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Old 08-26-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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looking at a '97 F250 PSD

I am looking at a 97 PSD, manual 5 speed transmission, extended cab to replace my current mule. I have never had a diesel so I need some backstopping before I drop my change into it.

It has about 180,000 on it and needs a windshield and seat. Looks OK otherwise. Any advice as to what I should be looking for in terms of problems? What should a mechanical check include?
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:42 PM   #2
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Diesel Problems?

I love diesels but would tread lightly and slowly.
Check the service records if available. Can you take it to a diesel mechanic?
I am assuming that you are also able to check out transmission, brakes, rust and for previous collision damage.
Usually 25,000 miles or much heavy hauling miles per year justifies diesel.
Are you a Ford is best guy?
I like Cummings in Dodge but if you had a solid history it might be worth a chance.
Please let us know how you go.

R
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:00 PM   #3
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ALANSD purchased a '97 F250 and only had it for a short period of time. He then went to a V10 Excursion. You may want to get his take on the truck. If I were looking for a used 7.4 Power Stroke, I would buy one of the last year models before the 6.0 came out. I'm not sure of the year models on these.
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:12 PM   #4
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hi rodney

love the diesel, but as others suggest go slow on this...

180,000 miles is a lotta use...

are complete service records available to review (not likely)

IF it's been serviced at a ford shop then records are possible...

tranny, driveline bits (ujoints) front wheel bearings, belts, pumps, alternators, batteries and so on...

fuel injectors, cam position sensors, turbo, exhaust manifold, exhaust lines, and so on...

a diesel rebuild isn't cheap, so i'd want a diesel shop to inspect/test the sucker....

otoh IF thats mostly highway miles and there isn't any rust and the paint is in good shape, and the service has all been done...

it could go another 180k...

u might want to ask this question on one of the ford/diesel forums...

and artstream has got a bazillion miles on his powerstroke, so he's fixed lots of things...

besides this truck could be converted to veggie oil too!

cheers
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:09 PM   #5
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I believe 97 was the last year for the 7.3 (cant swear to that).

Do you know why Alansd got rid of his?

At this point, my fiscal realities being what they are, I am looking at something 10 years old with a lot of miles. Id rather have a new one, but thems the facts.

On a happy note, the owner is asking below blue book. If it checks out at the mechanics, and there are no big issues with the 97s, it may be hard to walk away from this one.
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:59 PM   #6
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Rodney, the prior posts sum up what you should be checkin to. Find out what rear axle ratio it has as well. You didn't mention if it's two wheel or four wheel drive, as most 5 speeds with two wheel drive of this era seem to be 3.73 verses the 4.10
The 97 model powerstroke is the second year of production. The California models had the highest factory output due to having split shot injectors due to emmsion standards. These early generation trucks are a basic solid plateform. Our 97 powerstroke has just 85,000 miles on it, the only item that has been replaced due to failure was the vacuum pump. I know my truck doesn't follow the norm, but I just replaced the front brake pads for the first time. May have to get an award from Ford because Ford pickups are not known for ever lasting brakes.
Take your time with this buy, it could be a great truck or it could end up being a money pit. Keep us posted
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastalview
Take your time with this buy, it could be a great truck or it could end up being a money pit. Keep us posted
Jeff
That covers a lot of ground doesnt it? . What kind of milage do you get out of that (I guess your driving habits are a big part of it too)? Is the 3.73 not sufficent for towing?
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:39 PM   #8
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Rodney, I prefer having the 4.10 for towing. Our truck is 4 spd. automatic, so with the 4.10 gearing, we tow in over drive all the time. I think the 5 speed with the 3.73's will have you in fourth gear on slight inclines with your Tradewind. As for mpg figures with our set up:
Towing at just under 14,000 lbs. combined weight at 60 mph=16.5 mpg
Towing at the same weight at 70 mph= 13 mpg
Driving the truck solo at 60 mph = 20 mpg
Driving the truck solo at 70 mph = 15 mpg
Our truck has a modified ECU chip, downpipe, and a commercial sized truck air-clearer assembly, all of which increased torque and mpg figures. The only change I made that actually dropped mpg figures was going with 285/76/16 tires rather than the stock 235/75/16 A drop of about 8%
These modifications aren't needed with a stock powerstroke of this vintage, but hey, I enjoy being in the fast lane on inclines if there's a lane option.
I use to transport heavy equipment with a nine axle setup, I learned all the ways to conserve fuel and brakes and use those driving habits still today.
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:41 PM   #9
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I have a 3.73 rear in my truck. It tows my 31 Classic just fine. I am sure I would get better towing acceleration with the 4.1. I don't want to pull the tonguw off my trailer though.
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:58 PM   #10
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Am I correct in the belief that the 3.73 should produce better mileage than the 4.10?

MAN what great mileage! After my trip this past summer that is hard to imagine.
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Old 08-27-2007, 07:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Am I correct in the belief that the 3.73 should produce better mileage than the 4.10?

MAN what great mileage! After my trip this past summer that is hard to imagine.
Not really so. We also have in the family a 96 powerstroke, 4 spd. automatic, two wheel drive, extra cab shortbed with the 3.73 rear axle that is bone stock and 70,000 orignal miles. It never has towed a thing with mpg figures lower than my larger four wheel drive. I still haven't figure this one out. I'll be going back to the stock tire size on my truck this winter. Mpg figures have been around 15-16 city solo, and since not every condition on the road remains consistant, I'd say an average of 14 mpg towing.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:48 AM   #12
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From the stupid people asking questions department..

1. Are all PSDs turbos?

2. I am pretty sure I have read about diesels needing to be cooled down before being turned off- can someone explain what circumstances this applies to and any other oddball features of driving one of these rigs I should know about?

3. It needs a reciever hitch, is that a hire out job or should I do that myself?

4. South west Oklahoma are folks: where are the good junk yards where a guy can get used seats?

Oh and not a question but a bit of information as to why I am taking a look at this particular truck. The owner got it by way of a dead brother in law and he wants out from under it. He says he will take $6K. a great deal if there arent awful issues in its future. I know it needs a new seat and windshield and it is pretty no-frills (fine with me).
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:24 PM   #13
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I looked hard for a nice PSD with under 200k on it. I found a very clean one, a 97 it looked well cared for, ran well ( or so it seemed) and started easily. It needed only a new pair of batteries which the seller threw in. (By the way I was a professional car appraiser so I do know how to check one out)
I drove it for awhile, it had a few problems. The brakes were horrible, and after I replaced them ( not cheap thats for sure) they started locking up again, and on an Airstream trip they started smoking badly.
The engine smoked badly on start up. It starte to do this only after I had it ( of course) for a month or so. I ran biodiesel, that helped some, but it did not cure the problem.
Towing the Sovereign seemed too hard for this truck. Pretty slow on take off, and always felt like I had a lot of weight back there. Yes they are all turbo diesels after a certain year (92?) not sure.
The ride was very hard. Having some lower back issues anyway I could not get my head around driving the truck on a long trip ( which I had planned for June).
It took twenty acres to turn it around.

I ended up selling it to a farmer who loved it.
I bought a V10 Excursion. They are a bargain in the market now as the motor is still made but the Exc is not.
It is an awesome truck. Very comfortable, room to haul anything, took a two and half week trip towing the Sovereign, and it was absolutely the best. I had a near collision when a row of tractor trailers were backed up almost to the edge of a blind curve, and we were able to swerve at the last minute and miss them. The Exc handled perfectly although I still had to sop awhile and catch my breath after that one.

Lastly the V10 gets way better mileage than you would expect. I get 17-18 Highway not towing, 13-14 towing the 31 footer. I get 12-14 in town in traffic.
It runs regular also.
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
I looked hard for a nice PSD with under 200k on it. I found a very clean one, a 97 it looked well cared for, ran well ( or so it seemed) and started easily. It needed only a new pair of batteries which the seller threw in. (By the way I was a professional car appraiser so I do know how to check one out)
I drove it for awhile, it had a few problems. The brakes were horrible, and after I replaced them ( not cheap thats for sure) they started locking up again, and on an Airstream trip they started smoking badly.
The engine smoked badly on start up. It starte to do this only after I had it ( of course) for a month or so. I ran biodiesel, that helped some, but it did not cure the problem.
Towing the Sovereign seemed too hard for this truck. Pretty slow on take off, and always felt like I had a lot of weight back there. Yes they are all turbo diesels after a certain year (92?) not sure.
The ride was very hard. Having some lower back issues anyway I could not get my head around driving the truck on a long trip ( which I had planned for June).
It took twenty acres to turn it around.

I ended up selling it to a farmer who loved it.
MERCY! That is worth a moment of pause. Alan, do you think your experience is a fluke or are these issues endemic to that year of PSD?
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