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Old 01-14-2014, 03:29 PM
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Exclamation Noob to the forum and to diesel! Need tips and advice please.

Howdy -

I am a 32y/o full time college student in an organic sustainable agriculture program. I work part time at Johnny's Selected Seeds. I spend 3 hours a day commuting about 100 miles per day, 6 days a week. I have been looking for a 7.3 ambulance to convert into a rolling dorm room and homework office so that I can stay at school and work during the week. I have been saving money forever. I have been scouring craigslist forever. Finally, I think that I have found the right ambulance. But I am sort of terrified because I know how expensive it can be to repair these trucks and for the next 3 years in school I will be sort of poor. I am a lifelong gearhead but finally new to diesel.

Here is what I have found:
1998 E450 ambulance. 195k miles. $1800.00
7.3 PSD.(I believe that you could not buy an F series PSD in 1998 because they were readying the 99? But they still put some left over 97 PSDs in the 98 E series?)
Inspected till 10/14.
New front brake rotors and pads. new vacuum pump. Tires are at like 85% with 2 matching spares included. Current front tires do not show uneven wear.
When asked about the health of the injectors and rails, the seller states "all I know is what my mechanic said, that everything is OK on it."
It does have a complete history paper trail but I wont see it till I meet the seller on saturday.
When asked about the shift quality of the trans, the seller states "it shifts smooth. It doesn't clunk or slip. Except for overdrive. I think it might be slipping in OD but I am not sure. I just use the OD lockout button." (Ive already been quoted $1100.00 to drop the tranny and rebuild only the OD.)
He averages 17-18mpg.
I stopped to see it where it is parked this afternoon. It has zero body rust. I couldn't see under it because it has been sitting in the same spot since before we got like 4 feet of snow.

What are your thoughts and reactions please? Should I be looking for a 99-03 instead? Cuz I do like the idea of having a bullydog GT to download the mpg tune and their site states 99-03. Do you know of any other products like that which will work on a 98? 7.3 Ambulances are very hard to find around my area. I cannot seem to find a diesel mechanic that will be open on saturdays for me to have the fuel bits checked out. What should I be looking for? I would appreciate any and all opinions.

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Old 01-16-2014, 03:14 PM
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You need to have your mechanic look it over but for the price I would jump on it. My 97 has 560,000 miles on it so far. It is driven every day loaded down with tools and nothing major has happened so far. Looking forward to at least another 200,000 before thinking of replacing
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:26 PM
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Word - thanks all! I agree about the mechanic part. But diesel mechanics around here are few and booked solid. It was already impossible to match the sellers schedule to mine. So I'm learning as best as I can what to look for in the exhaust at cold start and from drips and what-not. I'd appreciate it if more peeps would chime in with advice on those topics.


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Old 01-16-2014, 03:27 PM
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Noob to the forum and to diesel! Need tips and advice please.-imageuploadedbyag-free1389918443.645146.jpg


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Old 01-16-2014, 03:28 PM
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Noob to the forum and to diesel! Need tips and advice please.-imageuploadedbyag-free1389918485.029940.jpg


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Old 01-16-2014, 03:29 PM
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Also it's a 98 and I'm still completely confused about the engine situation. I know I need the vin to tell right? And does it really matter which? Thoughts on that? Obviously the newer engine is improved but the older one was still great right?


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