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Old 08-05-2008, 06:51 PM   #1
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7.3 Transmission Issues?

I am looking into buying a later 90's or early 00's SMB with the 7.3 Powerstroke. I work for the Park Service and it seems that I have seen a lot of the transmissions that are mated with the Powerstroke go out. I know it's all in the way you drive it but one vehicle we had was on it's 3rd transmission and another one had the transmission replaced after 50,000 miles. Also, I'm noticed that a few SMB's that I have looked at over the last few months has had the transmissions replaced. Is there a problem with these years transmissions and should I just count on a replacement if I do buy a SMB from these years? Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:43 PM   #2
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Had an '02 F250 with the 7.3L PSD. No problems whatsoever with the trans, though I will say the trans in my '06 SMB shifts much smoother. Haven't personally heard of any kind of problems with the trans on the late 90's, early 00's.


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Old 08-06-2008, 09:41 AM   #3
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dieselstop.com would be a good place to get a feel for the trans reliability. I take a different position from Herb on the trans. My '03 is on its second trans right now (replace at the 80k miles range). I understand the next generation was quite an improvement. I also seem to recall there is an upgraded trans available from Ford for the 7.3 (I think there is some discussion on dieselstop about that as well). When I was searching for a similar year range SMB, I budgeted for a trans replacement (got lucky as my trans was replace only 4k miles prior to it becoming mine). Someone here (or that yahoo group) lost a trans in Baja this past Winter/Spring. You probably already know this, but when you check out a SMB, smell the trans fluid for that burnt smell, look at the color and, if really concerned, have a trans shop give it a look.
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:32 PM   #4
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The 2001 F-450 truck I drive at work has had some problems but I work for a power utility and we do run them through the mill. Our shop says to figure 150 K as a rule but it depends on how you treat it. Because the trany is jumping in and out of overdrive while driving in town they installed a device called Dura Trans which keeps it out of OD until 45MPH. They also said the newer transmissions don't need them as they are built better. On the other hand we have had some problems with the newer tranys just not as much. Some of the older transmissions have had no problems at all with well over 200K on them. As far as buying a used vehicle, check how many miles are on it, what they tow, how often the fluid was changed, and most important is (if the previous owner will be up front with you about if the van) has it ever overheated. Our tranny guys say heat is the worst of all. If the previous owner had a trany temp gauge and kept fluid change information that would be a plus. People that take the time and money to install a temp gauge usually monitor it and don't let it get too hot. Hard to compare to work vehicles.
Good luck
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
As far as buying a used vehicle, check how many miles are on it, what they tow, how often the fluid was changed, and most important is (if the previous owner will be up front with you about if the van) has it ever overheated. Our tranny guys say heat is the worst of all. If the previous owner had a trany temp gauge and kept fluid change information that would be a plus. People that take the time and money to install a temp gauge usually monitor it and don't let it get too hot. Hard to compare to work vehicles.
Good luck
DaveB
Dave...thanks for the input. I emailed the owner these exact questions so hopefully I heard back from him soon. It's just a lot of cash to throw down on a vehicle to worry about the transmission...And $4K is not just pocket change for me. I will be driving this vehicle to the Baja this winter if I end up picking it up so it's pretty ironic you mentioned that. Is there a heavy-duty transmission upgrade for these?
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1982 Mercedes 300D. WVO, SVO and Biodiesel for the last 30,000 + miles. (my 600 mile a week commuter).
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:53 PM   #6
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You would have to ask the owner if he had a tow package that came with a tranny cooler added to his purchase. Most tow packages come with an extra cooler. These are well worth the cost and may if fact be part of SMB's standard production back then, but I just don't know for sure. Maybe you can call SMB to find out. I also added a larger finned aluminum transmission pan which also helps in cooling. Even though we don't use these large pans on our work vehicles I think every little bit helps. Most people use programers to adjust how the trany shifts. A more positive shift is usually better for the trany but can be hard on the lower drive train so our shop keeps that stock. The shift controller our shop installs are standalone units and are probably more suited for something like a Fed-X vehicle.


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