Just bought my first truck...

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Dec 6, 2007
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Been saving since I was 10, it finally paid off. :)

1997 F-250, 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel, 94,000 miles


That's fantastic!
I also had to buy my first, and all subsequent vehicles, it was a 1966 Chevy stepside, and I bought it from a pawn shop for 250.00. I'll never forget that old truck, it was a real money pit.
I think it is good that you had to save and buy it, I think you will appreciate it much more. I grew up the youngest in a family of four kids. My parents bought all of my siblings first vehicles, but when it was my turn I was told that I would be buying my own. I remember how much that hurt then, but I sure appreciate the lesson now. Take care of it, and remember every time you think about doing something in it that you probably shouldn't, that it was your hard earned money that bought it.

Have fun!
Clean truck I know you are proud of it. A straight 8 ft bed and you will not have to change the sheet on this bed.
That is one slick ride. Take care of it, and ditto on angus cowmans comment, Please.
TB, you did the right thing - didn't settle for a sad little car and bought exactly what you wanted with your own money. Great job.

You also bought one of the best diesel motors ever made. If you ever hit a snag or have a question about your truck and need help, send me a PM and I'll help you out. Do preventative maintenance on it and it will look after you for many years. That motor is barely broken in and is surrounded by a drop-dead gorgeous body.

Drive with pride and drive safe,
Aaron :cowboy:
I personally like dodge diesels and chevy trucks, but I gotta say that's a very clean truck that looks great, with super low miles and a fair price, a definite good buy for you, and good on you for having patience to get what you wanted

I've bought all my own vehicles as well, and boy I do find it hard to part with them
Nice looking truck,doesn't look like it's been worked to hard doesn't even have a hitch in the bed.
thats a nice clean trucked.from the looks of it.id say its been a highway truck all its life.an prolly never really pulled anything.
Nice truck. The first thing i would do would be put a bed liner in it and a fold down hitch ball in the back of the bed. This way you can pull goose necks with it.
Many thanks to everyone, for all the advice and congratulations. :D

Thank you Aaron, if I have a question, I'll come here first. :compute:

As for the preventative maintenance, do you have any suggestions? What are your thoughts on a after-market tranny cooler?

As for the body, I have waxed it twice in the last month, polished all the chrome and detailed the inside. I am going to buy seat covers and floor mats next.

Thanks again,

Way to go young man. Working and waiting will make you appreciate it more. Now you just gotta get you a "sweetie" in that other bucket and go to the Dairy Queen. Very nice truck. ;-)
TexasBoy":3i675892 said:
As for the preventative maintenance, do you have any suggestions? What are your thoughts on a after-market tranny cooler?


It slipped my mind to look if it was an automatic. Not sure that a tranny cooler is necessary. Not as familiar with the auto's as the manuals. Some guys love em' and some not so much. For low miles, your should have lots of life left. But I would recommend you change the trans fluid in it.

One thing for sure, is to rip out all of that plastic garbage for the air filter. Replace with a 15" long, 4" OD, 45 degree exhaust elbow with a NAPA filter part number #6637 attached. Diesels need 7x the air that a gas does for their fuel mixture. With this in mind, a K&N filter is too porous for a diesel and lets too much grit and dust into the turbo and the motor.

I will find a picture here for you of my air filter set-up...here

Also a pic of my truck....man I love these trucks. Again, you made a great choice.

....and a write-up I did on points to look at with these trucks that I posted on ranchers.net...


Ok, this is a write-up I did for a fellow looking for that same style Ford that you bought. Not complete, and being that you already bought it and it's an auto, you can ignore some parts.

Check all the lights. The marker lights in front especially because they are a pain to change.

Check clutch and brake pedal play. If your getting excessive grinding or are having to really push the clutch down to get it started, check under the dash where the clutch lever meets the master cylinder on the firewall, there is a little plastic bushing that mates them together and it wears out....an easy fix/modification if there is a lot of play between the lever and the rod. About $50 to modify it.

Take the intake boot off from the turbo and look at the turbo wheel. It should be clean and mark-free. Chips, cracks or chunks missing from the wheel, or dull edges means dirt has gotten into the turbo and really shortened the lifespan of the truck. If the truck has been fitted with a K&N filter, take a real good look at that wheel because the K&N filters let in too much dust. K&N good for gas, bad for diesel.

Roll around every which way and look at the body. If the truck has running boards on it, that will have saved the edges of the cab a fair bit.

Look at your crossmembers under your bed, see how many are rusted out, if any.

The 5 speed ZF trannys in those trucks are pretty much bullet proof...but take it for a drive and try shifting....also try downshifting from OD to 4th and then to 3rd and make sure it shifts smooth, just keep your rpm's under 2000 while doing it.

Get a truck with manual 4x4 locking hubs. It's a pain to get out and switch them by hand, but you'll eventually want to replace the automatic hubs with manuals anyways.

Find out how old the batteries are, look at you battery cables, especially the positive cable clamp on the passenger side as it has a tendancy to crack. New positive battery cable is about $140.

Find out what the owners interval is for changing oil, and what type. 15W-40 is what is for those trucks and should have been changed at an interval of no more than 5,000 miles. Also make sure he changed the filter too. See what kind of oil filter is on there as well. FRAM are bad. Purolator, Wix, Baldwin and Motorcraft are you best choices.

Run the truck, open the hood, check the oil level, and take the oil fill cap off while the truck is running. This is to see how much exhaust is coming through the oil pan. Rule of thumb is that if you flip the cap upside down and place it on the hole and the exhaust coming out blows the cap off the hole, the motor is going to have to be rebuilt.

Ask what kind of anti-freeze he is running. The 7.3 has thin cylinder walls and can be prone to cavitation if the anti-freeze does not contain SCA additives (would say on the label). Majority of the ELC (Extended Life Coolants - Red in Color) are fine for these trucks.

Ask if the injectors have been rebuilt or replaced. Average life in injectors is 250,000 miles before being rebuilt. New injectors are worth $1200 and up.

Take a look under the turbo, dip your finger so you can touch the valley of the motor and see if it is wet and smells like diesel. If so, you probably have a leek in your lift/fuel pump and while you can do the work yourself to replace it, it is a time consumer and back breaker. New pump is worth about $200, but the labour in a shop would be easily triple that.

Truck should start within 5 seconds of cranking after the glow plugs ("Wait to start" light) has went off. If any more than this, the starter might need to be replaced ($140).

Make sure the dash lights and everything inside works.

Ask if a front end alignment has ever been done. Check the front end and see if the ball joints and tie rods have been greased. Again, proper maintenance avoids pains like ball joint replacement.

Ask if the shocks have ever been changed. Stock shocks are finished on any vehicle at about 25,000 miles. If you have to change them, it would cost $400 for a good set of Bilsteins.

This should give you a good start on things. Note the prices and judge accordingly as to how much you can wittle the seller down on price. People who take care of their Ford trucks deserve a good price and those that do not, deserve it to be purchased as cheaply as possible to help it get a new lease on life.

You can go to http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/index.php and sign up for free for the forums and get a lot more tips. I am on there and there are a lot of helpful guys and ex-ford mechanics on there that can give you the info you need.


I suggest you join the ford-trucks.com site. It's free to join and there are a lot of people on their with more knowledge than I, who can help.

For the air filter modification I mentioned earlier, do a search on that site with the terms "6637 mod".

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