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Son in Law is buying a '97 Ford diesel

Old 03-14-2010, 08:40 PM
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Son in Law is buying a '97 Ford diesel

I know nothing about Fords, never owned one or even rode in one...or have been passed by one.

He says it's a 1997 7.3 Power Stroke, standard tranny, new tires, wheels, exhaust, injectors and glow plugs. He claims that he looked it over good, but he isn't sure of the color...either blue or green. Makes me wonder how well he looked it over. I think he said $7,700.00 is the price they agreed on.

He also says it's the "old body style". Is '97 when Ford went with the ugly guppy look?

Just wondering if there is anything I should warn him about, anything about these trucks that makes them a bad choice? I know...it's not a Dodge.

Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:45 PM
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I'd say that's probably one a the better year Powerstrokes to buy. That body style is the old squared off style.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:03 PM
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I know two seperate guys with same year 1997 ford 1 ton 7.3 Powerstrokes.

Both are now passing 350,000km and have been very solid. Though a cummins guy myself I do believe that Ford "got it right" for a couple years there 95-97 fords.

Both trucks have no rust, very clean looking trucks, and are used hard every year, we're all hunters so theres lots of offroad miles and tough terrain.

Both friends will agree that these trucks own them nothing after all the years of being so trustworthly
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:16 PM
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and now... the rest of the story.

I had a 97, brand new, was a complete lemon. Not almost... totally.

I had it for just about 4 months as a service truck. That took the course of almost a year. Truck was 72K out the door with a service box and welder. $28000 in warranty issues, plus down time, I got rid of it. All of it was engine related, other than the banjo bolts on the brake calipers being loose. That was caught when we unloaded it from the trailer, and almost put it through the shop wall.

It did get consistent fuel economy, 9mpg, downhill with a tailwind... in neutral. This was a 450, 2wd, 5 speed, with AC. Fully loaded, even had a steering wheel. Which occasionally felt as though it was attached to something AHEAD of the firewall.

Yet other 97's I have seen, have been great trucks.

That said, a 97 powerstroke, unless it has under 50k on it, is a 2500 dollar truck.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:31 PM
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Good trucks, especially with a manual transmission, the auto, E4OD was trouble.
Ball joints, but it seems all brands have some kind of front end problems.
If there is a Navistar dealer close by they are a good source for many parts, cheaper than a Ford dealer. CPS is a good example.
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:36 AM
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I think the only concern with the early 7.3L engines were the powdered iron versus the forged connecting rods, which can be found in the last 3 or so years of production.
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:10 AM
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I had a 96 350 CC 7.3 standerd 4X4. One of the best pulling trucks ( for a Ford ) that I ever owned. Once in a while it would chomp a injector but when I got rid of it it was still running great. The most low cost Ford I owned. Sold it to a friend of mine and he stuck it into a rather large ceder tree at about 70 + He came out of it allright, but the truck did'nt. Did not even make the ceder tree flinch a inch.......
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:10 AM
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Price seems high, but should be a good truck.

My buddy has a 95 of what I would assume is the same color, a very weird green/blue, hard to make a stand, depending on the light, changes the hue.

In any instance, have him carry and know how to change out the Crank position sensor, and he should be good, then if he kills the PS, we can talk him into a Cummins swap.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:58 AM
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Thanks a lot for all of the info guys. I feel better...except for what Pind had to say.

I really hoped he would go with a Dodge/Cummins but he works for his dad and all of their company vans are Ford's so I guess he is used to them. He has never owned a truck, drives a little Chevy car now.

If he went with a Dodge I could help him out with it, but I'm not a Ford guy at all.

Hopefully he's getting a good truck since I will be the one he comes to for help with it.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:15 AM
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The 7.3 liter in the F350 and F250 is one of the best engines out on the market. YA ya ya guys love the Cummins but the 7.3 is equal to in my opinion.
Glow plugs, tranny syncros and I think it was fifth gear along with water pumps are two things to check out on that truck, otherwise the usual things of ball joints wheel bearings.

Otherwise a very stought truck. I wish I could find a 7.3 liter in good enough condition to buy.

Tell you son in law good luck with his truck and get us some pics of it.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ram1999 View Post
Thanks a lot for all of the info guys. I feel better...except for what Pind had to say.

I really hoped he would go with a Dodge/Cummins but he works for his dad and all of their company vans are Ford's so I guess he is used to them. He has never owned a truck, drives a little Chevy car now.

If he went with a Dodge I could help him out with it, but I'm not a Ford guy at all.

Hopefully he's getting a good truck since I will be the one he comes to for help with it.

While I have a lot of respect for Pind and the information that he provides to all of us here, I will say that his experience with the F450 that he had is very unusual and not the norm.

The 97 is a decent platform and engine. They are not huge power houses, but they are very reliable. Yes they have some quirks which have already been mentioned, but that would not concern me at all.

The only thing that is a problem is the e-brake housing on the back of the tranny. The housing is not lubricated by the tranny fluid. It is a stand alone item that uses synthetic 50w gear oil. It has it's own drain and fill plugs. The tranny uses Mercon automatic tranny fluid. The plugs on the ebrake housing are inconveniently located and out of the line of sight, so the unit does not get checked for correct fluid level.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:51 AM
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hey Tim

Wait till I take the time to fill you in on the 550 I have now.

I am a magnet for 7.3 boat anchors... hah

Like I said earlier though, I have seen a lot of good running powerstroke trucks. never had the "pleasure" of driving one.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:08 PM
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First diesel I ever owned was a 97 Ford F-250 Power Stroke. It was a great truck, and never caused me any grief except when the glow plugs began to go south. One issue that has not been mentioned is the cavitation of the cylinder walls. The 7.3 IDI was more prone to this problem than the Power Strokes, but still an isssue to be checked on. It's an easily prevented issue assuming the previous owner(s) added the coolant additive every 15-20k. If you go over to the Dieselstop.com and search for it, you'll find plenty of info on it.
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by pind View Post
and now... the rest of the story.

I had a 97, brand new, was a complete lemon. Not almost... totally.

I had it for just about 4 months as a service truck. That took the course of almost a year. Truck was 72K out the door with a service box and welder. $28000 in warranty issues, plus down time, I got rid of it. All of it was engine related, other than the banjo bolts on the brake calipers being loose. That was caught when we unloaded it from the trailer, and almost put it through the shop wall.

It did get consistent fuel economy, 9mpg, downhill with a tailwind... in neutral. This was a 450, 2wd, 5 speed, with AC. Fully loaded, even had a steering wheel. Which occasionally felt as though it was attached to something AHEAD of the firewall.

Yet other 97's I have seen, have been great trucks.

That said, a 97 powerstroke, unless it has under 50k on it, is a 2500 dollar truck.

Just my thoughts.
I bought a new 97 F-250 powerstroke. And Ford ended up buying it back as a lemon. Truck would run and pull great and get 17mpg then the power would go down and mileage would drop to the 8-9 range. Put in new injectors and the truck would be great for another 3000 miles. I believe that in 17,000 miles Ford replaced 32 injectors and every computer tested every sensor.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:28 PM
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Is the power stroke used in industrial applications? I rest my case.
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