’99-’03 Ford F-250 Su­per Duty

Price Range: $8,000 to $16,000 Mileage Range: 70,000 to 190,000 miles

Four Wheeler - - Feature -

For a rock-solid Blue Oval in this price range, there is re­ally only one rec­om­men­da­tion we’ll make: a first-gen­er­a­tion Su­per Duty with the ever-faith­ful 7.3L Power Stroke un­der the hood. The ’99-’03 Su­per Duty isn’t ex­actly the new kid on the block any­more, but these are still great trucks. Four-wheel-drive ver­sions came with a leaf-sprung Dana 50 solid front axle and the 10.5-inch ring gear Ster­ling in the rear, your choice of a 4R100 au­to­matic or ZF-6 man­ual trans­mis­sion, and some

3⁄4-ton con­fig­u­ra­tions are rated to tow as much as 13,500 pounds. They are well-vet­ted, de­pend­able work­horses, and more than a mil­lion of them were pro­duced.

As for the 7.3L Power Stroke, sure it takes its time get­ting from point A to B, but the 444ci cast-iron big­bore V-8 was built for longevity. With proper main­te­nance, you’re all but guar­an­teed to glean at least 400,000 miles out of the ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly. At 200,000, the fuel in­jec­tors might be due for an over­haul, it may be time for a $10 glow plug or two, and a new wa­ter pump might be in or­der, but no diesel en­gine ac­cu­mu­lates hun­dreds of thou­sands of miles with­out need­ing some­thing ad­dressed here or there. We know, we know, the 6.0L can be “bul­let­proofed,” but then you’re out at least an­other 5 large on top of the pur­chase price of a $15,000 to $22,000 ’03-’07 model year truck. Take it from us—at this price point a 7.3L-pow­ered Ford is the truck to own.

|> While the 4R100 au­to­matic is more than ca­pa­ble of han­dling reg­u­lar tow­ing du­ties, it does have its weak links, which can sur­face sooner rather than later if you’re tow­ing through the moun­tains at max GCWR, or you’ve juiced up the power of the 7.3L Power Stroke. Ei­ther way, it’s al­ways good in­sur­ance to treat the ’4R to a tow-ready valve­body and a rep­utable af­ter­mar­ket torque con­verter. While a bit harder to find, the ZF-6 man­ual trans­mis­sion is a sound choice for those of you wish­ing to shift your own gears, and it will likely need noth­ing other than an even­tual clutch re­place­ment.

<- The 7.3L Power Stroke is no young stal­lion in to­day’s 900 lb-ft diesel mar­ket, but it’s a bat­tle-proven work­horse that will never let you down. If you’re look­ing to add a lit­tle more gid­dyap with­out sac­ri­fic­ing en­gine, trans­mis­sion, or driv­e­line longevity, an af­ter­mar­ket switch­able po­si­tion chip will wake a ’99-’03 Ford up in a huge way (100-plus hp, 200 lb-ft of torque).

|> In ad­di­tion to in­tro­duc­ing a more pow­er­ful 7.3L, stronger trans­mis­sions, and a larger 10.5-inch ring gear rear axle, the ’99 Su­per Duty brought four­way disc brakes to Ford’s 3⁄4-ton truck line. More than ad­e­quate,13-inch­di­am­e­ter ro­tors are em­ployed up front, while 12.8-inch units are found in the rear. Ring-and-pin­ion op­tions in­clude 3.73:1 or 4.10:1, with 3.73s be­ing more pop­u­lar on F-250 mod­els.

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