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Old 09-11-2012, 05:05 PM
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New Guy, need advice on 2003 7.3

So a friend of a friend, etc brings me a 2003 250 with a 7.3, 235k miles. He had heard a banging in the motor, had a local mecahnic look at it, who told him it was ok. The owner drove it a long distance and on the way home in went nuclear, white smoke, and required coolant every 35-50 miles. Amazingly the truck still runs, BUT the crankcase is full of a wonderful oil/coolant mix. The owner originally thought about a complete drop in, but has now scaled back. We have found a used motor with 110 k on it for $3500, I am also considering rebuilding it, but I am concerned about home much damage has been done at this point.
I will be the first to admit I have never rebuilt a diesel, but I have done countless gas engines from SBF/SBC/Buick Nailhead, Ferrari etc. I am not too concerned about the skills, more in relation to special tools etc.
Is there a common failure on these? Would this issue be a cracked head, or do the blocks go? Clealry all the bearing are gone at this point, but I cannot help wonder about the crank?
I have not pulled the motor yet, but will start this weekend.
Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:04 AM
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I rebuilt my 2003 7.3 myself at home after being told it needed a new complete engine due to bad compression in cyl. 8 (to the tune of $10K)
I removed the left head and found the piston crown had been hitting the cylinder wall at TDC and worn it away slightly. Removed the engine, tore it down and inspected everything myself, sent out the block and had #8 sleeved and everything punched out 20 over, bought a complete rebuild kit and put it together at home.
Dropped it back in and it runs great. (couple of issues not related to the engine rebuild, but nothing major).

Anyway, yours sounds like a head gasket, but if the EGT's went nuclear, there's no telling without a teardown what cracked, broke or bent. The block may be salvageable or not, as well as one or both of the heads, but you won't know without tearing it down and sending them out to a machine shop that knows diesels.
As far as special tools, I did mine at home with my "secondary" home tool set, with very few things needed (as I recall) from my work set.
I'm a technician by trade, but my 7.3 was my first diesel. An engine is an engine. Fueling is a different story, but the rotating mass of the engine is the same as it ever was.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:17 AM
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Thanks!

I am going to start pulling it out of the truck this weekend. It seems pretty straight forward, might have the heads off by Sunday afternoon, but we will see (can't be worse than a Sunbeam Tiger)!
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:32 AM
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I strongly suggest having an engine crane or a helper to lift the head off the engine.
Those cast iron heads probably weigh as much as a Sunbeam Tiger!
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:37 AM
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I bet!

Yes, I plan to pull the motor and set in a cradle that I have built. I will then use my hoist to remove the heads, once I have those off, I can lift the block and attach to the engine stand.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:31 PM
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Well it's out!
Now comes the question to rebuild or buy used! I wish I could find a 80-100K motor that I knew I could trust!
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