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Discussion Starter #1
Recently I bought a '96 Ford F250 PSD, long bed, extended cab, 4x4, auto trans, and a real nice canopy. I had it for a week and ended up giving the truck back due to some major problems with it. I did really like the truck though, but too many things needed fixed.

So right now I'm looking to get another one. I have about 15k to spend, and I only want the 7.3 diesel, 4x4, preferably a crew cab, but might settle for an extra cab. I live in Central Oregon and I'm having a real hard time finding a decent truck fitting my requirements, that isnt either beat to [censored] with 200k, or priced too high. I had to go 150 miles just to even get the last truck.

What is the best year/value of truck with this motor? I'm not looking at anything older than a '96.

I have heard '97 is one of the best years, because something in the auto trans was changed, making them less prone to failing. Is this correct or was smoke blown up my rear?

Now how about auto vs manual. Which transmission is going to hold up the longest, with the least amount of care? In a truck I would rather have an auto but I don't want to be rebuilding it every 50k.

Are there any sweet special options I should be on the look out for? Any differences in the transfer case? Do any of the trucks offer FULL TIME 4x4? Meaning it is acceptable to drive on pavement with 4x4 engaged.

Biggest differences between the 97 vs 99 besides obviously the body style, but what else do you really get with the 99?

Which model year has the best working AC?
 

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I have a 97, but I heard that year was the best before I bought it (although I would have bought it anyway). That was the last year before they started running up the HP on the 7.3 so some believe that this engine was more dependable. Probably could not prove it in a hundred years. I have not heard much bad about any year of the 7.3. Cackle and some early very minor stuff, overall it has been a working beast serving it's owners for thousands and thousands of miles. There will be 7.3's on the road for many, many years to go. They just last so damn long. Great engines.
 

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If your lookin for full time 4wd, you won't find it on any full size diesel pickup. Manual trannies on these trucks don't really seem to have many problems except for the dual mass flywheel(which should be replaced with a solid flywheel). Autos can be built to be just as strong and reliable but they don't come from the factory like that(94-97 years that is). If you are set on the 94-97 body style then I would definitely get an F350 due to the fact it has a solid front axle(Dana 60) and the F250 has more problematic and weaker Dana 50 Twin Traction Beam(TTB) front axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
[ QUOTE ]
If your lookin for full time 4wd, you won't find it on any full size diesel pickup. Manual trannies on these trucks don't really seem to have many problems except for the dual mass flywheel(which should be replaced with a solid flywheel). Autos can be built to be just as strong and reliable but they don't come from the factory like that(94-97 years that is). If you are set on the 94-97 body style then I would definitely get an F350 due to the fact it has a solid front axle(Dana 60) and the F250 has more problematic and weaker Dana 50 Twin Traction Beam(TTB) front axle.

[/ QUOTE ]

What about the
99+ model years? Do any the 99+ F250s have the SFA? Is there much difference in ride quality between the F250 and F350?
 

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I'd vote for a 2002 or early 2003. Automatic transmission with manual 4wd, no ESOF. Upgrade the tranny cooler, put a BTS valve body on, switch to Schaeffers tranny fluid, and you should be good for many, many miles!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Can you elaborate on why 2002 is the best model year? Because it is the newest?


I'm looking at two '99s right now. They are 350 miles away so I havent seen them yet. Both short box, extra cab, white. Calling for more details tomorrow.
 

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I just love my early 99. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif Besides early tranny problems, this turned out to be a GREAT truck. Watch for noisy TC, missing turbo bolts, and make sure the cooling system has been maintained. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/warmsmile.gif
 

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the best year is 2000(.)

I don't say that because I own one but I own one because they're the best.

NVK programming
2000 you get Forged Rods.
and the bigger turbo over the pre y2k

ok the seats aren't as up to date, but are much more comfortable IMO.
 

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96 model and up gets you a manual tranny with a true low first gear, pre 96 5spd's had a wanna be low first gear, depending on how you use the trk, this may be worth considering. i too heard latter auto's were better, but i dont know how so. my 97 was a great truck, never went back to the shop, never gave issues. i run/worked the gut's out of it, it came back for more. i sold it with nearly 300k on it, and the guy who bought it drove it for nearly 2 more years before wrecking it. he put it in the shop for glow pugs/water pump/ and a second clutch. my 02 is even better, same story, just hadnt racked up as many miles. as mentioned, if pumping up the hp a lot is your thing, 01 and up pm rods may be worth considering. personlly i have rarely felt under powered with my 02, and i tow a lot of heavy stuff..
 

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[ QUOTE ]
the best year is 2000(.)

I don't say that because I own one but I own one because they're the best.

NVK programming
2000 you get Forged Rods.
and the bigger turbo over the pre y2k

ok the seats aren't as up to date, but are much more comfortable IMO.

[/ QUOTE ]

Agreed, especially the lariat seats! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif
 

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Early 2000.

Reasons:
Last of the forged rods
Robust, trouble-free DAC3 program
235 HP (nominal) engine
Easy to convert to a PA 2818 air cleaner
Six-speed manual

As for transmissions, there is no comparison. Manual transmissions will get you 2 MPG more than an automatic and no trips to the transmission shop. My OEM clutch has 190,000 miles and I think I can get it to 200,000. Then I will get a lighter action LuK or South Bend.
 

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I would be disappointed if folks didn't think the one they owned was the best thing ever.

I've owned a '97, 2000, & currently own a 2001 PSD, all 7.3's. I never had a bit of major trouble with any of them.

If you, generally, subscribe to the idea that the longer a manufacturer builds a certain piece of equipment, the better they will build it, then the 2002/2003 7.3 should be the best.

But I sure wish I had my '97 back as my "wife" vehicle. I liked the way it sounded and I liked the way it cranked and I LOVED the better fuel mileage I got with it, but it was not as good a tow vehicle as my later models. If it's a real "wife" vehicle, then I don't know that it really makes any difference.. but you should be able to get a much better deal on a '97, though you may have to look around a while. I believe all of them will last as longer or longer than most marriages.

However, if buying it for the wife is just a ploy to get her to agree with you and you have deep, dark, desires to hot-rod it on the weekends, I would defer to those with more experience than I.

A '97 would be my 1st choice...

Florida Ed
 
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I will sell you the 97 in my sig. Just replaced the lift pump and rebuilt the IPR yesterday. Runs like a top. e-mali me [email protected]
 

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I miss my 1997 7.3 Dually. Sold it because i needed the money. Had zero problems with it and it would jerk my head on the freeway when i stomped on it! Turbo. Anyhow, i recently bought a 1987 6.9 Ford Diesel. It's rough but as reliable as they come. I hear they call it the Grandfather of the 7.3. Enjoy!
 
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