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I recently rolled my f150 and decided it was time to upgrade to a diesel. I do not know much about them but am willing to learn and have a few months before I need to pick out a new truck. My question is will someone please explain the difference between the power stroke and the idi and the benifits of the power stroke over the idi. Also when I go to look at a PS what should I be looking/smelling/listening for when checking out the engine?
 

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The two biggest differences between a IDI and a Powerstroke is that the IDI is a mechanical engine where the Powerstroke is a computer controlled engine. To increase power on the IDI you can turn up the fuel volume. To increase power on the Powerstroke you need to reprogram the computer to deliver more fuel into the cylinders. You can come close to making as much power with a IDI as a stock Powerstroke but a tuned Powerstroke can increase the HP around 40 horses and then if the injectors are changed out to larger ones along with other mods the HP limit raises quite a bit.

As for the benefits of a Powerstroke over a IDI depends on who you talk to. The biggest one is that the Powerstroke trucks are a few years younger than the IDI's. The IDI's are easier to work on for the back yard mechanic for a lot of the problems that come along with them. On the Powerstroke you are going to need a knowledge of electronics and if you really want to work on them a computer program on a laptop that will read the live data that is available from the PCM to assist you in troubleshooting.

For some things to look for on a 94.5-97 truck before you purchase it here is a link to buying advise that was written up years ago but still applies. Another good read is a article that was written quite a few years ago titled The F-16 Under Our Hoods.
 
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