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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about bidding on a 89 7.3L that won't start. It will turn over, and nothing is reported as knocking....... I haven't looked at it. Anything commonly go bad that would be minor, that would keep it from starting? Just over 160K miles, and is a company truck.

It's in a F-Superduty with a manual. Any idea on fuel mileage? I've got no idea on gears.
 

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the pumps (db-2 iirc) have a shutdown solenoid just like the bosch ve pumps on a cummins.they can fail as well as the wiring.also the WIF sensor is notorious for leaking air.glow plugs need to be looked at,but with enough cranking it'll start on a warm day.possibility the pump needs a rebuild...they aren't that expensive to rebuild.could also be the usual culprits,like fuel filters etc...

worth it if you can get it cheap,and the rest of it is in good shape.the old mechanical IDI's were pretty good engines.
 

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Several things to check. I've had Ford IDI diesels since 1986. I currently drive a 1990. First off make sure fuel is getting to the fuel filter. If you look on the fuel filter housing you'll see what looks like a tire core valve. Have someone turn it over while you depress the center of that valve with a tiny screw driver or nail. If you get clean fuel with no air bubbles squirting out then fuel is getting there. That's also where you bleed the air out of the system after a fuel filter change. Lot of Ford mechanics don't even know that one. If there is no fuel there then it's probably a bad lift pump. Easy to replace and not mega expensive. Next if you have fuel check the wiring to the IP. Unplug and replug the wires to the solenoids. They sometimes get loose or corroded and don't make good contact. I've never had one of those solenoids go bad but it could happen. Third, glow plugs. Even in warm weather these engines are tough to crank without the glow plugs functioning. In cold weather it is darn near impossible. You might just replace them as a matter of maintenance. A set cost less than $100 and you can install those yourself. Note, although it looks difficult you do not need to remove any injector lines to do this. 1/4" socket and universal joint will get it done. The glow plug controller on the back of the engine can also go bad. If you cyclle the glow plugs and the wait to start light goes out on the dash you should hear a clicking sound from the controller. It is cycling the glow plugs on and off. If the IP is bad these engines will usually still crank up. They just won't have much power. With 160K on the engine it is just well broken in. IP's have been known to go out in as little as 100K. My last one went 212K. These engines are very simple and dependable.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you guys for the information. That's just the kind of thing I was looking for. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to bid. Rolling this around in my head, I've come to the conclusion that I need to do the responsible thing and get rid of a couple cars first.......neither are being driven, and have various things wrong with them. All is not a complete waste Though....... I've been eying Ford IDI trucks off and on...... I may still get one.
 

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I 2nd (or 3rd whatever its up to) that the lift pump is a likely culprit. Also check for leaks in the fuel system. I'd suggest a jerry can or even just a gallon of clean diesel, some hoses, and a boat primer bulb. Bypass everything and feed the fuel injector pump directly from your container (placed higher than the inj pump for gravity feed). This would be a minimal hassle and would give a true idea of whether the engine is worthwhile.
 

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many of them can have leaking feeder lines, and you'll have to keep your foot to the floor while cranking for a while before they fire. Had a buddy with one that if it sat more than overnight, he'd have to hold the foot down and crank for about 30-60 seconds minimum
 

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Gee, 500 bucks got that truck. With the ZF5 and DRW axle.
 
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