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Old 05-16-2014, 10:30 AM   #29
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I just bought a used 7.3 PS. They are indeed good motors that are hugely detuned from International-Navistar because Ford didn't want to deal with warranty issues. That said, there are issues that need to be addressed from time to time. I use powerstokehelp.com (no affiliation) for my info on the motor and transmission. He has a very comprehensive video series on what to do.

The only reason I bought the truck is because my 11 yr old daughter hit a growth spurt and is suddenly taller than her mother, nearly as tall as me now. I felt bad stuffing her into that club-cab seat in my Dodge 2500. I needed a bigger cab but wasn't ready to commit to a new truck just now so I found this Crew Cab PS with 110,000 miles for $10,000.

I'm not thrilled about all the added diesel expense but I'll probably put in a low micron bypass filter system so that I can stretch out my oil changes to 20,000 mile intervals. I'm also planning on spending $3,000 for some "round-one" engine upgrades (exhaust, cold-air intake, bigger turbo, maybe tuner... maybe).

The motors will last long, indeed. Unless they are run hard with a tuner. I searched high and low for a truck that had never been chipped (tuned). If left on factory settings, the motors are known to hit 1 million miles. Injectors, however, need to replaced approx every 200,000 miles.

Ford has dropped the price of 7.3 motors so low that you can almost buy a new crated motor, with everything on it, for the price of a gas motor now.

I still like driving around my V10 Dodge though. I'm on the fence about keeping it.

If you can pick up that 25,000 mile powerstroke for $20,000, I'd suggest you go for it. Sure a few seals may be compromised but the rest of the truck is in excellent shape if it's been covered, I'm sure. And you're close enough to the guru in GA (powerstrokehelp.com) that you can take it into him to verify you're in tip-top shape before setting out on the road. I haven't met him or taken my truck to him yet but he seems to be the kind of mechanic who will troubleshoot more accurately before you spend a bunch of money chasing the fix.
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:40 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptgregger View Post

I'm not thrilled about all the added diesel expense but I'll probably put in a low micron bypass filter system so that I can stretch out my oil changes to 20,000 mile intervals.
I, too, have a 7.3 litre diesel...I change the oil every 5,000 miles - I would not suggest the filter ( since it IS a diesel) unless you have the oil analyzed regularly. Here is a link to Blackstone labs. There are other additives in the oil that wear out and you lose protection.

Tim
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:56 PM   #31
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Some excellent points made. Been through the process more than once. I would suggest you think about how much time you will spend in the FW and what you will be doing, besides sleeping, when in it. You may be thinking you need more space than you really do. If so, you can save bucks by going smaller and lighter. For both the FW and truck. For instance, a F150 Ford with a 302 can tow a Nash 24-N5 built between 2000 and 2005. Been there done that. We now tow lager with a 2004 CTD but we have different needs than those you state.

Have fun and good luck,

GT
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Old 05-30-2014, 05:34 PM   #32
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Okay, I need some advice. My fiancee's car just died and will cost more to fix than it's worth, so we're looking at a purchase in the next week or two. Our options, as far as I can tell, are as follows:

1. We buy a truck that I will use as a DD while she drives my car (she doesn't want to drive the truck). Then when we're ready to move into a FW, we buy one that is in our budget and can be pulled by our truck and go. The only issue with this is we are not prepared for a big purchase yet, so spending $15-$20k on a truck is going to be difficult.

2. We buy a relatively low mileage car for her to drive that will last a long time. Hopefully around $10k. Then when we're ready to move, we buy a motorhome instead of a FW to avoid the extra payment. A $10k loan would be relatively easy for us to get.

What I want to know is, how does the maintenance cost of a motorhome compare to a truck/FW combo? If we end up staying where we are with my guaranteed job after school, how big of an issue is it for the motorhome to be parked long term? Of course, we would still take it out every now and then to get the motor running and everything, but I'm thinking long term. We want to get the most out of our investment and plan on living in whatever we buy for several years, so I don't want to end up losing money on maintenance.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:39 AM   #33
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Best will be a TT then a 5th wheel and then the money pit.
Trailers parked will not need a truck. Just to take a mh for a ride to get it rolling is a waste.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:17 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptgregger View Post
I just bought a used 7.3 PS. They are indeed good motors that are hugely detuned from International-Navistar because Ford didn't want to deal with warranty issues. That said, there are issues that need to be addressed from time to time. I use powerstokehelp.com (no affiliation) for my info on the motor and transmission. He has a very comprehensive video series on what to do.

...

I'm not thrilled about all the added diesel expense but I'll probably put in a low micron bypass filter system so that I can stretch out my oil changes to 20,000 mile intervals. I'm also planning on spending $3,000 for some "round-one" engine upgrades (exhaust, cold-air intake, bigger turbo, maybe tuner... maybe).

...

Injectors, however, need to replaced approx every 200,000 miles.

Ford has dropped the price of 7.3 motors so low that you can almost buy a new crated motor, with everything on it, for the price of a gas motor now.
I know this is my first post on the forums but this thread and this post is one of the reasons I decided to join the forums. Please do not take offence to what I am about to say. I am not claiming to be a top diesel mechanic, but I did it for a few years in the military, do it all the time on my own time, and I work on whatever Freightliner decides to shove under the hood of their tractors every day.

So, here it begins.

Please avoid powerstrokehelp.com. He does have a few bits of useful information, but it's a very small amount in comparison to all he has on his page. The best example I can remember is in one of his videos he tells you that the engine had valve float on one of the exhaust valves and then continues to describe it as the valve sticking to the seat and temporarily welding itself to the valve seat. Valve float, to make it simple, is when the spring does not fully decompress and the valve does not fully close leaving the valve partially open, or floating. Also, EGT's are not directly related to RPM's. Go up the mountains in WY with 6000 pounds and you can keep it to a low 1500 RPM and still watch the EGT's rise.

Well, that's enough on that. Be wary of how long you stretch your oil changes. You have to remember that oil doesn't just lubricate the lower end of your engine, it also provides lubrication to your turbo and fires your injectors. You also have two oil pumps to worry about clogging or frying and HPOP's are not exactly cheap.

Tuner's are a good thing. Improperly used tuner's destroy engines and transmissions. PHP has a good one, Edge isn't too bad for an easy to use, simple 7.3L programmer. Exhaust should be number one though, 4" exhaust will be more than adequate for up to around 500-600 HP. Avoid 5" exhausts, they will sound better if you like the diesel sound but will not drastically decrease EGT's over a 4" (at factory HP) but will very slightly decrease performance.

The last big thing I have is the injectors. I'm not too sure where you got your information about replacing injectors at around 200k miles. The LB7 (01-04.5) Duramax engines found in Chevy and GMC had injector issues and they normally lasted anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 miles before they needed to be replaced but that's about the shortest lifespan you'll see out of a diesel injector barring certain circumstances. 6.2 and 6.5L also have a shorter injector lifespan. I'm at almost 270,000 on my original factory injectors. However, fuel and oil quality both play a very large role in the lifespan of your injectors.

You can buy a performance build 7.3L for 7,000-8,000. That is cheap.

Now, to the OP, I know here (Missouri/Kansas) getting a trailer moved costs anywhere between 1.50 and 2.50 per loaded mile depending on the season. From what I have read, you'd probably be better off having it moved or going MH. Unless you lower your demands or raise your budget you will be hard-pressed to find a tow rig with a GCVWR high enough for what you're looking for (7000-8000lb truck + 15,000 5er = 22000-23000). You would have to get a relatively new truck for that. Technically a lot of the older ones are able to pull the weight, and the components are individually rated for it, but DOT doesn't really care.

Sorry, that's way too long. I'm done now.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:04 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by 99 Starcraft View Post
I know this is my first post on the forums but this thread and this post is one of the reasons I decided to join the forums. Please do not take offence to what I am about to say. I am not claiming to be a top diesel mechanic, but I did it for a few years in the military, do it all the time on my own time, and I work on whatever Freightliner decides to shove under the hood of their tractors every day.

So, here it begins.

Please avoid powerstrokehelp.com. He does have a few bits of useful information, but it's a very small amount in comparison to all he has on his page. The best example I can remember is in one of his videos he tells you that the engine had valve float on one of the exhaust valves and then continues to describe it as the valve sticking to the seat and temporarily welding itself to the valve seat. Valve float, to make it simple, is when the spring does not fully decompress and the valve does not fully close leaving the valve partially open, or floating. Also, EGT's are not directly related to RPM's. Go up the mountains in WY with 6000 pounds and you can keep it to a low 1500 RPM and still watch the EGT's rise.

Well, that's enough on that. Be wary of how long you stretch your oil changes. You have to remember that oil doesn't just lubricate the lower end of your engine, it also provides lubrication to your turbo and fires your injectors. You also have two oil pumps to worry about clogging or frying and HPOP's are not exactly cheap.

Tuner's are a good thing. Improperly used tuner's destroy engines and transmissions. PHP has a good one, Edge isn't too bad for an easy to use, simple 7.3L programmer. Exhaust should be number one though, 4" exhaust will be more than adequate for up to around 500-600 HP. Avoid 5" exhausts, they will sound better if you like the diesel sound but will not drastically decrease EGT's over a 4" (at factory HP) but will very slightly decrease performance.

The last big thing I have is the injectors. I'm not too sure where you got your information about replacing injectors at around 200k miles. The LB7 (01-04.5) Duramax engines found in Chevy and GMC had injector issues and they normally lasted anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 miles before they needed to be replaced but that's about the shortest lifespan you'll see out of a diesel injector barring certain circumstances. 6.2 and 6.5L also have a shorter injector lifespan. I'm at almost 270,000 on my original factory injectors. However, fuel and oil quality both play a very large role in the lifespan of your injectors.

You can buy a performance build 7.3L for 7,000-8,000. That is cheap.

Now, to the OP, I know here (Missouri/Kansas) getting a trailer moved costs anywhere between 1.50 and 2.50 per loaded mile depending on the season. From what I have read, you'd probably be better off having it moved or going MH. Unless you lower your demands or raise your budget you will be hard-pressed to find a tow rig with a GCVWR high enough for what you're looking for (7000-8000lb truck + 15,000 5er = 22000-23000). You would have to get a relatively new truck for that. Technically a lot of the older ones are able to pull the weight, and the components are individually rated for it, but DOT doesn't really care.

Sorry, that's way too long. I'm done now.
Hey thanks for the enlightenment, Starcraft. I'm no mechanic, that's for sure. But I do tinker. Still, I can't dispute what you're saying about powerstrokehelp.com because I don't have the knowledge and insight that you do. But his videos seem informative nonetheless. Maybe they're not perfect, but I haven't seen anything else out there in terms of bringing the layman up to speed on mechanical issues. So for youtube "how-to" vids his info seems to fill in a lot of the gaps.

The 200,000 mile mark for injector-replacement is a rough estimate. Everyone's truck is different. My approach to vehicle mx is to fix things ahead of suspected breakdown so that I'm not left on the side of the road, paying out the nose to a shop who really doesn't know what they're doing in the first place. As a rule of thumb, I'll replace my injectors at around the 200K mark. Waste of money? Maybe. But I'm going to do it as an engine upgrade anyway so it will be justified regardless. Pretty much every 7.3 PS owner I talk to has similar feedback about transmission life (150K-200K range). Why not replace it in a planned fashion? And in a way where the job can be shopped around to the fairest, yet knowledgeable, service provider all while upgraded the components to better-than-OEM standards?. Like I said, it beats waiting on the side of the road for help.

My uncles and cousins are all hard-core highly reputable mechanics in the dealership industry for more than 40 years. They constantly remind me that all auto manufacturers engineer and design cars and trucks to last "about 100K miles". Sure the trucks and cars last much longer but the industry doesn't much care beyond the 100K mark because, quite obviously, that's where they part ways with the warranty guarantee. That's not to say they intentionally want to see a vehicle breakdown at 100K. But as a consumer, to go trotting along and expecting your equipment to simply keep on going without any schedule replacement of parts, well, you're just asking for trouble. Some times consumers expect too much out of their rig.

I operate big and highly complex equipment for a living. Believe me when I tell you in my line of work every component, down to the seat bolts, has a specific service life. That's how they keep the equipment reliability rate to the tune of 98.5-99.5%. Constant servicing. I know that's a less approachable idea as an individual owner, due to cost, but if the average life of a component is, say 150-200K miles, I'm going to replace it BEFORE I'm left in a lurch just based on the average experience out there on the various forums. How can anyone be so uninformed these days with the internet as the information equalizer? For example, I replaced the VP-44 fuel injection pump on my Dodge Ram Cummins well before it left me stranded, but not too early either. Once the fuel pressure dropped to 5 psi at WOT, it was obvious the VP44 was on it's last breath. Some guys told me that it could carry me another 20,000 miles, others told me to sell the truck and pass the problem on to the next guy (Karma's a bitch). The dealer wanted $3800 for the job. I got it done for $1800 by shopping the job/ parts around and scheduling it in a nice leisurely fashion.

That's all I'm referring to. Using the average lifespan of these parts to then go ahead and service the vehicle.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:06 PM   #36
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Understood. I've been stranded before because of component failures and it's not fun. Had one of those hard to see coolant lines rupture on the way back from WY last October. Got stuck in Limon, CO for a while.

Anyway, there is a lot of information out there for the Powerstrokes it's just a matter of finding it and finding the good information in all of it.

Just an FYI if you are going to extend your oil service intervals, you don't have to use the factory FL1995. Donaldson ELF7405 is about 4" longer than factory and - from what I've been told - adds about a quart to capacity. There are plenty of other compatible filters too.

I'm not quite sure what the rules are around here for posting links to external sites (yeah, I didn't really read all that too thoroughly) but would be more than happy to post some useful links or PM them to you if you'd like. There are a few forums, some filter cross-reference sheets, etc. that I have stockpiled on my computers somewhere.

Don't take what I said as an insult. I've seen a lot of people that couldn't care less about their vehicle and destroy it out of sheer negligence but I've also seen people get bad information and waste a lot of money and, in some cases, ruin what used to be good.

I've got a few more "repairs" to make before I pull the "Dang, honey, my truck needs new injectors. I might as well get the better ones."
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