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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys, looking at a 1996 powerstroke. The truck is in ok shape and im looking for a project at home. Unfortunately the guy is telling me that the block is cracked right near the driver side freeze plug. Coolant pisses out of it. I dont mind pulling the motor and what not but. I can get a new bottom end or wha not but advice would be great. Im looking to build a motor that has a a little more than stock power but nothing crazy that i have to do tranny work. Any advice on what to build the motor to and what not? Im not firmilar with 7.3s at all soo.

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Welcome to TDS! I think I would be looking elsewhere. Even if the engine is stock you'll have to do tranny work somewhere down the line. If you do go with the rig mentioned you'll have allot of spare parts. Pluses and minuses. Whats he want for it?

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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

i can get the guy down to 1300$ for the truck. The body really isnt too bad. I drove the truck, tranny seemed ok and motor seemed to run fine. Just the cracked block...What do oem rebuilds for motors and trannys go for now a days for heavy duty trucks like these.

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761 Posts
Not real sure. From what I see on a quick search $2500 - $5000. Stay away from South Houston Engine Service. Never heard anything good about them.

Is the rig in question a 4X4? SRW or DRW?

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In 1996 there was a short run of engines that cracked in the area you referred to. There was a repair for it where they "stitched" the block. Possibly you could find someone to do it for you (there was a TSB on the issue, let me see if I can find it). Cheers!

Added in edit: Here are a couple of old threads on the issue:

"Cracked Block!!!"

"antifreeze on oil filter"

There's probably some better stuff farther back, so I'll keep looking for additional info.

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6,006 Posts
Here's another post from the archives. I had to copy it off my old CDROMs from the days (the 94-97 12/99-3/01 archive is forbidden for some reason ... sorry for the formatting since I can only copy the text):

Ford-Diesel.Com Forum Archives » Archives » Power Strokes 1994-1997 (12/99-3/01) » CRACKED BLOCK

Member # 5950
posted 03-15-2000 02:18 AM

I would like to begin this e-mail by thanking all of the individuals who replied to my prior request for information
about selecting tires for my 1996 F-250. I purchased a new set of Michelin LTX A/T's (235/85R16).
Now, on to my sad story (along with a bit of ranting).
Apparently, the "early" PSD blocks (assembled late '95 to early '96) have a weak spot in the block that may crack
and develop into a coolant leak. The problem has been addressed in Ford's technical service bulletin #97-12-11.
The crack occurs in the side of the block adjacent to the casting directly above the engine's oil filter. Navistar, or
their subcontractor, machined the mounting surface for the casting too deep, thus reducing the thickness of the
engine block in this area.
My leak first became apparent in November of '99 as a line of dried coolant down the side of the oil filter. I
returned the truck to the original dealer who I had purchased the truck from, Sea-Tac Ford (Seattle, WA), and
they told me that the casting had cracked. Both the casting and water pump were replaced at this time.
(Fast forward to March 7th)
I discovered the same evidence of a leak and returned the truck to Sea-Tac Ford. They removed the casting and
checked the block using dye penetrant. A crack was found in the area adjacent to the casting and a Navistar
technician was called to "repair" the block according to the TSB #97-12-11. The "fix" involves placing a series of
threaded fasteners along the crack such that each fastener threads into the body of the adjacent fastener and
creates one long, threaded plug.
Now for my rant:
I find some irony in the fact that this type of defect in the engine block is obviously a case of poor quality
control. Yet a company that incorporates the phrase "Quality is Job #1" is unwilling to stand behind their product
and simply replace the short block assembly. I didn't buy the PSD because it was a "good deal", I bought it as a
long term investment that I could enjoy for many years. Although the repair of this crack at this specific location
may be a "permanent fix", are there other areas that may crack on this block? Ford doesn't even offer to extend
the warranty on the block for PSD owners who have experienced this type of failure!
Well, to wrap this up, I was able to take several pictures of the repairs throughout the repair process. Once the
pictures are developed, I shall post them on my web site for those of you who are interested.
If you are a fellow PSD owner who has experienced a cracked block, please share your story.
Thank you,
Ed Cassady

Posts: 1 | From: Snoqualmie, WA, USA | Registered: Mar 2000
Member # 3465
posted 03-15-2000 09:32 AM

I am experiencing the same coolant leak. I thought that it was the heater, but maybe not. Geeez, whats a guy to
do? I have almost 180k now.
95 XLT SC 4X4, 3.55, straight pipe, propane injection, and full synthetics (Amsoil).179k and strong. 285/75/16 on
8" Weld Wheels, Air Bags and Add-a-Leafs. Carrying an 11ft camper and pulling 4 horses behind.

Posts: 479 | From: Washington State | Registered: Oct 1999
Member # 114
posted 03-15-2000 11:41 AM

Any machine shop worth its salt can do that job if that is what is wrong with your block. I used to do that to
cracked cast iron heads all the time. It is a repair that will outlast the block. I have never had a return for the
same crack. Neither had my boss and he has been using that method for 35 years.
1994 F-250, PowerStroke Diesel, 5 Speed, SC, LB, 4x4, with a Limited Traction Differential, Warn Premium Manual
Hubs and a Happy Driver.

Posts: 3033 | From: Putnam, New York | Registered: Apr 99
Dan V
Member # 188
posted 03-15-2000 01:33 PM

Hey, let's set something straight...Quality is Job #1 is a Ford saying...not Navistar's, but the fact remains that
Ford will have to stand behind the problem.
Keith, just how am I to get the truck up onto my machining center?
'96 Red & White F250 XLT 4x4 PSD E4OD SC LB 4.10, Git Kit, K&N, Tekonsha trans cooler, survived y100k and a
3h Featherlite GN with Tennesse Walkers inside. Quack...Quack

Posts: 257 | From: St. Francis, MN. U.S.A. | Registered: Apr 99
Joe M
Member # 5525
posted 03-15-2000 06:42 PM

Well I have to be truthful. I am frightened of the Cummins because of the inline 6 design. Have never had a
diesel-6 but ever brand of gas 6 I have ever been involved with (144 & 200 cid Ford, Inline 6 Chevy truck, and
225 Slant 6 Chrysler) has been nothing but junk. So I am saying I am a V8 man. and I would run out tommorrow
and get a Ford EXCEPT in this area, even the genuine Ford engines have a reputation for defective block
castings. So here I am bouncing back and forth between fears, but it is good to learn this new trick. Wonder
what grade of bolts were used?
Have a Good Day
What I'm drivin:
The x's 87 5th Ave.
What I own: 1970 Plymouth Fury
What I want: 1-ton 4x4 GMC, OR Cummins, OR PSD Still debating the merits

Posts: 39 | From: Lincoln, Ne USA | Registered: Feb 2000
Member # 204
posted 03-15-2000 07:39 PM

Had the same problem with my 96 in the fall of 95. It confounded the hell out of the local dealer until Navistar
admitted the screwup. I never was able to see the actual repair or any photos of how they did the repair, so yes,
please post the photos*. My understanding is that an entire month's worth of engines, about 4,000 I was told,
were made with this defect. I was told it was not a machining error but the internal part of the sand cast mold
was shifted making the block too thin at that point. Anyway mine hasn't leaked since and if it does I'll be one hell
raising SOB about it!
*You didn't tell us where your website is to see the photos.
[This message has been edited by AlH (edited 03-15-2000).]

Posts: 582 | From: Lexington,SC USA | Registered: Apr 99
Dog Hauler
Member # 841
posted 03-15-2000 08:50 PM

What is your build date? I think I have a March 96 build date and I'm interested in this. Also, I just rolled the
odometer over to 100K the other day
96, SC,DRW,4X2,4.10

Posts: 475 | From: Salt Lake City, UT.,USA | Registered: Apr 99
Member # 1286
posted 03-16-2000 12:14 PM

I have a 95 with the same leak Ford replaced the gasket where the oil filter mounts on the block 2 weeks later
anti freeze was on my garge floor. Took the truck back this time a small hairline crack was found. Navistar said
my block was not one of the blocks that was defective so Ford had to cover it. The service manager called Ford
and after about one week of persistance Ford agreed to replace it with a short block. My truck goes in April 3rd
for its new engine.
Crack was found only after the engine was warm.
95 psd 97,470 miles still stock

Posts: 25 | From: Sterling,CO | Registered: May 99
Gone Fishen
Member # 1020
posted 03-17-2000 02:10 AM

This is an interesting discussion. I hope mine is not one of these . I have enough problems with out my plaything
having a cracked block. I plan on taking mine for the oil pan problem, maybe i'll have them check the block with
dye test.
95 F250,XLT, 4WD, Auto Trans shimmed,
4:10 gears ,Truck Trunk ,Nerf Bars ,crome Mud flaps, Aux. trans cooler, K&N filter

Posts: 733 | From: Las Vegas,Nevada | Registered: Apr 99
Member # 5580
posted 03-18-2000 10:34 PM

Joe M,
You have nothing to fear about the inline-6 design. It is a time-tested engine. All the big trucks use inline-6
engines. This engine is stronger and simpler than a V-8. Also, the Cummins uses a grid heater -- no glow plugs to
change or break off while attempting to change them!

Posts: 17 | From: Waterford, Pa. | Registered: Feb 2000
[email protected]
Member # 2163
posted 03-20-2000 01:39 PM

I have a 96 PSD (manufacture date sept95) and recently became aware that this problem was more than a small
seep from a hose. I have not talked to the dealership yet but a friend who is a Ford diesel tech advise me that
the cracked block was indeed what I was dealing with. What are the supposed dates of manufacture for the
defective blocks? Has everyone had to settle for Navstar to repair their old block or can I attempt to hold out for
a new short block? How long did it take to get your trucks back?
'96 F250 stndrd cab,4X4,5-spd,410 gears,manual hubs, add-a-leaf (factory),stock every where else

Posts: 1 | From: Kennewick, Wa, USA | Registered: Jul 1999
Member # 1277
posted 03-20-2000 01:49 PM

I was wondering, since this is a factory screw-up would they repair it if I'm out of warranty. I have 90,000 miles
but my 5 years is up.
'95, F-350,CC,4x4,5-speed,chip,downpipe and gutted cat.

Posts: 157 | From: Yucaipa, CA | Registered: May 99
Member # 596
posted 03-21-2000 02:43 AM

Before everyone jumps to conclusions, someone should post the dates as to when these defective blocks where
made. I don't have any leaks so far...but now that I've heard about this will keep an eye out for it for sure. I'm
not sure of the exact build date of my engine...where would you find the actual "build date" of your Powerstroke?
[email protected]
'95 F250 XLT SC LB 4X4 PSD E4OD 4.10 Tru-cool 18,000 aux tranny cooler , K&N, standyne performance additive,
BB upgrade, BD downpipe, Superchips 2nd stage chip, A-pillar-pod, boost, pyro & trans temp Isspro guages.

Posts: 1300 | From: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada | Registered: Apr 99
Member # 204
posted 03-21-2000 04:51 AM

I had posted a bunch of info back around the first part of 1996 with my crack/leak situation. I can't find that old
of archives now, maybe Jason can resurrect them. I believe I had the build dates in the messages back then. As I
remember it was engines built in September and October 1995. The build date is on various stickers on the truck.
Look good all over the engine and you may still find some.
[This message has been edited by AlH (edited 03-21-2000).]

Posts: 582 | From: Lexington,SC USA | Registered: Apr 99
Member # 1286
posted 03-21-2000 08:46 AM

My truck had a built date of 10-94 and the block did not fall under the Navistar repair. Ford took the numbers off
the block to find the date. If i remember right the tech told me there was 4000 blocks made with this defect and
were built mainly in late 95 and early 96. The block will crack at the lower part where the oil filter mounts to the
block. The repair is called sticthing with a series of holes being drilled along the crack then an allen head screw is
installed & tightend. The tech here at my garage said he has yet to have a block come back that has had this
repair done.
Navistar had 7 people at one time doing the repairs. Now their is only 2. Navistar would not send a rep to even
look at my block. As far as warranty, mine expired December 21,1999. The problem was documented back in
back in Aug. All they had to do was to pull all our service records and the proof was right there. The garage really
had to fight with Navistar and Ford to come to an agreement on what to do. But the final decision was to put a
new short block in the truck to fix the problem.
[This message has been edited by 95power (edited 03-21-2000).]

Posts: 25 | From: Sterling,CO | Registered: May 99
Member # 114
posted 03-21-2000 12:29 PM

Dale E-Mailed me about this. He wanted to know more about the process. I responded to his e-mail with the
following reply.
It is the same Idea as the post above me but my boss always said it looks more professional with the bolts cut
and ground than to have a series of allen key holes looking at you. Plus in the combustion chamber the bolts are
flat and do not add any additional CI's to the combustion chamber.

We used to stitch cast iron heads. We would drill and tap threads
along the crack and cut off grade 5 bolts along the way.
The way it works is this first you find the two ends of the crack and drill
a hole to relieve any further stresses. Cracks rarely extend past a
drilled hole. ( good way to keep one from spreading on your windshield
too). Then tap the hole and use the corresponding bolt. Since the tap is
tapered slightly you will have a tapered thread if you don't go through to
the middle of the tap. The bolts bolt in snugly and makes a nice
watertight sandwich. Continue this process over the whole crack and Walla
the crack is knitted together and watertight. We used to use a little
brown sealant on the threads too just to insure a watertight seal.
Afterwards we used a die grinder to grind down the remainder of the bolts
flush with the surface.
We used to do this on cast iron heads it works rather nicely there. I am
guessing that this is what they are doing at Navistar. If not this will
most definitely work. Sometimes people couldn't tell when we had made a
repair. Add a little texture with a milled faced tool and some paint and
boom you have a cast iron look.

Hope that helps

1994 F-250, PowerStroke Diesel, 5 Speed, SC, LB, 4x4, with a Limited Traction Differential, Warn Premium Manual
Hubs and a Happy Driver.

Posts: 3033 | From: Putnam, New York | Registered: Apr 99
charles norton
Member # 192
posted 03-21-2000 10:59 PM

I wholehartedly agree with your post.
It is missfortune to have cracked block, but the repair as described, drill/tap/bolt the crack has been in the use
probably since the first engine block was casted. I grew up in the farm heavy equipment and trucking
environment of my grandfather and saw and later done many such lifesaving procedures, with flawless results as
In particular in the past, when water (not antifreeze) cooling was rather common, and frequently still is in some
construction and farm seasonal equipment, when first frost came and one forgot tp drain the water, need I say
So I am really sorry, about the cracked block of many, but if you get an expert, with all paid by the factory
repair, the result will be 100%.
PS: My rant is mainly just to appreciate the fact, that there are many true seasoned expert contributors in this
forum, and I appreciate their time spent at this.

Posts: 112 | From: | Registered: Apr 99
Member # 114
posted 03-22-2000 04:14 AM

Good to see you back. Although we have disagreed on other things we usually agree on the meat and potatoes.
Cassidy. I have no answer for you with the exception that this repair actually will allow the normal stresses that
caused this crack to exercise themselves along this string of bolts. You will most likely not have another crack in
this location. Maybe 4 to 6 inches away or at another location but not within 3 inches or so of the fix. The bolts
will allow some movement and still keep the strength of the block. Unless the stresses fatigue another part of the
block rather than concentrate on the string then you will get another crack. I can also tell you that the heads I
have fixed usually dont get cracks in the same cylinder. Usually it is another cylinder in the same place as the
first crack. Casting defect possibly. Or like Chuck says freeze up problem.

Hope that will restore some of your faith.
Worry less it is better for your health. Plus there are some who have had this fix and have done a couple of years
on it. So do a search and see if you can locate them. Then ask them via e mail to give you a synopsis of their
experience with the problem....
1994 F-250, PowerStroke Diesel, 5 Speed, SC, LB, 4x4, with a Limited Traction Differential, Warn Premium Manual
Hubs and a Happy Driver.

Posts: 3033 | From: Putnam, New York | Registered: Apr 99
Hope this helps! Cheers!

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anyone have any idea the dates these block crack,month year, and when did they cure the problem?

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