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Old 05-02-2022, 09:39 AM   #1
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2003 Excursion with 6.0L Diesel

I'm just beginning the search for a larger vehicle to pull our 2020 Nash 23D. A friend of a friend is going sell his 2003 Excursion with the 6.0L diesel. Having just started to research this engine, I am concerned about it. I don't know if it has been "bullet-proofed".

This is the information I currently have about the vehicle:

223k miles with no rust on body or frame and never in an accident.
Supposedly over $20k in maintenance and upgrades since 2020 which include:
New A/C system/lines throughout (front and rear)
New pinion seal, valve cover gaskets, front main seal, oil pump gasket
New transmission filter and gasket
New 4x4 vacuum lines
New glow plugs
New thermostat, fan clutch, and fan shroud
New antifreeze reservoir and hoses
New alternator
New rotors and pads
New trac bar, drag link, inner/outer tie rods, shifter bushings, steering stalk
New brake master cylinder
New belt tensioner
Timbren SES (Suspension Enhancement System) rear suspension upgrade
Insight CTS2 Display SCT flash

So should I run away from this older vehicle? I haven't test driven it yet but supposedly it starts right up and runs great. What would be some of the MAJOR things I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:12 PM   #2
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Iíll start by saying that i am NOT a 6.0 expert. However there are 6.0 experts out there that can make them very reliable and very powerful. The list of items that you have there doesnít indicate to me that it has been bulletproofed. That will probably run you $3,000-$5,000. I also donít see a transmission rebuild listed, Iíd plan $3,500-$4,500 for a rebuild.

It should make a great tow vehicle, I have heard the suspension can be a little soft, but it looks like that has been taken care of already. I say go for it if the price is right. Send it off to a 6.0 expert have it bulletproofed and put $5,000 away for any repairs (transmission) that may come up.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:32 PM   #3
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2003 Excursion with 6.0L Diesel

The 6.0 wouldnít slow me up a bit. If thatís the type vehicle that works for you, go for it.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:38 PM   #4
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There are different levels of bullet proofing that can easily run over $20K if you go all out. The main concern is the egr cooler, if it springs a leak it leads to a series of events that can eventually be catastrophic. That said, it is a really good engine when running good, and the transmission behind it is much better than the 4R100 that preceded it on the 7.3s. The suspension is also great. My buddy bought a 2003 brand new and drove it over 300K before it got stolen. The most major problem he had was a turbo or two. He did not tow heavy with it, towing heavy seems to increase the liklihood of a failure that some say starts with the original Ford Gold coolant getting hot enough to where the silicate drops out of the mixture and clogs the egr cooler which is the beginning of the end. The solution is a thorough, and I mean thorough flush and coolant replacement with a good ELC product like Rotella or Fleetrite.

One of the checks on a used 6.0 is to run it hard up a hill while monitoring EOT & ECT, they should stay within 15 degrees of each other. The EOT may go a little higher if you're really pushing it but should recover very quickly to the 15 degree or less delta once you ease off and cruise normally.

The 6.0 trucks and Excursions are really great vehicles and if I didn't have my pristine 7.3 I would be looking for one as it's the last engine before the major emissions changes. I love the way they sound and when running right they have gobs of power. The best bullet proofers in the country are at Bullet Proof Diesel in Mesa, AZ. Look for the LoLo Honeymoon couple who had theirs done there.
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Old 05-02-2022, 09:27 PM   #5
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Good answer bigb. I had to look it up after your comment, I thought the 2003 still had the 4r100, I was wrong.

Even with a full on 20k bulletproof job, still cheaper than a new diesel truck.

Whatís it selling for anyway? Maybe I need to buy one.
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Old 05-02-2022, 11:12 PM   #6
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My neighbor just sank $23k into his 6.0 to "bulletproof" it.
Was it a good investment? He seems to think so. I believe he has well over $40k under the hood of his truck, as he had to replace the 6.0 once, out of warranty of course, several years ago. So, two 6.0s in 300k miles, with a $23k "refresh". Apparently their not for the faint of heart. I will say it runs hard, sounds great and pulls his fifth wheel fine. Fwiw, he has a ton of tow miles on it.
Personally, I'd run away, but I'm not a big blue oval fan.
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Old 05-02-2022, 11:19 PM   #7
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It's pretty much a 20 year old vehicle at this point. Hard pass.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:44 AM   #8
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19 year old and a 6.0L diesel....hard pass. If it were a 7.3L, it might be a possibility.

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Old 05-03-2022, 09:47 AM   #9
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I'm going to pass on this. It would rarely be used for anything other than a tow vehicle BUT I've never owned a diesel, let alone one of this age and known issues. He wants $16k for it but there's just too many things that could go wrong with it. Sure is in nice condition, though.
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Old 05-03-2022, 02:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Splat32 View Post
I'm going to pass on this. It would rarely be used for anything other than a tow vehicle BUT I've never owned a diesel, let alone one of this age and known issues. He wants $16k for it but there's just too many things that could go wrong with it. Sure is in nice condition, though.
For 16K if he is near any populated area it will sell right away, especially in these times of vehicle shortages.
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Old 05-03-2022, 02:52 PM   #11
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I sold my 2005 Ford F350, Crew Cab, 6' bed with the Navistar, rebranded by Ford as a Powerstroke, with about 65k miles on the clock, for 1/2 of what I paid for it new. But it was "bulletproofed" by Bulletproof Diesel in Arizona. Full treatment, Aluminum Water Pump, ARB head studs and things I don't even remember, anymore.

Never had any of the typical problems. Most due to Navistar insisting that they could meet emissions standards with their EGR system design. Of course, Navistar is no longer in that business. But it did cost me $10k+ to make it a reliable and worry free runner.
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Old 05-03-2022, 05:08 PM   #12
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If youíre looking for something similar with a gas engine, Chevy made a 3/4 ton Suburban in that vintage as well. They came with either the 6.0 or 8.1, both extremely reliable. As long as it didnít live in the rust belt, Iíve seen tons of these with 250K+ miles on them.
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Old 05-03-2022, 06:40 PM   #13
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This may be a good car but I can say that buying a 20 year old car is not a good idea. At some point the rubber seals get hard and dried out and the body falls apart from rust. It's all downhill from there.
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Old 05-03-2022, 07:00 PM   #14
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Excursions apparently have known issues with some of the main electrical harness connectors. The soft springs is apparently cured by installing F350 springs in the front.

Proper Bulletproofing gets a super heavy stainless EGR cooler, a air to oil cooler in place of the water/oil cooler, head studs instead of the bolts, and a bunch of small items, in addition to a serious rework of the heads.

Here is the LoLoHo Youtube video, when they had their '06 truck done.



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