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Old 06-10-2020, 09:44 AM   #1
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1991 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel

Does anyone know about these diesel engines from 1991? Do they deliver decent power, enough for highway speeds? Are they relatively reliable? Looking at a bus but because of age im skeptical. Would definitely appreciate any information. Love the aesthetic of the bus from this year.

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Old 06-10-2020, 09:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mskgremillion View Post
Does anyone know about these diesel engines from 1991? Do they deliver decent power, enough for highway speeds? Are they relatively reliable? Looking at a bus but because of age im skeptical. Would definitely appreciate any information. Love the aesthetic of the bus from this year.

Subscribed. I’m in the same boat.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:54 PM   #3
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: 2003 Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
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That's the non-turbo version of the 7.3L indirect injection diesel (turbo became an option in '93). They will run forever, but they are LOUD and greatly underpowered by today's standards (185hp, 330lb-ft). They will pull a house, but you need the gearing for it and not be in a rush to do it. The flip side is, if you have the gearing to pull that house, you're going to be turning very high RPM at highways speeds. That's why many diesel owners of the day preferred manual transmissions (wider gear spread), which I don't believe was available in the E350.

They can be built for significant power in the pickups, but the E350 engine bay/dog house is already very cramped, so it's difficult to get the big power adders in there (turbo, intercooler).

Personally, I'd look for a couple years newer with the turbo (95+ since they got the kinks worked out with the turbo in '93 & '94). It will buy you another 30hp and 100lb-ft of torque.
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:42 PM   #4
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I just bought a 1993 E350 with the 7.3 IDI (I think the Powerstroke came out halfway through 93?) in the autumn and am going to be building it up this summer. I wasn't very aware of different engine options when I bought it otherwise I likely would have waited for a Powerstroke version. On my first drive with it it was extremely loud and underpowered but that was mostly due to a massive leak at the exhaust manifold that I've since repaired. Still loud but much more responsive with proper exhaust. I think I'll try to add some better noise insulating materials to the dog house and see how that goes.
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:49 PM   #5
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I just bought a 1993 E350 with the 7.3 IDI (I think the Powerstroke came out halfway through 93?) in the autumn and am going to be building it up this summer. I wasn't very aware of different engine options when I bought it otherwise I likely would have waited for a Powerstroke version. On my first drive with it it was extremely loud and underpowered but that was mostly due to a massive leak at the exhaust manifold that I've since repaired. Still loud but much more responsive with proper exhaust. I think I'll try to add some better noise insulating materials to the dog house and see how that goes.
Your E350 with a 7.3 IDI is a good engine. I would be more worried about what transmission you have. you could have done worse.... i.e. 6.0
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Old 06-12-2020, 04:56 AM   #6
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Your E350 with a 7.3 IDI is a good engine. I would be more worried about what transmission you have. you could have done worse.... i.e. 6.0
Thanks! Yeah, I am happy with it, and I bought it knowing that it was an alright enough engine and that I'd be able to work on it pretty easily. At the time, however, I wasn't aware of some less-than-desirable transmissions. I've been stuck in Australia since before COVID took off and I've been doing a lot of design work and research so I've learned more about that now - namely the AT545. Until I get back to Canada I won't be able to check what I have. If my recollection is correct it was a 3-speed auto with overdrive, but that's all I know about it off-hand.
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:40 AM   #7
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Year: 1984
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If it's in a ford van, it won't have the at545, so you can rest easy on that.

But it will have the e4od, which has an od gear like you said, but it is ford's first attempt at an electronically controlled transmission.

They weren't the most robust or durable design, and aren't the easiest to troubleshoot either, but they have a large aftermarket and online community so I wouldn't worry about them.
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:42 AM   #8
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Engine: 6.9 International
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As far as the idi goes, they're dependable but way low on hp compared to modern engines. You can get turbo kits for them in a van chassis, but they're still low on room under the hood. I don't know of anyone that's installed an intercooler in one.

I have an idi in my full sized bus, and it runs good. I've got a turbo kit planned here in the next few months so I'll hopefully boost the power a little more.
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:31 PM   #9
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My 7.3 idi motors are the longest lasting, bombproof motors followed by my 6.0s and 7.3 turbos. If you aren’t trying to go 80, they’re perfect. We would tow 25,000 to 30,000lbs back and forth from Florida to California every year. Still good speeds but gearing down on hills.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:00 PM   #10
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I have been driving a 93 E350 with the 7.3 for our autocross equipment truck for years and I can attest to their loudness. It has the 3 sp w/OD. It could use better gearing for the highway but it will manage 75-80 on flat land. Uphill its a dog... I can be doing about 75 and slow to 50 or less on a good incline with my foot steady. Our truck has about 95kish on it, I believe. Its been pretty reliable besides batteries from sitting around during the winter time. One of our guys towed with it and he said it was like the trailer wasn't even behind it.
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:53 PM   #11
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Year: 1997
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Engine: 7.3L
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I really like my '97 E350 7.3L Powerstroke. It gives me all the power I require of it. Sometimes I think the calibration was changed before I got it. You are correct when you say there is not much room in the engine bay and as attractive an idea as an intercooler is some other modifications (upgrades) would have to be done to make it work - like relocating the fuel filter, deleting the mechanical fuel pump in favor of an electric, and relocating the towing package auxiliary oil cooler to make room for the intercooler and the additional piping. Hmm, next project, perhaps?
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