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I’ll try to keep a long story short here... in 2015 I picked up a ram/cummins and made the terrible decision of letting go of my 7.3. Recently I had the opportunity to get it back, and jumped on it!

Here’s the catch! ....it’s been sitting in a barn for about 2 years. The truck was parked because a brake line let go.

So this week I went and picked the truck up with an equipment trailer. When I got the truck home I gave it a real good cleaning and began to look it over, I’m not seeing any major concerns aside from the brake line and a power steering leak. The body is in rough shape, specifically the bed, in the near future I may be looking into a flatbed and cab.

My main focus is to try and start the engine before doing anything else, I changed the oil which surprisingly looked fine, checked the pulleys/belt. I’m not seeing any damaged wiring or anything else obvious. The batteries are about 2.5 years old, I’m seeing if they’ll take a charge.

My main concern is old fuel / algae. Should I just give it a shot, or try and drain the old fuel? We think there’s about 1/4 tank.

Anything else I should be checking focusing on before starting?

Here’s some info on the truck: 2003 f350 7.3 zf-6 250k. in 2015 it got a southbend clutch, fresh oil pan, and seals where needed. Motor is pretty much stock, has the 6673 filter, ccv delete, and driven diesel fuel system.
 

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In the grand scheme of things I would think just dropping and draining that tank for assurance is a minimal trouble and expense at this point. Or also Maybe just fill up and a bunch of additive just for safety.
 
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I was considering doing just that, but Looking at the tank straps and hardware I think that might be a one way trip. I may try and pump some fuel out of the tank and see what it looks like.
 

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I was considering doing just that, but Looking at the tank straps and hardware I think that might be a one way trip. I may try and pump some fuel out of the tank and see what it looks like.
If you just open it up at the top you can easily pump it dry and wipe it down
There is also additives available to clean out the algea
 

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Microbes aren't a huge deal to firing it up, but they can clog a filter fairly rapidly once you begin to drive it. I'd get it running, and after a few miles check the filter. If there's algae accumulation, then I'd pursue removing the tank for a clean out. But not just to get it fired up.

I may try and pump some fuel out of the tank and see what it looks like.
Remove the fuel supply line at the fuel pump. Attach a siphon pump, or blow small bursts of air into the filler to blow some fuel out of the supply line into a container. Because the pick up is on the bottom, what ends up in the container is what the engine is going to see. If it isn't water, or full of rust and or algae, fire it up.

I would also check the fuel filter for microbes, and an inspection of the filter element. If there was water in the bowl when the engine was last shut down, microbes are a possibility. If the bowl is clear, and the filter isn't grungy, put it back in and fire it up.

Diesel fuel, unlike gasoline, does not deteriorate unless water gets in to start microbial growth. The filter will stop pretty much anything that will harm the injectors, which is the expensive part.
 

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I would also add some oil even if you have to drain a little. When a truck sits for a couple weeks no biggy because oil is still present in bearings and throughout the engine. But when sitting for years it can mostly drain all into the pan. I could be wrong but adding a quart or two in before starting probably won’t hurt things.

To agree with others fuel really won’t be a huge issue. You may be able to Siphon a good portion out without dropping the tank or by following Dave’s advice above etc. numerous ways of getting the bulk of old fuel out.

keep us updated how she runs when you make the leap.
 

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As said, I would inspect the fuel filter, but that’s it. We’ve burnt old heating oil, which is almost identical, if not identical to what you get out of the pump.

Some heating oil tanks we’ve removed and burnt the oil from weren’t used for years and years, decades perhaps. And it’s never been an issue for us


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"Adding oil" won't do anything. If you're concerned about "no oil in the bearings" in an engine that hasn't run for years, pull the PCM relay and crank it until pressure shows on the gauge. Put the PCM relay back in. This will also pre-fill the HPOP reservoir.

Peeps get hung-up on "no oil" all the time. I never worry about it. I fire it up. What should be of concern is cyl wall rust build up from sitting. (I frequently see this in marine engines that have water-cooled exhaust). There are always 2 exhaust valves and 2 intake valves open at any point in the crankshaft's position. The open valves allow moisture to enter the cyls and rust forms on the cyl walls above the piston. When the engine is cranked, and the piston comes up, the top ring scrapes the rust away and the debris lodges between the top of the top ring and the ring land in the piston. There is no oil flow for the top ring, there is nothing to 'wash away' the rust. Eventually, it works its way out, I guess. There really isn't anything that can be done to prep for this other than a bore-scope inspection (impossible on a 7.3) and a cyl head removal to clean out the rust. No one is going to go to this kind of trouble, and they never do. The engines seem to fire and live long lives anyway. Point being: cyl wall rust is a much bigger issue than "no oil in the bearings" and no one worries about rust at all. So ignore oil worries as well.
 
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