Recently hit 100K: a long-term test for an '03 7.3L
See truck in avatar and signature below.
Given that I drive two trucks, the mileage doesn't add up quickly on either one. Having said that, I recently passed the 100,000 mile mark on my 2003 7.3L Powerstroke F-350. Not bad for a 14 year old vehicle. Here are my observations:
A. When I bought this truck in February of '03, I was quite fortunate that it had everything that I wanted and nothing that I didn't, feature wise. How many people can say that about a vehicle purchase? It was literally the exact truck I wanted, right down to every single detail. Why is this important, even after 14 years? It's important because I have avoided spending any money on features or systems that broke or failed in some way, features that I didn't want in the first place. No sunroofs leaking. No electronic SOTF 4x4 crapping out. No power seats breaking. Simply put, the less that's there, the less that can go wrong. However, it should be noted that very little has gone wrong with this truck (more on that later).
B. The appearance of this truck has held up remarkably well over the last 14 years. There is a little bit of rust bubbling on the right rear fender well and the left rear cab corner needs attention, but aside from that, the skin is rust-free. Again, driving two trucks helps in this regard, especially in winter. The interior literally still can pass for brand-new. I put a beach towel on the driver's seat when I think I might get dirty, so that helps protect the seat that gets the most use. After vacuuming and Armor-All-ing the interior, it could pass for show-room condition.
C. Ride quality is surprisingly good. Last year (2016), I had the front-end rebuilt (it had the clunks and thumps these trucks always get over time). Since that rebuild, it drives like new again. Also last year, I test-drove a new 2016 F-350 CC short bed XLT, and I must say, I really couldn't detect much of a difference between the two, ride quality wise. I know some readers are rolling their eyes over that last sentence, but I just couldn't see an appreciable difference between the two. Maybe it's because I was expecting a big difference (based on the glowing reviews of newer Super Duty ride quality for the last half-dozen years), but either way I was left wondering what the big hub-bub was about.
D. Right up until ULSD made its debut in '07, this truck was getting in the low 20s for hwy fuel economy, with a personal best of 23.5mpg on consecutive tanks. Around town was about 17mpg and towing a 5,000lb trailer about 15mpg. After ULSD, the absolute best I've been able to wring out of this truck on the hwy is 19mpg even. BTW, this truck is completely stock.
E. Power-wise, the specs say it has 250hp and 525lb/ft of torque. Nothing had more stock torque until the 6.0L replaced it. This truck tows both via Reese and gooseneck, and a healthy portion of the overall miles are towing miles. It has towed some pretty stout loads over the years, weights that I won't bother publishing, for a few reasons, some of them obvious. However, suffice to say that everything has held up. With all of my experience in driving and towing (many more trucks that this one, including family-owned Duramaxes), I can say that while the current models are offering nosebleed level horsepower and torque specs, it is my opinion that 300/600 is the perfect combo, all things considered. That's what my (obviously not stock) '94 Dodge Ram Cummins has, and it works pretty well and still delivers decent fuel economy. Either way, my '03 7.3L Powerstroke has never made me late to a destination due to lack of power, and probably 40% of its miles are spent with a trailer hitched to it.
F. The bottom line: This was the last 7.3L Powerstroke in the area when I bought it. The lot was full of 6.0Ls, and I did test them, but decided not to go that route. What followed for the next decade-and-a-half or so was decent performance with virtually no money expended on repairs until last year's front-end rebuild. Sure, the CPS went out (like they all do), but that was replaced under warranty/recall. That's it. This has been a reliable, well-built truck since day one, and I hope to be driving it for a few more years yet.
2003 F-350 SRW XLT 7.3L 4R100 PSD 4x4 Supercab SB 3.73
1994 Dodge 3500 SLT Dually 5.9L Cummins NV4500 5spd US Gear "splitter" Exhaust brake 4x4
RETIRED: 1985 Chevy K20 6.2L Turbo-400 3spd auto 4x4 4.10
2003 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V-6 5-spd auto 4wd 3.55
NRA Life member