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Old 11-01-2011, 07:21 PM Rookie

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Cool New IDI Owner- Truck is Great

Hello All,

I have been in the market for a large diesel truck for some time now. We currently have a 30FT 7400lb camper trailer that I tow with a Nissan Armada, and it was just not doing what I wanted. To not get too crazy and buy a new car, I thought I would play with a older Diesel first. Here are some things I have noticed after driving it about 300 miles. Nothing major, and a lot I have gotten answered from on this forum (thank you). Quick Note: I am far from being a mechanic, so most things I would have a pro look at for me with some direction from you owners.

1) The truck of course is the IDI (1989), it currently has 46000 miles on the odometer. Knowing these roll over, is there any think I can look for, or have someone look for to give me an indication of wear or motor life left? I do not mind investing in this truck, but I do understands motors can only go so long. I can tell you it purs like a diesel and does not smoke (white or black) never, ever, never. I heard thats good.

2) How long does your IDI take until it is "warm". By that, I mean if you were to crank it and know that you would in on/out of it most the day, how long would you let it run before getting in it and going? I let mine run a full day 10AM-9PM the other day because I have heard it is good to "run'em".

2B) If you were getting out of the truck for a period of time, what is the lenght of time you would keep it running vs shutting it off. Meaning, I run out to grab coffee (5 minutes), or I go inside to chat the wife (30 minutes). Is there a time in which leaving it running and turning it off/on equal out on wear and fuel?

3)The breaks a very squashy. The master cylinder was replace just before I bought it, and the previous owner said he believe it is a bad/new master cylinder. I am wondering if maybe he just did not bleed the break right? The break go basically to the floor, and will stop the truck, but you do not feel confident in them. Pumping the break will make the peddle stiffer, but breaks feel as if the work even less then. The peddle stiffness is gone after about 5 minutes of driving if you do pump them.

4)Glow Plugs- What is your practice? I have heard to let the "Wait" light do its things, and wait some more to be safe. I have also heard once the truck has been ran - don't wait at all? I am patienct, and wait for the light every time! Also, I was told to plug it in if I plan to crank it in sub freezing temps.

5)What RPM do you run on the highway? At 70MPH. I am running about 3k. I can run 80, but am getting near yellow on tac. Sound normal? I do have the automatic, and I believe they are 3 speeds?

6) I know towing weight is all over- but with this truck, what is a camper weight that it will easily pull at highway (65-70) speeds. I know hills are a bummer. I currently have a bumper pull at 7500lbs, and am thinking about getting a larger Goose neck.

7) The truck seems to be stock all over the motor. Which I like. I have read the things to do to get a little more power, but will "more power" be hard for this "who knows how old" motor"

8) The truck needs a passenger rear fender. I am having difficulty locating one. Any suggestions?

Thanks for any help. I have attached a picture of it. The inside feels and smells new. It is the XLT model, which I believe was decent in 1989.

Again, Thanks.

Last edited by EngagedIT; 11-01-2011 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:54 AM
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IDI's dont like to idle all that much. They will idle, but fuel wash will start to become bad. What happens is your EGT's drop, cylinder combustion temperatures drop, and then liquid fuel washes the sides of the cylinders down of the oil. This will accelerate wear. I would wire up a high idle switch, so that if you want to go and take 10 minutes, you can switch it on. This will effectivly raise your EGT's and help with cylinder wash. Dont let this scare you though, I've known guys idle them all night, in the long run though its not the best case scenario. My IDI takes roughly 10 minutes of driving to be good and warm. I would advise you to invest in a set of aftermarket gauges, as the stock gauges Ford used were crap.

As far as knowing mileage, that would be hard. Your best bet is to get a carfax which should show registration mileage.

I would pick up a vacuum tester and test the vacuum pump. My guess is that it is weak, especially if those other parts have been replaced.

A properly working glow plug system you should be able to start it right after the light goes off. Most who wait afterwards have a improperly running glowplug system as the glowplugs arents staying on the proper amount of time, and they are waiting for the glow plug controller to cycle them on and off to help heat up combustion chamber. If you replace the glow plugs only buy Beru, or motorcraft. Plugging it in will definatly help, but with a proper glow plug system, and an engine in good tune, you should be able to start down to roughly -20*F without any aids (aka ether). Mine started at 7*F with a dying starter (cranking speed much below what they were supposed to be at).

Is this truck turbo'ed?

Sounds like you have a C6 automatic...which doesnt have overdrive. I think you should start looking into tranny swaps, or auxillery trans. E4OD was the 4 speed auto with overdrive that you can swap in, a ZF5 speed manual tranny, or you could find a gear vendors overdrive to stick behind your current C6

Where are you located?
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:47 AM Rookie

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Thanks for the feedback. The breaks are now fixed, they just needed to be bleed.

This truck I am primarily using for a weekend warrior, so I am not sure I want to invest in installed a new Trans. I assume they are expensive. I would assume adding a OD gear is not so cheap either. The longest haul would me about 200 miles with my camper.

The truck is not turbo'd, and I read plenty about that, but as of now my heaviest tow is about 8000lbs. I am hoping it can handle it.

This morning, at about 40 degrees, the truck took a couple cranks to stay running. I plugged in the block warmer about 2 hours prior to cranking. unlike the prior morning without the block warmer, and this morning it fired right up but then shortly turned back off. After a couple tries, and it turning off two more time, it is now running smoothly. I am assuming glow plugs. I do, hear a "tic" of something (assuming glow plugs) tuning on/off when I first turn the key. I also see the battery meter move. This "tic" happens about every two seconds for about 20 seconds or so. I guess I may need to have the glow plugs checked out? Should the block heater, at two hours, removed the cold start issue?

I was able to (finally) find a fender. I ran into the parts manager at Ford and he got me one at cost of $350. It whole sale for 450 and retails for 550. It should be here Friday.

Seeing as this truck will be used 2-3 times a month, is there any advice for me to make sure it is ready when I need it? I have heard many people say they need to be ran, whereas a gas engine will fire up even after sitting some time, Diesel may give you fits.

I am still debating on weather or not this truck will be best for me, or Gas model. I love the diesel, but don't want to have issue with it if it sits for two weeks. I would prefer the look, power, and life of the diesel, but do not want to have issue after it sits.

I am around Columbus, Ga. An hour south of Atlanta. I appreciate all your advice, and look forward to this truck working well for me.

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:40 AM
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When it first starts does it idle rough and then die? If so, an injector return line kit will fix it 99% of the time, might as well throw a new fuel filter on there as well (fill it up with diesel prior to installing).

On a cold start, your glow plugs should stay on for 8 seconds, maybe more if temps are below freezing (really cold starts take them into the 15 second range). They are pretty easy to do yourself. If you decide to, and you notice you have a lot of resistance getting them out, take a slow. Sometimes the tips will swell, and if you force it they will break off...which can cause some major damage.

If you have an ohm meter, check the glow plugs on a cold engine. They should read less than 1 ohm resistance. If they are more than 1 ohm, they are bad.

Do return lines, and some new injectors. My bet is it will fix most of your problems. These trucks should be able to sit a few months and fire right up.
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