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