New to me! 1989 F-250 7.3L What's my checklist? - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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New to me! 1989 F-250 7.3L What's my checklist?

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Old 12-16-2009, 10:08 AM
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New to me! 1989 F-250 7.3L What's my checklist?

Hey guys/gals,

First post. I have to say, out of all the forums I belong to---vintage outboard motors, Volkswagens, John Deere, welding, etc. ---this one probably makes the most sense!

Just bought a 1989 F250 7.3L, non-turbo, manual, 4WD, with 180k on the odometer. Not sure which rear-end it has. It's a daily driver---runs, drives, no major issues. Actually, I haven't even seen the truck in person yet, but have a downpayment on it. Gonna pick it up before X-mas.

Truck will basically be a farm truck. Planning on putting a flat bed on it, maybe put 2,000 miles/year on it. Occasionally pull an equipment trailer with it, maybe 6,000lbs or so. Occasional road trip, in the ~250 mile range. I've been trolling the forums here for buying advice, known issues, etc. At the same time, it's kinda hard to search for problems for this model truck if you don't know what you're looking for.

I was hoping you guys could give me a short-list of things to ask the seller, or to check, just so I can be sure I'm not buying a total lemon. The guy seems honest, but still. He's not the original owner, either.

I understand fuel lines can be a real issue---this guy says no leaks. No problems starting. Says he's getting 17MPG! He replaced fuel pump, injectors, and brakes last year. Do I need to worry about cavitation if non-turbo?

What are high-hitters for problems with this model?

Thanks a lot,

Brady
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:44 AM
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Cavitation can be an issue with any diesel turbo or no. Return lines on the motor lead to air intrusion, but if new injectors were installed most likely the returns were replaced at that time. The manual tranny most likely is a ZF5. If the fluid was not maintained, or it has been abused, the syncros or shift forks can wear leading to the tranny not wanting to go into reverse. I have 2 trucks that have almost 200K on them with the ZF5 that have no issues, the one I swapped into the 85 has unknown miles, and it has this problem. But that transmission has been in at least 2 other trucks.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:20 PM
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COLD (meaning winter) starting. These trucks are VERY sensitive to the condition of the batteries, starter, and associated wiring.

Glow Plugs: Even one that is not working will make you a 'no start' on a 10 degree morning unless you remembered to plug the block heater in (and it works). The controller will only glow the plugs for about 3 seconds, which is nowhere near enough time (should be 15 sec at that temp).

Batteries: should be 800 CCA or above. More the merrier.

Cables: The stock cables tend to corrode from the inside out. Doesn't take much to cause enough resistance to keep the starter from spinning fast enough.

Starter: The stock starters are sufficient most of the time, even in the winter, but, if you can count the rotations while starting, it is spinning to slow ( see batteries). The solution many here like is to get a gear reduction starter. Spins the engine over WAY faster than a stock one.

Fuel filters plugging: Carry a strap wrench and an extra filter with you. You never know when it's gonna happen.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:39 PM
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OK, I'll ask the owner to let me cold start it, but with the heater plugged in (to see it works). And I'll be sure to check the shift into reverse.

I also picked up on another thread that maybe I should jack it up and test the steering linkage/wheel bearing play. Check.

According to carfax, I'm also thinking this guy's odometer has rolled more than once and it's got 280k miles on it, not 180k as advertised. Not too concerned about it. Truck appears to be well-taken care of and...we'll see....

Any way to check the 4WD?

Any other sleeper issues you guys can think of? Any dead give-aways that this thing has been abused or is about to self-destruct?

Thanks
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:44 PM
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No, try to start it without the block heater. Your not always going to be able to plug it in all day while at work if this is to be a daily driver. To test the 4wd, put it in neutral (auto or manual) push in the clutch, and pull the 4wd lever toward you. the first detent should be 4high, and the light on the dash should come on. Next detent is neutral, no light, and last detent is 4 low, and a light on the dash comes on.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:49 PM
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On shifting the 4wd, you may need to push down on the **** or it slides to the left and back to get into low or neutral, can't remember for sure.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:05 PM
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I would also take some coolant test strips...it will give you an idea if the coolant has been maintained and how concerned you should be about cavitation
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:36 PM
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17 mpg is pretty normal for the truck you are describing. Mine has done 21 at best IIRC.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:38 PM
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Welcome to FTE and the IDI diesel forum.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:33 PM
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Just curious barely smokin have you ever heard of a firestone boat motor.
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