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Our trip to the ICU took place about 3 weeks ago. We had to go to the hospital in Chino California for a critical condition. Who had this condition? The better question is, “What was in critical condition?”. Yes, you guessed it, after I got you very nervous. It was the 2006 F-350 Ford Pickup that required a visit to the ER doctor. If you recall, from a prior post about a month ago, we had taken “Old Bessie” in for a fairly noticeable oil leak and were told by the local Ford dealer that the leak was in a hose connected to our after market oil cooler and that, therefore, they couldn’t work on it, because they would be unable to warranty it.
So, on the phone to the Bulletproof Oil Cleaner company in Mesa Az to get advice. They suggested a local (30 miles away) diesel shop in Chino. The appointment was made and we had the hose repaired for reasonable expense. However, the manager casually mentioned to me that the coolant system was registering way too much pressure. Whereupon I queried him on the ramifications and possible causes of that particular symptom. The answer was not gentle.
This condition is symptomatic of a pending, or already occurring, blown head gasket. This is very bad. It means the entire engine has to be removed from the truck in order to replace the head gasket. Additionally, I knew, and he reminded me, that there could very well be collateral damage to other components, due to overheating that might already have occurred. Now before all you Ford Haters and Chevy, Dodge, GMC Lovers get started, there are a few considerations to consider-
- We purchased this vehicle in 2010 with 70,000 miles on it (It’s very hard to find a used diesel pickup and new ones are way too expensive).
- We were unaware at that time that the 2004 to 2007 F-350s had a history of overheating, head gasket issues and oil cooler/ EGR issues (shame on us, we didn’t perform due diligence).
- We had a head gasket repair right from the get-go and got it covered under warranty, along with the Oil Cooler and EGR system, so we thought we were golden
- What we didn’t know is that these issues tend to keep recurring due to a faulty oil cooler design
- We had a Bulletproof Oil Cooler put in about 2 years later and had resonably good luck after that, until now, although we did have other issues such as a blown turbo and replacement of one bank of Injectors
- We were, meanwhile, using the truck to haul five tons of RV and motorcycles across the country twice a year on our annual pilgrimages to warm weather
- Now, after 13 trips across the country, we had 160,000 miles and the head gasket acting up again
This was the situation when we got the recent bad news. What to do?
A. We could get it fixed and continue our adventures but with a huge repair bill, or
B. We could invest in a less old truck or a new truck
The trouble with B. is that new F-350s run around $70,000 and we were not about to bite that bullet (pun intended). So we went with A..
Then the drama deepened. Upon removing the engine, cracked heads were discovered, so add new heads to the gasket and head bolt repair. Also, the lifters would have to be replaced. On and on it went. We really had no choice. Anyway, after 8 days in the shop and a constantly escalating estimate, we got her back. Basically she got a heart transplant, new lungs, new arteries, new plumbing etc., etc.
What’s the good news?! Modern Day Gypsies/Endless Summer will continue and we will persevere as we will persist in following our dreams. Stay tuned for further adventures. Some pictures of the major surgery are attached. Don’t cry for us, Argentina!