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Is this IDI the right truck for me?

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by OldManNeil, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. OldManNeil

    OldManNeil Registered User

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    HI guys,

    I’m new to the forum and I need a truck! I am a new home owner with a couple acres and lots of projects so this will be for medium duty stuff like towing our 6x10 dump trailer full of gravel, towing our tractor back and forth to the in laws and many other material runs. No long haul camping or anything but I do need it to be reliable to haul the above mentioned stuff up and down California.

    I am a pretty competent mechanic and plan to do SOME work on it but I’m not looking for a project truck and have never owned a diesel truck. [I have a VW TDI for commuting and love it].

    I have found a well cared for 1994 IDI F350 crew cab with a Banks Sidewinder with 280k miles. It does not have any blow by and seems in good shape, owner will take $7k for it. 280k miles seems like a LOT to me so my question is: Will this be a reliable and low maintenance truck or am I kidding myself and this will need a repair every few months? I will probably put less than 4k miles per year on it.

    You all know way more about this truck than I do so I appreciate the input!
     
  2. Clb

    Clb Another old truck Supporting Member

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    400k is on the higher side...
    280 is JUST a # overall condition is a bigger issue.
    Price is well... Me? Mid to high.

    4 door single wheel is still a land yacht to run to the hardware store for a box of nails.
    dually even worse.
    idi's will git the job done just not gunna break any land speed records.
    Not much to go wrong with the mechanical inj. Compared to a powerstroke.
    Offer 5k see where he is at?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  3. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    280k isn't that bad for an IDI, but keep in mind that it has a 25 year old truck wrapped around it, I'd worry more about that than the engine or the miles. The engine might need the usual round of glow plugs / injectors / IP / return lines, but usually that's all it needs to be kept happy.

    I bought my truck with 290k on it, now it's got 320k. The engine hasn't asked for anything other than the aforementioned basics, but I've had to replace damn near everything around it. Steering box, tie rods, radiator, water pump, alternator, tach sensor (twice), shocks (twice), brake hoses, master cylinder, brake pads / shoes, calipers, battery cables, batteries (twice)... I'm forgetting another 20 things I'm sure, but you get the idea. A whole lot of minor things, most of which you can do in your driveway, but that's generally what you can expect with an old truck. The engine has been the least of my problems LOL
     
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  4. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    Is it 4X4? That would add some value to the truck. Is it an automatic? Those transmissions (E4OD) can be pretty good or they can be a hassle. Overall. if you feel that the price is right (I think it may be high, but I also see that you're from San Francisco so it may be a good deal), I'd say go for it. It should be able to do what you're wanting to do with it. If it does have the E4OD, you should put an auxillary trans cooler and a trans temp gauge on it. These things don't play well with excessive heat.
     
  5. chris142

    chris142 Full Access Member

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    Thats very high. Offer 1/2 that. Not too many people other than the few on this board want these trucks. The power strokes do go for much more.

    There are a few common issues like glow plug relays, electrical connections with too much resistance etc but the guys on this board can direct you to the proper repair.
     
  6. OldManNeil

    OldManNeil Registered User

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    First of all, this is amzing. I've never posted to a forum before and here we are 3 people i've never met giving me thoughtful advice on a serious decision. THANK YOU!

    It's a 4x4 5speed manual. Previous owner has done a bunch of "everything else" like radiator, water pump, t-stat, added Glow Shift Gagues, AC compressor. I'm also familiar with all this stuff form other cars so maybe I'm just more prepared for it. What scares me is the stuff that's a really deep hole like a bottom end rebuild that is all of a sudden an un-drive-able truck or pay $5k [when it's worth $7k].
     
  7. OldManNeil

    OldManNeil Registered User

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    Figure all my new diesel friends will get a kick out of this. It's my diesel patio heater at full chat.

    IMG_4263.JPG
     
  8. Macrobb

    Macrobb Full Access Member

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    Here's the thing: You say you are a mechanic. If, in your mind, you could pull the motor if you had to and swap it with another... it's totally the right truck for you.
    If you feel you'd have to pay a shop to do it, be more careful.

    Realistically, if you have the resources to be able to pull the motor, there's nothing on the truck harder than doing that. Parts are cheap - labor is expensive. Which is why, worst case, if you have to pull the motor and can do it yourself, you are looking at under 1K to get it back on the road. Possibly much less.

    Now, that isn't to say that the motor is likely to require being replaced. It's not. It's just that nothing is harder to do than that.
    Head gaskets can definitely leak, though, especially if something else fails(like the fan belt) causing a high-temperature stress situation. And, again, if you can pull the motor, it's a couple days of work to pull, re-gasket, reinstall, and <$100.

    There's also nothing that can't be done to the truck that requires more than a flat spot of ground and some plywood for a cherry picker or trans jack. Most everything can be done with hand tools and a jack.
     
  9. YJMike92

    YJMike92 Full Access Member

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    Like the previous posts have said It's an old truck but nothing beyond the scope of a mechanically savvy guy. I would go old school rather than a newer Powerstroke. the price sounds a bit high but if it's in good shape and well maintained it would probably be worth it. There you have. Another guy with an opinion.
     
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  10. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The big thing, as always is MAINTENANCE. A well cared for IDI will run darn near forever. A horribly beat on never cared for IDI will still run for quite a long time but will die an early(er) death.

    A buddy of mine had right around 600,000 miles on his IDI before he scrapped it. We're in NY, there was no body left to that truck.

    As has been said before. The "truck" is far more likely to be a problem at the age and mileage than a well cared for IDI will.

    ASK ABOUT COOLANT ADDITIVE! Seems to me the number 1 killer of these engines is cavitation caused by running coolant without additives. Head gaskets that blow can be replaced and you're on the road again, engine blocks that get holes in them warrants a whole engine replacement. This is the ONLY thing that has ever worried me about a high mileage IDI simply because of ignorance of the matter.

    If it runs and drives great and he's been running and monitoring additive level in the cooling system yes the price is a little steep but that's the only problem I'd have with the truck.
     
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  11. MtnHaul

    MtnHaul Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Your location is San Francisco, so I would avoid a 4-door longbed truck like the plague. Tight streets, parking lots, Bay Area traffic, crowded lumber yards, etc. My truck is an extended cab longbed and I often wish it was a bit shorter. Sure you get used to anything after a while, but Bay Area CA and long wheelbase truck does not sound like fun.
    \
    But about the 280k, I wouldn't be afraid of that mileage if the truck looks well cared for and had the receipts to back it up. I bought mine with 303k and replaced a ton of cheap and easy stuff like, vac pump, water pump, brakes, glow plugs. A high mileage older truck will eat into your time at some point but at least the parts are pretty cheap, and of course there's at least one great forum to help you out if you get stuck:D.
     
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  12. Oledirtypearl86

    Oledirtypearl86 Full Access Member

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    Well said I did a job in the bay area and my work truck was a 99 psd crewcab long bed and iI ha a 24 foot trailer . Just parking the truck was a chore and in 3 weeks I got 9 parking tickets and yelled at several times a day sanfrancisco was a test of my patience also my truck got broke into twice -cuss
     
  13. Oledirtypearl86

    Oledirtypearl86 Full Access Member

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    And I like your patio heater got any pics of the full thing is it like the heaters they use in the orchards
     
  14. Clb

    Clb Another old truck Supporting Member

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    Heater looks like an old smudge pot,
    On the high mile deal, a budy of mine ran a tractor service for decades, ran a 6.9 to a million miles, you could push it in gear on flat ground, but it would start and run.
     
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  15. OldManNeil

    OldManNeil Registered User

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    I don't actually live in the city of San Francisco [anymore]. I'm nearby in a rural part of Marin county, north of San Francisco. I also had a 2017 F250 for a while from work. It was 4 door short bed but 250 inches long. The OBS F350 with a long bed is 249 inches long so not worried about the "Land Yacht."

    The pre purchase inspection of this truck returned sufficient coolant additive that the mechanic called "softener" which he said is to prevent the coolant from eating a hole in the cylinder wall, so sounds like the same thing.

    Oledirty, I'll DM you about the heater. It is an orchard heater.
     

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