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Discussion Starter #1
My 7.3 has within 500 miles of hitting the 300,000 mile mark. I already had a long list of milestone preventive maintenance items to do and just a couple of days before I was to put the truck in my garage to freshen things up, a coolant line gave way and I didn't notice the temperature gauge climbing. When I saw the RED check gauges indicator and the temperature gauge between the white and the red, I immediately pulled over. Water was gushing out the degas bottle.

I tried cranking it a couple of minutes later and the engine would turn over but sounded tight. I let it cool down and it ran fine until I added some water. Since then it has been getting hot but never let it overheat. I changed the thermostat and the degas bottle cap. Still overheating. No water apparent in the oil though I can smell coolant on the bottom of the oil filler cap. There is a little bit of steam escaping the oil filler neck.

My regular shop (who had just put in a new set of injectors last week) is swamped. They pointed me to another shop and that guy said that with that many miles and if the engine got that hot, the temper is gone from the block and in essence, the engine will never be that good again. He said in no time at all I'll have excessive blowby.

The owner of my regular repair shop said he didn't buy the "engine shot" diagnosis. Opinions????

I have a new worker who is a pretty good mechanic, working on his certification right now. I'm thinking about pulling the heads, have both reworked and install new head gaskets. With the heads off, I'll check the ring groove and general condition without going any farther into the engine.

I had ever intention of driving this truck forever. I can't afford a new engine or even a used truck. The truck was running fine before this. When they changed the injectors they were impressed that the inside of the valve covers were spotless. No sludge whatsoever. Please give me some encouragement that I didn't kill the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
By the way, the "other" shop that said to scrap it isn't wanting to do the work. In fact, when he heard I ran Evans coolant (never heard of it) plus the bypass filtration and veg oil as a fuel, he said he didn't even want to work on it. Lovely!

I've been tempted to use the Blue Devil liquid head gasket repair stuff but fear long term impact. Like I said, I want to keep this truck forever. No quick fixes... thinking of the long haul.
 

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There is no way you changed the temper of the block. You may have warped the heads or blown a gasket, but there's no way I would scrap the block over that. You'll be surprised when the heads come of - you may still have the crosshatch pattern in the cylinder walls.

I think you're is a good position with your new worker. Get him to pull the heads and pay close attention to the gaskets. Have the heads sent off to be checked for flatness / warpage. I'd go back to an ELC coolant and a regular thermostat when you put it back together.
 

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Well... There's no way the block would go bad, unless you grenades the whole motor... Sounds like definately head gasket, and check the heads for warpage and fractures.. while they are off, may as well get a valve job done... Worst case scenario, if you have some cash, a master rebuild bottom end kit, is only like a $1000... Best of luck!:ford:
 

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I agree with RT. sad to say but lots of shops look for an easy way out. I might be inclined to do a leak down test before you yank the heads. That may give you some indication of cylinder wear/blow by before you start.
 

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I agree with the RT and troubleddiesel.

There's no way that the block lost it's temper. The guy that said that doesn't know what he's talking about.
  1. I had a Model A engine that I used to run till it boiled over, refill it, run again. Took 4 hours to go 100 miles because of the stops to refill the radiator with water. Put a new radiator on it and ran it forever. This was a 35 year old block to start with, and no knowledge of it's history (it wasn't cracked) when I rebuilt it.
  2. My dad's 63 chevy station wagon got a thermostat stuck closed coming out of Bakersfield at about 100F, and it sounded like a bomb was going off under the hood from the steam hammer. After getting it shut down, removing the thermostat, and refilling the system, it ran fine for many many years afterward.
With nearly 300k miles on your engine, you MIGHT see some cylinder wear, but if you suspect the rings are worn too much, then it may only need honing to bring it back.

Pull the heads and see what you find and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'd already decided today that I'd do the work and am actually looking forward to it. I've been wanting to add a regulated return anyway!

I'm curious about suggestions to go back to regular coolant. I have well over 200,000 miles on the Evans coolant and liked that it doesn't allow corrosion like a water based coolant. Remember, the regular style coolant was in there at the time the hose came off and it ran hot.

Any other suggestions while I have the truck down for this deep maintenance? I don't run a chip or anything. The first time the valve covers were off was last week when we changed the injectors. My goal is to maintain and drive this truck at least another 300,000 miles... or more!
 

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Corrosion isn't the issue the snake oil salesmen make it out to be. Like Kevin, I've had vehicles dating back to the Model A. No corrosion issues. Cavitation is a different story, and you're not going to get any better cavitation protection from Evans than an ELC. Plus, water has the best thermal properties of any coolant. The most effective coolant would be straight water. The coolant is just there for boiling point elevation / freezing point depression and the cavitation / corrosion inhibition.

My main issue with Evans is that it is $47 a gallon and has no evidence it will make your engine last any longer than a Cat ELC coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I hear you. Not having used a regular coolant in years, what do you suggest? When you say Cat ELC coolant, is that a type? Does it need to be checked every other year with additives?

Thanks... always learning.
 

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Caterpillar has their own elc they put in machines. the part numbers we have around even have embitterment in them to keep your animals from drinking it. any cat dealer can get you the stuff. they say at 300000 miles to add extender to it but you dont have to change it. Also, theres no silicates to drop out so no filters or adding sca.

238-8647 1gal concentrate
238-8648 1gal mix
238-8649 5gal mix
 

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And there are a lot of Cat rated ELCs- Shell Rotella, Delo, Xerex ELC, etc...


Sent from my iPhone using Autoguide.com App
 

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Tough break! I would run a compression check 1st. That way you can decide to pull the motor, or a do an in truck repair.

I too would pull the heads and check for warpage, you would want to check the block deck warpage as well. Not likely it is warped, but possible - to get the block deck milled this requires engine pull and a machine shop that knows what it is doing. I had a 12v cummins that required a block deck machine, was done at the Mack Engine factory in Hagerstown MD with a special torque plate to simulate the head.

If the cylinders check out and you don't want to pull the engine, then you might get away pretty well.

I would stay with ELC an use the test strips from Fleetguard and add the DCA-4 as required for correct coolant chemistry.

Good Luck

Coolhand
 

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I would stay with ELC an use the test strips from Fleetguard and add the DCA-4 as required for correct coolant chemistry.

Coolhand
Don't add anything to an ELC except the extender at the required time interval. You do NOT add DCA-4 to an ELC. That goes in a conventional coolant or the Ford Gold sludge. There are test strips for an ELC, but they are only to tell you if it is time for the extender. http://www.cumminsfiltration.com/html/en/products/cooling/coolant/supp_add.html
 

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rt is right on the money....pull the heads ....keep the motor...the only thing i change out is that mechanic!!!!!!!
 

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After reading everyone else's great advise is I'd be alittle worried that you could also have damaged a rod if you did partially hydrolock the motor, if I could have my truck down for a week or two I'd just pull the whole thing, and refresh the entire motor, but that is just me. With 300,000 miles might has well give it new rings,bearings,etc..
 

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I have a 96 with 340,000 on it ( the one in my avitar) and the only thing I have ever done the the base engine is new glow plugs and 1 water pump. It is the only truck in the driveway that will start when nothing else will on a cold winter morning after setting for 6 weeks and not plugged in. Unless you are rebuilding for more horses, the engine is probly fime on the bottom end.
 

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After reading everyone else's great advise is I'd be alittle worried that you could also have damaged a rod if you did partially hydrolock the motor, if I could have my truck down for a week or two I'd just pull the whole thing, and refresh the entire motor, but that is just me. With 300,000 miles might has well give it new rings,bearings,etc..
i agree, don't scap get a NEW mechaniic and rebuild her, or fix what's wrong and run her for another 300k that's my opinion:thumbsup:
 

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I have family and friends that work for Ford Motor Company, at the engine plants in Windsor, and the long gone Windsor Casting Plant and they have never tempered engine blocks, tempering is used for hardening tool steels and other metals that would normally be impossible to machine at full temper.
I realize the the 7.3 is an International engine but I doubt that they would harden their blocks either.
I have a 7.3 with 260k miles on it and at 225k miles I had to put an oil pan on it so since I had it apart I changed the rod and main bearings, the main bearings had no wear on them and the rods had minimal wear.
Do a top end on your engine and drive it forever.
 

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Cast iron is inherently hard and does not need tempering. I just
rebuilt my 7.3 at 550k miles, and I tow for a living with it. The mains
and rods could of been reused they looked that good. I had to rebuild
because a piston cooling jet plugged with some silicone sealant
form the PO done repairs. I found a bunch stuck in the oil pickup screen
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks y'all. I had a guy help pull the heads. The machine shop was amazed they had 300,000 miles! The engine buttoned back up fine and runs great. It even gets 19+ miles to the gallon again running on winter diesel.
 
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