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Old 02-11-2013, 10:41 PM
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New guy, similar questions.

Hey folks, pretty new to the forum and brand new to powerstroke and deisel ownership. I have a few newb questions I'd love answers and suggestions on (in no particular order)

First, the truck: 2003 Ford F350 7.3L 4x4, 6spd Standard Trans, Crew Cab short bed. 3.73 axle

1. This is my first diesel, I live in the NE in NJ in a moderately cool climate. What are some care tips for starting and running trouble free in the cool winter (cool being typically above zero, maybe average 10F-50F)? My truck does have a plug, and I am currently using about 20oz of fuel treatment with my gas, I've been taking a couple minutes to warm up before pulling out and keep it off turbo till the cab is warming up and take it easy coming home and let it idle a minute or two before shutting off.

2. I know my truck is a one owner, but don't know if that owner used synthetics or not. I'd like to start with that. Anyone have a synthetic and filter combo they use/like and have proven with mileage? Also any good sources for fuel filters? I want to change that every other oil change or so but the OEM seems pricey.

3. My truck has 130K on it, any issues of switching to synthetic if that's not what was being used? Also any other fluids that are immediately safe (or not safe) to change out and freshen up? eg manual trans, transfer case, axles, coolant, etc.

4. This is dumb, but my truck LOOKS like it has manual hubs, but they don't turn for me at ALL. Haven't had a chance to pull a tire and really look, but did they put a faux manual hub on these? Hate to think I'm driving around with engaged hubs all the time unnecessarily, but 4x4 engages with a turn of the shift knob and I can't seem to turn those hubs, nor do they have the typical on off and arrow markings.

5. I want to do things to boost mileage, and would welcome moderate performance upgrades. I'm reading up on various tuners and such, but am not sure on some common terms I see on here... like PHP, TW, and HPOP. Help on basic abbreviations would be great.

6. My truck will be a daily driver that I also use for handyman work. That means maybe 250lbs of tools a lot of the time, and periodically bed loading and towing up to 5000lbs of cargo but mostly cruising around through annoying stoplight land trying to save gas (and pass Hondas and Rams). I would like the proverbial suggestions for tuners, intakes, and exhausts that people have specifically used on my truck. My expectations are in (roughly) this order

1. Intake
2. Tuner with readouts or adding gauges (not interested in bully dog after reading reviews on here) but curious about DP, Edge, and others.
3. Exhaust later on

I'm looking for reliable, safe do-it-myself (mostly) upgrades that will open up better fuel economy and the possibility of better performance. I have great mechanical skills and automotive background but little to no diesel experience.

I know that's asking what other people have done and it's a well documented opinion question, and I've read a bunch of threads after doing a few different searches, but I'd like to consolidate what people have specifically done on an 03 7.3L manual trans set up if possible.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:35 AM
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I would be glad to help you out with what I can.

Here are some answers to your questions...

1. The main thing for winter time is to make sure all of the components of your glow plug system work. This would include the relay or GPCM(Glow Plug Control Module), glow plugs, and the batteries. The block heater will help, but you do not want to depend on that.

2. The preferred oil filter for the 7.3L is the Motorcraft FL-1995. Most parts stores carry this and it is around $10. Fuel filters will run you about $30+ anywhere you look. I am referring to the filters that come with the cap attached because that is pretty much what is widely available. Any good synthetic oil should suffice. A popular one is the Valvoline Extreme Blue.

3. A lot of guys switch to synthetic oil regardless of mileage. I personally run/like 15W40 dino oil, but you would be fine going to synthetic. The only thing switching to synthetic would really change is your HPO(High Pressure Oil). You may see a drop or fluctuations in this. Knowing when all of the other fluids were changed last would help to determine if they need to be changed or not. It is never a bad thing to freshen up and you won't do any damage by doing so.

4. It sounds like you do not have manual hubs. It would help to see a picture of what you are talking about to be for certain though.

5. The basic performance upgrades that most people start out with are intake, exhaust, gauges, and tunes. This is the first building block for more power too if you ever decide to want more. We can get you setup with all of the items listed. As far as terms go, there are various sheets floating around the internet that will describe them. Do some searching around and you should find them.

6. For the intake, there are many aftermarket and DIY possibilities. We personally carry Airaid products. When it comes to tuning, we offer a few different options. You can check them out HERE. For the exhaust, any 4" system will work fine. We carry Diamond Eye, MBRP, and Silverline.

I hope I was able to help you out a little with the info you are looking for. If you have any other questions regarding products we carry or just general inquiries, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you out with whatever I can.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:35 AM
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For cold starts batteries and you glow plug system are key. I live in ME, my truck starts right up as long as its above 5*. I have 1000cca batteries but have atleast one bad glow plug you might have better luck.

For oil alot of people seem to like rotella T6 5w-40 full synthetic. I currently use rotella T5 10w-40 synthetic blend. use motorcraft filters

Power hungry Performance(PHP), Tony Wildman(TW)

For an intake do a DIY 6637 cost between 50 and 80 bucks. You have a PMR engine so it will flow more then enough air for the power you can safely make.

Exhaust, 4" any brand really

Gauges ISSPRO or autometer everyone seems to have good luck with.

Tuners, talk to DP, PHP,TW. You want a TS 6 position, not and edge or bully dog.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:02 PM
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Keep in mind that the best way to "mod" your truck is to take all of the responses and go with what you come to conclude is your best option. You are on the right track with forums of actual owners. Watch out for who I call "vultures" that sell product and troll forums offering no real advice other than selling what they have. These are my opinions:

2. Synthetics in our 7.3's has no benefit, kind of like using 93 octane gas in a car requiring 87, it just costs more. Synthetics should not prolong your oil change interval. Oil and oil filter change every 5,000 miles with a fuel filter change every 3rd oil change or 15,000 miles. Use ALL Motorcraft filters in your truck. Air FA 1750 ($20), Oil FL 1995 ($10), Fuel FD 4596 (you DO catch a break here. go to Racor PFF4596 Fuel Filter / Water Separator You can buy the Racor 4596 for $16.59. (last time I bought from there, over $50 was free shipping so I got 3 filters, Racor makes the fuel filters for Ford so this is the EXACT SAME filter without the Motorcraft box at half the price)

3. The only fluid that has to be synthetic is the rear differential. All other fluids should be changed and start a scheduled maintenance chart. My trick for oil changes is that I always change my oil when the thousands position on the odometer reaches either a 5 or 0. ex. 145,000 and next at 150,000 Also, consider switching to red ELC coolant when you flush it. SCA levels MUST be controlled in these trucks by using additives and test strips. Using red HD ELC coolant not only lasts 300,000 miles before maintenance, it requires NO SCA attention. Well worth the switch.

4. If you have a floor shifter for 4X4, you have manual hubs. If they won't move, they are probably frozen. Take them off and clean them or it may be better to just replace them. Ford arrows wear off very quickly

5. The best thing for MPG is really to drive like you have an egg under the accelerator. Get rid of the muffler for a new exhaust system or a "flow through" muffler. Some people swear by performance upgrades, I like my truck with very subtle and minor ones. It depends on you. Just consider, will the results be worth the costs and/or risks?

6. Intake and exhaust should go together. DO NOT get a tuner without gauges and know the maximums and minimums of the gauges relating to the truck. The more powerful you make the truck, the stronger other parts must be or there will be a failure somewhere. So, be careful about what you decide. Talk to someone who has nothing to gain that has "been there, done that".

To make your truck reliable and overall best mpg, my suggestion is to replace your muffler and use the Ford stock air box with the FA 1750 or buy the Ford AIS kit (around $200), follow a scheduled maintenance plan STRICTLY, never skimp on quality of parts (use OEM), pump tires to maximum psi while still wearing correctly, and drive it like you want to keep it forever.

Remember, we all were diesel beginners once and you are definitely headed in the right direction by taking the initiative to get this information. The 7.3 is the last of the great and simple diesel engines so keep it and take care of it! Good luck
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motomike777 View Post
Hey folks, pretty new to the forum and brand new to powerstroke and deisel ownership. I have a few newb questions I'd love answers and suggestions on (in no particular order)

First, the truck: 2003 Ford F350 7.3L 4x4, 6spd Standard Trans, Crew Cab short bed. 3.73 axle

1. This is my first diesel, I live in the NE in NJ in a moderately cool climate. What are some care tips for starting and running trouble free in the cool winter (cool being typically above zero, maybe average 10F-50F)? My truck does have a plug, and I am currently using about 20oz of fuel treatment with my gas, I've been taking a couple minutes to warm up before pulling out and keep it off turbo till the cab is warming up and take it easy coming home and let it idle a minute or two before shutting off.

2. I know my truck is a one owner, but don't know if that owner used synthetics or not. I'd like to start with that. Anyone have a synthetic and filter combo they use/like and have proven with mileage? Also any good sources for fuel filters? I want to change that every other oil change or so but the OEM seems pricey.

3. My truck has 130K on it, any issues of switching to synthetic if that's not what was being used? Also any other fluids that are immediately safe (or not safe) to change out and freshen up? eg manual trans, transfer case, axles, coolant, etc.

4. This is dumb, but my truck LOOKS like it has manual hubs, but they don't turn for me at ALL. Haven't had a chance to pull a tire and really look, but did they put a faux manual hub on these? Hate to think I'm driving around with engaged hubs all the time unnecessarily, but 4x4 engages with a turn of the shift knob and I can't seem to turn those hubs, nor do they have the typical on off and arrow markings.

5. I want to do things to boost mileage, and would welcome moderate performance upgrades. I'm reading up on various tuners and such, but am not sure on some common terms I see on here... like PHP, TW, and HPOP. Help on basic abbreviations would be great.

6. My truck will be a daily driver that I also use for handyman work. That means maybe 250lbs of tools a lot of the time, and periodically bed loading and towing up to 5000lbs of cargo but mostly cruising around through annoying stoplight land trying to save gas (and pass Hondas and Rams). I would like the proverbial suggestions for tuners, intakes, and exhausts that people have specifically used on my truck. My expectations are in (roughly) this order

1. Intake
2. Tuner with readouts or adding gauges (not interested in bully dog after reading reviews on here) but curious about DP, Edge, and others.
3. Exhaust later on

I'm looking for reliable, safe do-it-myself (mostly) upgrades that will open up better fuel economy and the possibility of better performance. I have great mechanical skills and automotive background but little to no diesel experience.

I know that's asking what other people have done and it's a well documented opinion question, and I've read a bunch of threads after doing a few different searches, but I'd like to consolidate what people have specifically done on an 03 7.3L manual trans set up if possible.
As longs as temps are above zero you should have no problem with gelling with winter blend diesel. I am highly opposed to most "diesel additives" that you can buy because they are alcohol based which just thins out the Ultra low sulfur (15ppm) we have that is already way to thin for these trucks. Best bet for FUEL additive is 2 stroke oil.

As far as everything else. Motorcraft filter, 15w-40 Rotella will do. free flowing intake and exhaust on a 6speed should yield great milage even with a 4x4
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:22 PM
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Thanks for the input so far guys.

I am interesting in chipping the truck because it seems a lot of guys have good success with improving economy that way.

to clarify a few things, I'm not sure how to post pictures on here yet, however my 4x4 system is the turn knob shift on the fly, not a floor mounted stick shift (I wish), does that mean they are NOT manual hubs?

Is there any fear of changing the tranny fluid at high mileage? I know with automatics it can be a death sentence because a late life change after high mileage can pull all the bits of metal out of tranny corners and just tear apart clutch plates and valves and such. Not sure if there's any draw back to look for on a manual. I like knowing my fluids are clean and right.

Is 2 stroke oil better than say Power-service and does it prevent gelling? I'm pretty sure the truck was gelling when I bought it (was a particularly cold week) How much would you use per tank of fuel? I can see why the lubrication would be fine and maybe not harmful but not sure how it would help gelling. I have no idea if local places are using winter-blend diesel or not honestly.

Now on a personal note
01F250, Bf goody's AT tire is in my top 3 picks for new tires on my truck (I used to run on my old explorer ... what kinda mileage (longevity) and performance are you getting out of yours?
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01f25073 View Post
Keep in mind that the best way to "mod" your truck is to take all of the responses and go with what you come to conclude is your best option. You are on the right track with forums of actual owners. Watch out for who I call "vultures" that sell product and troll forums offering no real advice other than selling what they have. These are my opinions:

2. Synthetics in our 7.3's has no benefit, kind of like using 93 octane gas in a car requiring 87, it just costs more. Synthetics should not prolong your oil change interval. Oil and oil filter change every 5,000 miles with a fuel filter change every 3rd oil change or 15,000 miles. Use ALL Motorcraft filters in your truck. Air FA 1750 ($20), Oil FL 1995 ($10), Fuel FD 4596 (you DO catch a break here. go to Racor PFF4596 Fuel Filter / Water Separator You can buy the Racor 4596 for $16.59. (last time I bought from there, over $50 was free shipping so I got 3 filters, Racor makes the fuel filters for Ford so this is the EXACT SAME filter without the Motorcraft box at half the price)

3. The only fluid that has to be synthetic is the rear differential. All other fluids should be changed and start a scheduled maintenance chart. My trick for oil changes is that I always change my oil when the thousands position on the odometer reaches either a 5 or 0. ex. 145,000 and next at 150,000 Also, consider switching to red ELC coolant when you flush it. SCA levels MUST be controlled in these trucks by using additives and test strips. Using red HD ELC coolant not only lasts 300,000 miles before maintenance, it requires NO SCA attention. Well worth the switch.

4. If you have a floor shifter for 4X4, you have manual hubs. If they won't move, they are probably frozen. Take them off and clean them or it may be better to just replace them. Ford arrows wear off very quickly

5. The best thing for MPG is really to drive like you have an egg under the accelerator. Get rid of the muffler for a new exhaust system or a "flow through" muffler. Some people swear by performance upgrades, I like my truck with very subtle and minor ones. It depends on you. Just consider, will the results be worth the costs and/or risks?

6. Intake and exhaust should go together. DO NOT get a tuner without gauges and know the maximums and minimums of the gauges relating to the truck. The more powerful you make the truck, the stronger other parts must be or there will be a failure somewhere. So, be careful about what you decide. Talk to someone who has nothing to gain that has "been there, done that".

To make your truck reliable and overall best mpg, my suggestion is to replace your muffler and use the Ford stock air box with the FA 1750 or buy the Ford AIS kit (around $200), follow a scheduled maintenance plan STRICTLY, never skimp on quality of parts (use OEM), pump tires to maximum psi while still wearing correctly, and drive it like you want to keep it forever.

Remember, we all were diesel beginners once and you are definitely headed in the right direction by taking the initiative to get this information. The 7.3 is the last of the great and simple diesel engines so keep it and take care of it! Good luck
I would not consider that a way to make your truck reliable or to increase mileage. If anything, that will decrease the reliability. The stock air box is a poor design and is known to let unfiltered air through(usually because of a broken clip on the box). After time this will dust the turbo and possibly the engine. The smartest thing to do is buy an aftermarket system that will get rid of the panel type air filter or to do the 6637 intake.

Here is a good example of what 240,000 miles using the stock air filter box will do...



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  #8  
Old 02-13-2013, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motomike777 View Post
Thanks for the input so far guys.

I am interesting in chipping the truck because it seems a lot of guys have good success with improving economy that way.

to clarify a few things, I'm not sure how to post pictures on here yet, however my 4x4 system is the turn knob shift on the fly, not a floor mounted stick shift (I wish), does that mean they are NOT manual hubs?

Is there any fear of changing the tranny fluid at high mileage? I know with automatics it can be a death sentence because a late life change after high mileage can pull all the bits of metal out of tranny corners and just tear apart clutch plates and valves and such. Not sure if there's any draw back to look for on a manual. I like knowing my fluids are clean and right.

Is 2 stroke oil better than say Power-service and does it prevent gelling? I'm pretty sure the truck was gelling when I bought it (was a particularly cold week) How much would you use per tank of fuel? I can see why the lubrication would be fine and maybe not harmful but not sure how it would help gelling. I have no idea if local places are using winter-blend diesel or not honestly.

Now on a personal note
01F250, Bf goody's AT tire is in my top 3 picks for new tires on my truck (I used to run on my old explorer ... what kinda mileage (longevity) and performance are you getting out of yours?
It is said one ounce per gallon of fuel on the 2 stroke oil. Ashless 2 stroke oil is preferred. They sell it at walmart for about $12 a gallon. As far as winter blend diesel goes. Im sure you are running it. Up north its in pumps over half the year. Milage will suffer during this time.
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