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another truck choice, I need advise

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by splithair, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I am looking at some older trucks. I can get a '93 Ford 1 ton dually with the 7.3 diesel (started right up after sitting for a month) that I can get a 10 foot dump body on (5 or 6 yards). God knows how many miles/hours are on this thing. Or I can get a 1999 Ford f-250 super duty with the triton 5.4 with a dump insert (not more than 2 yards at best). With 71k on it. Both need about the same amount of sheet metal work and various little repairs. I need this thing to push a lot of snow. My driveway is 1000 feet long and gets enormous drifts at times. (I have used my '97 Dodge with a V-10 to deal with it but I am sick of replacing transmissions so it is out of here). I also plow a bunch of neighbors for cash. I also haul big loads of timber for timber framing projects, I need the dump to redo our driveway periodically and I haul bags of concrete for concrete counter top projects and the finished products. Any thoughts out there as to which is the best truck for the job? Considering maintenance, reliability, upkeep and ability to handle the jobs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  2. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I would say neither. Unfortunately, the pre 94 7.3s were non turbo and lacked power imo. The early 5.4s had spark plug issues (blowing out of the heads) and again, in the super-duty it will lack power imo. I would bet that the 93 will need more than sheet metal work. I would suspect that the front end is shot in both of them. If I were you, I would consider a higher mileage 99 or newer with the 7.3 and have the best of both worlds.
     
  3. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    okay, I just found another possible choice locally. There is a 1997 Ford F-350 with a 7.5 liter gasoline engine. I figure that the gasoline engine is going to give me fewer starting problems in the cold than a diesel. Can this thing push snow is the question.
     
  4. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I think you would be happy with the 460. Its not quite as much weight over the front axle as the diesel would be but still have plenty of power to do what you want. Your still a little farther back that I would prefer to be with those trucks but I think it would treat you right. Be sure to look at the oil pan as they have a tendency to rot through as they get older. Our 7.3 had to have one replaced and its not cheep.
     
  5. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    that 93 7.3 will push and haul anything you point it at, just not fast. figure around 1 gallon per hour fuel use plowing, and around 11-13 mpg on the road
    for the 97 with the 460, figure 2.5 gallons per hour plowing, and around 7-8 mpg on the road.
    i would go with the 93 diesel if you can get it for a decent price
     
  6. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Wow! you were right on the fuel consumption on the '97. I took it for another drive and it was horrendous, cost me a bundle just to do the right thing and fill it back up with gas. Turns out that the transmission is slipping anyway, I don't need that. Have a line on a '99 F-250. The body is rusty as heck (he used a sander/salter) but the frame looks good and I can throw on a flat bed and fix the cab corners/doors. How does that sound compared to the '93 diesel with no turbo?
     
  7. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Forgot to say that the '99 F-250 super duty has the 5.4 Triton. The owner says it has "fresh plugs" which I think is his way of saying that the plug issue isn't an issue. This truck runs nice and smooth without the infamous cam noise or valve tick type noise I have notice on some of them. Any thoughts? Is the Triton 5.4 really bad or does it just get a bad rap (pun intended) or is it that some of them are fine and some of them are junk?
     
  8. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    The 5.4 isn't a horrible engine at all. The early ones had issues blowing out plugs due to only a few threads in the head, and the later models had issues you couldn't get the plugs out due to carbon build up. I would say if your happy with the amount of power the 5.4 has in the super-duty, it could be a good buy. I would be a little leery on the "fresh plugs" because it has been my experience that it seems that shortly after the plugs have been changed is when the blow out. There is a shop in my area that will do a blown plug repair for $80. I would bet that price is a little low, but should give you an idea of what to expect if you do have a failure
     
  9. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    5.4 will be a gas hog also. figure 10-14 mpg empty, and much less with a load. the 5.4 is a car engine, and as such it will be a dead slug with a good load.
    my 2000 5.4 powered F-350 uses the same 2.5 gallons per hour plowing.
    on the other hand the 7.3 powerstroke engine is a real powerhouse, but costs a fortune to repair when broke.
    you can buy 8 pre powerstroke injectors for the cost of one powerstroke injector
     
  10. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    i like my 2000, but i pretty much use it only for the heavy equipment escort service, cause it is always run empty. if i need to haul loads, it is with a diesel truck. either the 88 or the 02.
     
  11. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Okay, it sounds like tjctransport and plowtoy are both saying that a 7.3 diesel is my best bet and I am begining to think they are correct. The difference in opinion sounds like it is about two things: the need for a turbo or not and if I need power stroke or not. Lets look at the first question. Do I need the turbo? primarily I need this truck to be capable of moving a heavy load of snow, very heavy, very wet, very serious snow. I do not move it with speed, I have learned my lessons, I move it with low gear, careful planning and formerly a very heavy truck with a V-10 (unfortunately a V-10 coupled to a transmission that is junk) . Will the turbo make any difference here? I have no idea. Plowtoy says I need it. Tjctransport says I do not. Any other opinions or do you two want to revise your opinions now that I have given clearer information? Now for the power stroke question. Ford went to the power stroke diesel is mid 1994 according to information I looked up. How different is this motor than the diesel in a '93? I drove a '93 but didn't get to push or haul anything. It seemed like a beast and that I could push over a brick house with it but that was just wishful thinking on my part since, like I said, I didn't push with it. Tjctransport says that the ford 7.3 deisel motors before they went to power stroke are much cheaper to repair and maintain. Is there agreement/confirmation out there on this? It sounds like tjctransportation has done his homework on this one and knows his stuff but I am open to some other input. Are there other arguments for or against the power stroke vs earlier 7.3 regarding reliability, longevity etc. Any more thoughts from you two or anyone else?
     
  12. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I'll chime in again :nod: There are mainly 2 difference's with the old (pre 94) and the post 94 ford 7.3 diesels, direct injection and turbo in the 94 and up, and indirect injection and no turbo pre 94. Now will the 7.3 idi non turbo push snow, haul things, and be for the most part reliable? YES! but we are talking about a truck that approaching 20 years old, chances are it is warn out and will nickle and dime you to death. I think you would be MUCH happier with the direct injection and turbo if you decide to go the diesel route. The amount of additional power while towing or hauling would be noticeable with the turbo. Are the newer 7,3s perfect? nope. We have had to have the oil pan changed out at the tune of $1200 a year ago due to rust through, and thats on our 03 (not even 10 years old), also had to do ball joints, brakes, lock outs, and 1 front wheel bearing and rear diff cover because it rusted through. Are they expensive to own, repair, maintain? yup. But I can tell you that I know when I hop in that truck, it will move as much snow as I need it to, pull a 13k 5th wheel 70mph in od and still get 13mpg while doing it.
     
  13. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    the 94-97 powerstroke is a good engine, there were minor changes for the 99 to 03 production engines.
    if you get a non turbo 7.3, you can always put a turbo on it. they usually sell for between $500 and $1000.
    while you really do not need a turbo, putting a turbo on an IDI 7.3 will feel like you got out of a volkswagon and got into a mustang.
    the 7.3 IDI with a turbo and minor modifications is about equal to the first generation powerstrokes
    i have plowed with my 88 7.3 since new.
    i put a banks turbo on it when it had 3,000 miles on it.
    for the first 9 years of it's life it pulled a 17,000 lb load 3-4 times a week all over NJ, NY, and PA .

    without the turbo it was ok, with it was much better.

    as far as plowing goes, it wears a meyers C8.5 or C-9 plow. 99.9% of the plowing is done in 2 wheel drive, and has no problems. i only use 4 high when get stuck, which is very rare.
    as far as pushing a full blade of nasty wet heavy snow, i have no problems. i never go over 10 mph when plowing though.


    the 88 currently has 493,000 miles on it. the only thing replaced on the engine are injectors(3 sets), injector pump (3 times), water pump (twice), fuel lift pump(once), universals (2 times) and vacuum pump( once)
    the 2000 5.4 only has 35,000 on it, so it has only had oil changes.
    the 02 7.3 powerstroke has 184,000 miles on it and has only needed water pump, ball joints, and universals.

    a well maintained truck that has not seen a bunch of animal drivers will last you a long time.

    i am at the stage in life that while i love my 88, i leave that for the kids to use because the 02 rides like a car. and at my age my back needs that car ride anymore.
     
  14. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,557

    I think a 5.4 will do you fine, especially in low. My 5.4 runs out of traction long before it runs out of power. Of course my V10's are substantially better towing, but the 5.4 is no slouch in the snow. Diesels are better at towing than a 5.4, and fuel consumption is better plowing, but for homeowner use and plowing a few neighbors driveways, there's no reason you need a diesel. On a limited budget, you can buy a nicer used gas truck than you can a used diesel typically.
     
  15. mustangman02232

    mustangman02232 Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    5.4s have no power and get **** fuel milage when loaded, but everytime you hit that key she will start and run, if the prev owners did plugs regularly there shouldnt be a problem, my next choice would be a late 93/early 94 IDI (pre powerstroke) WITH a turbo.
     
  16. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    It gets cold where I live but I plug in my Ford tractor and it starts. (Yes, I can move the snow with the tractor but it is the difference between 4 hours on the tractor and 10 minutes with the truck and the tractor has no cab and frostbite sucks) I will assume that if I plug in a diesel truck it will also start. Does this ring true? The diesel makes sense for the longevity, I keep vehicles until they are truly and thoroughly dead which could be after I am dead in this case, (then my son gets to plow the damn driveway). So, I think the diesel is worth a few extra bucks. Anyone disagree? The idea of an after market turbo sounds good, it opens up the possibilities to well maintained older vehicles. I will look at that. It there any reason to think this is unsound reasoning? Ideas and thoughts on this are appreciated. Thanks for all of the input and advise so far.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  17. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I might add that Plowtoy's note that an older vehicle will nickle and dime you is well taken. This choosing a truck is a pain in the ass if you are not rich. It is all about making the choice with the least bad in it. I am starting to be tempted to just put another transmission in my darn Dodge 2500 (the heavier duty version, gross vehicle weight 8800 lbs.) with the silly V-10 but we had little snow this past year and the transmission still went just past a year after a rebuild. Frustration is setting in. Who has good counsel out here?
     
  18. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    You know, you have a good base in your Dodge, other than trans work you make it out to sound like its treated you well. I too have known people to stick countless transmissions in their cummin's, but not so often in the gassers. Are you putting a "parts store transmission" or going right to an actual rebuilder? If you have been putting in parts store transmissions or going to the dealer, you most likely are getting a "stock" transmission. I think you may come out ahead if you could just find a rebuilder that knows how to "bullet proof" your trans. There are so many high quality aftermarket transmission parts out there that you should be able to have one built to handle your needs.
     
  19. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    a properly tuned and maintained diesel will start at 0 degrees Fahrenheit without plugging in with no problems as long as the glow plugs are working. i have had mine unplugged at -20 degrees, and it started rite up after 2 cycles of the glow plugs.
    i know people in alaska that start there trucks at -40degrees with it plugged in.
     
  20. splithair

    splithair Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Okay, how does this sound. Just found on craigslist a nearby (1 hour drive away) 1995 Ford 350 with the 7.5 diesel powerstroke with 157,000 miles on it, 8 by 12 foot flat bed (long frame), an 8 ft Meyer Diamond plow, 6 new tires, 2 new batteries, dual fuel tanks. All for asking price of $5400. I figure if it looks good I offer $4800 and see what happens. Assuming the thing doesn't spew ugly, tell-tale smoke out of the pipe it seems like a very good deal and should fit the bill. I will forgo the dump, maybe add it later. Anybody have opinions on this one?