Looking for Info on 7.3's in Arctic - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-09-2007, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for Info on 7.3's in Arctic

Hello to All,

As this is my first posting, hello to all, I have read a number of the postings and am very impressed with natural helpfulness of Ford Owners around the world.

My question is multi-faceted, and may be summarized as I am looking for help selecting the right year F-250 with a 7.3 Diesel.

First of all, I live in interior Alaska, meaning winter days are often -30 to -40 deg F. Starting well and running well in the cold are a must. I have driven Dodge's with the Cummins up here and am not impressed as of their 2002 model. Pretty much every store or parking lot up here has plug in posts for engine block heaters, and they are neccesary even to start most gas engines here, I am just looking for what others have to say about the cold weather reliable starting of their vehicles.

Thus far, I have narrowed my search to the 7.3 because I believe it to be a more robust and proven engine than the newer 6.0. I personally don't relish the idea of breaking down at -30 F on a 500 mile road trip. So while I need towing power, I am not willing to sacrifice reliability. Thus I am thinking of a 7.3.

Additionally, I have always been a fan of manual transmissions, and want the 6 speed for the added reliability, control, and fuel economy. Does anyone have something to say about how well these trucks perform and specifically the 4 wheel drive and shifting at super low temperatures?

As to power, I occasionally need to haul trailers up to 15,000 pounds. In past this was the job of a Cummins with a gooseneck hitch. Thus I feel that I need at least the 250 [hp] version of the 7.3 As I understand, the 2003 version produces 275 hp and 525 ft-lbf of torque. Is this correct? If so, how was this horsepower gain accomplished, simply a different tuning of the chip, or different air intake etc?

Utilizing the postings on this forum and some personal research on the internet, I have narrowed my search to vehicles from 2001 to 2003. Does anyone have something to add to this? Reccomendations especially those related to fuel economy, cold weather performance, and reliability vs year would be greatly appreciated. Also if someone thinks I should look to another year than I have already indicated, I am open to any and all suggestions.

Last but not least, I have looked around the larger cities of Alaska for a F-250 Superduty with a manual transmission from 2001-2003. It seems no-one has a manual 6 speed, everything is automatic. Is there a reason for this, is the manual flawed for arctic conditions, or is it as simple as no-one teaches their youngsters how to drive manuals anymore?

I thank all in advance for their help!

If nothing else, for those who visit this posting but don't have time to answer carefully, would you be so kind if you drive an F-250 (2001-2003) with a 7.3 in it, to post your year, horsepower, torque, gas mileage, and brief opinion about cold weather drivability and reliability. Thanks
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-09-2007, 06:29 PM

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When you get all this figured out your going to be the go to guy on cold weather strokes, but there are a few Alaskan members and Michigan folks as well that should be along...............in the mean time Welcome to Powerstroke.org!!!
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-09-2007, 06:35 PM
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I'm Happy.....

with my truck. See Sig.
Still stock, but not for long. I plan on making some mods for better efficiency.
Have had no problems with the engine, and starts well in the cold (0*F).
Starts even better when plugged in. Runs well in 4X4 in cold.
As for reliability, watch "Ice Road Truckers", road managers all drive Powerstrokes.
Nuff said.

2002 F350 7.3L PSD HO SCLB HD 4X4 6-SPD LS 3.73
Bilsteins, Mag-Hytec Diff. Cover, FS-2500 Bypass Filter, Billet T-Stat Housing, 203* T-Stat, 4" MBRP SS TB, B&W GNTB.

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2003 Cobra Coupe
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-09-2007, 06:37 PM
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Welcome to the Org. Cold weather your going to want to plug that in religously. Also you may want to look for some battery blankets. They are hard to come by but I know they have them for big trucks. Keeps the batteries from freezing. Oil your going to want to run something like 5w30 in your truck especially during the winter months.

These trucks are work horses, you have to drive them hard and work them hard too. They like that. As for the transmission. I have an automatic. I can not speak for the 6speed. I wish i could have one but because of my knee I can not do all that shifting.

Your Actions Today, Decide Your Future Tomorrow

2005 6.0 Crew Cab Long Box Lariat, current truck

2004 6.0 destroyed by contaminated fuel

2002 7.3L burnt
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-09-2007, 08:24 PM
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i have an auto. as long as it is plugged in mine will start on the coldest days (which are cold, but not as cold as yours). glow plugs are not hard to get to. just pull off the valve cover and they are right there. i don't get very good mileage because of the big tires. but my dad and brother both see around 18 mpg. they don't plug there trucks in either. they just key it a couple of times to get the cylinders warmed up then start it and let it run for a little bit. good luck

built trans, hybrids, studs, and other internal mods.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-11-2007, 11:48 AM
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I am about to go through my first winter with PSD Excursion. However, my brother in law has been driving the 7.3 PSD for a number of years (has 97 F250, had 00 F250 and now has a 00 Excursion). He plugs it in at home but on occasion when he did not he has not had issues. We have had all of his trucks ice fishing and parked them before daylight and got back after sun down (10-12 hours) where the high temp for the day was probably 12-15 degrees and started no problem.

The only time we had a start issue was in fall so it was not freezing but the selonid that runs the glow plugs went out. However a shot of starter fluid fixed that and it started up. We now never go ice fishing with out starter fluid even though we have not needed it.

I am not a diesel guru by any means, I'm just learning myself, but I have heard a problem when it is supper cold (sub zero) for a long time is I think the fuel can gel up, not sure what you can do about that. And frankly that may not be true. Anyone??

I also think you are mistaken with the power differences between 00 and 03 7.3, I am pretty sure they are all the same hp and torque.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-11-2007, 01:06 PM
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No, I'm pretty sure he's right about the years and the power, but a simple chip'll even them all out.

I've got an '00 250, but haven't weathered a winter yet. My 6-speed feels good and other than some injectors failing (necessary evil, I guess) I don't have a single complaint with the truck. Mine's a 235hp 7.3l, for what it's worth

2008 F250 CCSB FX4
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-11-2007, 01:18 PM
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I haven't had any problems it cold weather yet. We occasionally get below 0 in the winter and last winter we seen -20 on a few days. I did switch to synthetic oil last winter and that did help alot. Keep it plugged in. I bought a timer so it turns on about 3 am and at 6:30 when I crank her up she is ready to roll. You may want to keep it plugged in all night, but I do like to help out the electricity bill any way that I can. Standard trans are harder to come by as autos come standard at the factory. I believe mine is 250 hp and the standard trans comes 275 from the factory. I avg about 16-17 and seen as high as 19 once. Good luck on the search Keep us posted on how your search goes.

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post #9 of 18 Old 09-11-2007, 01:20 PM
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Wow - I have an F250 auto and love it -- the only time I've had a problem starting was when the heat in Phoenix caused my batteries to leak (6yrs old - time for new ones anyway) and they went dead..

I have zero experience with my PSD in cold/subzero temps so feel any advise I could give would be inadequate. I do know these trucks are made to work and as long as you take the necessary precautions for cold weather operation - you will get as much out of your truck as you want and more!

as far as the auto/man trans - seems the man trans is just simply harder to find... even down here.

I averaged about 17 mpg @ 70-80 over a 1200 mile trip - so could EASILY get 20 mpg if I stayed below 70 & @ 2000 RPM - I have the 235 HP version if I'm not mistaken

Last edited by Blue01F250; 09-11-2007 at 01:26 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-11-2007, 01:34 PM
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