On the surface — its massive surface — there didn’t seem to be much wrong with my newly purchased 2001 Ford Excursion 7.3 Powerstroke 4×4. I was hoping this would truly be the case when my mechanic, the Car Wizard, did his formal inspection, as I have way too many projects already. Thankfully, my simple giant lived up to its invincible reputation.
For what the Ford Excursion lacks in interior quality, technology and road manners, it makes up for in the way it’s massively overbuilt. Constructed on the F250 chassis, it shares the same huge frame, solid front and rear axle and four-corner leaf-spring suspension. Other than being beefed up to massive proportions, the basic design of the Excursion isn’t too different from the earliest Fords from nearly 100 years ago, and this simple approach created a recipe for incredible longevity. The 7.3 V8 turbo diesel engine under the hood is another dinosaur design, but it’s a proven workhorse and the last generation of diesels free of serious compromises for emissions regulations or overly complicated engineering defects brought forth in an effort to achieve greater efficiency.
With 204,000 miles on the odometer, my Excursion still felt strong, and thanks to spending most of its life in a Southern climate, it looked great as well. My only concern with the inspection was the truck exceeding the lift capacity of my mechanic’s aging lifts by several hundred pounds. But once the behemoth Excursion was raised over our heads and locked into place, the Car Wizard assured me that everything was perfectly safe. I still didn’t feel comfortable standing underneath nearly 8,000 pounds of steel, so I spent most of my time filming from along the edges of the truck.
The good news was that the Car Wizard found nothing seriously wrong with the truck. Other than some oil seepage from a valve cover gasket, there was one engine code for a failing glow plug, but none of this required urgent repair. If I wanted to upgrade the entire glow plug system (which would require replacing the leaky valve cover gasket anyway to access the plugs), it would only cost me $550 for the entire job. Unlike spark plugs in gasoline engines that cause ignition in the combustion chamber, the job of a glow plug is to simply warm the air of a cold diesel engine to make cold starts easier. Once the diesel is running, the compression stroke ignites the fuel without the need for a spark, and the glow plugs switch themselves off.
For now, my Excursion seems to be starting fine with seven of its eight glow plugs working, so I’ll wait until the current projects are done– along with the other projects waiting for the current ones to be done. I’m sure there will be some other projects I’ll buy along the way as well, so the check engine light might be glowing on my Excursion’s dashboard forever. Find a Ford Excusion for sale
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