Ford introduced the Powerstroke engine. It was the same International block as the previous 7.3L engine with massive changes to the cylinder heads and fuel system. It now had a HEUI fuel injection system which is a Caterpillar fuel system that they bolted into an International engine. The HEUI (Hydraulically driven Electronic controlled Unit Injector) means the injector is driven by hydraulic pressure that is created from the engine oil and controlled by a computer. This was a very complex system for its day but when maintained properly was extremely durable as well. There are few issues with the injectors but they do start to get weak internally and around 200000 miles usually need to be replaced. The rest of the engine had some fuel and oil leaks and the complex valve cover gaskets could burn out and cause a dead cylinder or more. However, the mechanical side of the engine is extremely reliable. It is not unheard of to have an engine with over 500000 miles on it with no issues as long as it was properly maintained. In 1999 Ford changed the truck body to the newer body style and with the change, they upgraded the 7.3L with a larger turbo, different valve cover gaskets, and an intercooler to cool the air after the turbo going into the engine. The trucks were very solid. The brakes are exceptional, the transmission is very strong, the cab and chassis are good, and they have good suspension. The weak spot of the truck was the ball joints, engine oil leaks, and valve cover gaskets.
GM tried upgrading the 6.5 to keep up with Ford and Dodge. They added a turbo to it and added an electronic controlled mechanical fuel injection pump. The system was plagued with issues. The injection pump control module as well as the control wires were buried under the intake manifold where lots of heat baked the wires and the module. This was a source of repeated failures and many peoples anguish with no starts and stalling. As far as the injection pump went, they had several internal issues as well. If you pulled a trailer and pushed the engine hard it would crack the cylinder heads. If this was caught early enough it could be fixed without complete engine replacement but it usually hurt the engine before the driver even knew anything was wrong. Overall this was a poor diesel engine. They were loud at idle, smoked a lot, had low power while pulling, and if pushed hard like a diesel, they would get hot. The rest of the truck was ok but the engine kind of ruined the whole package.
So when you are looking to buy a used truck, there is a lot to consider. First is your budget to buy the truck. How much do you want to pay for the truck and how much do you want to spend to fix the truck after you purchase it? What are your needs? Do you want a comfortable quiet ride or can you sacrifice comfort for outright durability? Everybody’s needs are different so when you are in the market for a used truck, hopefully this helps but if you have more questions or would like us to look at your truck before you purchase it, please call of email us. We would be happy to answer any other question. We always recommend you do a pre-buy before purchasing any type of vehicle. It might cost you some money up from but it could potentially safes you thousands of dollars down the road.
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