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Acquired a 4wd diesel, not sure what to do with it

 
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:12 AM
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Acquired a 4wd diesel, not sure what to do with it

I recently acquired a 1991 F250 ex-cab 4wd 5-speed 7.3 diesel XLT Lariat (what a mouthful!). It's my first such rig, and I like it on its own terms, but not sure what to do with it. It's the newest addition to a fleet comprising a BMW wagon, an old Toyota 4x4, and a P-400.

Unfortunately I had to travel out of state shortly after acquisition, so no pics, but there's nothing remarkable about it anyway. Here's the summary:
- Cracks in the bed and peeling clearcoat, but otherwise straight, rust-free, and reasonably presentable.
- Has a hell of a time starting hot or cold, but runs well once it gets there. Smokes a lot when cold, a little when warmed up.
- Leaking waterpump, oil (probably the cooler), power steering.
- Weak or dead charging circuit, puts out 12.6-12.9V.
- Crazy steering slop, tires down to the cords, sketchy brake booster, otherwise drives well.
- Supposedly has a rebuilt trans and T-case. Horrendous flywheel rattle (I'm told it's a single-mass) but shifts well, no noticable bearing noise.
- A bunch of minor issues (loose mirror, missing hub lock handle, inop parkingbrake, broken seatback tilt, bad turnsignal switch...), nothing severe. I've been doing a ton of homework on these, in particular coming to appreciate the wealth of DIY information on FTE in particular. Some good eggs on here!

One question: is the engine oil dipstick shared with anything else? Mine's missing and I can't find either an OE or non-generic aftermarket.

What to do with this thing?
1. Keep it? If I didn't have the Yota, there'd be no question. This is twice the truck despite returning similar mileage (to a wheezy old 20R) and more comfortable, too. But in seven years there've been maybe five times when I wanted more truck than the Yota, and precisely zero when I actually needed more truck. That's just my work/lifestyle; if I towed goosenecks with bulldozers it'd be a different story. Meanwhile the Toyota has some advantages even before the diesel swap it deserves, and for financial, scheduling, and landlord relation reasons, I'd rather not have four vehicles.

2. Flip it? I'd deal with the most glaring issues - charging circuit, most leaks, fuel lines (likely cause of hard starting), and maybe tires - and expect to get... what, $2k for it? Any ideas? I'm in the PNW; I see $500 parts trucks, $2k semi-beater runners, $7k+ nice examples.

3. Part it out? Would rather not take apart a decent runner with a good body and frame, nor do the work, nor clutter up the back yard (see: landlord), but anyone got ideas of what some worthwhile pieces might fetch? I have no paperwork on the new drivetrain parts.

4. Swap the powertrain into my P400? That one's a motorhome that sees <1000 miles a year. It's powered by a 300 gasser that runs ok, is adequate for the task, and gets 10mpg; 15mpg would save ~$150/year. I'd welcome more torque, biodiesel capability, a much better trans, potential 4wd, and have the tools and skills to do it... but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:52 AM
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If it is a good truck I say just flip it if you don't want that many vehicles. The other ideas seem like a waste of a good vehicle. If you want a drivetrain swap find a wrecked or otherwise unusable truck.
 
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:30 AM
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The dipstick and tube you should source from an International dealer parts dept.
 
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:34 AM
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I'm in SE Oregon, and have three F250s, '86 6.9, '91 7.3 Banks turbo, '90 7.5. The flywheel rattle may be the ZF trans. I've had three, and they all had a harmonic rattle under certain conditions.
When I purchased the '90, looking for a dedicated plow truck, I was looking for a diesel, since I already had two. Took 6 months to find this one, better than what you describe you have, but needing plenty of TLC. Drivetrain basically sound. Yours, as a parts truck, is worth at least $1,000, IMHO.
You didn't say what it cost you, but unless you have a need for it,it doesn't seem like it is worth putting into it all that it needs. Based on your description, if I was still looking for a plow truck, I probably wouldn't have been interested. But, again, as a parts truck, or somebody looking for a project......???
 
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:49 AM
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I'm a mechanic, got it as a trade for a bunch of work.

International dealer, huh? Hadn't thought of that, but Picknpull is preferred... Is the dipstick shared with a 6.9 or any gassers?

I just read (here) that this thing has a payload of 3670lb. Why do they call it a 3/4-ton if it actually carries over twice that? Heck, my Yota has carried 3/4 of a ton a few times (exactly those times when I wanted, not needed a big pickup). I've also gathered through forum posts that curb weight is somewhere over 6000lb. What a beast! My P400 is on a 2-ton dually chassis and weighs (slightly) less than that!
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:24 AM
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i really doubt it has a payload of 3670 lbs.
ti figure payload, you weigh truck, then subtract that from the GVWR.
 
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:36 PM
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Truck isn't roadworthy... any idea what the official payload (or official curb weight) is?
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:07 AM
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My F-250 crewcab shortbox with a 460 and E4OD weighs about 6600 lbs with a fiberglass topper and me in it.

As a SuperCab yours would be a little lighter. As a '91 SuperCab yours must be a long box which would be a little heavier. The diesel is probably a little heavier. The ZF5 is probably lighter. And if you don't have a topper your's is probably lighter. So what's the net? I don't know, but probably in the neighborhood of 6500 lbs.
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:17 AM
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my 88 was 7900 lbs with all the add ons.
that gave me just about 1,000 lbs legal payload.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:46 AM
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Got a bit more info. GVWR is 8800lb, rear axle is a C5 (decodes as a limited-slip 4.10 10.25", possibly 6250lb GAWR), trans code C shows S5-42 but unclear if wide or close-ratio, 155" wheelbase.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by moroza View Post
Got a bit more info. GVWR is 8800lb, rear axle is a C5 (decodes as a limited-slip 4.10 10.25", possibly 6250lb GAWR), trans code C shows S5-42 but unclear if wide or close-ratio, 155" wheelbase.
The hard start issue most times for me turned out to be glow plugs. My 92 extended cab empty weight with me and both tanks full was around 7300. No idea what the legal weight it would haul but have had her loaded with hedge piled up to a peak and made her groan to get it started rolling. I also have a 95 with a turbo. The 92 was a much stouter truck IMO then the 95 with turbo.

 
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:21 PM
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It took just as long to fire after sitting for 20 minutes (ambient temps ~55F) as sitting for a month. Would that still be glowplugs? This is my first 7.3 IDI but hardly my first diesel; can't recall another compression-igniter that would need plugs in such conditions, but I hear these are extra-reluctant...?
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:56 PM
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That don't sound right at all. Mine once is fired off starts as fast r faster then a gasser the rest of the day.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:57 PM
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No, it sure isn't! I suspect fuel lines leaking air into the system. It may be a coincidence, but during the warm startup process, it fired with a healthy VROOM shortly after my assistant held down the schrader valve at the filter housing while I cranked.

Volkswagen 1Z fired cold with no glowplugs at all as low as 40F. Even at 14F it took only ~3 seconds of glowing.
Mitsubishi 4D55 needed ~1.5 seconds of plugs at ~50F when cold, none when warmed up.
Mercedes OM617 needed ~20 seconds of plugs at ~60F. When warmed up, I don't remember what it wanted, but it was grumpy when I gave it nothing and instead cranked immediately.
Isuzu 4FB1 was something similar, albeit with no glowplug controller.
Volkswagen 1.6IDI... something similar, can't quite remember.
Now that I recall, a Peugeot XD2 wouldn't fire even when warm on a hot day without ~3 seconds of glow time.
Perkins 4.135 (Mazda S2) took ~5 seconds cold at ~60F and needed no glowing when warmed up.
Where should a healthy 7.3 IDI fit in among these (all indirect-injection except the 1Z)? Is the stock glowplug timer to be trusted?
 
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:29 AM
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under 80 degrees or so, 10 seconds glow plug time and it should crank for 3-4 seconds before firing.
this is if you have a good starter. with a bad starter, it can take 5 seconds cranking to start with a hot engine.
 

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