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Old     (superair502)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-22-2013, 3:19 PM Reply   
Ok I have been wanting to hop on the diesel route and get a 7.3 for ages and it has never seemed the right time and I have had trouble finding a babied 7.3 with decently low miles. although I know most will say the motor will last forever i wanted one with low miles for its age. I just put a 100$ deposit on a 2003 7.3 powerstroke crew cab lariat with 80k miles on it after searching far and wide. i did the deposit because it is a 3 hour drive and I havent got a chance to see it in person yet but with all the pics I have seen it looks perfect. I know very little about diesels but plan on diving in headfirst very soon. my question is what should i look for before I buy the truck to know that it will be good to go and will last me 500,000 miles like everyone says? I know there are lots of diesel drivers on here so feel free to dive in.
Old     (wakeboardin2k4)      Join Date: Sep 2006       07-23-2013, 6:38 AM Reply   
My suggestion on what to look for on the 7.3 would be the oil pan. If its rusting, be prepared to replace it which is an expense because the whole motor has to come out to do so. Look at the oil cooler for that to be rotting out, not a huge dilemma but something worth inspecting. I suppose oil leaks anywhere. My 7.3 leaks oil like its going out of style. I leak from oil cooler, rear main seal and I believe a little bit out of the front seal. Just top it off and keep driving.

Check the trans fluid big time, see if the trans slips at all. The E40D trans is a good trans but that is more likely to fail than the engine. See if the truck has a tuner on it, whether it be an off the shelf, canned tuner or a multiposition chip from a professional company.

Suggestions for after you own the truck, 4" downpipe and different exhaust to help the truck keep the EGTs down when towing and a different airfilter. A lot of people go with a Donaldson Filter that typically goes on a Mac truck. Thats what I have. Works well and allows the turbo to sing a little better and I would image it allows it some more air when spooling up.

Thats all i got for you
Old     (bryce2320)      Join Date: May 2012       07-23-2013, 6:55 AM Reply   
My dad bought a 7.3 about 6 years ago and has had more problems with that truck then I've ever seen on a diesel. Sounds like a rods knocking constantly, hard to start even in the summer, gutless. He bought a cummins and loves it, but kept that truck as a work truck because he had so much money in it. Still doesn't run right.

Probably biased and not good advice because all my buddies and I drive cummins. Could have been a bad apple on the ford.

Last edited by bryce2320; 07-23-2013 at 7:00 AM.
Old     (akorcovelos)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-23-2013, 7:21 AM Reply   
It it's been properly maintained it will be the most reliable truck you'll ever own. I have 254k on mine and have never had to do anything but regular maintenance on it. As mentioned, check the oil pan, if it's really pitted and badly rusted expect to have to replace it, if it's just slightly rusty a good por15 treatment will be all it needs. When the truck is running take off the oil cap, flip it over and set it over the oil fill tube. If the cap stays there it's fine, if pressure blows the cap off the engine is wore out.

If it has the stock hubs make sure the 4x4 works, they are vacuum actuated and commonly fail, which is why many owners convert to manual hubs. Make sure the truck hasn't been warmed up before you get there, which could be the seller trying to hide cold start issues. Usually cold start issues are a bad glow plug relay, super easy to replace. CPS was a common problem, but they fixed it with a recall and new style sensor. After market tuners aren't as big of an issue as on the later 6.0 and 6.4 powerstrokes so as long as they have GOOD RECORDS on the regular maintenance I wouldnt be bothered by one. Feel free to pm me any questions.
Old     (ASDiamond)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-23-2013, 7:54 AM Reply   
We have 2 7.3s in the family, an OBS with 170k on it, and the other is a 2000 with 320k on it. The 2000 is my favorite truck we have ever owned. The engine in bullet-proof, but as mentioned earlier the transmissions seems to be the weak link in them. I would make sure the transmission has no problems, maybe even take it in and have it looked at. I have had to replace the lift pump on my OBS twice, so I would suggest checking underneath the fuel bowl for a fuel leak, its not difficult to replace but a time consuming fix. Other than that, I agree with everything posted earlier: oil pan, 4 wheel drive, cold start issues are a big one where we live (block heaters are great), and for some reason I think the power locks on those years had issues. I would take it on a nice long test drive to get the feel of it, get it nice and hot, then park it and see if anything/what/how much leaks from the engine. Just like buying anything make sure it has been taken care of and it should last you for ages. Congrats on your new purchase, you should love it.
Old    kx250frider617            07-24-2013, 11:06 PM Reply   
7.3's are holding value here on the west coast. 02'-03's going for $20k+ if in immaculate condition. We have only had one issue. The truck kept stalling and we thought it was the CPS sensor. Replaced 3 of those and it still did it. It ended up being a bad ICP regulator. Ever since, it's been the best truck.

Best mods:
4" exhaust, turbo back
DP Tuner
John Woods built Transmission
Old     (westsiderippa)      Join Date: Dec 2006       07-24-2013, 11:35 PM Reply   
good luck hope it works out for you and welcome to the 7.3l club. i love love love my 7.3l i have people offer cash for my truck about 3 times a week in the most random places, lol!!

check out its a great site and you will find anything and everything on that site that you want to know about ford diesel's.

lots of good advise above so i'll add checking the air filter and air box and make sure its clean, it shows a lot about there maintenance. also check the turbo. take off the cover and look at the fins of the turbo. look for any dirt and oily residue = not good. look straight down in the center of the motor for diesel fuel leaking = fuel pump issues, usally o-rings and easy fix.

mines a 96 and its an obs but i love my 7.3l bought it with 100k and its got 180k now with zero issues.
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Old     (machloosy)      Join Date: Mar 2013       07-25-2013, 8:35 AM Reply   
I'll add one more vote for the 7.3 Super Duty. Mine was a 99.5 4dr w/4" lift, dual shocks and 35's. Absolute favorite truck by miles. Exhaust first, then air filter, then tuner. They need clean oil for the injectors, so make sure the oil was changed regularly. Other than that, just what everyone else said. You will have no problem getting 300K+ I know of many that are deep in the 3's and there are plenty that have hit half a million miles. If you do the research, there are more 7.3L motors out there, then duramax and 5.9 cummins combined(not trying to start a war). Cummins are great motors! That 7.3 is just inexpensive and reliable. You'll be happy.
Old     (superair502)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-28-2013, 6:26 PM Reply   
Found my perfect truck 2003 250 7.3 with one owner and only 83k miles!! Checked everything everyone recommended a it has been perfect!!
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Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       07-28-2013, 6:35 PM Reply   
very nice!


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