Hello there guys (and gals.) I have recently become interested in purchasing a diesel vehicle. From what I have looked at a 90's model 7.3L seems like a nice place to start. Im just looking for the hypothetical "push" I need to get a Powerstroke. The things I'm looking for in a truck would obviously be a combo of power and fuel economy. The amount im looking to spend is around $3,500. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Powerstroke? And I know this is a Ford forum, but what are advantages and disadvantages of Duramax and Cummins engines? My cousin (same age as myself so we hang out alot) owns a 99 24v Cummins. If I'm gonna get a diesel truck it'll most likely come up that we should do a pull competition. Would my 90s 7.3L have any chance on his?
Note: I'm 16, this will be my first vehicle. I live in BFE Ohio on a farm so my truck will be put to good use out here.
Thanks everyone! !
I don't know how the diesel truck market is in Ohio but for $3500 you could get a 7.3, maybe even a super duty, in New England. BUT it will have some substantial rust on it and will probably be beat up. But if your willing to put the work into it most are salvageable.
The biggest perk of the 7.3 is its reputation for reliability but you will be looking at a truck that is at least 10 years old at this point so stuff like u-joints, wheel bearings, ball joints, transmission have been replaced or be in need of replacement. Also given the age, mileage and condition of vehicles in your price point, stuff like injectors, glow plugs, HPOP (high pressure oil pumps - search HEUI injection system) might need attention or replacement.
I think you would be hard pressed to find a Duramax in the $3500 range, if you did it could be more trouble than it would be worth. The Duramax (and the 03+ Cummins, 6.4 PSD and current 6.7 PSD) all use Common Rail Injection. So they can make big power very easily. Not uncommon for a EFI tuned d-max to make 450-500rwhp with an intake, exhauset, tunes and a lift pump (in a most dmaxs the CP3 injection pump draws right from the tank). Great engines but expensive and sensitive (especially in the case of the 01-04 LB7) injectors. I have never owed a chevy in my life so I can't comment about how the trucks are, I know the biggest complaints surround their use of IFS.
For dodges in your price range you are looking at 12V's (VE and P pumps), 24V's (VP44 pump trucks) and maybe a high mileage Common Rail (03+).The 12V's come with one of two injection pumps (VE rotary pump 89-93) or a P7100 injection pump (94-early 98). VE trucks are simple reliable but at this point some are old enough to drink, so age and wear will be an issue. They can make descent power but they are not the powerhouse the later 12V's can be. The p-pump'd dodges are something like the small block chey's of the diesel world. Lots of aftermarket support and can make HUGE power when built up. However the trucks are getting up there in age and wear again can be an issue. People also tend to complain about build quality with these trucks but I have never owned one.
In late 98 Cummins went from the P7100 injection pump to the electronically controlled VP44 injection pump. Not a bad set up by any means but doesn't have the powerhouse potential of the P7100 trucks, basically the same truck with a different injection systems used on their engines. The biggest issues most people have with these trucks is the 53 block.
53 block info:
Cummins #53 Block Info
And the VP44 injection pump itself. The VP44 pump is a self-lubing pump, mean it uses the diesel fuel it pumps as lubricant and coolant. Well in late 2006, the US moved from low sulfur diesel(500 ppm) to ultra low sulfur diesel (15 ppm) and the drop in sulfur, and more importantly its lubricating co-solvents, cause the lubricating properties of diesel fuel to decline. Therefore the number of VP44 failures has increased. To combat this many VP44 drivers run marine grade two cycle oil or other commercial fuel additive to supplement the lubricating properties of the fuel. The other issue of the VP44 is since fuel quantity and proper pressure (no less than 5 psi but no more than 20 psi) are so critical to its operation, the poor factory lift pumps used on these trucks are notorious for failure and when the $150 lift pump fails and it is not replaced... it is only a matter of time before the $800-1250 VP44 pump fails. At this point most VP44 trucks have had their lift pumps replaced, if they went to a dodge dealership they moved the pump to a more reliable in tank lift pump (that they used on the 2005+ CR trucks) or went with one of the many aftermarket lift pump options. An "idiot" 5 psi warning light or fuel pressure gauge are always a good idea on a VP44 truck.
Starting in 2003, Cummins brought its Common Rail engines to north america. It uses the same bosch common rail system as the Dmax's. These engines make lots of power, especially the 04.5-07 5.9's, and can be reasonably fuel efficient depending on tuning. The biggest down side to an 03-07 (especially the 04.5-07) 5.9s are the injectors. Common Rails make crazy injection pressures, 26-30k psi, and aftermarket tuning can jack those pressures up even more. Not uncommon for these $300-500 a pop injectors to not even make it 50-60k and depending on how they go in other cases they can take an engine out with them. Solution to this problem, get a rail pressure gauge and monitor it... and be careful with your tuning... keep your injection pressures to within factory spec and you will be fine. The other issue is the factory fuel filtration is complete inadequate IMHO, luckily it is VERY easy to add addition filtration to these trucks and that goes a long way to keeping the factory injectors happy. When I sold my dodge the factory injectors had 205k on them and when I had them bench tested by Bosch they were still within factory specs.
I actually owned a 04.5 CR powered 3/4 ton dodge before I got the truck I currently have. IMHO each one has its pluses and minuses. The extra room I have in my super cab is handy and the heavier ford seems much less influenced by my plow and fifth wheel. However stock for stock, the lighter more powerful dodge would burn my ford and with a smarty turned common rail would embarrass my current truck but at this point I am not really concerned with "performance" so it isn't a deal breaker. I find the leather seats in my current truck MUCH more comfortable then the cloth seats my dodge had but I would turn my 7.3 into a boat anchor if I could get a CR between the fenders of my current truck but that is not in the budget. I know others are not so found of the CRs as I am.
Ok I think I have ranted enough...good luck with your search.