Professional Q & A

Communication is Key

At Malone Diesel, we have decades of experience and expertise in diesel auto repairs. We take pride in our excellent diagnostic skills. Please take a look at some of our case studies and how we identified problems and offered solutions. Take advantage of our free professional tips, then contact us to setup an appointment and give your vehicle the professional service that it deserves.

Click on the issue to link to the question and answer. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please submit your question to and he will be happy to help you.

Diesel Q&A

Q:  A 1997 350 dually with 185K miles on the clock, pulls a 32-foot fifth wheel. The truck has a chip and plenty of coolers for the auto transmission yet there is considerably more black smoke than before. The mileage is down 1-2 MPG also. Could it be the injector tips are getting a little worn or another sensor malfunctioning?

A:   A dirty air filter or a problem with the air induction system would surely contribute to this problem. Also, check the turbo fins and the map sensor.

Q:  I may have bad injector O-rings. My diesel has been using oil all winter and I just chalked it up to cold weather; now it’s not cold. The truck runs great, doesn’t smoke even on startup. Where should I start looking?

A:   Check your air filter. A clogged air filter can cause the engine to pull oil through the crankcase vent. If you suspect injector O-rings, try pulling the fuel filter and check it for engine oil. Sometimes an O-ring will leak between the oil and fuel passages on the injector and the greater pressure wins. Oil pressure is around 500 psi and fuel is running around 45 to 60 psi. The higher pressure will force oil into the fuel return. I have also had to replace exhaust valve guides and seals to correct this problem. I would check the first two before tackling the valve issue. I have only seen a few with that issue.

Q: I have a 1996 psd F350 and my AC compressor is not cycling or running when I turn on the AC in any position as I can not hear it (like in the past). I did check the under dash fuse and it seems good. Is this a common problem? Any suggestions?

A:   This year model is prone to a bad pigtail at high pressure switch or compressor pigtail. Turn on the A/C and jiggle the wires at these locations. If the compressor kicks in, replace the connector pigtails. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check for power at the low pressure switch then high pressure switch. One of these may be bad or the system may be low on Freon.

Q:  My 95 F250 when cold and left overnight will start up normally. But if I have been driving and shut if off, it will not restart for a few hours at least. I checked the oil reservoir and it is full. The truck is primarily stock with 182k miles on it. It has a chip, intake and exhaust but I pulled the chip yesterday when it would not start. After four hours it started up again but ran rough. Also, when cold if I accelerate hard it will miss. I also have a pretty bad oil leak in the valley somewhere if that helps. I’m not sure what I should start testing or looking for.

A:   The oil leak should be addressed but I don’t think it’s the problem. First check the reservoir at the high pressure oil pump. This should be close to the top when the plug is removed. The fact that the truck starts cold indicates the reservoir is holding oil. The pressure regulator on the high pressure oil pump is probably the problem. You need to remove and inspect the O-ring and cut washer. If blown, replace and problem solved. I have no codes to work with so this will be a good start. If for some reason this does not fix the problem, high pressure oil pump diagnostics will be required. I’ve seen this problem many times. Good luck!

Q:  I have a truck that is fairly new to me, plus I’m new to diesel engines. I hear of other trucks getting 17-24 MPG. My truck has 170K miles on it, a 6″ lift and I’m running BFGs 315/75 R16 tires, but even calculating the size difference I’m only getting 14.5 MPG. My typical commute is a mixture, about one-third is stop-and-go and two-thirds is freeway. Also, I have a buggy trailer that I’ve towed through the hills to the desert. I’ve tried programming my Edge Chip to stock but it seems to get this MPG all the time. Is this normal mileage or could I have a problem? Thanks for your time, Steve.

A:   This is a commonly asked question. Typically, most of the trucks that roll through my shop get 12 to 15 mpg. We have done extensive testing and found that a good high flow air filter and upgraded exhaust are beneficial for mileage concerns. On Fords, the super chips tuner seems to be the best bet. We have also found that at 150K to 200K miles the fuel injectors have worn on the mechanical end and justify replacement as a cheap solution, but will provide better mpg. Don’t forget compression; this also could be a factor in poor fuel mileage!

Q:  Lately my 1995 F350 with a 7.3 Power stroke has been showing low oil pressure on the factory gauge. It’s filled with oil and is changed regularly. Do I have a compression problem? Is it time to think about a rebuild on the motor? Thanks a lot.

A:   Low oil pressure is a common occurrence. No need to think about a rebuild yet. Your problem is either in the oil-sending unit or the sensor for the sending unit. The differentiation is quite simple. If the truck starts up fine, it’s the sensor that needs to be replaced. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the electrical connection to the sensor is clean and in good condition. If it’s hard or not starting, you’ll need to replace the oil-sending unit.

Q:  I have a 95 PSD 7.3 with an auto transmission. My speedometer doesn’t work and the transmission will barely shift gears. When it finally did shift, it slammed itself into the next gear violently. Once it got up to speed, it was fine until I had to slow down for the next light and then we went through the same scenario. I have a super chips tuner so I pulled codes and got a p0113 and a p0500. Any ideas on what went wrong? Thanks for your help.

A:   When the speedometer is erratic and code is thrown, the speed sensor in the rear axle is probably the culprit. Very inexpensive and easy to change. Good luck!

Q:  I have a 1998 Power Stroke F250 and I want to modify it. I’m interested in boosting horsepower/torque as well as my fuel economy. I don’t have the money for a fancy turbo or custom injectors though. Can you make a few recommendations to get me down the road a little quicker?

A:   A super chips tuner, cold air intake, and a four inch exhaust will do this quite well. Start with the tuner, add the intake, and then add the exhaust. As higher horsepower settings are used, the engine needs to breath. These modifications are simple enough to do yourself.

Q: I replaced all the injectors 30K miles ago along with the under VC gaskets. The truck has slowly been running worse over the last 30K miles so I had it scanned. It came back with injectors 2, 4, and 8 firing intermittently, and I needed to replace the VC gasket and the under VC gaskets. I pulled it apart and sure enough, the harnesses were burned along with the gaskets. What would cause this to happen again so soon? Bad IDM? Short in the main harness somewhere? The truck only has 162K on the clock. Thanks in advance.

A:   The wiring failing prematurely could be faulty installation, for example, not plugged in tightly, faulty parts, or after-market parts replacement. I have seen a lot of after market components that fail well before their time, if not at the time of installation. I highly recommend using only OE (original equipment) parts that are engine related. Generally if the engine wire harness was shorted to ground or IDM failure was occurring, DTCs would be set. Also, while you’re replacing the harnesses and gasket, check the glow plugs. Good luck.

Q: I’m thinking about purchasing a 1996 F250 with a 7.3 Power Stroke engine. I know semi trucks can go upwards of six hundred thousand miles before a rebuild is necessary, but how long could a properly maintained pickup truck engine like this one last?

A:   A well maintained 7.3 Power Stroke engine can run upwards to 350K to 500K. Good maintenance, wise use of performance products, and periodic inspections by a trained technician can easily help this truck to reach its full potential.

Q: When taking off from a complete stop, the truck vibrates for about a second or two then quiets until 25 mph. Between 25-35 mph I get shake rattle and roll, then nothing at higher speeds. I recently replaced CB in driveline. Any thoughts? Thanks.

A:   Not knowing if the vibration is engine or drive line, I would recommend checking the u-joints. It is a common problem for the joints to lock up in one direction and not the other. Pull the drive shaft and check the movement both ways. Next check the differential while the shaft is out. It will be necessary to lift the rear wheels off the ground. The transmission may also be an issue.

Q:  I’ve seen guys add cheap 2-stroke oil to their diesel fuel when they fill up their trucks. Is this something I should do? I have a stock 1997 F350 Power Stroke with 135K miles. I may chip it but don’t plan on more mods. Any info or links to info are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

A:   With the removal of sulfur from diesel fuel, lubricity is also lost. By adding approved additives, or in this case oil, one can enhance the lubricity. Be careful, approved is the key word.

Q:  While driving, the dash “Fuel Filter” light came on. The truck shook, lost power, and then died. I opened the fuel bowl and noticed a strong vacuum I had not felt before. The bowl was only one-fifth full of fuel but the filter was good as new. I had the fuel pump replaced. A few days later, while driving, the truck shook and died again. The shop got it going again meaning it was idling fine but they never put a load on the engine. On my way home the truck shook and died. Thinking I had bad fuel in the tank, it was drained, lowered and cleaned. With fresh #2 the Schrader valve measured 46 psi and it drove great for 30 miles then lost power and died again. So now I think something is being overlooked. Could a clogged fuel return line prevent the fuel pump from working because there was such a strong vacuum in the almost empty fuel bowl? Is there possibly a problem with my FPR? If so where do I start? Any other ideas?

A:   I need a little more information to solve this problem. If possible, have someone pull the DTSC, year, make, and model. Was the fuel bowl empty the second time it died? The 1994-97 models have dual tanks and a switching valve. A bad valve that is not switching correctly can possibly cause this problem. Send more info and we will solve this problem.

Q:  Just bought a 1997 with 153k miles. Once it started, lots of bluish white smoke and oil came out of the exhaust with a really rough run. Smoke almost smells more like unburned diesel. Pedal to the floor and I can only get 2500 rpm. It has a few switches under the dash that I’m not sure about and a mechanism after the turbo (exhaust side) that looks like it might be a jake brake of some kind. I was going to change the CPS but it looks brand new-not a speck of dirt on the metal bracket. It will idle but very poorly. I was thinking injector-O-rings may be the problem.

A:   First things first. Get some diagnostics codes and pinpoint the problems. The fuel smoke at start up may just be glow plugs or control problems. The rough running at idle could be wiring, injectors, or IPR or a related part. Take the time to troubleshoot the codes and pinpoint the problems. This will help keep the cost of repairs down and most of all accurate replacement of parts.

Q:   My five-speed shifts great around town but when I drive it for any length of time on the highway and stop at a toll booth or come into another town, the truck is very hard to shift particularly out of neutral into 2nd or reverse. Do you think I am having a hydraulics problem or a clutch problem or a transmission fluid problem? I do not hear any strange noises or whining. Thanks for the help.

A:   Sounds like one of two problems. First measure the travel of the slave cylinder at the release lever on left side of the transmission. If it’s not fully releasing problems will occur. Second, when the problem is occurring, put the vehicle in neutral and pump the clutch pedal to see if the transmission goes into gear without grinding. These problems are associated with hydraulic failure. A faulty pressure plate has also been known to cause this condition.

Q:  My check engine light came on. I checked the error code and found it had two errors-P1391 and P1393. These codes are related to the left and right glow plug banks. What would cause an error to both banks? Also, can I continue to drive the truck with the “Check engine” light on? Or should I disconnect something? I did a brief test last night of the relay. It turns on and has voltage on the output side. Is there anything else I should check before pulling the valve cover to ohm out each glow plug? Also, I live in the southern California area. It sounds like from what I’ve read that I can live without the glow plugs for a little while (until I repair what’s wrong). Thanks.

A:   It sounds like you may have a wiring issue or, as you said, bad glow plugs. I have never seen faulty glow plugs set a code. It is unnecessary to pull the valve covers to check glow plugs. Unplug the wire harness at the valve cover and ohm the outer most pins (furthest from the center); these are the glow plug terminals. If no other symptoms are occurring, it’s probably safe to drive. You will, however, experience white-blue smoke and fuel-smelling exhaust when cold.

Q:  I have a 1997 250 PSD that I believe has bad glow plugs. Seems whenever it sits a while, it takes a couple of times to start and has a lot of white smoke. Whenever I start up later in the day, it starts right without smoke. I found how to test the glow plugs and the relay, but I do not have a voltage meter. My question is, what brand of glow plug should I look for and what brand(s) should I stay away from?

A:   I have a 1997 250 PSD that I believe has bad glow plugs. Seems whenever it sits a while, it takes a couple of times to start and has a lot of white smoke. Whenever I start up later in the day, it starts right without smoke. I found how to test the glow plugs and the relay, but I do not have a voltage meter. My question is, what brand of glow plug should I look for and what brand(s) should I stay away from?

Q:  My truck (1997 F250 PSD) hasn’t been running well and recently it suddenly died several times while going down the road. An independent mechanic said he can’t get either of his diagnostic computers to communicate with the truck. He pulled the chip, checked all fuses and connections, and still nothing. It’s going to be pretty hard to diagnose if he can’t pull any codes. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions?

A:   Sounds like an electronic problem. Is another pcm available to swap with to verify scan tool communication? It doesn’t have to be the same year (95-97), standard, or automatic. If the scan tool communicates, then the pcm is at fault. If communication is still not received then a no start occurs. No codes diagnostics will be required. Let us know if wiring diagrams are needed.

Q:  My 1994 F250 Power Stroke would be driving fine, but on acceleration it would begin to miss. If I released the throttle, it would go to idle, straighten out, and run fine. This problem occurred about two minutes after startup. But then it ran fine for 15 minutes before it started stumbling again, cleared, and started again. The problem stopped for about a month or so. Now it won’t go away. Upon opening the truck up, the valve cover for the rear plug on the Pass side gasket was burned. We cut away the burned section on the outer plug. We removed the gasket, and the inside was fine (ohmed it out). Front looked fine too. After cutting away the burned section, we made plugs to get power to the GPs. The center three contacts survived. After reassembly, the problem is still happening. Pulling the front plug does not change the stumble at all. It will start and run fine for maybe two seconds. The odometer will flash and show the mileage, then at the same time, the CEL comes on and the stumble returns. Waiting until morning to retest and it’s the same. I can go about 35 MPH since I have a trailer with about 3000 lbs on it and about 50 MPH without a trailer. The crank sensor was replaced about three years ago.

A:   A good diagnostic scan is in order. It is imperative to know what the DTCs read. Burned wiring would indicate high to low side open at a given cylinder. A buzz test or contribution test would indicate if you have a faulty injector or cylinder issue. My suspicion would be a faulty injector. I don’t recommend after-market sensors. Replace with OE parts on these components. The dealer price has dropped but not the quality. If we can help further, feel free to contact us.

Q:  I had a pretty big puddle under the truck. Turns out it was the back of the H-pop. Had the dealership replace it and the O-ring on the front drivers side head plug, which was also leaking. One week, and $1,200 later, my truck feels sluggish and borderline gutless. My fuel economy is probably about as good as it’s ever been, so I can’t really complain there. I’m not “chipped” or anything like that, but I would like my truck to feel like it used to. I told the Ford guys about it, and of course, after a test drive and computer scan, they claimed that it doesn’t register any codes, and that it’s the “best running 7.3 they’ve felt in years.” I think what they meant to say was “You should buy a 6.4.” Any ideas on some actual troubleshooting I can do, and not just “Easter-egging” (part swapping) until my wallet is empty and my engine compartment looks new. Thanks as always.

A:   I doubt that changing the oil pump had anything to do with power loss. I have seen on the other hand, that the dealer will reprogram the PCM to the latest program without your knowledge. I have had many Power Strokes and have experienced this problem. After flashing them back to an earlier program, they run much better. If you get a chance, try a super chip tuner. Generally this will provide a good kick in power and improved fuel mileage.

Q:  I’m trying to get my rear axle out so I can replace the wheel seals. Don’t you just remove the axle shaft to rear hub bolts and slide it out? Mine won’t budge. I can move it out a little tiny bit, but something is holding it in there, pulling it back. I don’t know if the rear end is stock or if something has been done to it. It has RVT sealant around the cover, so someone’s been in there. Another question is about the identification code. The code on the door for the axle says “C5”. Do you know what this is? I couldn’t match it up in the list of codes I do have. Thanks!

A:   If this differential is on an F250/F350 your method is correct. These units either have a Dana 80 (usually found in the 350) or the sterling in the other. You can find the ID number on the tag located on the rear cover bolt; or remove the cover and look down the edge of the ring gear. I have seen galled bearing that freeze the axle to the hub. Twisted spines in the spider gears will also cause this problem. An F150 should have a pin or clips that need to be removed internally. Don’t forget to add limited slip additive to gear oil where applicable.

Q:  My 1997 f350 cc dw fuel filter light came on during a road trip and I noticed my mpg was down. So I stopped and changed the filter and everything was back to normal. Two days later the light came on again so I changed the filter and cleaned the canister and everything was fine for a few days but now it is on again. The light mainly comes on after extended periods of driving but sometimes in town if I’m on the throttle a lot. Thanks.

A:   Sounds like you got a dose of bad fuel. If this keeps happening, you are going to have to drain the tank. Keep in mind that some fuel stations are using B20 bio-diesel in some form. This will glob fuel filters up in a hurry!

Q:  We just purchased a 1997 F350 truck with a re-built transmission with approx 5000 miles. It was re-built back to stock and the truck is stock. I know that you can beef up a re-built transmission, but what else can I do to make this transmission last longer and shift better. We pull very little with the truck, mostly highway miles. I haven’t had an E40D in years but did have a bad experience in the past. Nothing that could be done for them back then so I am wondering what is on the market now. Thanks.

A:   I suggest a super chips tuner set on the tow safe setting. This will give you a nice shift improvement and a safe boost in horsepower without costly modifications. The E40D, if re-manufactured by a qualified re-builder, has seen many improvements. I would add an over-sized transmission cooler, and service the unit every 20K. I know you’ll enjoy your new truck.

Q:  I have a 1994 F-250 that blows fuse 22 as soon as the key is turned on. I believe this goes to the ignition system since the “Wait to start” light does not come on and the truck will not start. I disconnected the ignition and coil and then measured across the fuse holder. This read 5 ohms. I pulled the connectors to the valve covers and it still measured 5 ohms. Seems like it is a cable short but I do not have the cable pin-outs to verify it. Where can I find the short? Also the fuse was a 30 amp but the owner’s manual says it should be a 20 amp. Could that be for gas? Should I put the 20amp back in after the short is found? Thanks.

A:   Unplug the single, black wire from the drivers side of the fuel bowl located behind and below the regulator. Then replace the fuse and test it. If the truck starts, then the fuel bowl heater has shorted out. Remove the filter, drain it, and inspect it. You will probably see your problem right away.

Q:  My truck died and won’t start! Fuse No. 22 was blown. I unplugged the fuel heater and replaced the fuse but still no start. The WTS light is not coming on. What blew the fuse? What do I try next? I was told the CPS would cause the truck to shut off, but would it blow the fuse? Could it be the fuel pump? Could it be the GPR? Any suggestions are welcome!! Thank you!

A:   I’m assuming your truck is between a 1994 t 1997 power stroke. If so, I would inspect the fuel bowl wire harness very carefully. Check for melted wires in the back and at the regulator. This harness plugs into the engine wire harness and fails quite often.

Q:  When I turn the key, there is no WTS light. The ABS light comes on and goes out. The engine turns over but does not fire. There is no smoke from the tail pipe. The tachometer does not move and the speedometer drops from its resting position to about 2 mm below. I replaced the CPS less than 10K miles ago and I just put on a new starter. Could it be the computer? I need to resolve this fairly economically. Any and all suggestions are gratefully acknowledged! Thanks!

A:   Check the maxi fuses at the power distribution box under the hood. If the fuse is blown and continues to blow, check with circuit breaker. Then check the fuel bowl heater. This is located under the fuel filter. It’s pretty common for this unit to short out. If this is the case, then unplug the external harness that passes through the fuel bowl; replace the fuse and test it. If this doesn’t cure the problem then find a qualified technician to diagnose it. For you, this shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. It gets expensive to throw parts at the problem without proper diagnostics. Feel free to email back for further info and help.

Q:  I have a chance to get one of two 1995 model trucks. I seem to remember that the automatics in that year had some weaker parts than 1996 and up. Is there anything to look at closer on these trucks, or should I look at them the same? One truck has 160K or so but no background at all on it from the dealer. It’s a little rough around the edges because it was a farm truck based on what I see and the fact it has a farm tag. The other one has less than 140K and doesn’t claim a rebuild but is a clean truck overall. Any thoughts?

A:   The early E4OD transmissions were somewhat problematic. Since then, many improvements and upgrades have been implemented into the re-manufactured units. Remember, service is the key to a unit that lasts a long time. My recommendation is to change filter and fluid every 20K. You can look at the tag on the driver side of the transmission and see if the unit has been re-manufactured. It will be denoted with a RM in the numbers. This will be there if this is a Ford re-manufactured. I suggest if you have to replace the unit at any time to go with a Ford re-manufactured, 3 years, 75,000 mile warranty.

Q:  What sensor is in the air box of a 1995 F250 and what does it measure? Thanks.

A:   The sensor found in the air box is the IAT (intake air temperature) sensor. As the name states, this sensor monitors intake air temperatures.

Q:  What’s the difference in diesel fuels between No. 1 and No. 2? What about non-highway use or “red” diesel? Can that be run in a Power Stroke?

A:   The No. 1 diesel is a better, more refined fuel with a higher octane rating. This is similar to octane in gas products. Red diesel is good fuel, high in sulfur and has a good octane number. The problem lies in the law.

Q:  What is red diesel fuel?

A:   Red diesel is a high-sulfur, off-road-use-only fuel. This is a quality fuel but is not allowed for on-highway use. The fines are stiff for violating the intended use. Furthermore, high sulfur fuels can damage the newer engines and will void warranties. To answer your question, it runs great in the non emission-compliant engines.

Q:  I replaced the UVC harness due to burned terminals along with a new gasket. I had an oil leak, so I ran a small bead of RTV around the gasket and then around the valve cover to be sure it would seal up and not leak. The leak is still there. Oil is leaking from somewhere and filling the little lip that the bolts go into on the back of the passenger side valve cover. The underside and back of the truck is covered in oil. Any ideas where it is coming from? Thanks.

A:   Try taking the cover back off and inspecting it carefully; it may have a crack in the plastic portion of the gasket. Also, while the cover is off, place it on a flat surface and confirm the cover is not warped and in need of straightening out.

Q:  What’s involved as far as special tools needed to do a front break job on a 1997, 350 Diesel 4×4? Is there a trick to removing the rotors on the truck.

A:   It takes a special socket on some models to remove the inner axle nut. Remove the 4×4 hub, lock ring, and the very thin walled nut. Good luck.

Q:  What is the primary difference between the new and the old Power Stroke motors? Thanks.

A:   The differences between the 1994 to 2003, 7.3 Power Stroke and the new Twin Turbo 6.4 are the same as the difference between night and day. The 7.3 is a proven, reliable engine. (Look how long it stayed in production.) Accessibility to all engine components can be achieved without too much frustration, and labor hours on repairs are reasonable. The 7.3 has a high pressure oil-driven injection system. This system consists of injectors, a high pressure oil pump, a pressure regulator, and a pressure sensor. It also has an electronic module (injector driver module) that sends current to the injectors to make them fire.The 6.4 has not been out long enough to see how reliable it is. This engine is emission-compliant and has EGR coolers and a diesel particulate filter. These items are new technology and reliability has not yet been proven. On the other hand, the 6.4 has changed to common rail injection. Much simpler than the 7.3 HEUI system mentioned above, the common rail system contains a high-pressure fuel pump and injectors, a sensor, and runs much quieter. This combination means a lot less to go wrong. We have high expectations for the 6.4 after the flop of the 6.0, but a little more time is needed for a thumbs up! I’m still a 7.3 fan.

Q:  What’s the purpose of the “Wait to start” light? What if I ignore it and start the truck?

A:   The “Wait to start” light indicates that the glow plugs are pre-heating the cylinders before fuel is injected and the engine starts. By not letting the glow plugs cycle, excessive exhaust smoke will be observed. On a cold day the engine may not even start if you don’t let the wait to cycle to finish, indicated by the “Wait to start” light going out.

Q:  Will a 1999 PSD Garret turbo fit my 1995 PSD?

A:   Yes, but you will need some modifications. You need the pedestal, the collector at the top of the Y pipes, the intake, and intake runners. If using as factory set up, you will need charged air tubes, intercooler, and connectors. Give us a call if you need further assistance.

Q:  Should I use a fuel supplement in my 04 Power Stroke? Which one? Thanks for your time in advance.

A:   Yes, I would certainly use an additive. The brand I recommend is Schaeffer’s Diesel Treat 2000. Call the shop and I can give you an update on the additives.

Q:  My truck developed a decent leak from the water pump weep hole. So I replaced the water pump, which included the thermostat and a new thermostat housing. After several days driving, I notice some liquid so I drive home and park. When I checked later, I see it is coolant. A technician who worked on it determined that it is not the water pump, but that it is coming from behind the water pump. So it must be the timing cover (engine cover) gasket. He quoted me 18 hours and $1800 (round number) to fix. Does their diagnosis sound correct?

A:   This is a possibility but would definitely seek a second opinion from a facility that specializes in Power Strokes. We have been working on strokes since 1995 at our facility and I’ve only replaced one front cover. The price sounds fair as the engine must be removed to make the repair. Any questions to assist give me a call.

Q:   I’m looking at buying one of two trucks. I know you don’t have a crystal ball in front of you, but generally speaking, which motor do you think would last longer-a Cummins or a Power Stroke?

A:   The Cummins will last 500-600K miles, hands down; the Power Stroke for 250-400K miles. The problem with the Cummins is the truck is mounted in and usually doesn’t last that long. On the other hand the Ford does very well as it ages. Resale value is always better also.

Q:  What’s the difference between a 1997 and a 2002 Power Stroke in the motor? Thanks.

A:   The 1997 is a 215 hp, non inter-cooled engine, where the 2002 is a 250 hp (automatic) up to 275 hp (standard transmission) inter-cooled, engine. Both are 444 cubic inches but more power is achieved through the intercooler and turbo. Different injectors also factor in along with programming.

Q:   I get a squealing sound like light metal-on-metal contact whenever I put the truck in reverse and begin backing up. It only squeaks when I’m rolling, and it doesn’t squeak when I drive forward. Since I can’t get under the truck while it’s moving, any idea on what I should look for? Could this be a driveshaft problem?

A:   Pull the driveshaft and manually move the u-joints. They are probably frozen up in one direction.

Q:    I am having issues with start ups in the morning. When it’s plugged in, its fine. I have replaced all glow plugs, UVC harnesses, and gaskets, along with a new glow plug relay. All pins look good and not burnt. One weird thing that does happen is when I get a hard start, and it finally catches. The chip (Tony’s) overrides all settings, meaning that it goes right into extreme setting. I then have to wait until it warms up and shut it off before I can get the settings back.

A:   I would remove the chip until the problem is solved. This will likely solve the problem. I have seen chips and programmers go corrupt from time to time. Try this and e-mail me back.

Q:    You hear these loud trucks with flow masters, etc. They sound great, but what would be the difference in performance if you simply removed the muffler and the catalytic converter? Would that be legal?

A:   Sounds great! The turbo acts like a muffler but the problem is the new law. If the truck was built with a muffler on it, it has to be on there when inspected. The newer engines with EGR systems could be damaged if removed.

Q:    While driving at about 75 mph (no rain), two of the lights came on (ABS and Brake) at the same time. The fluid is full, replaced the sensor on the differential today, replaced and bled all the brakes. I used a super chips programmer and that’s not showing any codes. Speedometer works, it shifts normal, pedal doesn’t go to the floor, and no transmission light. The truck stops fine. Any help would be great. Thanks.

A:   I’m not sure what year your truck is, but 1999 to 2003 models had a problem with the pressure switch on the master cylinder. There is a TSB and replacement switch as well as the harness available from Ford.

Q:    I have a 1997 F250 PSD. When I take off from a stop I get a clicking sound and something like an air pressure noise that sounds like it comes in the vents but doesn’t blow any air out. I hear the air sound and then it goes away after four seconds when I hit the gas a little more. Am I hearing things or what? Thanks.

A:   You may be hearing the turbo on acceleration or an exhaust leak at the Y pipes or manifold. Get under the truck with a light and look for soot residue at these places.

Q:    My 1997 Crew Cab has some issues with the door locks. Wondering if any of you have had the issue and know what needs replaced. My drivers door lock will sometimes not “catch” when turning the key or using the power switch. The rod only moves part way. Using the handle to unlock it takes a couple pulls to get the rod to pop up. My passenger door key lock likes to stick and not turn, and my RR door rod is so stiff it is hard to unlock by hand (the power locks don’t do anything for it anymore) This same door has a problem with the window sticking in the down position. Not sure if that’s related. Any ideas on what I can do to fix or what I need to replace are much appreciated. Thanks!

A:   Replace the actuators. It’s a lot easier to let a body shop do it!

Q:    I drove about half a mile to a stop sign and the brakes were fine at first, but then no vacuum. I then drove another half mile and stopped and experienced the same thing. It was fine at first but then the vacuum went away. I turned the heater off and everything was fine. The ABS light has been on the past 6 times I drove the truck. The truck spends a lot of time sitting. I only drive it on weekends and to pull a toy hauler. It is a 1997 F350 DRW Power Stroke with 160,000 miles. Do these vacuum pumps act like this when they are going out?

A:   Sounds like you’re on the right track. Check the amount of vacuum. It should be 25 inches. If not in spec, replace the pump. Also, check all the vacuum lines and connections. Remember, the 1997 year model has a vacuum booster and it should also be checked.

Q:    How much movement should the tension pulley have when the truck is running? I notice also that the edge of the pulley is touching the bolt to the bottom left. Is this normal? Thanks.

A:   The edge of the pulley should not touch the bolt. It will fly apart and wreak havoc. It’s time to replace it.

Q:    I heard a long time ago of a guy who supplemented his oil with a quart of transmission fluid in the crankcase on a gas engine. Would something like that help a diesel?

A:   I would not recommend it in a diesel. It’s ok to put it in the fuel as long the vehicle is not an emission compliant model.

Q:    I thought about converting my truck (1999 F250 psd) to bio-diesel capable in an effort to pay less at the pump and help out the atmosphere a bit as well. Is this an easy process or is it involved and will it hurt me down the road in terms of longevity? Thanks.

A:   Be careful; manufacturers will only approve B5 which is 5% bio. Anything over that will void the warranty. We’ve seen more harm than good at this point. I think with some better refining the future holds a lot for the product.

Q:    My shop told me I need a new front end on my 2005 F250 and started throwing all these names of parts around and I have no understanding of what it is they are talking about. Can you give me a simple breakdown of the terms like ball joint and such? Thanks.

A:   Your tires are connected to a spindle. The ball joints connect the spindle to the axle housing and allow the spindle to swivel or rotate so the vehicle can turn. When the ball joints get worn then the tires start to wear and steering gets sloppy. The tie rod ends connect the steering wheel to the spindles. When they get loose, steering also gets sloppy and the vehicle starts to wander. If you don’t feel confident in the repair diagnostics get a second opinion.

Q:    What do you suggest we do to our F250s and F350s to help make them more fuel efficient?

A:   A super chips tuner, proper services, and a cold air intake would help. Also, address any check engine lights and be careful of the fuel you put in your truck. We’re seeing a lot of injector damage due to poor fuel quality. A good additive with lubricity enhancer, octane improver, and water dispersant would be a plus.

Q:    A friend of mine asked me the other day why I didn’t buy an older Dodge instead of an older Ford. I jokingly remarked that you don’t see a lot of older Dodge trucks around. Hardly any now that I think about it. Why is that?

A:   The old Dodges just fall apart. All’s that’s left is the engine. What an engine though!

Back to top