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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm new to the forums, and diesel truck ownership, so I am very uneducated and some of the comments/questions are probably pretty basic. Last year, I purchased a 1999 Ford F250 Super Duty 7.3L 4x4 w/ 260xxx miles on it, for $5200. I knew, given the previous owner's description, and the price, that it was going to need some work done. Unfortunately I made 3 incorrect assumptions - 1. Most of the work needing to be done/the reason for the low price, was due to cosmetic issues (the original bed was rusted out, and replaced w/ one that was a different color than the cab), and 2. I overestimated my roommates ability to determine the health of the truck when we went to check it out (he worked at an auto shop for about a year, and did own a 94 F250 diesel at one point); his lack of inspection skills was later exposed by the amount large of repairs I have had to do, none of which he pointed out as potential problems I would soon face. 3. The previous owner was a diesel tech, so I figure it must be in good shape. Now I am wondering if he saw this truck was a lost cause, and I got gyped, hard.

Before I continue, my main question/point of this post - I have put in around $6000 for repairs/replacement parts, and the most recent trip to my mechanic, it was brought up that the transmission might be next, and in the very near future, and since this shop does not "do transmissions" (rebuilds, they only do replacements), that would cost $3700 in parts (for the transmission he found when he did a brief search online), on top of the cost of labor. I am trying to determine if this truck is worth me continuing to put money into, or if this is just going to turn into an endless pit. My thought process is that if the health of the engine can be determined, and it will last as long as the 7.3s should, then I don't mind putting more money into it. My roommate (same one who did the poor initial inspection), is of the belief that this cannot be done, and claims that assessing the engine health would cost what it would to rebuild the engine, as it would need to be totally dissected to do so.

The last major repair I had to do, was Flex Plate replacement (which I posted a video of about a month ago, asking "what this sound might mean". The strange this was, they had just replaced the Flex Plate a month before. The mechanic said he jhad a hunch, but wasn't exactly sure why that happened, and because of that, couldn't ensure it wouldn't happen again. He said something about some bolts were missing(?) and there was some issue with what connected it to the torque converter, and the tech the first time around didn't bring that up/address it but they jimmy-rigged something this time to make it work? He said the next step if it cracked again, would be to just replace the transmission, but as I noted - he doesn't do diesels, so I'm not sure about this whole situation.

So here are my main questions -
1. Can the health of the engine be determined at a reasonable cost? I would need to find a diesel tech, as my current mechanic/shop, does not know much about diesels.
2. What are the other common major parts failures/issues I need to be aware of? Would I be able to determine whether or not they are some of these things are "on their way out"?
3. (not important until I have answers and a plan of action for 1 & 2) - Where should I look for an automatic transmission, if it does look like doing so is worth it, and what transmission would I want to purchase?
4. I saw a FB marketplace post for a $4800 99 F250 7.3 that had some issues, but is claimed to have a brand new (1k miles) transmission in it. Is it a stupid idea to purchase it, and use that transmission, since that is about the cost of a transmission, and then I would have that truck for parts.

Below is the list of all of the work I have had done to it since I have purchased it.
- Sway Bar Welded ($339)
- Windshield Replaced ($224)
- Sway Bar Links; Ball Joints; Front Stabilizer Bar; Brake Pads & Rotors; Calipers & Axle Seals; Alignment ($2014)
- Hydroboost; Master Brake Cylinder ($1,207)
- Power Steering Pump ($249)
- Flex Plate; Starter ($1647)
- Trailer Wiring Issue ($486)
- Power Steering High Pressure Hose ($238)
- Flex Plate ($0)

Past Owner -
- Uppipes
- Turbo Pedestal Delete
- Injector Wires & Valve Cover Gaskets

I've attached some pictures of the truck as well, and thanks so much for all the help. I apologize for the long post, and if this is in the wrong sub-forum.


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317 Posts
compression test, contribution test, and oil analyses will give you some idea and should make you feel better about spending money on the truck if all come back good. I see the biggest problem is you not being knowledgeable about the truck you bought and relying on others to diagnose it and fix it. You will get ripped off no matter what it is if you don't educate yourself.

2000 F-350 4x4 w/ ZF6 trans
271 Posts
compression test, contribution test, and oil analyses will give you some idea and should make you feel better about spending money on the truck if all come back good. I see the biggest problem is you not being knowledgeable about the truck you bought and relying on others to diagnose it and fix it. You will get ripped off no matter what it is if you don't educate yourself.
I agree with this statement but.............. we all have to start somewhere. The key is not doing it again in the future and learning from this. I would suggest the all the same tests as above, and also recommend getting a scanner for these. I use OBD2 Bluetooth adapter and Forscan on my phone. Works well for diagnosing problems. I would also highly advise against buying that second truck with the "1K" mile trans. That is another money pit project from the sounds of it.

135 Posts
You can get a decent idea of the health of the engine with checking blow by, contribution and listening to the engine start up sound with fully charged batteries. If it slows and speeds up (skips) your compression is off. Also do a oil change and cut open the oil filter. Look at the oil that’s draining out of the oil pan. Put your fingers in it and catch some of it with a paper towel. Is there metallic glitter in there. Is it chrome or copper colored. Steel or
Allumimum. Any chunky goopy black stuff. Slimy gooey greasy bits? Cut that filter and see what’s caught in the pleats. All that will give you a idea of how it is internally.
A compression test is to determine how much pressure the engine makes, and a leakdown test measures its ability to hold pressure.
Getting a oil analysis is fine also. It’s pretty cheap to get it down. 30/40 bucks. At least to see what’s in the oil and what’s wearing internally.

But for me having maintenance records is a huge plus but this truck sounds like it was ridden hard and never put away. So I doubt anyone had meticulous maintenance records.
i think your friend meant well but a year at a automotive shop does not make a Diesel mechanic. Truthfully if you dont know for sure take it to a person who does that for a living. A couple of hundred bucks at a diesel shop would of saved you thousands in cash and many headaches. But that’s water under the bridge now. Also best to find a diesel shop if you’re gonna pay to have work done or start looking for a diesel club in your area. Lots of guys will pitch in to help at lease with knowledge. Sometimes tools some may have shops and give you a break.

I would look at possibly saving money for a used transmission with lower miles or simply start saving for a new transmission if yiu are gonna keep the truck. Ford has a 4r100HD version for about 3200 bucks….. unless you drive like a complete animal that transmission should last with no issues.

The real question is how much are you gonna dump in it? You paid 5k for it dumped 6k so far and about to possibly dump 3700 plus say 6/800 in labor for a trans. So let’s call it $4500. So you’ll be 16k in a truck that’s maybe worth 7/8k at this time due to the economic constraints and still needs a paint job. Which isn’t cheap. I had to paint my bed and that was $1500. And that was 14/18 months ago.

my suggestion is to start gathering tools and start learning how to work on vehicles yourself. Unless you are loaded with cash taking it in to a shop every time is gonna break you especially on older vehicles that were not maintained.
sometimes transmissions are fine but solenoids are the problem. Learn how to service the systems and power train of your vehicles.

Stop taking your truck to shops that don’t work on diesels.
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