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What to Look for in a Used 7.3

Old 03-23-2004, 06:56 AM
spindrift is offline
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What to Look for in a Used 7.3

Hi All,

I have been debating (like a lot of others) the 6.0 vs. the 7.3 and I've come to the conclusion that the 6.0 is still coming at a high premium at this time. I think I'd get more bang for my buck if I went with a 7.3 and did a mod or two to it to beef it up. I plan on using this truck to haul a slide in truck-camper.

I have searched this forum but the search function is a little funky on this board. Can you guys help me out with a list of what I should look for when I'm truck shopping?

1) Are there preferrable years? I'm leaning towards a 1999.5 - 2002 truck as they have taken the depreciation hit and they are 7.3. I understand also that 7.3s with build dates before Oct 2000 have forged steel rods vs. powder metal. This is better if you're going to do HP mods from what I've read.

2) What signs of abuse/neglect should I look for/inspect? I've gathered that I should be checking

a) the turbo intake and turbo wheel (?) for dusting and polishing, a sign that dirt has been sucked into the engine by improper air filter maintenance.
b) for coolant additive and regular coolant changes. Why is this? Can someone fill me in....and how would I tell?
c) burnt smelling auto tranny oil indicating that the auto tranny has been smoked or has been too hot at some point
d) get a truck without the auto-shift-on-the-fly. It breaks often and is more trouble than its worth.

3) I should also look for a truck that has not been "worked" know, hasn't towing much but was someone's drive to work rig.

4) I will make all purchases contingent on an inspection by my local Ford dealer (for the things listed above and whatever else they come up with).

Let me know if I'm on the right track and feel free to provide some feedback on my approach!

Many thanks too all,
Old 03-23-2004, 08:56 AM
gerryg59 is offline
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you are on the right road. As to the coolant, the only way to tell is to have it checked to see if the additive has been added. If the coolant is gold in color then the additive doesn't apply. The gold coolant has the ptoper additives already in it. The green coolant is the concern. The additive is a 15000 mile additive. Meaning every 15,000 8 oz. need to be added. The concern pertains to the fact that a diesel engine pulses, in other words the cylinder walls expanded when the cylinder fires. When that happens the air in the fluid creates air bubbles that adhere to the coolant jacket side of the cylinder walls. Over a period of time it has been known to creat a pin hole THROUGH the cylinder wall thus causing coolant to enter the cylinder and create hydrolock. NOT GOOD.
Good luck in your search, you are on the right trail though.
Old 03-23-2004, 12:46 PM
markethopper is offline
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Please elaborate on this coolant additive? What brands and where do you get it?

Old 03-23-2004, 12:57 PM
gerryg59 is offline
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the coolant additive only pertains to green coolant.
there is a motorcraft number through Ford called FW-16.
Motorcraft now calls it Diesel coolant additive.
Any Ford dealer or even any IH dealer should have it in stock.
Old 03-23-2004, 01:48 PM
fbca7 is offline
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You can buy a 4 strip test kit at for about $8 including shipping made by Fleetguard. The guy I bought my 7.3 from kept amazing maint records. But...for $8 you can test 4 trucks for proper additive levels. If they are WAY off....might be a good one to avoid! It will also tell you the % of antifreeze in the mix. Pretty neat deal.

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