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Old 04-20-2010, 11:39 PM   #1
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About To Pull The Trigger On A 2002 Ford F350 XL 7.3 Turbo Diesel

Hello Streamers-

We're about to pull the trigger on a 2002 Ford F350 XL 7.3 Turbo Diesel Super Cab.

It's a monster compared to our old 1996 Dodge 2500, which lost its transmission while we were on our way to the NorCal Casini Ranch rally almost two weeks ago. (We didn't want to spend $3700 for a new transmission, only to have the truck worth all of $4000 afterwards.)

It's huge-seriously, we can both sleep in the rear passenger seating area. We think we need to practice making three or four point u-turns.

We thought the 7.3 would be more than capable for towing any of our Airstreams and some of the crazy heavy stuff we sometimes bring when towing them, i.e., a golf cart for Burning Man. We plan on traveling throughout the west coast and would like the assurance that we can handle the high passes, without dropping another transmission.

Any advice? As always, any insight would be appreciated.

Your friends,
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:46 PM   #2
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Hi, I like those new type utility boxes that match the truck instead of the old square ones. Looks good, enjoy towing with it.
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:52 PM   #3
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I'd say go for it. The extra interior space and the utility style bed are a plus.
The 7.3 is bullet proof, you could tow your Tradewind and the Caravanner together!
7.3= no replacement for displacement
Go ahead, pull the trigger!
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:21 AM   #4
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A well-cared-for 7.3 is often described as bulletproof, and I agree. I've owned one since 1996. It is powerful and provides good fuel economy.

However, the auto transmission is noted as the weak point of these vehicles. It was a good transmission, but they were not labeled bulletproof (whatever that means). There's no assurance you won't have future troubles, but isn't that true of anything?

Good luck with your new vehicle. I think you'll be a happy camper.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:57 AM   #5
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Nice looking truck. I really like the built-in tool boxes. Those should come in really handy when towing.

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Old 04-21-2010, 09:12 AM   #6
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I have a 2000 diesel Excursion (same engine and transmission as the vehicle you are looking at). I am at 180,000 miles with the original transmission. Zero repairs to it. I do change the fluid every 60,000 miles. I also tow only 6000 pounds.
A friend in the excavating business uses Super Duties. He tows much heavier and his vehicles are often driven by leadfoot kids. His transmissions go at about 100000 miles.
His cost of repair is about $3500 for a Ford remanufactured transmission.
You didn't mention the mileage and the maintainence history of the vehicle you are looking at. The life of the transmission and other repairs needed will depend and the care and use the vehicle has received.
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Old 04-21-2010, 09:31 AM   #7
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Gemma, the hound that I am, (I should be a detective) found your truck listed here:
wEB bUY aUTO... One stop shop for used vehicles
Have you run the vin number yet?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastalview View Post
Gemma, the hound that I am, (I should be a detective) found your truck listed here:
wEB bUY aUTO... One stop shop for used vehicles
Have you run the vin number yet?
Jeff
Jeff,

You're quite the super sleuth!

Yes, that's the truck, and yes, we did run the VIN through CarFax. It looks like it was a fleet vehicle from Brentwood, California that was routinely maintained through the Brentwood dealership.

We put the truck through its paces, with the exception of taking it up a steep grade (where are there step grades in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area?). It performed fine, although it did seem to pull a little to the left. The dealer is taking care of that issue today. The truck's mileage (216,639) was a concern for us, but from what we understand, diesel motors have a significantly longer life, compared to gas engines, if they've been taken care of.

We'd love a new 2011 F350 XLSuper Crew Diesel but don't have $50,000, not including taxes, registration, license and fees, just sitting in our checking account-even with 0% percent interest for 5 years. Our budget was actually $0, since the truck will be an unexpected, but necessary, expense.

What do you think?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:31 AM   #9
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I would be worried about the milage only concerning the tranny. My old mans got an 01 f350 and he has had troubles with the front main seal when pulling his 24 ft TT up windy mountain roads, the tranny overheats and dumps all the fluid. O have seen a couple people with this problem, now its not to expensive to replace after all its just a seal but its a good thing to be prepaird for. Also the 350 comes with a different transmission than the 250/excusion.

If your looking to take the truck up a steep grade, try mt hamilton its close. Other than that there isnt much.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:42 AM   #10
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Have you gave them an offer yet?
8750 + fees is where I would start
unless your heading back to climb Mt. Hamilton
Never talk dollars and cents with a dealer, they don't, just numbers
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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Great Truck. Stay on top of the fluid changes and have a great and safe time on the road.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:36 AM   #12
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Get Oil Analysis

It is expected that diesel engines have at least twice the life of gas engines properly maintained, as you may already know. I would ask what major problems have been encountered and how fixes/adjustments were made during the Trucks life.
The best bet is to check the service records for the Truck. Ask specifically for records of oil analysis.
If oil analysis data is available then it should give you indication of existing problems or issues with the engine. If oil analysis data is NOT available, then I would suggest you get a oil sample and get the an analysis done prior to purchase…if the oil has not been changed recently.

Oil analysis can show condition of engine: fuel, dirt, antifreeze, bearing wear, use of non-diesel lube, etc. Most major truck fleets use oil analysis as preventive maintenance or anticipate maintenance costs.
A clean engine bay, truck exterior, and underbody... and and good oil analysis results is a good indication of proper care IMHO.
Good Luck. Ted
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:52 AM   #13
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Have a transmission cooler added, and a transmission temp gauge added too. Most important to keep the transmission temp under whatever temp they reccommend.
Watch your power steering fluid level, most trucks that mileage have a power steering fluid leak around the brake booster, the brake booster uses power steering fluid from the power steering pump. Mine started to growl today, sure enough was low on p.s. fluid.
What kind of Mutant Vehicle are you going to hide that golf cart under at BM? There sure are some fantastic ones we're processing through the DMV tonight. One looks like a whole city, over a golf cart changed into a steam engine. Another one is the Chrysler Building, can't tell there is a golf cart under it. Hope to see ya at BM Metropolis.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:09 AM   #14
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Um, . . . How Do We Drive It?

Bob, Jeff, Airstreamer67, Brian, handn, gmwelder86, Rebee, Ted and Perry,

Thank you for your advice, insight and kind words of encouragement. We considered all of the feedback you provided and did the deal!

So far we love it. The cab is huge-the most interior room we've ever had in any of our vehicles. The ride is smooth and comfortable. It handles well, you can really feel the torque, in a good way, although it seems to be louder than a gas engine. The alignment was repaired and new tie rods were installed. It drives straight! Murray really likes the utility boxes, Gemma appreciates the passenger side interior grab bar to give her a boost into the cab.

Okay, now how do we drive this thing? What's this we hear about warming up and cooling down? Can we really boost mpg by removing the particulate filter from the exhaust? How do we do that, and um, if we do do that, how do we reconcile that we our tree hugging convictions? Oh, and we're definitely going to be pros at making three/'four point u-turns. (Not a question, just a statement.)

As always, your advice and insight is appreciated.

Your friends,
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