What to look for when buying a USED 99-03 PSD
From: Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
Here is what you want to check for when buying a used Powerstoke Diesel. I wish I had this when I bought mine, so I might as well grace others with this oppurtunity to know what to look for ahead of time. You can avoid money pits, constant problems which will ultimately turn you into a dodge fan, and never let you experience the "reliablility of the 7.3."
These are a few things my friend GregRob wrote up that I added to. I will continue to add to this with links after I pull them all out of my techfiles on my saved folders. Anybody have any links, info, or anything they want to add just PM or post here and I will intergrate the info into this post for you.
1.) Air filter. Look and see if the air filter box is intact i.e. no broken tabs / cracked housing / loose or cracked intake boots / pieces. Make sure it hasn't been bypassing dirt into the engine. You can also look at the fins on the turbine in the turbo. If it is eaten up bad (more than just a little) it has been making some serious contact with dirt and could indicate "dusting".
See any alerts here, demand a Cylinder Pressure / Compression Test before purchase.
2.) What about service records. It's nice to KNOW whether the services have been done or not. Not necessary but good to have. The more miles on the truck the more imortant the service records become.
3.) Melted stickers under the hood. You can look at the stickers under the hood to check for melting / distortion. This could indicate excess heat in the engine compartment and would require further investigation were it me. Also look for tears in the underhood insulation from broken belts or other things that could have gone awry.
4.) Towing equipment. Set up to tow? 5th Wheel / Gooseneck / Reese Hitch? See how much wear those components have. Try to find out what it used to tow, you don't want a tired old hotshot rig if you're looking for a daily driver to power up.
4.) The Tranny / Drivetrain. How does it drive down the road? How does it shift? At full throttle or light traffic driving. There's not much more you can do but feel it while you drive.
5.) Chips, Programmers, Mods? If it is modded, you have no idea how they treated the truck unless you know them or can trust them. Besides, it's more fun to start fresh and do the mods YOU want, if any.
6.) Water damage. Of course
7.) Fluids. A used oil analysis (IE: from blackstone labs) would be nice. It would let you know if wear levels are within spec and give a good indication of how well the previous owner maintained oil changes. The tranny fluid should be a rich red/pink color SHOULD NOT smell burned or look black. Brake fluid should be full / clean. See if the pinion seal on the rear differential is leaking, fairly common. If it is leaking, take the cost to fix off the price. You could also make sure the rear wheel seals aren't leaking.
8.) Brakes, Balljoints, and Wheel Bearings. Does it go down the road and stop smooth? Any play in the front hub assy? Brakes may "vibrate" while coming to a stop since these are heavy trucks and the OEM rotors like to warp. In order to check for ball joints and wheelbearings jack one side of the front up. Have someone strong or capable hold the tire at 12 and 6 o clock. Have then forcefully move the tire back and forth. While this is happening you need to get in behind the tire and see if there is any movement. Check the hub assembly and ball joints for movement, if there is any then you need to replace them. here is a link to Powerstrokeshop.com - PSD and Ford Superduty Parts that sells kits for ball joints, wheel bearings, and other things.
9.) CPS Failures, some of these trucks are notorious for eating CPS's. They can leave you stranded anywhere anytime intermittedly. Finding out if it has been replaced (maybe more then once) might be a good idea. You never know when they'll go out, so it is best to carry a spare. These can often be had for under 60 bucks shipped on ebay, and can easily run in excess of 200 dollars at the dealership!!! It is a simple fix that is described in the "tech files" for the 7.3 forum.
In addition to that, I would consider having it scanned for codes with a capable scanner just for fun to see if it has any codes stored.
Take or leave what I've said there, getting a compression and leakdown test may not be practical for every consumer, but it makes you feel better when you drop a small fortune to know it is RIGHT....
On Edit by Logan: The price of the CPS has come down a great deal. So #9 is not 100% correct as far as the pricing goes. Check with your local Ford dealer for a price on the CPS.