
 

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for performance upgrades does a banks power chip work on something this old?
All Depends on whats there Engine and Tranny Wise. If all the electronics were done in the swap, yes it will. All though, I would go somethign a bit more Custom like www.dp-tuner.com
 

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One of our work trucks is an f350 with that engine. it is a huge truck but the diesel handles it just fine. it has nearly 300k miles on it and is still runnin like a champ
 

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those engines make 425ft-lbs of torque, never mind a 225hp number...
 

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sounds like a nice deal... Just to add to all the other guys, check the way the wires are spliced, make sure it was done right, and not just half-assed twisted together.. Also if its got a 1 ton drivetrain, check to see how they did the solid axle swap. If it looks shady use that if your still going to buy it...
 
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