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1999 Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3L 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm new to the forums, and diesel truck ownership, so I am very uneducated and some of the comments/questions are probably pretty basic. Last year, I purchased a 1999 Ford F250 Super Duty 7.3L 4x4 w/ 260xxx miles on it, for $5200. I knew, given the previous owner's description, and the price, that it was going to need some work done. Unfortunately I made 3 incorrect assumptions - 1. Most of the work needing to be done/the reason for the low price, was due to cosmetic issues (the original bed was rusted out, and replaced w/ one that was a different color than the cab), and 2. I overestimated my roommates ability to determine the health of the truck when we went to check it out (he worked at an auto shop for about a year, and did own a 94 F250 diesel at one point); his lack of inspection skills was later exposed by the amount large of repairs I have had to do, none of which he pointed out as potential problems I would soon face. 3. The previous owner was a diesel tech, so I figure it must be in good shape. Now I am wondering if he saw this truck was a lost cause, and I got gyped, hard.

Before I continue, my main question/point of this post - I have put in around $6000 for repairs/replacement parts, and the most recent trip to my mechanic, it was brought up that the transmission might be next, and in the very near future, and since this shop does not "do transmissions" (rebuilds, they only do replacements), that would cost $3700 in parts (for the transmission he found when he did a brief search online), on top of the cost of labor. I am trying to determine if this truck is worth me continuing to put money into, or if this is just going to turn into an endless pit. My thought process is that if the health of the engine can be determined, and it will last as long as the 7.3s should, then I don't mind putting more money into it. My roommate (same one who did the poor initial inspection), is of the belief that this cannot be done, and claims that assessing the engine health would cost what it would to rebuild the engine, as it would need to be totally dissected to do so.

The last major repair I had to do, was Flex Plate replacement (which I posted a video of about a month ago, asking "what this sound might mean". The strange this was, they had just replaced the Flex Plate a month before. The mechanic said he jhad a hunch, but wasn't exactly sure why that happened, and because of that, couldn't ensure it wouldn't happen again. He said something about some bolts were missing(?) and there was some issue with what connected it to the torque converter, and the tech the first time around didn't bring that up/address it but they jimmy-rigged something this time to make it work? He said the next step if it cracked again, would be to just replace the transmission, but as I noted - he doesn't do diesels, so I'm not sure about this whole situation.

So here are my main questions -
1. Can the health of the engine be determined at a reasonable cost? I would need to find a diesel tech, as my current mechanic/shop, does not know much about diesels.
2. What are the other common major parts failures/issues I need to be aware of? Would I be able to determine whether or not they are some of these things are "on their way out"?
3. (not important until I have answers and a plan of action for 1 & 2) - Where should I look for an automatic transmission, if it does look like doing so is worth it, and what transmission would I want to purchase?
4. I saw a FB marketplace post for a $4800 99 F250 7.3 that had some issues, but is claimed to have a brand new (1k miles) transmission in it. Is it a stupid idea to purchase it, and use that transmission, since that is about the cost of a transmission, and then I would have that truck for parts.

Below is the list of all of the work I have had done to it since I have purchased it.
- Sway Bar Welded ($339)
- Windshield Replaced ($224)
- Sway Bar Links; Ball Joints; Front Stabilizer Bar; Brake Pads & Rotors; Calipers & Axle Seals; Alignment ($2014)
- Hydroboost; Master Brake Cylinder ($1,207)
- Power Steering Pump ($249)
- Flex Plate; Starter ($1647)
- Trailer Wiring Issue ($486)
- Power Steering High Pressure Hose ($238)
- Flex Plate ($0)

Past Owner -
- Uppipes
- Turbo Pedestal Delete
- Injector Wires & Valve Cover Gaskets

I've attached some pictures of the truck as well, and thanks so much for all the help. I apologize for the long post, and if this is in the wrong sub-forum.


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27,293 Posts
Below is the list of all of the work I have had done to it since I have purchased it.
- Sway Bar Welded ($339)
This one concerns me. The sway bar is spring steel and welding on it drastically affects its strength. It's likely to fail once welded on.

As far as your #1, get a Powerstroke capable scan tool and run all the on-demand tests on it (KOEO, KOER, KOER Switch Test, Cylinder Contribution Test, etc). Follow up with corrections as needed. The results of the CCT will tell you if you have cylinder issues. Digging in a little further (if needed) would be to remove the valve covers and glow plugs (replacing them) and do a compression test. You can also check the condition of the glow plugs with a multimeter. Check the Hard/No Start link in my signature for how to do that. Also throw away the Glow Plug Relay and get a Stancor one. Costs about twice as much as a stock GPR, but lasts forever. Also remove the intake tube from the turbo and check for end play on the turbo wheel, and also for any grit that might have bypassed the filter. If it has a build date in 1998, then throw away the air filter system and install a Ford Severe Duty Air Intake System.
On your #2, the same stuff that you'd check for on any truck would apply.

The lack of sheet metal behind the driver's side doors indicated by the gaping holes is a concern. I would look into getting that fixed, as it's a structural issue, especially around the door frame. Otherwise it looks pretty straight.
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