’99-’03 Ford F-250 Super Duty
Price Range: $8,000 to $16,000 Mileage Range: 70,000 to 190,000 miles
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.