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Good Seattle mechanic? 1984 E350 4x4

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Old 06-18-2012, 02:33 PM
Rune007 Rune007 is offline
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Good Seattle mechanic? 1984 E350 4x4

Hi All,
I'm soliciting suggestions for a good mechanic / shop in the Seattle area, someone who knows this type of vehicle, and preferably won't be insanely expensive. Any suggestions welcome. I live in West Seattle and am willing to drive 15-20 miles.

My vehicle is a 1984 Ford E350, 6.9 turbo diesel, Pathfinder 4x4, 120k miles.

I took the van out for its inaugural shake down run camping trip. Packed up the wife and baby, and hit the road over to the dry side of the Cascades. We found a beautiful spot on right on the Cle Elum river, and got to enjoy some sun, while everyone in Seattle was getting rained on.

I'll do a trip report with some photos later, but I'd have to say that everything went fantastic on the whole. Van ran strong and gave me very little trouble. I'd give it a solid B, and considering it's age maybe B+/A-.

There were only two issues with the mechanical performance of the van. First being that when we arrived I noticed some oil dripping onto the ground, seemed to be coming from somewhere above the left side of the bumper (when facing the van). I think the oil is coming from an overflow somewhere, and is caused by the previous owner overfilling the oil system last time he changed the oil. I'm making this assumption because after I let it cool down and checked the oil level it was at max. The second issue is that on the way home the transmission did not want to go into first gear from a stop smoothly every time. Sometimes, it would just rev a second then drop into gear. I think this will probably clear up with a flush of the transmission and some new fluid.

Iíd like to do a complete service (assuming some neglected maintenance in the absence of complete service records):

Flush and change out all the fluids, filters (radiator, oil, transmission, differential, fuel). Check the breaks and replace as necessary. Change out air filter (upgrade?). Check all rubber hoses and replace if worn. Check wheel bearings, steering, etc. Service turbo(?). Check glowplugs.

Well thatís the list I can think of, any other suggestions of things I should service?

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Old 06-21-2012, 10:58 AM
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stemo76 stemo76 is offline
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I have posted a similar post here looking for a good mechanic and didn't really get many responses.

I am not familiar with that generation but I don't think there is an overflow for oil to get out. On the 7.3 there is a heat exchanger on the pass side that can leak oil. It may be power steering fluid mixed with some dirt.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:32 PM
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rogue40 rogue40 is offline
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It sounds to me like you have a transmission cooler line cracked or leaking. Though it reads full when you check it, the tranny cooler may be draining back into the transmission giving you a false reading. As you are running, the oil pumps back up into the cooler and starves the transmission. The shifting issue you are having is most commonly caused by low fluid level.
The cooler lines will run from the transmission and either tie into the bottom of the radiator or to an aftermarket cooler in the front of the truck. A leak in that area could squirt oil in the area you describe.
Take it to a transmission specialist. They can find the problem in a matter of seconds.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:27 AM
smooth_pilot smooth_pilot is offline
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Power Shop Enumclaw

They are a bit beyond your desired driving range but I have had good experiences with The Power Shop in Enumclaw. I wanted some mods made a couple of years ago. The Ford dealership in Issaquah had no mechanics that convinced me that they really knew their stuff regarding diesels. The Power Shop took good care of me.

As far as finding your leak, get some UV leak tracer:
and a UV light, Uview 413010 Battery Powered, 6 LED Leak Detection Light: Automotive
and do it yourself. Just wash the accumulated crud away with Simple Green and hot water. Put the tracer in the various system and look for leaks after driving a bit. You will save a ton of money over having a shop do the same thing.
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