Compression Ignition Addict
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Silverton, OR
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An 88 will have a 7.3 IDI, so I will lists its faults
They took the 6.9 IDI (circa 1983-1986) and bored it out to 7.3 liters. This made the cylinder walls thin. Without a special coolant additive (SCA), they can cavitate over time (small holes in the cylinder walls). Coolant in oil, oil in coolant, that type of thing. You can buy a SCA test strip kit from your local store, test the coolant. If its up to spec, then good, if not, I would walk away.
They changed the valve guide design from the 6.9 IDI (the 6.9 design caused them to burn oil). But in doing so, it sometimes causes valve failure, which results in a F'ed up engine.
Those are the two major things wrong with them. You can go more into depth, little things like the glow plug controller stops working if 1 glow plug goes bad, but all in all they are good engines. Parts are easy to get, and cheap. They really truly only need a couple wires to make them run, and are way easy to diagnose and fix. A true, mechanical engine, easy for the average backyard mechanic to fix.
1985 Ford F-250 with a 6.9 IDI/T-19 4speed 4x4
Paint, Eagle Alloys, Kelly Safari TSR's, ATS turbo, gauges
2004 Jetta TDI 5 speed
2004 2wd Excursion Limited 6.0. Testing how loyal I am to Ford
1997 Passat B4V TDI. 1 of 80 imported in 97. 50 MPG and a factory 25 gallon fuel tank!