Desires vs realities

Chorky

Observer
Ok, so getting closer to pulling the trigger on proceeding with my original, or somewhat original, build idea.

Long story short:
97 OBS 7.3 CCLB - desire to add flatbed/boxes and camper of some sort (liking the Scout Kenai so far), capable of full time living, planned to be multipurpose work/fun with other goodies.
The end result will be at, and likely over, GVW, but hopefully at or under 10K (GVW is 9,200 for these old trucks). Not a fan at all of going over GVW, but I dont see how it can be avoided.

The question is, from those who have gone before, and I know a few of you are here, what were your likes / dislikes. Is there a significant failure component or significantly high maintenance component of running these at a constant 10K weight? Many of those I'm thinking of here have had experience with said trucks, and have since switched to newer stronger vehicles - not an option for me really. Just wanting to know what I'm getting into before making the financial investment.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
While the old 7.3 will do it, our reality dictated a newer truck.
A combination of safety, comfort, and overall operating costs won out.

The new junk is lightyears ahead of the old junk in countless ways.
Its incredibly just how much more TRUCK you get with the new stuff.

The old 7.3 was a sturdy truck, mind you, but the running gear and drivetrain pale in comparison to anything 2006+

We ran with a SAS's 1997 extended cab 7.3 for about a decade, at or over GVWR.


The new junk is quite frankly, better in every respect.
The ONLY thing we lost was a few MPG. 4-5MPG to be precise.
But being a gasser it was to be expected, but so is the lower operating costs.
 

Chorky

Observer
While the old 7.3 will do it, our reality dictated a newer truck.
I was really hoping you would speak up, thanks! So remind me what was your payload (camper) weight? 2500 or so right? Did it wear out parts prematurely? What parts? Most of my components (axles, joints, engine, trans) basically all the running gear and suspension is brand new - well, 2 years old now I suppose. A 'new junk' is not an option for me. I also don't have the option of doing much work myself right now, so sadly most stuff has to be bought, or pay a shop to do the work with very specific instructions. So just trying to do what I can with what I have - and already dumped a lot of cash into the 7.3 2 years ago. Another option is to rebuild the TJ with a matching trailer. However, a camper (like the new Scout series) is much more livable than a teardrop IMO, especially with dealing with winter towing and a foot of snow... Ultimately, I would hate to have to, say, replace bearings every 3 years if maxing the GVW causes that amount of pre-mature wear.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Camper is roughly 2200lbs dry, all of 3k wet

No failures to speak of. But it felt it. Terrible brakes, mediocre trans, no air bags, and an overall tired, dated truck.

"new" truck (2011 super duty) is MUCH better. I quite literally have zero complaints, and we already have roughly 30k on the new setup.
 

greengreer

Adventurer
I've got an old body 7.3 one ton. Not a camper rig but its a work truck with toolboxes and a dump body. Sits at 10k with toolboxes and fuel tanks full, nothing in the bed. It's a tough old bird and lives most of its life at or (well) above it's 11k gvw, also while towing a 7k lb trailer.
While I still own it for now, I bought a f-550 a few months back that is much better suited for the task, despite being able to haul about twice the amount of material. It's still right at gvw when loaded but its not over and day to day that makes a huge difference. It's way less sketchy to drive, and time will tell but I feel the maintenance issues will be be less as everything is designed for what it is doing.

That being said, being only a thousand lbs over isn't gonna shift the world off its axis. You might wear out your steer tires a little faster, and will probably be doing a few more brake jobs than someone who isn't loaded up all the time.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
It's Winter!

Go find something else you like to do in Winter besides camp.

Save a $1,000/month for the next 5 months. Sell stuff, cut back in other areas of your spending to do whatever it takes to achieve a goal of saving an additional $5,000 over the next 5 months to buy a newer more capable truck that better fits you needs far better than on old 1997 OBS 7.3 diesel Ford you will be replacing. 24 year old trucks while nostalgic are not anywhere near as capable, comfortable or reliable as newer trucks as noted several times above.

I like nostalgic vehicles and have a bunch of em yet I also realize their limitations and problems.

They sure don't make em like they used to! I for one am pleased that is a fact!
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
Keep good fluids in it, keep good brakes/tires on it. Check the suspension/shocks/frame over. I am not overly familiar with OBS fullsizes but old Ranger's (scaled down OBS fullsize trucks) rust behind the shock mounts and spring mounts where dirt accumulates and holds moisture, check that over.
 

Seabass

Idiot
Ok....my turn to share some opinions. I kinda encouraged you to fix up your 7.3 truck a while back. Since I was running two of them at the time I had some experience.

What you’re looking at is some sound advice from the previous posters. I sold my 97 F-350 crew cab long bed 7.3 with a ZF-5 and custom suspension and replaced it with a 2012 F-350 extended cab long bed 6.2 gas and 6 speed auto. 4.30 gears and a factory E-locker sealed the deal. The lift and 35”s are just gravy on the biscuit! That was about 18 months ago. I can testify that literally everything on the newer trucks is better. Pick anything you want to talk about....it’s going to be better. I promise.

However......I still own and drive DAILY drive another 1997 F-350 Crew Cab long bed (flat bed). It has a 460 big block and a ZF-5. 4.10 gears, 3” lift and I run 35” tires. It is loaded down with a gas air compressor and a crap load of tools and recovery gear (Warn winch and bumper)It weighs over 9,900lbs without me in the seat. I’m 250lbs. It does just fine. I even hook over 20,000 lbs to it several times a year hauling tractors, hay, soybeans, etc.... It absolutely knows that load is there. But it handles it in a safe manner because I drive it to be safe.

But it doesn’t handle that load nearly as well as my 2012. That being said- daily driving.....the 97 does ok. It doesn’t handle at high speed like it does when the tools are not on it. It “feels” the weight. So on back roads I drive a little slower. It stops more slowly when all my tools are on it. I don’t believe I see any big acceleration in overall wear and tear. These obs trucks were made pretty darn tuff. The brakes take more abuse than anything. My old truck has about 350,000 miles on it. But everything in it, under it, and about it is new or rebuilt.

Point is- yes, I believe you can do what you want with your old truck. But you will need to pay attention how you treat it, and learn how to operate it safely at that weight. I believe it will hold up if you use your head. That’s what I’ve been doing with mine for a decade. No- it will not do it as well as a newer truck. Not as fast, as comfortable, or quite as safe. But it will do it as well or better (with all your improvements) than it would have back in 1997 when it was brand new. You need to adjust your expectations. It’s never going to perform like the newer trucks. But it can do at least as well as it was designed to do when it was new. I was hauling heavy stuff in 1997 when those trucks were showroom new and thought they were the greatest things ever. So why would I think a mechanically sound one can’t do it today? I’ll drop the obligatory pics now.....my 2012 and the 97 that I kept. And FWIW......I sold my 97 diesel for nearly 20k. That paid for the 2012. You might want to consider all your options.....those obs trucks are WAY over valued these days.



 

Chorky

Observer
only a thousand lbs over isn't gonna shift the world off its axis. You might wear out your steer tires a little faster, and will probably be doing a few more brake jobs than someo
Figured as much, but wanted to verify with others first.


I can testify that literally everything on the newer trucks is better. Pick anything you want to talk about....it’s going to be better. I promise.

However......I still own and drive DAILY drive another 1997 F-350 Crew Cab long bed (flat bed). It has a 460 big block and a ZF-5. 4.10 gears, 3” lift and I run 35” tires. It is loaded down with a gas air compressor and a crap load of tools and recovery gear (Warn winch and bumper)It weighs over 9,900lbs without me in the seat. I’m 250lbs. It does just fine. I even hook over 20,000 lbs to it several times a year hauling tractors, hay, soybeans, etc.... It absolutely knows that load is there. But it handles it in a safe manner because I drive it to be safe.
Well thanks for the eye candy! ha! Yes I realize newer is better, in terms of capabilities, comfort, etc. Just came back from a work trip in my gov. rig (2017 2500), and it is quick, nimble, quiet, great sound system - 50% of it's mileage is pure off road. I swear if my sup decides to get rid of my work rig, I'm going to try and buy it ha. I also beat it, hard. And at 75K miles, zero issues so far. At a cost. Higher cost for initial purchase. Higher cost for repairs. So thus far I have had to make do with what I have, and do well considering, which is why the initial investment into the OBS. Fully realizing that yes, I don't drive as fast in any situation, long warm-ups, easy driving. I daily the OBS - well, when not on work trips, which is maybe 10 days a month... The Jeep just sits for now until ball joints can be replaced. The OBS is literally half of my home. So any changes done to the OBS would have to be made to a different vehicle as well right of the bat. Costly. But, with what is invested in my OBS, to get the same 'build' in newer, I simply cannot afford at the moment, unless I found a gem under 15K. Nor recoup the cost of the investment into the OBS. My life situation atm. Not to sound complainy. But the only other reason I could justify a 'new junk' is if the OBS would suffer frequent catastrophic failures or significant increase in maintenance (like bearings and ball joints) by running slightly over GVW all the time. That sounds to not be the case however.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Figured as much, but wanted to verify with others first.




Well thanks for the eye candy! ha! Yes I realize newer is better, in terms of capabilities, comfort, etc. Just came back from a work trip in my gov. rig (2017 2500), and it is quick, nimble, quiet, great sound system - 50% of it's mileage is pure off road. I swear if my sup decides to get rid of my work rig, I'm going to try and buy it ha. I also beat it, hard. And at 75K miles, zero issues so far. At a cost. Higher cost for initial purchase. Higher cost for repairs. So thus far I have had to make do with what I have, and do well considering, which is why the initial investment into the OBS. Fully realizing that yes, I don't drive as fast in any situation, long warm-ups, easy driving. I daily the OBS - well, when not on work trips, which is maybe 10 days a month... The Jeep just sits for now until ball joints can be replaced. The OBS is literally half of my home. So any changes done to the OBS would have to be made to a different vehicle as well right of the bat. Costly. But, with what is invested in my OBS, to get the same 'build' in newer, I simply cannot afford at the moment, unless I found a gem under 15K. Nor recoup the cost of the investment into the OBS. My life situation atm. Not to sound complainy. But the only other reason I could justify a 'new junk' is if the OBS would suffer frequent catastrophic failures or significant increase in maintenance (like bearings and ball joints) by running slightly over GVW all the time. That sounds to not be the case however.
Curious what engine your work truck has. Gas, diesel? I’m assuming it’s a Tradesman/fleet trim?
 

Chorky

Observer
Curious what engine your work truck has. Gas, diesel? I’m assuming it’s a Tradesman/fleet trim?
Yeah super basic tradesman but works for what I do. It has a 5.7 Hemi. So underpowered when loaded down, and just eats gas. I get better mileage in my OBS actually... and it only has a 6' bed.
 
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