1990 7.3 IDI "head gasket"...which route to take - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
7.3L IDI (Non-Powerstroke) Diesels Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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post #1 of 5 Old 04-18-2011, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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1990 7.3 IDI "head gasket"...which route to take

I just bought a 90 F350 super duty wrecker with a "bad head gasket", and would like to know the direction I should go...

Heres the story. Bought the truck knowing that the head gasket was bad. Unfortunatly, there was also some other "non disclosed" problems....(more than minor, but fixable...no PTO cable, rusted control, no brakes...uggh....) Supposedly a shop diagnosed this problem, and quoted $3000 to repair. So I'm not sure if I'm getting the WHOLE story...

Brought the truck home. Batteries were stone dead. Replaced one battery, and disconected the second to try some electrical accessories. After discovering some more dillemas (NON engine related) I decided to bump it over. Engine turns over, but I can hear compression leaking out of the top of the passenger cyl head area. Oil is THICK (whip cream type consistency). I can not see the exact spot of the compression leak, but it has blown oil alllll over the top of the intake and surrounding areas....

I have no other history on this animal, with the exception that it has "102k" on it......could be 102k, 202k, 902k, who knows....I have no idea if it has been over heated, no idea of the condition of the lower rotating assembly. He did tell me that it ran good until the head gasket blew, and then he parked it. After discovering all of the other undisclosed dillemas, I'm not 100% sure I can belive the previous owner. He never did "lie" to me....but DANG he sure "forgot" alot of stuff.

I have several options to chose from here. I can either remove both heads, replace gaskets, and go from there. I also have another 7.3 that is available to me, running and yet to be pulled (being pulled for me), but it need the return lines replaced. The running 7.3 has 189k on it, and is gonna run me $250.

Now, as far as background, this repair is well within my capablities. My knowledge is the part that is lacking.....never touched a 7.3. I have done probably 15 motors, and countless head gaskets. Shop and cherry picker and all the goodies available....just havent done one yet.

I am also attempting to go the least expensive route. I do not want to get to the point where I'm married to this truck, I bought it as an investment, and intend on reselling it.

Thanx for your input!
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-18-2011, 10:36 AM
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-18-2011, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Alright....I attempt to be compitent most of the time....once and awhile I fail at that.

After some further digging, I see that the glow plugs are ALL removed (Can NOT belive I missed that!). So I have determined the source of the oil.... and after some preliminary brain farting, I can not think of anything good that would be indicated by oil being pumped out of the GP hole...

(second rear most cyl on pass side...)

My initial thoughts are still leaning towards head gasket (or cracked head) as the ultra thick oil could not be formed by a hole in the piston (there wouldnt be introduction of coolant into the oil)


Also, are these known for head gaskets? Known for cracking heads?

Last edited by Crazybry79; 04-18-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-18-2011, 11:21 AM
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A return line kit is roughly $30-40 bucks from the right place, I say replace the engine. When you have the other one out, pull the heads to see what you find. Worst case, thats a large chunk of iron to take to the scrap yard and make a little money.

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post #5 of 5 Old 04-22-2011, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the person selling the engine backed out on me. I am in the process of finding another engine, or even complete rat box truck (pull motor, scrap truck and old motor).

In the mean time, I bought GPs, and installed. Truck does turn over, but not fast enough to start....BUT I do hear a "phht" every time one of the cyl. compresses.....AKA compressed gasses escaping...

As a worst case scenerio, if the rotating assembly is good, still contemplating head gaskets...
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