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F-350 V-10

2188 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  chris03rubicon
I am looking for a tow rig for my Jeep and a truck for household jobs. I have found a 2003 V-10 F-350 at my Jeep dealer. It has 71k on it and they want $15,000. It is an XLT with the FX4 package. It is in good shape. I want to know if anyone has this engine and how they like it. I thought about getting a 7.3 but don't really think I need a diesel, and it is hard to find one in good shape with low miles. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
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they have the towing power, but they are gonna dog down when carrying a good size load behind it. From what some people have said is the v-10 is not all that great either.
You will be just fine with the light load you will have behind you (max of 8K maybe). You live at sea level, you will have all the power you will need. I normally wouldn't say this since I live in CO and wheel in CO, ID, MT, UT, NM, SD....etc, due to the long mountain passes; a diesel is best.
Not everyone wants/needs a diesel truck for light towing/work and the maintenance/headaches that comes with a diesel truck. Don't get me wrong, I personally would go with a diesel truck. With $15K dollars on hand, you can get a really nice tow rig with under 140K miles....depending on what you wanted in a truck.
I have had plenty of experience towing with V-10 trucks (dodge and ford) since my utility company uses them.
First off, don't even think about a Dodge V-10. They are gutless, gas guzzling POS. I have towed up to 9K lbs with a Dodge V-10 and I was afraid that I was going to have to set the cruise, get out of the truck and push on hills in town. This is coming from a die hard dodge take that for what it is worth.

Now for the Ford V-10. The 2003 V-10 was no power horse, but it was ample for most of our towing duties, and it got at least 3 mpgs better than the dodge v-10. Most of the time our Ford f-250/350 trucks were loaded down pretty good before towing anything with them, and they got anywhere from 9-13 mpg (no trailer) in town with mud terrain tires (this eats fuel economy). I did take a v-10 excursion on a long mountain trip once and it got 15 mpg loaded up with winter survival supplies and 6 people.

Now for the diesel stuff:
-most 7.3 powerstrokes stock will not get much better fuel economy...especially in the pre-99 years. They do tow a lot better, a darn near perfect engine, just think about getting a manual trans. The e4od trans is ok at best. One of my co-workers took his 97 F-350 PSD down to TX 2 weeks ago and got 12 mpg going down and 8-9 coming back with a small horse trailer. I went down to TX last weekend and got 22 mpg going down and 20.8 mpg coming back to CO.
The 99+ years will net you around 18 mpg stock. Now if you start doing exhaust, intake and other mods, I have seen some good numbers come out of this, one being money out of your wallet into my hands to fix your diesel truck..LOL!

Dodge trucks: For 15K, you will likely get into a 01-04 CTD truck. Do your research on what years and what works. I had an 05 CTD 2500, and I went back to a 02 2500...if that tells you anything. Some tips:
-24V motors, check what block it is if 2001 or older, 53 block...walk away. The 47RE transmission is ****. Unless you want to dump 4K in mods when it pukes on you, get a 5 or 6 speed manual. If you do decide to dump the money in an auto, you will love it.
The lift pumps on these trucks suck, so make sure you have a good aftermarket one (fass, airdog), VP-44 injection pumps are not cheap when they don't have the fuel pressure needed to cool the pump (min of 5 psi, I run around 15 psi).
-Common Rail diesels (03-07.5 5.9 motors) Injectors can get a little finicky, run good fuel filters, and change often if running stock setup (Fass I would run the 7 micron filters or lower). With the money you have to spend, you will most likely get into an 03-04..maybe an 05. Auto transmissions are ok at best if motor is left stock (no big hp programmers). Same goes as the other auto trans, dump some money into it and you will have a smile from ear to ear, passing up sports cars laughing your ass off.

-Duramax, can't say enough good things about the package chevy has put together. Check and do research on what years had some overheating issues at max GCVW of 24000 lbs (I think it was 04 or 05), the 01-02 had some injector issues from what I heard, but I do have co-workers that have early DM's and have well over 100K on the clock with no issues. My good friend in TX has a 07 DM, and has a few simple bolt on mods (exhaust, drop in intake filter, EGR delete plate, Edge juice) and that truck is a monster. He tows a 37' 5ver and gets around 9-10 mpgs and the truck isn't even broke in yet with under 20K miles on it. The co-workers I was talking about, one has a 35' toy hauler and he gets around 14-15 mpg in his 01' DM.
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Excellent post above. Lots of good info there.

My 02-coming from similar experience and a LOT of towing duties with all load sizes, I also prefer the diesel. Do some hard looking and be willing to make a trip if necessary for the RIGHT deal-you can find a good diesel pickup for $15K if you look, in good shape. Both will get the job done, diesel is just smoother/easier/better overall if you'll tow a lot-this is tough to put in words, only way to describe it is when you get where you're going, you'll be much more relaxed and less tired/worn out when you get there behind a diesel. Yeah, the gasser will do it, it's just a lot less effort with diesel.

I have to say we must have been either very lucky, or very fortunate with maintenance on our diesels. We had an '03 Duramax 1 ton that was Excellent. Loved that truck. Absolutely STUPID to get rid of it, but at the time, "grand ideas" for better ways to do things didn't pan out. Tried to get that truck back, but it had sold less than 3 hours after we dropped it off. Had ZERO maintenance on that truck and I think over 130,000K-honestly forget now what we put on it. Since then, picked up a 2002 F350 1ton dually 6 speed manual as I found a deal that was too good to pass up and we needed a tow rig immediately. On that truck, it pulled fine-not near as well as the d-max, but still did pretty well. Put a water pump on it and new clutch at time of purchase. I was told the injectors were done just prior to sale-I didn't do them, the PO did supposedly. Ran that truck for a while and sold it here recently. Some time ago, found another great deal too good to pass up on a 2007 F350 1-ton SRW with aluminium flatbed. This truck is MUCH better than the older dually with much improved creature comforts inside the cab and tows much better than the 2002 did. The 2002 had a chip and exhaust on it as well, the '07 is stock. The '07 even with aluminum flatbed rides MUCH better than the '02 did. Neither ride anywhere near as nice as the older '03 Duramax. Maintenance on the '07 so far has been new ball joints already-with only maybe 50K on the truck??? Forget exactly how many miles. Just had them done here a few weeks ago.

A good friend has an '05 d-max 1 ton SRW crew cab with chip and exhaust. That truck flat out gets it done. It has 135,000 miles on it currently with no issues to date-other than a common misfire issue that was a result of a factory wiring flaw on one of the injector harnesses-from the wire being a little too snug and pulling loose from the plug. The simple "icepick" trick fixed it at home with a little rerouting of the line-if you do a search, you'll see what I mean. Been great with no issues other than that. The power in this truck is insane the way he has it setup. From hauling salt bags, grain totes or towing big trailers, it doesn't care what's behind it, it just flat moves and gets it down the road in a hurry. It's comfortable as all get out too, and a very nice truck. I'm particularly fond of this truck as I've tried to buy it from my buddy a couple times, but each time he decides to keep it as he likes it so well.

Another good friend has a V10 dodge. It's older-I think the first year they came out maybe 94? Forget what year but he ordered it in from the dealer when the V10 first came out. It pulls LIGHT loads fine-and by light I mean the '53 Willys on a trailer is OK, but get much heavier than that and you know it. Forget running 70 down the freeway and don't even think about fuel mileage. I want to say it sees 6-8mpg loaded. Even without a trailer, mileage sucks in that truck. It's a 3/4 ton and rides every bit as bad as the 2002 dually we got rid of. We installed a set of Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks which helped some, but still, it's a rough riding truck no two ways about it. It's had bearings and joints done and a new tranny. Forget what else.

We have a couple new"er" V10 fords at work but I really can't comment much on them. They get driven hard through the fields but don't tow much at all. One has had a new tranny already, the other can't keep the front end tight no matter what is done. These are worked hard though and as these are replaced yearly, in all fairness, one of the Chev trucks from a few years ago had a similar front end issue that couldn't be fixed. We ran chev's exclusively up until a few years ago then started getting dodge and fords as well. The field guys liked the chevs best for their work trucks as they were smoother riding/handling and didn't seem to have as many maintenace issues. Just got a new set of light trucks F150's-we'll see how they hold up over the year before replacement.

New diesels are really no comparison to those of yesterday (years back). They are built so much quieter, smoother riding, tow/haul more, run better, fire easier, more reliable, so much more power-it's really no comparison. In cold climates, it is worth noting my buddies '05 d-max fires much faster/easier in sub-freezing temps than our '07 superduty does. His will fire in just a couple seconds literally, when ours takes 15-20 seconds to fire, or longer. The plugs and warm up in the d-max is a better/more effecient design I think than the Fords. We were near zero temps here recently without plugging either of them in, his fires quick like normal, our Ford was a question as to whether it would start of not. It did, just not as convincing as the d-max did.

Anyway, long story short, shop around and see what you can find. If you're willing to drive a bit, you may find a great deal within reach. Don't be afraid of diesels if you find one for a good buy. Oh, and for cool vid to watch-check out the new Rumble in the Rockies vid for a tow contest between the new 2011 Superduty and Duramax. It's a cool vid for sure and will definitely make you drool over the keyboard in the end. Not that I can afford $50K+ for one of those trucks but if I could, I'd LOVE a new d-max...

Best of Luck,

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Myself and I, I wouldn't even consider one. One of our wrecker trucks has that POS motor in it. Motor is gutless and trans is going bad with only 22k miles.

The only good thing I can say about.... Eng has held up, not once have we had it in the shop for eng work and we've had it for a couple of years.

Another story on the auto trans behind it.

If cummins teamed up with Allison they'd have it in the bag. For now duramax and the Allison is it as far as diesel goes.

I have an 09 f150 with the 5.4. If ford would put the 6.2 in the half ton king ranches I'd swap my KR off for it.
03redrubi said:
I am looking for a tow rig for my Jeep and a truck for household jobs. I have found a 2003 V-10 F-350 at my Jeep dealer. It has 71k on it and they want $15,000. It is an XLT with the FX4 package. It is in good shape. I want to know if anyone has this engine and how they like it. I thought about getting a 7.3 but don't really think I need a diesel, and it is hard to find one in good shape with low miles. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

I have the V10 in my 21' Chinook motorhome and love it. It beats the heck out of the 460ci engine that we had in our previous MH. The V10 makes some serious torque (around 400 ft/lbs) and HP (300) which moves it out of "your grandma's RV" status. Oh yea, it tows the Rubi like it wasn't there. Of course the mileage drops about 1 to 1.5 MPG but it's worth it.
05+ V10's have more power, if you have made up your mind that you are considering V10's I would go 05+
[quote='05TJLWBRUBY]Excellent post above. Lots of good info there. [/quote]
Thanks Mike for the kind just is experience and seeing first hand what goes on in a diesel repair shop on my days off (I only work 15 days a I have a buttload of time off).

Things that work:
-Injector nozzles. You have the choice between two different style's of nozzles...SAC and VCO. Factory use VCO due to longevity. You can get a really good spray pattern off a VCO nozzle for the improved mileage and power. SAC nozzles don't last as long (150K miles or so), but they smoke less, get crazy power out of them, and are more efficient. The nozzles are not cheap, and you have to set them up properly on a bench so they fire off when they need too. For example, my truck is a 02 CTD HO motor 2500. For VCO nozzles, the pop off pressure is 300 bar, with SAC nozzles the pop off pressure is 280 bar. We try to ballance every injector to pop off within a very close range. It takes a lot of time, but it is worth it in the long run, and I have seen what happens when the "cheap" injectors online fail and fry a motor. Do the research, and this is by far the best bang for your buck mod to improve mileage, driveability, and power safely to a diesel motor. Most dealership techs will not be smart enough to know you have aftermarket injector nozzles installed. The only way they might know is fuel return flow (this would be a crap shoot at best) or remove the injector and count the holes. For trucks that are known for going through injectors...I wouldn't spend the money since the dealer will send the injector off with your aftermarket nozzle and your truck will run like ****. So then you either fess up and void the warranty or have your truck in the shop forever.
It is a little different with a Common Rail diesel truck's. You can feel the power from adding injector nozzles, however you see the best results from a fuel box/ or a fuel/timing box.

-Intake systems.
Dodge-I have a stock intake box and plan to keep it with a drop in aftermarket filter until I put 400+ HP to the ground. So that will be a long time if ever. I have an aftermarket intake system sitting in my back yard right now collecting dust if that tells you anything.
Chevy-early 01-05 benifit with a aftermarket intake system. After that, the intakes are pretty sufficient for some big HP numbers that people won't be towing with anyway.
Ford-Early models benifit, I have not comment about trucks after 03..since I don't know.

-Exhaust Systems
Dodge/chevy/ford- a true 4" mandrel bent exhaust will cover you to 475-500HP. A 5" exhaust will make you loose HP/TQ numbers. It has been proven on many dyno's. Until you are running a HUGE turbo/injectors or compound turbo set need. You will also get a nice loud drone in your cab which is annoying to anyone over the age of 22. Don't even get me started on exhaust stacks.
The newer diesels with the DFP filters...There are several things you can do, but most of them are illegal. If you are in a state that has random checks, I wouldn't even bother messing with it (ie. DFP delete and tuning), the fines are too big for the return.


Yes there is a difference on how they work and how they effect your overall system. Programmers flash your ecm (store your factory one in the downloader, vin locked). I have ran one, you can get some really good numbers and performance out of a downloader, they are just not "on the fly" or easily done on the fly(example EFI live, Smarty, Spartan etc). Most of these downloader’s will let the dealership know you have had something in the system...and will void your warranty. The Smarty (for dodge only) is not really detectable, and you can lie your ass off. Marco, the man that designed the Smarty used to work for DC as a software he knows the system well.
Chips (Edge, Banks etc) are plugged inline the electrical system and retrieves the factory signal for fueling/timing and sends another signal to trick out the computer. Most of these are programmable "on the fly" like the Edge Juice/ Attitude (this is what I have for several reasons)
Some of the good programmers/chips:
PPE EFI live, Smarty, Spartan, DP Tuner, Edge, Bully dog, Banks, TST Powermax (cr), and a few others I have missed. Just do some research. Join a few diesel sites. Everyone will have an opinion like everyone has an ******* (much like what I am doing).
Some of the one's I would stay away from:
Hypertech (at least on a Dodge). I have been told by several Four Wheel Parts guys that they don't even recommend them due to so many failures and computer issues with them. I would also stay away from any of the "great deal chips" offline. If you know how much it costs to reprogram or buy and reprogram and ECM, you wouldn't even think about it.

Fuels- You can run whatever you want in your truck, but for will come from Texico, conico or something like that. WVO and biodiesel is a good idea if it was regulated more, but it isn't....and it can cost you huge in repairs. To replace a fuel system on a Cummins Common Rail truck, the dealer will charge anywhere from 8-12K dollars. Injectors and install are around 4800.00, Injection pump and install 1500-2K, Lift pump 600.00+ install, and that is if you didn't f-up the motor when an injector nozzle cracks from water (since it doesn't compress and high pressure).
WVO- This can be refined and processed...but my lord if it isn't. Don't get the BTU (British thermal units) content that #1/2 diesel puts you better be getting it cheap.
Biodiesel-This is regulated some, but you better bring some fuel filters with you for the first 3-6 tanks will clean out your fuel system like no other..and clog your filters quick. Our fleet department went to B5-50 depending on what time of year it was to be "environmentally friendly"...holy **** all the trucks didn't want to run, and for the most part, the computers had to be flashed to run this fuel. In the long run, they spent more money on maintenance then they were even close to saving.
Water in your fuel system will kill it you take the risk if you want too. I had to replace the whole fuel system on my 05 CTD, I was lucky one of my good friends owns a shop and I got everything at cost.
Please don't dump your used motor oil in your tank. I don't care if it is only a quart at a time. This holds true for automatic transmission fluid. These are detergent oils (meant to clean) and will also destroy a fuel system, especially a high pressure one. If you want extra lube in your fuel system if you think the ultra low surfer diesel won't lube your fuel system (********), you can use a non-detergent motor oil, 30W or two cycle oil that is TC-W3 rated (no detergent). You can get these at wal mart for cheap.
If you want some good reading, check out Blue Chip diesel. Chip has been in the industry for years (over 17) and knows fuel systems; he has seen first hand what WVO, bio fuels and water will do to pumps. He also has commented on ULSD and not having the need to run extra lube in the fuel system.

Methanol- This works very well. If you ever get the chance to run in a forced induction vehicle that has the meth kit is amazing what it can accomplish. This will be one of my mods for sure. You can pick up a good snow kit for under 500.00 and get cooler EGT's and get huge power gains when needed (programmed for certain boost settings). Windshield washer fluid is cheap (-20 degree stuff) and can be found anywhere. You can even buy it in bulk to make it really cheap per gallon.

Propane- Some have good luck, but the cost of propane per pound is pretty expensive. Not cost effective like a meth kit...and propane can explode. You also have to get a large propane tank installed in your truck...that would bring in the suck.

Some other considerations when hopping up a diesel truck:
-on common rail (high pressure fuel systems), when you put a fueling box on, this raises the rail pressure. This is very difficult on factory injector nozzles, and they can crack and leak down/ and or wash out your cylinder wall. This will give you a good excuse to get nozzles or a motor...which neither are cheap.

-Please get gauges to monitor your truck. At a minimum, I would get a pyrometer to keep an eye on your egt's...and make sure you tap off before the turbo to get an accurate reading. If not, whatever your gauge says...add at least 300 degrees to what you are reading. Ford was nice enough to put a boost gauge in there trucks (can't remember when they started that). A trans temp gauge is nice for the dodges, ford and Chevy have them factory in some of the more recent years. A rail pressure gauge is a good idea on Dodge trucks...not sure about Chevy or ford, but I would assume that it would.
I would personally get gauges on a stock truck. My 05 CTD would get hot and I never even knew it. Something to keep in mind.

-You can get away with up to 70hp injectors on a Common rail or 100 hp injectors on a manually fired injector before turbo upgrades are needed. Do some research on when you will need to put head studs in: 45 psi on a CTD...time to spend 450.00 + bottom tap for studs. You can do bursts up to 50psi, but not sustained. 40 psi for duramax..650.00 + bottom tap. I am not really sure on the Ford motors. As many problems I have seen with them...I would leave it stock so your warranty is intact...LOL!
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