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Noob to the forum and to diesel! Need tips and advice please.
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.
ready? Set. GO!