Compression Ignition Addict
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Major items to check-
Pull the intake tubing off with the motor cold and try to wiggle the nut you can see inside the turbo- a little side to side play is normal (as long as the wheel doesn't hit the housing), ANY in and out play is bad. The edges of the blades on the turbo wheel should be relatively sharp and straight- no nicks, gouges, excessively rounded edges, etc.
Check the intake tubing (especially the red boot at the turbo if it still has one) for cracks.
Get a good flaslight (not one of those small LED pieces of crap) and look down in the valley of the engine- there should be no puddles of any liquid in there
Depending on outside temps where you are, check for white smoke immediately after you start it. If its cold out and the truck has a hard time starting and smokes white then the glow plugs are probably bad (remember, it's a diesel and if its in the 50's or lower give the glow plugs a few seconds to heat up before trying to start it).
Check the coolant for SCA levels if at all possible
Those are the major items. Of course don't forget the regular stuff like brakes, ball joints, tie rod ends, tire wear, etc. If you can, take someone familiar with Powerstrokes with you. Someone with access to something like AutoEnginuity would be a big plus.
Personally I would choose the 97 over the 94... but both sound like they have a lot of promise. Good luck, post pics of whatever one you end up with!
97 F350 CCLB 4x4 PSD