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1988 F350 w/7.3 Diesel reliability?

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Old 05-04-2004, 06:21 PM
otem otem is offline
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Question 1988 F350 w/7.3 Diesel reliability?

I am a Ford guy at heart. I just bought a fifth wheel (12,000 Lbs) and am looking to get a truck that will handle it. I keep getting told that I should get a Dodge with the Cummins turbo Diesel. I, however, like Fords and have spotted a 1988 F350 dually XLT Crew Cab with the manual and 7.3 Diesel that looks like it rolled off the show room floor, but has 155,000 miles on it. I need to know if these older Diesel engines had problems. I have heard they were different than the powerstrokes of today. Can anyone help me out? I am looking for reliability, MPG, Pulling power, common problems, Etc.

I appreciate the help.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:18 PM
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The truck will handle the trailer. It will not be a speed demon on the hills, but it will pull it.

If you are going to be pulling weight often, you may want to add a turbo, it is worth it's weight in gold.

The manual trannys were great.

The only issue motor wise is cavitation, this happens when proper coolant addatives were not used.
155,000 is just broke in good if it was properly maintained.
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Old 05-06-2004, 01:57 AM
1984 f-250 1984 f-250 is offline
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the 6.9 and the 7.3 diesel has been known to be the most reliable diesels. I have a 6.9 and it last 400000 miles with no major problems. I was told by a business that works on the big trucks that I should always hold on to my 6.9.
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Old 05-06-2004, 07:31 AM
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I had crack 7.3 (157,000)in my truck not because of me but more because it was a coop truck and got the living crap kicked out it. the pump was turned up when I bought her. they good motors if owned somebody who knows what they are doing and or keeps up on the maintence. A guy I work with has almost has 500,000 miles on his 93 f250 7.3 IDI diesel(IDI= InDirect Injection). He bought her brand new . He knows his stuff from maintaining his farm tractors. The diffence between a 6.9 and a 7.3 is .110 in the bore. and the 7.3 has bigger head bolts(1/2" compared to the 6.9s 7/16") to prevent the head gasket from blowing. head gasket replacement runs around 1000 to 1300 for a shop to do. auto trannies are about or around 2000 dollars to rebuild. sticks are a headache if not maintained. the bushings for the pedal assembly are a high wear item also firewall flex is pretty common. the clutch cost about 1000 in parts you should change the flywheel(around $700) with the clutch(around $300). Because the flywheel is a dual mass(can not machine them ) to allow for give so the rest of the drivetrain is not destroyed. oil changes cost around 35 dollars and you should change the fuel filter at least every 8000 miles ($20). find a good diesel tech to check over the truck for you The best part is there is no computer so once you got a good idea of how to do things you can do all the work yourself. The miltary still prefers these types over the powerstroke, duramax,cummins computer controlled eletronic nightmares. parts (injectors, fuel pump,injector pump) are cheaper for these motors too.7.3 psd injector expend to pay $400 each or the 7.3 IDI expect to spend $15 each. These are wear parts and they will go out sooner or later. I hope this gives you a better idea of what you are dealing with and gives a better chance of buy the right truck.


p.s. I'm playing a little price is right so these are all ballpark figures just to help you out.

Last edited by nogo73; 05-06-2004 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 05-08-2004, 02:05 AM
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Just for the sake of comparison, what is the MPG of the older verses the newer?
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Old 05-08-2004, 05:08 AM
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depends on the pump seting and your right foot other wise it could be the same another factor is weather it has an overdrive or not.I have got 23 unloaded with my old 7.3 and I'm average around 18 with the 6.9, but the 23 was straight highway driving. have yet to do that with the 6.9. this is with a zf 5 speed behind both motors.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:58 PM
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I have a 1989 F-350, 77k (actual) w/ATS turbo 3" exhust, 4:10 and E40D.


It is A hualer conversion and is heavy empty 7,600. 105 gal fuel.

I pull a 32' Jayco w/slide tow trialer. I put 2 ATV's weighing 1300# togeather.

With full fuel load and above items I weigh in at 19400 on the scales.

We live at 5,000' and live in the mountains. I pull in 3rd on the grades and OD on the flats and have no problems.

Joe D.
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Old 05-16-2004, 01:10 AM
Chris Iverson Chris Iverson is offline
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I Wieghed in at 29,000 pounds last week with my 91 extended cab 5 spd 7.3 4x4. I pulled this load from Yakima to renton washington. with my 4.10 gears the slowest I topped a hill was 30 mph in 2nd gear. I love the 7.3 diesel. just bought her about 2 months ago. only problem is I need to get the heads rebuilt due to a bunt valve. I get 17 mpg empty and I hauled to loads of 29,000 and averaged 8 mpg. How do you beat that?
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