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Old 08-20-2004, 08:29 PM   #1
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7.3L Ford...any good?

I just got back from looking at more buses, the guy there has a '90 Intl. with a 7.3 L, manual shift (forgot to ask about the brakes, the Lucas brakes are supposed to be VERY problematical so I've been told) Only thing is it's the last 7.3 in their fleet, so this leads me to believe that these engines are lacking somehow. The deal with him though is pretty sweet. The bus plus a good spare engine, and all the spares I can take home with me (possibly two more not-roadworthy buses) for $1000. The DT 360 Intl. with the allison was going for $1400. Both of the guys I've been dealing with tell me that they've got 1991 flat faced buses coming out of service in June '05, these are 5.9 Cummins equipped, so I could wait. Bottom line: I've been thinking of converting a bus to a motorhome for quite some time, and I don't want to get off to a bad start by buying the wrong bus. The flat front ones seem to be the best looking conversions and possibly the most manoverable, but the conventional buses are more readily available and cheaper. I don't know which way to turn. Any thoughts? Advice?
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Old 08-24-2004, 06:44 PM   #2
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Check out my post below on "How long have you had your Skoolie?" I would not have survived the accident had I been driving a flat nose. As far as the Cummins, I'm not sure of which version of the Cummins this applies to but my Diesel Guru says, "Stay away from them". I tend to listen to him as he has maintained a whole fleet of diesels for almost 35 years. As for the DT360's, good solid engine but not a lot of power in the hills. If you are not in a hurry it should be fine. AS far as ANY used Skoolie, make sure you are buying a used bus and not just buying somebody else's problem. If someone in the know says there have been problems with that style of brakes, you may very well have problems too. It's hard to stay objective when it comes to Skoolie's. (What IS that power they have over us?) But if you can keep your wits when you are buying, you can go crazy after you own it. Just don't get too much in a hurry. There are used Skoolie's EVERYWHERE. Stay patient and the RIGHT one will come along for you. Good Luck.
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Old 09-12-2004, 06:32 PM   #3
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My answer to your question is yes. The 7.3 litre is a good engine.
There is nothing Ford about it though,it was built by International.
It continues to power many shool buses in its latest versions the T444E and the new VT365.
International offers (and did offer in 1990) the V8 as a lower cost option
to bus fleets.The reason the 7.3 cost less is it is a "patent bore"engine.
The pistons do not have replaceable sleeves.This means the engine can't be overhauled while in the truck.When it wears out in 250000 to 350000 miles(sometimes longer!) it has to come out of the truck.
There are thousands of 7.3's labouring on in trucks buses and ford pickups.They must be tough.
The DT360 can be a nightmare.It was a premium "sleeve bore"but was very prone to cavitation issues.Unless the previous owner maintained the cooling system with "DCA"you can count on your coolant ending up in your oilpan before too long. Ask about dca and to see a coolant test strip before you buy.If they give you a blank look pass on it.
I'd give the Cummins a pass too.Especially 1991,they made a lot of needed improvements part way through the year and you wont know if you have a bad one or a worse one.
The engine to get is the International DT466.the 360's bigger brother.
There are many trouble free miles in one of those,plus a high school auto shop student could rebuild it.We routinely let our apprentices learn on them.Hope I helped and good luck
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Yes, the 7.3L PSD is in the Ford trucks, but it's still made by International...the difference is, under the hood of a Ford, the engine will be equipped with Ford components (Power steering pump, alternator etc)... Ford does not make their own Diesel motor.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

A 7.3 Ford isn't a 7.3 Ford Power Stroke.

Yeah, all of 'em are related back to International.

The 7.3 is non turbo charged, and it's an IDI engine. Not much on electronics. Not much power over a 351W gas engine, but it has better economy due to being diesel, in my experience.

7.3 Ford Power Strokes became available in Ford pick ups in 1994 1/2 and in the van line in 1995. The 7.3 PSD is basically the same as the international T444E, but there are some differences in water pumps and other items. The PSD is a DI engine. Better power, and it can actually be a bit more efficient because of the turbo.

Is it a good motor? I think it has proven to be very reliable.
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

only negative I've heard about the 7.3 in a bus is they are painfully slow. I've got the 5.9 in my bus, and it's surprisingly fast and gets decent mileage for a bus.

I had the cheaper conventional bus vs. flat front bus choice when I bought my bus 4 years ago as well. I could have saved about $600 and went with an 87 international with a DT360 for $1250 but I'm glad that I went with the flat front bluebird TC2000. It looks more like a motorhome, and has almost the same wheel base as a long bed 4 door pickup truck.

I've also been very happy with the 5.9L Cummins, on a few road trips with a fellow skoolie member who had the DT360 I was putting about 1/2 the fuel in my tank as he was. I'm sure the rear end had a little to do with that as well (I have a 4.33:1 rear end he had a 5.3? something)
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:53 PM   #7
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

I've got the 7.3 T444E in my shortbus and it has some balls. It gets to 65Mph pretty quick on a straightaway and that's with a govenor. Uphills it still has decent power even with a full load, but again it's a shortbus so it doesn't carry the weight of a full size bus. I tool around town alot because it's really fun to drive and not the worst on diesel mpg. My Hemi 5.7 pickup sucks almost as bad on gas.
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Old 09-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

regarding the 7.3 its a good motor but also suffers the same cavitation problem, had a 6.9 which is the sister to the 7.3, the 6.9 & 7.3 can be turbo-charged check out e-bay for used set-ups, I think the 7.3 is better than the power-stroke because the 7.3 has mechanical fuel injection instead of electronic, which is cheaper to get parts for.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:40 PM   #9
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

I have a 7.3L in my 1994 E-350 ShortBus with 150,000 miles. I have yet to figure out the MPG - any ideas what I should be getting?
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:54 AM   #10
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

I've got a 7.3 in my 1992 short bus. I'm pushing about 230,000 miles right now but it still starts up with no problems and runs like a champ. I personally have taken it a good 2,200 miles on various roadtrips and I can vouch for the fact that its not the most powerful engine around, especially when you're lugging up a 2 mile long grade in 120 degree hear in the middle of the Mojave. In fact, I trust the 7.3 much more than that shitty E40D transmission, I'm pretty sure my trans is running on borrowed time.
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Old 11-16-2009, 02:46 PM   #11
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenGate
I'm pretty sure my trans is running on borrowed time.
Mine had about 145,000 on it when we replaced the tranny... have you (or the previous owner) had it replaced previously? What kindof gas mileage do you get?
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:15 PM   #12
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenGate
I've got a 7.3 in my 1992 short bus. I'm pushing about 230,000 miles right now but it still starts up with no problems and runs like a champ. I personally have taken it a good 2,200 miles on various roadtrips and I can vouch for the fact that its not the most powerful engine around, especially when you're lugging up a 2 mile long grade in 120 degree hear in the middle of the Mojave. In fact, I trust the 7.3 much more than that shitty E40D transmission, I'm pretty sure my trans is running on borrowed time.
I'm pretty sure that transmission was on borrowed time when it left the factory. It's not like GM's 4L60E transmission (essentially equivalent) shares a much better reputation, but you don't often find it in a cab chassis.
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:16 PM   #13
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON
GAS mileage? With a 7.3?
Damn, that's harsh!
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:15 AM   #14
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03

I'm pretty sure that transmission was on borrowed time when it left the factory. It's not like GM's 4L60E transmission (essentially equivalent) shares a much better reputation, but you don't often find it in a cab chassis.
Hey! I like my 4L60E! The one in my Trans Am take all the abuse I can throw at it haha.
I'd say the E4OD is more on the level of a 4L80E that a 4L60E. I can't imagine they installed any 4L60s in a van-chassis'd bus, I'm pretty sure any GM van over 3/4 ton got the 4L80 (maybe even 85?).

As far as a rebuild goes, I find it hard to believe my trans is original but I really have no way of telling. I was thinking about dropping a beefy C6 in when the **** hits the fan, but from what I hear an Allison AT545 will bolt up as well? Just gotta find one...

Mileage I guess is like 10? Not really sure. One of these days I'm planning on getting either a biodiesel processor, or converting the bus to run on pure waste veggie oil.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:46 AM   #15
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

Wir haben eine 7,3 L IDI / AT545 Allyson in den Bus ein es läuft großartig.
165000 mls gelaufen ist und es keine Probleme.
It, s ein 1992 Wayne 7,2 Meter lang
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:22 PM   #16
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7.3L Ford.

This engine has a good history of service. There are design flaws with all engines and are built with some compromises. The engines after the original 7.3 are now very powerful and long lasting but not as a over the road diesel engine. There is no comparision between diesel engines as each is designed for a purpose.
Good luck with any change of a E4OD to a C-6. Having no overdrive is a huge penalty to any fuel milage. Using an overdrive auxillary trans does help with fuel economy, but nlots of money will be spent. The weakest part of most small diesel engines is the valves need to be serviced after about 150K miles.
Periodically checking an engines compression will give some knowledge about the valves and general engine condition. All the machine systems must work together to provide work power. The earlier any engine problem is known, the less cost will be incurred. Frank
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:23 PM   #17
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Re: 7.3L Ford...any good?

STAY away from the VT365!! It is a great engine once the head bolts have been replaced it is also the Power Stroke 6.0 I had one and the head bolts were not strong enough forthe turbo pressures and they stretch. There were 3 trucks in the Ford dealer's shop with that problem and Ford knew about it and didn't recall them. they say once the head bolts were replaced they were good engines but they are not made anymore now the Power Stroke 6.4 or the powermax 7 same engine. Ford is not going with international and rolling thier own diesel 6.7 but I have a 6.4 and seems good so far. I wish I could put in a DT 466 in my F250 instead of those V8s But the VT365 had head gasket issues. Scoob
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