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darn it, i'm still wondering if i should get a new truck

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  • darn it, i'm still wondering if i should get a new truck

    argh, i know my engine is prized by many, but the rust is just getting too far too fast. it's a 2002 f350 diesel 7.3 liter super duty super cab with just over 270k miles.
    here are my options---replace doors (all four of them) and some side panels on the cab, or try to find an entirely new junked cab and replace the entire cab.
    that's what id' like to do, and then have it all repainted to match the trailer.
    i am fine with a flat or stake bed, so no need to replace that.

    but the body shop guys say i'd be better off buying a new truck altogether, which kind of bugs me. after all, if they can make old junkers look great why can't my truck be given the same treatment?

    even if i spend 20 grand on a new used cab et al that's still less than half of a new truck.
    i guess if there were a truck i felt good about i'd be interested in buying new, but noone i talk with has anything good to say about the newer heavy duty trucks.
    btw, i pull a hawk gooseneck with three horses and camping gear, so need a BIG truck.
    anyone have a new big truck they absolutely love and would recommend?

  • #2
    I'm not leaning toward "sell"... but it might not be bad.

    1. You absolutely can sell this 7.3L with 270K and rust. I just sold mine with worse rust and worse milage to a Diesel Dork who knows what she is and loves her. If this were my truck, I'd keep it until I had a real reason to sell. Cosmetic rust isn't it. Serious rot didn't stop this Diesel Dork from buying mine (but her frame was strangely A-OK while her entire "skin" was cancerous). My point is that the person who will want a 7.3L with 270K in the first place will be someone who works on trucks at home. The body work that scares you or me, or costs us money, isn't a problem for them.

    2. With fuel prices going up, I think people will be dumping their gently used toy-haulers throughout the summer, or maybe at the end after one more season of good times. It's not a bad time to be in the truck market if you have to stay in a "fuel hog" vehicle anyway while so many others will be getting out and their value going down.

    1. and 2. mean that you are in the enviable position of being able to look until you find what you want and you won't lose anything by doing so.

    3. I categorically wouldn't buy a new vehicle so I can't help you with this part of the equation. "Used, maintained and great track record" is a better investment, even if you plan to keep the truck forever.

    What to buy?

    Diesel: You might look around for another 7.3L. If you can't find one that's younger on the odometer than yours and not too much money more, that would be good. It will be hard in the rusty Northeast. If I could not have a 7.3. and were buying new or used diesel now, I'd lean toward a Chevy/GMC among the Big 3. I wouldn't own a 6.0 or 6.4 Ford (made 2003.3-2010 model year) unless it were under warrantee and/or some of the big, obvious modifications had been made to correct the known problems with those engines. You will find a lot of 6.0s/6.4s advertised that look alluringly cheap as a replacement for your 7.3. Read up on the problems and fuel milage on these before you leap in.

    Gas: There's something to be said for going to a gasoiine engine now. Fuel and oil changes will be less expensive that with a diesel. Milage will suck when towing. You can get enough engine in a V8, but I'd buy a V10, coming from the torque of DieselWorld. After that, I don't know what to tell you about how many miles on a gas engine is too many. This is where you need to talk to lots of people. But I have friends with gas trucks that last into the mid 200Ks in terms of milage. That's not bad.

    I'll be interested to see what others say and what you decide.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    • #3
      Well the shop guys clearly haven't owned a 7.3 if they think getting rid of it is the best option!

      I say stick with the truck you know; you know the quirks, you know it's been maintained, you know it'll keep going.

      Maybe eight years ago now we had a '87 Diesel suburban and were in the same position. The engine was at a modest 200k and ready to keep ticking, but her body wasn't looking so hot. Frame was fine, panels were not. What we ended up doing is buying an entire junked 'burb for like $500. MUCH cheaper than buying each individual part. We stripped the doors off of it, and the tail gate, and popped them onto our own 'burb. Then got it painted. All to around the tune of $2k from the "local guys" who did bodywork in their spare time. The cool thing is we sold the trashed 'burb for scrap for $300, so it was a good deal!

      So look for the entire scrapped vehicle...maybe one someone yanked the engine out of or something. It will be much cheaper than buying parts.

      Fix her up, and get her a snazzy new paint job! You'll have a "brand new" truck for basically under $5k......so much better than springing for a new truck! Especially since there aren't many engines that have the same status as the 7.3.


      • #4
        Psssh to shop guy. I would do the body work too. I'm with "never buy a new vehicle" as well and there's nothing late model on the road that I feel good about either. I have an 01 7.3L and if it was my truck, I'd fix her up and keep her going. It's too good a truck to let go just because the body's beat up. You are right--you can spend a LOT of money fixing it up and still be way cheaper than buying something else.
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
        We Are Flying Solo


        • Original Poster

          oh wow, i just realised i mis-typed the milage, i have 170 k on it, not 270!
          she's just a baby!
          so now i guess i have to find a bodyshop who will tackle the job.

          any ideas? i'm in vermont and i guess i'm willing to travel if necessary, i have another vehicle to run around in in the meantime. if i do have to go out of state i'll wait till winter though.


          • #6
            Originally posted by suz View Post
            oh wow, i just realised i mis-typed the milage, i have 170 k on it, not 270!
            she's just a baby!
            so now i guess i have to find a bodyshop who will tackle the job.
            Well that just tells you how much some of us think you SHOULDN'T sell it, even with 270k! With 170k? Psh, body work all the way! She'll be tickin' for another ten years.


            • #7
              I have the same truck - 2002, 350 super duty, the 7.3L that I just bought a few months ago - less than 150,000. I've had it in the shop 3 times in the last month for issues unrelated to the engine and was getting frustrated and wanted to test drive some newer model trucks on the dealer's lot - and the sales guy actually talked me OUT of it. He said they had a guy just in the service dept with the same truck that had over 500K on it and it was still going strong... so I've decided to stick with the 7.3 engine for now.


              • #8
                Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                I say stick with the truck you know; you know the quirks, you know it's been maintained, you know it'll keep going.
                Yep!! Keep and re-do the things that need to be done.
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • #9
                  Around here, if you need bodywork, you call up a good junkyard guy and he starts searching for matching models. Might be a good place to start?
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo


                  • #10
                    170k on a diesel isn't even broke in good yet mileage! Get the body work done, but since you are in VT and I assume the rust is from winter salt, make sure your undercarriage/frame is in good shape before you make her pretty! I have an'02 Yukon XL gas with 260k that I will keep on the road at all costs. I hate the new Yukons and Suburbans.
                    Originally posted by The Saddle
                    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.