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Excursion - King of SUVs 2000 - 2005 Ford Excursion

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  #1  
Old 07-27-2012, 04:33 PM
jblakeman jblakeman is offline
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7.3 Excursion Which Year(s) is Best?

Hey all I'm brand new to the Ford Truck arena searching for a diesel SUV. My current rig is an '03 Dodge Ram with the 5.9 H.O. engine so I'm familiar with the expenses keeping a diesel going. My Dodge will remain as the towing rig while the Excursion becomes the grocery getter....

In my search there were only 3 diesel rigs made recently by domestic brands: 05-06 Jeep Liberty (Italian engine, very little dealer support); 07-08 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Mercedes engine, expensive parts, complex EGR system, few made / dealer support); 90's GM Suburbans' (6.5 engine, weak block, lots of little electrical / fuel issues, old body style liked to sag / rust up here in the midwest); and finally the 00 - 05 Excursions (common Powerstroke engine, familiar SuperDuty chassis, plenty of support through Ford and aftermarket....)

I've already read enough on the 6.0 to rule that out engine out of the equation; don't want the economy of a 6.8, or the anemic (for this SUV) 5.4, which leaves the 7.3 engine that I'm looking seriously into.

Here's what I know so far about the 2000 - 2003's....
  • Engine wise, 7.3 had forged rods in 2000 and early 01, then powder metal rods thereafter....
  • Instrument panel, controls updated in 2002 - 2003 models, electronic HVAC controls, auto dusk to dawn headlights with clear lens out front, also a few other electrical controls updated in the interior.
  • Ball joints, brakes, and steering are issues (especially if still stock on trucks with over 100K like what I'm seeing currently...)
What I like to know from you all...
  1. What's the difference between the 00-01 7.3 vs. 01-03 7.3; do I need to worry about forged vs. non-forged rods...any other changes done to the 7.3 engine that should be considered when purchasing?
  2. Any other body / electrical / drivetrain issues with the Excursion chassis that should be considered between the years? (For example, older trucks had manual HVAC controls, newer trucks electronic controls...is this an issue or do they fail...)
  3. Is it necessary to upgrade the cooling system on the 4R100 trans or as long as you don't beat it or tune it hot it should run fne....(I'm still on my original 48RE in my truck at 188K with no problems....)
Thanks,

Jon
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:25 PM
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My vote is for the 05 6.0! You should ask/look in the 7.3 forum.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt's05 View Post
My vote is for the 05 6.0! You should ask/look in the 7.3 forum.
From all I have read and researched you are probably right, but you will need to make about 5K in upgrades to make the engine worry free and bullet proof. If the 6.0 had just a little forethought and imagination at the design stage it might have been considered one of their best ever. I have made the adjustments to mine and I cannot believe how it runs.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:57 PM
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Well yes, the 05 Excursion has the best going for it (newest truck, front end) and the latest SuperDuty updates...however it also has the 6.0 engine. If I was looking for a gas truck I would just pick up a 2005 V10...however I'm solely interested in the 7.3.

Also in my financing commitment I've considered that the 6.0 is (1) in the newer models with less miles (more $$$), (2) needs $5K in upgrades (more $$$), and whatever improvements in the front end that might be required (more $$$) I just don't want to go down that road...nor can I afford it.

I've talked to a few people who own these and I've heard "you should only be looking at 2000 model year trucks because that's the best version of the 7.3..." and "get the 03 before the switchover to the 6.0...has the best interior...." but nothing in between.

Any feedback from the 7.3 Excursion owners....
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jblakeman View Post
Well yes, the 05 Excursion has the best going for it (newest truck, front end) and the latest SuperDuty updates...however it also has the 6.0 engine. If I was looking for a gas truck I would just pick up a 2005 V10...however I'm solely interested in the 7.3.

Also in my financing commitment I've considered that the 6.0 is (1) in the newer models with less miles (more $$$), (2) needs $5K in upgrades (more $$$), and whatever improvements in the front end that might be required (more $$$) I just don't want to go down that road...nor can I afford it.

I've talked to a few people who own these and I've heard "you should only be looking at 2000 model year trucks because that's the best version of the 7.3..." and "get the 03 before the switchover to the 6.0...has the best interior...." but nothing in between.

Any feedback from the 7.3 Excursion owners....
Own a V10 but if I was looking for a 7.3, I would just try to find the newest, cleanest, lowest mileage one that I could find/afford.

Simply upgrading to the 6.0 tranny cooler would prevent almost any kind of heat related problem.

(One year did have the diode problem in the tranny. 2002?)
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:55 AM
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I looked for the newest 7.3 possible. I love my 7.3! I also like the 05+ front end so I just put one on over the 7.3.

I wouldn't worry about the rods unless you plan to make huge HP?

No matter what motor you get in any X or super duty it will have its quirks. Personally I didn't like the quirks of the 6.0 and up motors.
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  #7  
Old 07-28-2012, 01:09 PM
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02-03 is the best I think. They have a few more options than the earlier models. The automatic climate control is really nice, and SOME of the limiteds have controls on the steering wheel for the radio and the HVAC in addition to cruise control, which I love. The Eddie Bauers dont have this, at least the ones I have seen. The seats in the 02+ have a different pattern and look better I think. Maybe you will get lucky and find one with rear captains and factory dvd too, which mine doesnt have, but I would like to have. The only plus for the earlier ones is the forged pistons, but that is only really valuable if you plan on tuning it to 500hp or something. Be prepared to pay for them though. I am a dealer and always looking for 7.3s and there was an 03 Limited with 105k that came through the dealer auction the other day, sold for $21,500. I do a lot of towing, but I like SUVs more than trucks, so I gravitated towards the Ex. I had a GMC Suburban with the 454 before this and I finally found my Ex, with 99k miles on it, put a deposit on it sight unseen and drove to NC and traded in the Sub, paid $17,995 and never looked back. That was in December of 2010, I have put 40k miles on it and it is worth just as much now if not more than what I paid for it. I never contemplated any other engine choice or vehicle. I decided that the only thing I wanted was an 02-03 Ex 7.3 Limited and just searched. Dont limit yourself by distance either, I almost bought a black 03 in California with 180k for $12k. I dont think I would have regretted that purchase either. I got lucky in that I found what I wanted within 100 miles. Good luck on your search.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8scott72 View Post
(One year did have the diode problem in the tranny. 2002?)
Pretty sure it was the 01s that had the diode problem.
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:23 PM
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To answer a couple of your question, the 02-03s they updated the injector harness and they are less prone to disconnect. That harness can cause some problems but not a real big deal. I have had to fix them on a few other 7.3s but have not had a problem with it on my own. I do not think it is necessary to upgrade the tranny cooling system, I have my tranny flushed at the dealer every 30k and installed a little inline magnecor filter for added protection.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:09 PM
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I came from a 00 F350 CC V10 to my current 7.3 limited ex. I liked the V10 but I was looking for better fuel economy. My excursion kinda fell in my lap one day while talking to my friend who was selling it. It's a 2000 limited 4x4 7.3 I got it with 270,000 miles on it. A few months ago and now is at 280k. I know the earlier models weren't as fancy and had their minor issues, like the dead head fuel system causing slightly louder #8 injector. I bought it with a slight missfire and figured after 12 years and almost 300k an injector job was due so 2100.00 later all 8 injectors were changed. In The late 00 models ford came out with a long lead injector for #8 to try to quiet the fuel system but Had mixed results. The previous owner really took care of my truck based on the recent oil pan, aluminum rad, water pump and up pipes! I also had to have new bearings installed in the rear end but that comes with the territory. I tow with mine maybe 2x a year less than 200 miles. I tow my demolition derby cars with weight around 3,500 -4000 ( heaviest was my 59 imperial at 4500 lbs ). When pulling with the V10 that motor was screaming at 5k up hills but it sounded good . The 7.3 just kept on going and took the hills with almost no effort. The transmission in both trucks (4R100) always shifts great and flawlessly even with almost 300k on it, maintainence is everything! I use mine as a daily driver or grocery getter I know most people disagree with that but I maintain it to fords severe duty schedule and have yet to have a problem. A few things I've noticed between The two trucks was the 7.3 was very quiet even at 2k rpms while the V10 was a little more noticeable. The V10 has plenty of power but slightly lower on the torque. I'm happy with the 7.3 and plan on keeping it as long as I can, that being said even a truck with higher miles is worth it at the right price. Oh I only paid 6,000.00 for mine
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:47 PM
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i ahve a 2001 7.3 2wd and it has 170,000 miles and so far the only thing i have done is a water pump and that was after it finialy went after 4 years of leaking a little bit here and there .....
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies...I know the 7.3 will be a reliable workhouse especially knowing some of you have 200 - 300K on them and they're still running great. You'll never see a Cummins CR injector go over 150K without replacement as mine were all shot even before I had them replaced at 142K!!!

The creature comforts are nice however it seems as soon as I even spot a 2002 - 03 their sold before I make the call...I'm seeing quite a few 00 - 01's I'm glad to know their just as reliable with a few engine / trans modifications (harness and or diode...).
  • Snowseeker....I do like the newer SuperDuty front ends.....how much did the 05 front end conversion cost...any modifications needed or does it just bolt up to the existing body?
Thanks guys...

Jon
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studawg View Post
Pretty sure it was the 01s that had the diode problem.
Correct. It was the early part of the '01 model year run that had the Mechanical Diode. However, I doubt any of the transmissions built with that part still has that part. They were so commonplace to fail, I'd bet most, if not all, have been replaced by now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kdr358 View Post
I know the earlier models weren't as fancy and had their minor issues, like the dead head fuel system causing slightly louder #8 injector.
For specificity sake, it's not just the earlier models that have the dead-head fuel setup, ALL 7.3L models have the dead-head fuel system.

Also, the dead-head fuel system does not cause the number 8 injector to be slightly louder. What happens is, because of the dead-head system Ford used, a cackle noise can be heard above the normal diesel combustion sound. The cackle is cause by fuel pressure variation caused by cylinder number 8. To combat the cackle sound, Ford installed the AE injector (all 7 others are AD injectors) , also referred to as the long lead (LL) injector.

The LL injector can sound like a ticking lifter at operating temps.

To the OP, in my opinion, having forged rods or not doesn't matter. Like others have said, unless you plan on spending a ton of money and pushing some really serious power, you should be ok.

I have a 2000 MY 7.3L PSD and a 2002 MY 7.3L PSD engine. My 2002 F250 is actually pushing more power than my 2000 Excursion.

Stewart

PS - The OEM dead-head system is easily fixed. Riffraff Diesel: Fuel Rail Crossover™
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowseeker View Post
I looked for the newest 7.3 possible. I love my 7.3! I also like the 05+ front end so I just put one on over the 7.3.
Oh how simple the front end conversion is... Why must I take the hard road?

IMO, I like the 2002 year because it has the two tone exterior Limited with the chrome front end. But since I'm swapping a 7.3 into my '05, I guess the '02/'03 differences don't matter much...

It seems like the early '03s were bought by people who wanted one of the last 7.3s, so they drove the s**t out of them. Not always the case, but I have seen those have higher mileage, beat up, and there are less out there.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:13 PM
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Sunline fan....interesting point. Never thought that the '03's would be considered more "beat up" in a 7.3 over a brand new 6.0. My thinking is that most "Powerstroke Fans" would be all over the immediate acceleration and turbo sound of the 6.0 and since this was before the "issues" started it would have been the engine of choice...at least until the dealer / shop visits started adding up.

I wonder how long Ford produced the 7.3 in the 2003 model year? Seems very few examples could be found??

I know on the Dodge side all the Cummins owners couldn't wait to get out of the 24V engine of 98 -02 due to all the issues with block casting, injection pump, and lift pump failures along with sporadic transmission problems (electrical especially). Usually you see more running the older 12V engine or the newer 03 - up CR engines just because that engine was considered the "black sheep" of the ISB line.
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