what to look for in a 94-97 psd when buying - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-20-2012, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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what to look for in a 94-97 psd when buying

I am currently in the market, looking to buy now, a crewcab long bed 4x4 f350 powerstroke. I was wondering what you look for when buying, what types of problems or symptoms you look for in these trucks. I know about the rear shackles rusting out and the dual mass flywheel clunks, but other than that what is common and detectable problems? Also I have found a couple of 94's that are not Powerstrokes but have factory installed turbos? What's the difference in power reliability etc? Thanks for any input.
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-20-2012, 05:11 PM
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As far as power differences between an IDI and DI Powestroke, you'll see roughly 215hp and 450 ft/lb of torque with a stock Stroker, compared to 190hp and 385 ft/lb with a stock IDI. The ATS turbo which came stock on the 7.3's will max out at around 8lbs of boost, whereas a stock P.S. turbo will top out in the ballpark of 20psi.
Both engines are extremely reliable. An IDI will however be cheaper to fix if something does go wrong. You have no high pressure oil system to worry about, and injectors are roughly a third of the price of powerstroke injectors (stock vs. stock).
A Powerstroke will be much MUCH easier to get additional power out of, and if you're anything like me you'll get the itch to mod sooner rather than later. There are some IDI's putting down decent numbers, but they are maxed out at the same level you could get to with some bigger injectors on a powerstroke. Getting power from an IDI requires machine work and alot of modification (think lowering the compression ratio and increasing boost). Basically dollar for dollar you'd be better off with a Powerstroke if you're shooting for 300+ HP.
As for things to look for in a stroker:
-check the engine valley for oil or fuel.
-turbo for signs of dusting or shaft play
-take the oil fill cap off with the engine running and at operating temp. set it upside down on the oil fill spout. if it stay put you're golden, if it floats like and air hockey puck the engine has some blowby (compression gasses passing the piston rings)
-crawl under the truck and check the oil pan. they're notorious for leaking or rusting out, and to repair either you need to pull the engine.
-get some test strips and test the coolant
-smell the transmission fluid, if its burnt thats a sign the tranny is on its last legs.
-ask about oil changes. the HPO system is hard on oil. anything over about 5k and you're playing with fire.
-ask about injector rebuild/replacement. plenty of guys have pulled 300-400k out of stock injectors, but they are a high dollar part to replace.
-if you're looking at an automatic, make sure its been rebuilt. some people luck out, but most of us are looking at a rebuild around 150k (my truck is on its third at 161k, but the first one was replaced at 5k due to a manufacturing defect)
-ask if ether has ever been used to start the truck. this is a general sign of poor maintenance (change the damn glowplugs!) and can cause long term problems with our trucks.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but my damn fingers are tired from typing.

Chrome don't get ya home
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-20-2012, 05:37 PM
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When buying a used PSD
You might take the air tube off the back of the air filter and look inside of it. If there is dirt build up, that is a very bad sign, so are the turbo fins looking sand blasted or bent. A little oily film is normal since the valve cover breather exits inside the tube.

Check the two bolts holding down the airbox lid. If they are plastic with a square recess, it is a recalled part. The recall is expired, but without the updated lid the risk of dirt infiltration is greater, the lid was updated with more supports and the updated bolts are metal with a straight slot. If it is the old style, you spend around $80 to update it.

If you buy a truck with an auto tranny, finding out if it's been maintained is essential, as the E4OD is an expensive transmission. Also, (if auto) seeing if the truck has an auxiliary transmission cooler would be worthwhile. For sticks, listen for clunking when shutting off or small vibration while operating. It could be an indication of a dual mass flywheel going out. Many have replaced them with single mass units.

Rear Gear Ratio:
4:10 will pull better, get slightly lower mpg�s and run a higher RPM compared to 3:55.

Ask the previous owner about the coolant - have they been adding FW16 or DCA4 to keep a proper SCA level? It is very important for stopping cavitation. You can get test strips to check the SCA level from NAPA, International, or Ford. I would test the current condition while looking over the truck, the SCA level should be between 1.5 and 3.0. Also, see if it has a block heater (it was an option on 97's).

Front end:
Check the front end for wear, or have an alignment shop check out the ball joints and steering linkage (tie rod ends). If they are shot, it is spendy (all four tie rods are around $400 just for parts, ball joint labor is also very spendy)

The questions to ask are how often the oil was changed (at least every 5,000) and what kind of oil they used (diesel rated)? An oil analysis could tell you if there might be an engine problem or not.

Aftermarket stuff:
Seeing if the truck has got an aftermarket downpipe would be nice, a chip, or gauges (pyrometer, trans temp, etc.). Ask about any added items and who installed them.

Glow Plugs/Relay:
Find out if the glow plugs are in good working condition as well as the relay. Ask if either has been changed and when. You can check the glow plug resistance through the valve cover connector if needed (http://forums.ford-diesel.com/cgi-bi...&f=21&t=005210), and the relay should have power to both large terminals on top when the key is turned on, and one of the terminals should go out before ~2 minutes.

Injector o-rings:
The injector O-rings have been known to be a problem. The new o-ring sets have a pink middle seal. If the truck has an o-ring problem, one of the signs can be a discoloration of the fuel in the filter bowl. There is a drain on the passenger side front of the filter bowl for draining water (the filter is also the water separator) and you can catch some of the drained fuel in a jar � it should be dingy yellow and not blue or dark.

Leaks and Drips:
You can check the valley between the heads of the V8 for moisture and/or fluid. It should be dry not wet. Most leaks will run through this valley and down the back of the motor dripping off by the tranny/engine coupling.

VIN number:
If you take the VIN to any dealer, they can tell you when it was built, when it went into service, and some of the work that might have been done on it. You can also run prospective VIN's through Carfax.com to see the title history.

Mike 1997 F250 totaled 11/19/12
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-20-2012, 05:38 PM
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Up pipes leaking...AKA soot on firewall or uppipes. Oil pan leaks. Rear most manifold to cyl head bolts broke means it was run warm/hard more then once.

1997 Ford F-350 4x4 SRW regular cab manual trans.
-4.10s, 315/75r16...getting a frame off restoration. Go fast stuff

1996 Ford F-350 4x4 SRW CCLB manual trans. CALI spec
-ATS intercooler, WW2 w/ 1.0 housing/EPBV delete, Comp 910s, SD Efuel, 3.55s, 315/75r16

2002 Ranger FX4 with manual transfer case and Alcoa's
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