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New here- need opinions on a '97 F350, fix or ?

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by F350, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    Hey, all. I'm new here, what a fun site.

    Last summer I bought a 1997 F350- 351W/5.8L, E40D auto trans, 4.10 axles, 4X4.

    The ad sounds good - 110k, plow, towing all set up. I offered him $2500 for it and he took it. Was asking $3000. Come the day, and found the plow meant just the frame and wiring. No blade or controls. But the towing setup was great - Class 5 hitch and a Prodigy Tekonishka(sp) controller. Both 4 and 7 pin plugs. The truck was a fleet truck. The oil cap/filler was CLEAN. No sludge at all. Quietest engine I've heard/drove.

    Turns out it needs a lot of work, but drivable as is. I'd rather fix than risk. I drove it 200 miles home, and it did fine.

    I can wrench pretty good, but I just can't get motivated to fix the issues. It sounds like I'll need be chained to the truck for a month. Last summer I was looking for a blade this winter so I can get my money back investing in this truck then sell. I didn't find one that matched the mount on the truck so I just parked the truck.

    Now I'm considering just getting rid of it because it's sounding like a money pit. I already bought some parts for it. :dizzy:


    Oil pan rusted
    Trans cooler lines patched with hoses
    Rear gas tank crossmember (where the straps hook onto) rusted
    Steering is worn. it also leaks
    Interior is beat
    Front U-joints looks bad
    Radiator core rusted
    Leaks some coolant, haven't found where
    Left exhaust manifold cracked
    Headlights don't work (was working when I got it, I suspect plow wiring)

    I bought parts for most of the stuff already. This truck, if fixed up, would be really useful. I think I'll take the plowing setup off so I won't beat it up any further. My concern is rust, rust, and some more RUST. I do know the radiator core is rotten. Any other areas that rust may gotten to? If the frame is rusted, I think I'll just get rid of it. I am tired of rust.

    What do you all think I should do? Open to anything...thanks.
  2. jb1390

    jb1390 Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    I would fix it-but then again I am young and my back is doing just great. I don't mind too much climbing under trucks, especially if I could take my time. I think if you go through it yourself, you will have a reliable vehicle that you understand. It will be way cheaper than going new, but then again it may always need TLC. FF or used motor oil works great for rust-at least it won't get worse.

    Any pics of the issues so we can offer more educated advice?
  3. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,272

    common rust is oil pan, radiator support, exhaust manifolds, and rear spring hangers. my truck had the first 3. i caught the 4th one before it got bad. based on your description, it sounds like we have the same trucks. here's a link to some pictures and information on the rehabilitation i did on my truck. i say if the body and frame are decent, then fix it up. these are great trucks.

  4. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    I'm not too old myself, and I like working on cars as long as they are simple. Some of the things that needed fixing intimidate me. I don't have a garage, which is a big problem for me also.

    The cab looks rust free. I recall only a bubble or two. The box is really beat. I'm better off installing a nice box. Someone put spray-in/roll-on bedliner on the frame. To protect it or hide issues, I don't know yet.

    Here are some pics. I've taken them at varying times when I first got it. After looking at the pics on my computer, I love it all over again, despite its numerous flaws. :dizzy:


    [​IMG] The crease...this kinds of annoy me.

  5. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

  6. Chrisxl64

    Chrisxl64 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 574

    Take advantage of the next great financing deal that comes along and buy a new truck with a plow on it. You'll get warranty coverage, and more importantly RELIABILTY and peace of mind, with no extra work.

    If brand new is too costly,,,,find a one or 2 year old,,,and you can usually get out the door for less than 400 a month with nothing down.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  7. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    Oil pan rust...check
    Rad support rust...check
    Exhaust manifold rust...check

    I wasn't aware about the rear spring hangers. I'll check them out thoroughly and take pics when this snow melts.

    Wow, nice truck! Want to come over and fix my truck for me? :D How long did it take you to fix it up, and are you happy?

    Sounds like our trucks are indeed twins...except mine is green and one model year newer. The axles have limited slip according to the door label. The truck (XL trim also) came from the factory with nothing besides 4.10 and limited slip. It doesn't even have A/C!
  8. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    This truck is ok for reliability...it hasn't broken down on me. Never say never, tho'.

    I see no reason to buy another truck. I'm not plowing this season, and not commercial. I don't want debt, either.
  9. Gumpy52

    Gumpy52 Member
    Messages: 70

    If you do all the motor work at one time , it my be faster to pull the motor and do it outside of the truck. Also change the spark plugs, for these motor are famous for the plugs rusting and snapping in half, The motor mounts also might be bad, if it was towing a trailer alot.
  10. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    And easier. With all the rust, I'll struggle with removing everything off inside the engine bay. However, I've never pulled an engine before...there are so much to check removing/installing. :angry:

    Might as well do a frame-off resto! :gunsfiring:
  11. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    Don't get rid of it. Those trucks are EASY to work on since they are based off the early 80's design. The most difficult of all the problems will be the exhaust manifold- but that could turn out to be easy depending on if the bolts want to come loose. Plus parts are cheap- even at your local stores- but check out - partstrain.com , rockauto.com , or 1aauto.com very cheap and fast shipping (partstrain gets parts to me in 2 days- free shipping)
  12. RJ lindblom

    RJ lindblom Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Why not keep it and fix it. The F350 and that design is rugged and fixing the issues you will have a pickup that would give you at least another 10 years service if not longer if you take care of it.

    The repairs would likely be cheaper than payments on a new setup. And new also breaks down too.
  13. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    Thanks. I'll keep it. I need to find some will to work on it.

    One exhaust bolt head is already broken. Someone pasted some white stuff on the crack. The LH side looks okay, but the RH manifold is gone.

    As soon as this snowstorm is over, I'll start working on it. :)
  14. mwalsh9152

    mwalsh9152 Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    if your oil pan isnt leaking, and doesnt look terribly rotted you can sometimes save them by scraping away the scale and then repainting it with POR-15

    Otherwise, without AC, and the fact that it needs a radiator support, this is a pretty easy motor to pull. the Engine harness is one large plug on the drivers inner fender, then the harness for the alternator, and the ground wires. disconnect the transmission, exhaust, and motor mounts, flop the powersteering to the side and youre pretty much ready to come out.

    Id leave the Fan on it and remove the Radiator, then pull everything off the nose and remove the radiator support. Its not nearly as daunting as it sounds.....once you get those damn headlights out! Then its nice and easy to get the motor in and out
  15. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    Fix her up, throw a blade on her, then let her earn her keep. Alot cheaper than a new truck. Gotta love the old Fords.
  16. F350

    F350 Junior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 10

    Someone smoshed a gunk of silicone on the oil pan to keep it in.

    Thanks for the tips...I'll print this out. Thanks!
  17. L.I.Mike

    L.I.Mike Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    Repair it. You will be glad you did. The radiator support was no big deal once I figured out how to get out the damn headlights.
  18. mwalsh9152

    mwalsh9152 Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    lol yeah, I put a powerstroke diesel and 05 superduty axles and suspension in a Bronco, and I swear that removing the headlights was one of the hardest things I did
  19. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    Yeah, whats the deal with those freakin headlights? How do you remove em' with the nuts rusted off? Complete PIA!:angry:
  20. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    Well this is exact thing with 95 F250. It have 77K miles with 15k miles on engine.

    Oh lord all steel lines rot.

    We just replaced transmission lines. They already replaced but didn't use poly coat steel line so that how it rot again.

    If you plan replace brake line or transmission line. Please don't use naked steel line they will rot again in couple years.

    Gas tanks is rust too.

    We replaced radiator this morning.

    Frame and underbody isn't rust bad it been coat with ziebrat.