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Anyone towing with the 03/04 Ford 6.0L? And, general truck info...

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  • Anyone towing with the 03/04 Ford 6.0L? And, general truck info...

    I know there have been some issues with the 03/04 6.0L, thanks to my good friend that works for Ford. He sold his 2003 earlier this year and it subsequently blew the turbo and then a head gasket not too much later. Apparently, it was a constant problem child then entire time he had it, but it also had quite a few aftermarket modifications so he can't entirely blame Ford.

    Does anyone here have one and use it for regular hauling? Has it been reliable? I'm going to be truck shopping very shortly - sometime in February. I'm looking for newer, used trucks - I *could* afford new, but realistically it is unnecessary and I don't want to strap myself with a payment. There are a LOT of these trucks out there for sale, which I'm sure has something to do with the issues they've had. I just don't want to buy myself an unreliable, problem child - I do a LOT of showing (anywhere from 10-30/year) and even more hauling out for XC schooling and lessons, plus this will be my ONLY vehicle. I'm selling my MINI - I don't live far from work (<5mi) and the horses will be at home.

    I want a crew/4 door cab, short bed, diesel. I might consider an extended cab if the truck was otherwise absolutely perfect, but I regularly show and haul with at least one other person, so between the coolers, clothes, and other gear, those rear doors are a real plus. And I would consider a manual transmission, as well - in fact, that would be a plus for me.

  • #2
    No comment on reliability, but I'd opt for a long bed, if one can find that. More space for hay, wheelbarrow, etc. I can put a ton of hay on my F350 long bed, extra cab. When showing, I can fit a week's worth of hay, my big manure cart and a trunk in the bed.

    I like my extra cab, with rear doors. A crew cab is nice, though, if you need space for passengers.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      By the Grace of God I've never owned one these Papa Oscar Sierras.

      But my tennant did. It spent at least as much time in the shop as it did in her drive and left her on the side of the road at least three times (I know 'cause her husband borrowed my Chevy truck to go and get her).

      There's $500 Million in litigation between Ford and International over these trucks. At least several hundred were repurchased by Ford under various "lemon laws."

      Maybe the later years were better (some say they are).

      My recommendation on buying one of these things? To quote The Duke: "I wouldn't!"

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • Original Poster

        Good to know.

        I'm hoping I can find a 99-01 7.3L turbo... I've seen a few crew cabs, all long beds though, but decent mileage and fit the rest of my req's. Any thoughts on those, Guilherme?

        I guess I wouldn't mind the long bed, but seeing as I live near the city and do a lot in town - the less behemoth I have to park, the better. I got pretty good at it the last time I had a truck, but crew cab + long bed? oh, dear. I can think of at least half a dozen parking lots I wouldn't even be able to DRIVE around, let alone park in. All new developments, of course. Strange how everyone drives the big SUV's and trucks nowadays, yet the parking lots and spaces have shrunk.


        • #5
          I have an '03 6.0L diesel. Bought it new off the lot August of 2003 and have towed all the time with a big heavy trailer since. It drives like a champ! Did lose a Turbo once, but it was replaced under warrantly at almost 70K which is apparently how long they last anyways. The only big problem I had in the beginning with the truck was a bent rim, that looks like it came out that way. Had some suspension issues and went through a set of tires before my current mechanic figured it out. Ford ended up buying me 2 new tires, paid for half the rim (neither one of us could prove the other bent it), and then the dealership that fixed is gave me a huge break on fixing the suspension, and did the alignment on their buck. Overall I'm incredibly happy with the truck!


          • #6
            The same tennant who got rid of their Papa Oscar Sierra 6.0L International replaced it with a '99 7.3L crew cab (LB, 4WD). So far all it's needed is periodic oil changes.

            There is an issue with the "cam position sensor" on the 7.3s. If it fails then you're stuck. But I understand it's an easy fix. Lots of owners carry a spare with them (along with a spare fuel filter, spare fuses, etc.).

            I don't know about her milage. I suspect it's in the mid-teens, as the truck is large and heavy. It takes energy to move pounds.

            Personally I find the long bed truck much more useful. It does make a crew cab vehicle into a "land yacht" but that space is very useful when going to Home Depot, Tractor Supply, the feed store, etc.

            The words for today on this are "shop around." I replaced my '99 Chevy (3500, crew cab, 4WD, gasser) with an '08 Chevy Duramax (CC, 4WD, LB, LT series very well set up for towing) with 7500 miles on it for $31,500 (almost $8000 under blue book). The truck was a "creampuff." The seller was anxious to sell and I was ready with the cash to buy.

            I rejected the Dodge at the time because of Chrysler's very unstable financial position. I'm not sure I'd do anything different today. I rejected Ford as the 6.4L engine was still new. I also did not like the fact that the Ford engine compartment was very crowded, suggesting that even simple maintenance tasks would be very expensive because to get to Item A several Items B, C, D, etc. would have to be moved. I understand from some folks I know with Fords that this is true in many instances. I don't own a Ford so I've no direct information. I've not had any maintenance issues on the Chevy in 15,000 plus miles so I that is still in the future for me.

            I was also a little "goosey" about Fords as they have had three completely different engines in 10 years and are about to introduce a fourth, named "Scorpion." The Ford boosters are all agog about this, but then they were also enthusiastic about the 6.0 International. In practical terms that means the 6.4L engine will be an "orphan" in a year or two. The impact of this on resale is unclear.

            Sadly there are no real "consumer report-type" resources for one ton trucks. They are considered commercial vehicles by most folks that that means "caveat emptor."

            If you can find a good 7.3L then you will probably do OK.

            Good luck in your search.

            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


            • #7
              You might want to expand the 7.3L engine search to include the 2003 year. It
              was mid-year that they changed over to the 6.0. We have a 1996 F250 extended cab with the long bed 4x4. It now has 245,000 miles on it and very little problems. Yes, we did replace the cam sensor, and also an pump on the fuel system but other than that.........


              • #8
                We have a late 2004 F-350 6.0L crew cab long bed that we bought new. Have 100K miles on it and so far, the only problem has been manuvering it into parking spaces. Also have a 2000 7.3L diesel extended cab long bed which is a fine truck as well, albeit a little louder and a little less comfortable...


                • Original Poster

                  I'm hoping to do just as you've suggested, Guilherme - Come February, I'll be walking around with cash in hand until I find the right one. I've a friend that is a mechanic, and has a 99 F350 of his own (though not for sale!) so I know I'll have someone reliable to check it out before I buy. I'd much rather buy from a private party. Cash talks.

                  'Comfortable' and 'quiet' aren't super high on the list of req's, in my case, Jan - I've been driving around in a MINI! Which, while not loud, has a pretty stiff suspension and though it is extremely roomy for a clown car, it IS still a clown car.

                  So I might have to re-consider the long vs. shortbed. I'd still like a short, but I won't say no to a long. And 4WD goes without saying, where I live. It rains 9-10 months out of the year, on a good year, which means parking in a lot of muddy fields at horse shows. It would also come in handy if we ever have another 'Arctic Blast' like last winter, or I have to go through the pass for some reason.


                  • #10
                    I dream of owning a diesel. I have a '99 F350 V10 gas, long bed, extra cab. Runs like a top, hauls like a dream, no problems at all. I like Fords. I rank trucks like this: Chevy Duramax is the top. Ford comes next and Dodge ranks a distant third for me. That is based on personal driving experience, testimony from friends and personal preference. Terribly scientific and factual

                    My sister has my dream truck, however. '07 Duramax crew cab, long bed. Quiet, powerful, hauls smooth and easy.

                    In this economy, around Oregon, you'll find some nice, nice trucks for sale right now. Good luck!!
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      i've got a 02 diesel 7.3 liter f350 long bed which is my main vehicle. love my truck, though have had to replace the alternator too many times. ford just says, huh, that's weird, but i've been told my mechanics that ford knows full well there is a problem. my mechanic now replaces it under warranty every spring, and this solution has worked for the past two years.
                      wish i had gone for the full four door cab instead of the smaller back seat, and with my tapered nose gooseneck a shorter bed would have been fine.
                      i've got 152 thousand miles on it, and figure the body will rust out before the engine quits, so i drive it everywhere. i get 14 miles to the gallon, which sux, but the extra fuel is still cheaper than a new car payment for a more efficient vehicle. plus i feel safest in my one ton truck---i have a fighting chance of surviving if i tangle with another vehicle.


                      • #12
                        we bought a 2005 6 L, 4WD, diesel turbo, auto overdrive with tow-haul, F350 long box, crew cab, dually in 2007. LAND YACHT- LOVE THAT! We got it cheep because of the rep that the 03/04's had for blowing turbos, but we've not had a problem with the truck. It pulls a 27 foot gooseneck 3 horse straight up a mountain through 4 feet of snow if it needs to.

                        Apparently they redesigned the engine a bit in 2004 and the later 2004's and 05's did not have many problems.

                        yes, we put 62 bales on it the other day without feeling the load. ( that would be a ton and a bit)Yes it takes at least 2 parking spaces anywhere we go in town. Yes we love the luxury appointments.
                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                        • #13
                          Go with the older model .....

                          I have an '00 F350 with the 7.3L powerstroke diesel engine, long bed, crew cab. It has been a great truck, never any issues, only routine maintenance. Lots of power, reliable, can pull anything and I love it. Several friends have offered to buy it if/when we ever want to "trade up" for a new one. Based on all I've heard about the newer engines, NO WAY. We will be keeping this one till it croaks (or we do).... If you can find one of these I'd say go for it.


                          • #14
                            I have a 7.3 2003 F350 flat bed and love it. Has been very reliable. I do know that there have been all sorts of problems with the 6.0's and was told to avoid them.


                            • #15
                              hmmm... we have an 05 F250 6.0 extended cab (not the crew) short bed. It's been great, hauls like a charm and fits in the garage.

                              google is your friend, hubby spends a bit of time on various truck forums. What he's discovered is a LOT of people mod their trucks, then have trouble with them.

                              Apparently they redesigned the engine a bit in 2004 and the later 2004's and 05's did not have many problems.
                              I heard the same thing.

                              7.3 engine is a nice one too, we had to pass up on a very nice crew cab, long bed for a good price last year, it wouldn't fit in the garage.


                              • #16
                                We held out specifically for a 7.3L Turbo Diesel long bed because of the COTHers all saying the same thing. They were right.

                                Our's is much older, tho....a '91. She won't win any beauty contests, but by golly that puppy hauls! 147,000 miles and still going strong. Every mechanic I know of says the same thing "You hold onto that truck maam."

                                I will
                                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                                • #17
                                  The 7.3's seem to hold their value also. I bought mine in 06' for $23,000 and just checked KBB and it is priced at $22,050! That almost NEVER happens. Guess we got a better deal then we thought!


                                  • #18
                                    I have an 04 F350 with extended cab and full bed. While it hauls like a dream with our gn, we have had to replace a ball joint and the brakes and it only has 46,000 miles on it.
                                    When I compare it to the trouble free 230,000 mile life our ancient GMC 1996 Suburban has had, I'm not so sure I'd buy a Ford again. When I had a Taurus wagon, I took perfect care of it. So much, that the guys in the service department knew me by my first name. When that car hit 120,000 miles, the engine head cracked as I was driving along at 35 mph, less than a week after a major service. The guys at the dealership told me Ford made them to almost self destruct over 125,000 miles. Funny, no-one mentioned that when I bought the car...
                                    I'm not so sure I would buy a ford again.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Another question:

                                      What would you consider as far as mileage on a used truck? Not gas mileage, but driven miles. Obviously this will vary based on the year, but for the sake of things lets say a 99-01 7.3 turbodiesel since that's what I'd like. I'm not looking at anything with an obscene amount - right now, I would be hard pressed to consider anything with more than about 120k, and even that is a stretch when I'm seeing others in my price range with <100k.

                                      I know diesel is different, lots of people driving around in a truck with 200+k and still going strong.


                                      • #20
                                        Just returned from a 2200 mile (roundtrip) road trip originating in KS to pick up a horse in central NC. Did the whole route in 44 hours driving her crew cab, 2003 Chevy 3/4 ton diesel- automatic, cummings engine & allison tranny. Oh my gosh, awesome truck and it puts my F250 V-10 to shame. That truck handled that God awful, switchback, hilly drive through West Virginia on 77 like it was a flat Kansas road. The truck has excellent acceleration and the allision tranny would "power down" on it's own as we made those tough decents on the mountains.

                                        Super nice truck and we averaged 11 mpg pulling her trailer. When it's time to replace the Ford I will be looking at this type of truck.