Pondering a turbo

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by saburai, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. saburai

    saburai Full Access Member

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    Hello Gents!
    As our season in the Catskill mountains is dwindling down my thoughts turn to the task of pulling our 9000# 30ft solar powered travel trailer, our full time home, back down to SW Florida. While our 1990 NA 7.3 idi F-250 e4od has made the trip a few times now, it's not an easy trip. It's a struggle on steep grades on the highway and with some of the back road hills, I've been forced to back up and get a running start to have enough inertia to make it up. The truck could use more power to be sure. It's in good running order and well maintained with just over 200k on the clock. After a cursory search, for new kits it seems that the options are the wastegated Banks or the Hypermax. Of course I could go on a search for used kits or individual components. I'm asking the collective for information and advice on which route to take, what precautionary upgrades are smart and what evaluations of the condition of the engine I should do to determine if a turbo is a viable upgrade for the truck without a rebuild. Finally, as much as I've come to respect and depend upon the old beast, for the cost of the turbo upgrade (not to mention labor), would it be a wiser decision to sell the truck and use the money plus the allocated upgrade funds to buy a different truck with adequate power?
    Many thanks...
     
  2. pelky350

    pelky350 Full Access Member

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    A used kit can be a a good buy for a low budget as long as the turbo is in good shape usually can be bought for 4-800$ For a kit. New Is almost always better but 2500$ seems steep when you could buy a Full kit used and rebuild it for a couple hundred dollars. I started with a very used kit ran it for 60k could have gone longer but was also wanting a upgraded kit
     
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  3. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    On your last question. The final decision is yours no matter what anyone else says. I'm all for putting a turbo on your IDI. No, it will never have the power of a newer truck, but you can still get decent power out of it. If you just tow the travel trailer between the Catskills, and Florida a couple times a year, then I'd stick with it. If you do a lot of towing or even make a living with it and are questioning the lower power level when compared to a newer truck, then maybe you should buy a newer one. Also to be considered, the cost of insurance, registration, parts and possible electrical problems with a newer truck. These are pretty reliable and don't have much electrical things to go wrong, E4OD aside. Precautions? I'd say an intercooler, pyrometer, and head studs for sure. No. You can't install the studs with the engine in the truck (maybe you could if you remove a lot of things from the firewall, but then you still have to lift the very heavy heads off and put them back on). While you're doing the studs, this is the time to determine your engine's "health". Look in the cylinders and see how much wear is in them. Even if there's more than just a little bit, you can still run the turbo. 200,000 miles really isn't much for a well maintained engine. I had to replace a head on a 1993 with a Factory turbo and 305,000 miles. The engine was standard. Practically no wear in the cylinders. You just can't say until you look.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  4. Mike_42

    Mike_42 Kid Mechanic

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    If you are buying new, and want a whole bolt on kit then Hypermax is a better option IMO.

    If you want to just buy used there is a banks setup I believe in the MP for $600 now.

    Or you could go search up Justin @ r&d idi performance and give him a call. He isn't the easiest to get a hold of, but he usually answers after a few calls throughout the day. He will tell you anything you want to know, ask him how his stuff compares. Great guy.

    My plan is to get his stage 1 turbo, stage 1 kit, ARP head studs, intake manifold and put together my own inter-cooler and "cold air" intake. all for less than $3k and IMO much better performance than banks or hypermax.

    Also if you want to take full advantage of a new turbo, you may want some more fuel. R&D and Conestoga Diesel are the best and both very well reputable here.
     
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  5. IDIBRONCO

    IDIBRONCO IDIBRONCO

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    I agree with Mike on the new kits. I bought Justin's studs because his were about $100 cheaper than the ARP kits I found.
     
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  6. ISPKI

    ISPKI Lumber Chucker

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    Around my area in new england, early super duty PSDs (99-2000) can be had for around 4500-6k. Having driven in both an 01 f350 and my 94 IDI, i would prefer the super duty, theh are significantly more comfortable.
     
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  7. Mike_42

    Mike_42 Kid Mechanic

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    Yes his studs were cheaper, he is waiting on another batch at the moment so they aren't on his site.
     
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  8. pelky350

    pelky350 Full Access Member

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    Studs are good yes, many run without stud and 10psi seems to be the "no worry" zone, 15 is the questionable zone and anything above seems to Be who knows maybe it will live maybe it won't. Intercooler while towing with anything above stock fuel is a good idea, not required on stock fuel but it never hurts anything to have one always a positive. Boost and pyro is a must at minimum to keep things in check if/when you turbo, 3 inch or greater exhaust should be "required" imo turbo or n/a, muffler straight through also. Idi can get the work done you want maybe not the fastest out there but parts are cheap/ easy to fix reliable and efficient, but as stated above newer trucks are more comfortable but cost more. Depending how into modifying things you are an idi can always be made more comfortable just like a newer truck seats, suspension etc.
     
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  9. Macrobb

    Macrobb Full Access Member

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    Surprisingly, I've not needed one on my rigs; if you have everything timed right(and it isn't 100F outside), you can still pull a lot of power through your IDI without needing the intercooler.

    Now... I'm not saying an intercooler is a bad idea. I'd love one myself! But, especially if you are going with a "kit", retrofitting an intercooler is a big deal. There's fabrication and custom piping involved, that's for sure.

    Yes, that's for sure. Pyro(exhaust temperature gauge) is critical when towing; you need to make sure to not melt the engine down when pouring on the coals going up a big long grade.
    It's not nearly as critical when not towing(though still a good idea), simply because you'll hit the speed limit long before the EGTs get too high.

    I disagree. I haven't really seen any difference between the 2.5" exhaust on my 93 and the 3" on my 88.

    After running both straight-piped for a while, you want a cheap glasspack muffler when towing. Seriously, the drone will give you a headache after a while, and my '93 is the quietest straight-piped IDI I've owned.
    Unloaded, it's not nearly an issue, it's simply that it gets louder and more rumbly once you start pulling hard.

    I agree on this. I much prefer an IDI over a newer truck(7.3 powerstrokes are pretty darn reliable, though), simply because it's /mine/. I'm not having to trust a computer(that I know nothing about, I can't fix or modify myself) to make it work. Pure mechanical power.

    This is also why I run manual transmissions, too.
     
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  10. pelky350

    pelky350 Full Access Member

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    I only say 3 inch or greater because I know the difference is minimal but there is still a slight difference, every little bit helps when you stack them together lol
     
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  11. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    It's not that you "need" a intercooler, but you will gain performance with one.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
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  12. saburai

    saburai Full Access Member

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    Hi guys! Thanks for the insights. I'm traveling right now. I post up my thoughts in a bit...
     
  13. OLDBULL8

    OLDBULL8 Good Morning Ya'll. Supporting Member

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    Manually shift into 2nd gear so the TC is in lockup at/above 25 MPH. Crank that engine up 3k, won't hurt thing.

    Even an old Banks Sidewinder will give you more power. Need an EGT and boost gauges.
     
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  14. FordGuy100

    FordGuy100 Registered User

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    He also did a head bolt test to see how much torque they would take before they broke, and 7.3 head bolts can actually be torqued to a pretty high number...
     
  15. saburai

    saburai Full Access Member

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    Thanks! Who is "he"?
     

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