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Project Shamu
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Hey Nation, I've owned my truck for 3 years now, and I wanted to put together a little thread that tells this old 96's story...

It started out life as a truck owned by a company called Bens Asphalt, a 96 CCLB 2wd with a 7.3. Ben's owned the truck for 280,000 miles, never modified anything, down to the stock downpipe and air filter housing. They sold it to a dealer in southern california, where the previous owner purchased it.

The previous owner owned it for another 40,000 miles, and installed a K&N intake that he had won at a raffle, removed the exhaust at the downpipe so that it would sound loud, and put on some Method 18" wheels. Still basically stock, unmolested at 320,000 miles.

Then i bought it in August of 2014. (and it was all downhill from there.. haha)
What she looked like when i bought it:


It leaked like hell, oil from the dipstick tube, oil leak from the turbo, HPOP was leaking, MASSIVE fuel leak(s) from the fuel bowl, fuel pump, etc. Up-pipes leaked, transmission leaked, powersteering leaked. The list goes on, and I had a lot of work to do!

Pic of under the hood after some extensive cleaning.


Now it being owned by an asphalt company, the interior was hammered, so the previous owned replaced the headliner, and had all the seats reupholstered. The carpet was still in decent shape so it was original.

The motor, despite leaking from every orifice it seemed, still seemed very strong. Had little blowby, never had a problem with cold start, and was only about 2 quarts low between oil changes.

And so, the story begins. I'll be adding more and more to this thread, as I try and recall what I did over the last 3 years, going through my old pictures and old threads. Keep in touch guys!
 

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Subbed! Can't wait to see more of this story revealed! If I may jump ahead, you did replace the K&N right?
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #4
So the first "mod" that I did was in April of 2015, almost within 8 months of getting it. And it wasn't exactly a mod per say.

I had to put a transmission in the truck! Mine was shifting very rough, and slamming into gear going into 3rd and 4th. So just for the time being, I purchased a trans from a friend of a friend that was parting out his 96 F250. Supposedly "rebuilt" with about 5,000 miles ago, and had some "upgraded parts". Yeah BS. After I bought it for $600, I pulled the pan, fluid was pretty dark, magnet was covered in clutch material, pan had a dent in it. I guess for $600 I couldn't complain, So i pressure washed it real good, cleaned out the pan, the magnet, and went to go install it at the shop.

Now, at the same time, I was aware of my exhaust leaks from the stock up pipes having so many miles on them, so I purchased RiffRaffs Bellowed Up-pipes to install at the same time. Did it all across 2 nights after work, it was a bear to lift that transmission up with just a floor jack and a 4x4 by myself!!!

New trans, all cleaned up, with the TC that came with it, harness and all.



And a comparison of the old transmission to the new (the old one has seen better days for sure).
I still have this transmission sitting in my garage, I cleaned it up with the pressure washer a few months ago and found a Ford "Remanufactured" sticker on it too. Definitely not original, who knows how many miles.


Sorry no pics of the up-pipes, but it was a bear to install, until I removed the turbo outlet and slid the down pipe out of the way. (Which looking back now, I should've installed a 3" Down Pipe at the same time!!!)
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #5
Then i got my steering wheel! My wife bought me it for my birthday, a Grant Deep Dish wheel, and I just so happened to have a hex shaped quick release sitting in a box at the shop, so on she went!




The smaller steering wheel is sooo much nicer to drive with, and at the time, my cruise control wasnt working anyways, so I just ripped the buttons out of the wheel and tossed it.

Not to mention being able to remove the wheel whenever i go in somewhere, or park it for long periods of time, I just remove the wheel and take it with me.
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #6
My next mod was to find my fuel leak!!! May 2015, 9 months after buying the truck, I finally had to fix it, it had gotten so bad to where my driveway was beyond saving!



So I first looked online and found some of the main things that leaked, the drain valve, and all the rubber hoses, so i hit up dieselorings.com and ordered them all. replaced them all and tried it again. No difference.

So i figured the best way to find where the leak was coming from (as i didnt know at the time), was to get the fuel bowl out of the valley so I could eliminate that as a problem. In comes the Fuel bowl delete (my version atleast).

I took the tightwad mod, and modified it a little for ease of install. The original thread was very vague, so I had to kind of figure it out as i went along. And to not risk breaking something and being screwed, I bought a spare fuel bowl with the FPR. Heres the install: Easy Fuel Bowl Delete w/ Pics

Getting the filter out of the valley allowed me to verify if it was a cracked fuel bowl, or something else. In this case I found it was the weep hole on the pump leaking, I could actually see it with a small mirror. So onto E-fuel I went.

My E-fuel Build Is how I did my e-fuel conversion, Mark Fuga got ahold of me on this forum and told me about his fuel kit, minus the pump and filters. And i jumped on it. Its a fantastic kit that I still love to this day. If you need to get ahold of him for one, he has several options from pieces of his kit, to a full kit that includes everything down to the wiring.

Fuel leak fixed! Woohoo!!!
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #8
Next after that was the Big 3! Gauges, Down-Pipe and Tuner!

I went with glowshift gauges, as I'm a cheap ass, Diamond Eye 3" DP, and PHP Hydra Tuner with Swamps custom tunes.

The downpipe sucked, with sagging body mounts it was a pain, but after a few hours I got it in. It rubbed a lot at first, and took me a while to get it in the perfect spot.


I also installed RiffRaff intake boots, as mine were falling apart. Very quality stuff!



All this right as I passed 350,000 miles!!! On August 27 of 2015, almost 1 year exactly, I drove 30,000 miles. Put her through her paces with a lot of trailers and a lot of hard driving. She did great.
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #9
In October of 2015, after doing a lot of research, I installed a RiffRaff 4/4 Billet wheel, looking for some more boost. (I was struggling to make 14-15lbs at the time).




I didn't notice much, and if anything, I felt the motor "slowing down" for some reason, had some issues that I couldn't understand, then one day while out testing to see if the HPOP could hold pressure and determine the health of the HPOP, the truck started misfiring, and BELLOWING white smoke. Uh oh.

Pulled over, popped the hood. No coolant in the reservoir. Pulled dipstick, 6 quarts or so high on oil. Also noticed pin hole in radiator that had been leaking coolant on top of the motor for a while.

And the tear down begins to find out what happened...
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #11
So the motor build was an extremely long drawn out process, one that took over a year. I'm going to try and summarize it best I can.

So once I towed the truck back to my shop, I figured it was a blown head gasket, and because i'm an idiot and didnt check compression or a leak down or anything, I went straight to work pulling the driver side head off to check the gasket. Got the head off, and the gasket was in perfect shape! So I had my fingers crossed it was the passenger side head! (These heads were no joke!!! Weighing in at around 200lbs, pulling them off with the motor in the truck was damn near impossible with 3 people!!!

No dice. Got both heads off and saw both head gaskets were in good shape... I did get to see that all 8 cylinders still had a beautiful crosshatch in them still, and the motor cranked over fairly easily and freely. Awesome to see at 350,000 miles.




So I had to start looking elsewhere for what my issues were. I thought it was either a bad oil cooler, a pin hole or crack in the block, crack in the front cover, cracked heads, or anything else!!!

So the next thing i did was send in the heads to a local diesel shop (who was actually a customer of ours as well), and had them magnaflux the heads. So about 3 months later, they get back to me, the heads are fine. So they just had them machined flat and cleaned and prepped to be reinstalled.
 

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Project Shamu
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So then i started to prep to remove the engine to give it to the same shop. I was going to have them magnaflux the block, and front cover, test the injectors, and if everything checked out, to just reseal it and put it all back together.

Exhaust and turbo removed, A/C still intact as i was trying to not discharge it (ended up discharging while trying to reinstall the motor).


Motor out:



A nice helping of RTV slathered all over the dipstick because it was leaking haha.
 

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Project Shamu
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Now that the diesel shop had the motor, it was time for me to handle a bunch of stuff on my end, which included:
Cleaning the engine bay really nice
Clearancing the firewall to give more room for the downpipe (just took a BFH and went to town on the firewall, its got plenty of room now, could probably get a 4" in there...)
Rebuild the turbo with 360* rebuild kit
Clean/Degrease EVERYTHING in our parts washer.
Strip the harness down and soak up all the oil oil/grime, and re-loom.
Purchased tons of new parts, including radiator hoses, battery cables, new EBP tube (Mine broke in 2 when i removed it) etc etc

Dirty engine bay:

Clean engine bay:



Then onto rebuilding the turbo, I also opted to do a EBPV delete because it was leaking profusely, but I wanted it completely gone, for ease of removal/installation in the future. Including the butterfly valve in the turbo outlet. So I cut the EBPV housing off, and welded the holes up, then drove the butterfly out of the outlet and welded that hole up. End result: Rebuilt 360* Turbo w/ 4/4 Billet wheel, deleted EBPV and high flow outlet.

EBPV Cut off and sanded smooth:


After put together, but you can see it welded:
 

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Project Shamu
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Removed butterfly valve:


All welded up:


Finished turbo, ready for the truck. (And ready for 38psi of boost >:))


Well, the first day the motor was at the diesel shop, they set it on the ground, and it fell over and broke the oil cooler and mount that bolts to the front cover. He called me and told me immediately and said he would replace it with a brand new part. No big deal.

A few months goes by, and he calls me with the results from the place that tested my injectors. 3 Injectors "Failed". Now he didnt say why they failed, or what was wrong with them, and I couldn't get it out of him, but he said that was most likely the cause from the white smoke. It was NOT coolant coming out the exhaust, it was raw FUEL. Thats also why i was 6 quarts high on oil, it wasnt coolant, it was FUEL!! I was only low on coolant because of the small leak i had! So I ordered up 3 "Full Force Injectors", remaned AB's, from RiffRaff Diesel.

Then he pulls the oil pan to start yanking the motor apart and get it ready to send out to the machine shop to get magnafluxed, and he called me again. Apparently, all 8 main bearings were blueing and bad. Flipped the motor over on the engine stand, threw the heads on it, and did a compression test. 7 out of 8 cylinders were bad. The best cylinder being 300psi, the worst being 75psi... Great.

So Instead of just putting it back together, I ordered a motorcraft rebuild kit from Sunrise Ford in Fontana. 2 weeks later it shows up, and i give it to the diesel shop. They send the block out to the machine shop and find out the bores need to be bored over .020". Not the stock bore like they thought, (which is what they had me order) so I had to return the $1300 rebuild kit, and order a .020" over kit. Another 2 weeks and i give it to them.

Then another 2 months goes by, and he calls me again, everything is back from the machine shop, and they're assembling the motor, but they ran into another issue. Apparently since I had the heads and block decked at 2 different times, they were able to verify that there wouldn't be Valve-to-Piston contact. So now they are putting it together, and they're telling me I either need to get .030" shorter pushrods, or get new heads. But thats not the only problem, he tells me the machine shop overlooked checking out the valves, and he said they dont look to be in that great of condition. So he sent the heads BACK to the machine shop to get checked out, and sure as #### 15 out of 16 valves on both heads were not sealing/seating properly.

So now its either get new heads (which if i bought used, would have to deck them flat, and check valves as well), or spend ANOTHER $900 on a valve job, and get shorter pushrods on the heads that I already paid to get decked flat before.

I opted for shorter pushrods and do the valve job...

Later on, I came to find out they were custom pushrods from a local shop in Lake Elsinore, Ca. called Manton Pushrods, they are 7/16" in diameter made from 4130 Chromoly! They are some monster pushrods! (But boy, did I pay for them...)
 

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Project Shamu
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Pics of when they got the motor from the machine shop:









 

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Project Shamu
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On November 15th 2016, he sent me this picture of them putting the motor together:



And ta-da! He finally delivered it on January 8th 2017! You can also see all 3 new injectors. (Of course, missing pieces, like my fan, a few sensors etc, which they claim they never got, so I had to buy new ones!)



I instantly went to work, putting all the parts I had for it on. I installed the exhaust, up-pipes, and turbo with all new o-rings and bolts for everything. I was trying to install everything ahead of time so I didnt have to deal with it once it was in the truck, because thats especially not fun.
(Sorry all the pics are small, the forum keeps downsizing them for some stupid ass reason!)


The next day, I had it installed! Kind of half assedly, just enough to verify it ran so I didn't have to pull it again.


Another issue I ran into, as soon as I started pouring coolant into it, it started leaking from around the thermostat, I had put a brand new housing on it, so I pulled it back off, and used some rtv and reinstalled. Still leaked. So I verified that it wasn't the thermostat, but it was so minute that I figured I could figure it out later.

I finally got the truck fired up. It ran great, so I finished up the install and took her around the block. It felt 10x better than before, I was so happy to have my truck back after so long.

Over the next few days, I noticed the coolant leak never let up, and that whenever under WOT, it threw a code for low ICP almost instantly. The HPOP was extremely worn out unfortunately.

So the shop that did all the work said they would look into the coolant leak for free, and if it was their fault, they would make it right. So I took it down there and the next day he called me. Said he found a pin hole in the front cover in between where the oil cooler bolts and the thermostat housing is. Said I could pull the motor and remove the cover to replace it, or try and stick a Tig welder down in there and burn up the hole to seal it. So I opted for the welder.

Got it home, pulled the whole front of the truck apart, and could NOT find the leak. So I tried to get JB Weld and just start smearing it everywhere I could see, hoping to seal up the leak. It didn't. And after 2 more weeks of trying to figure it out. I broke down, and I decided to pull the motor again...
 

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Project Shamu
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So needless to say, i was getting pretty good at removing/installing a 7.3, with the turbo ON. LIKE EVERYONE SAID COULDNT BE DONE!!!

I pulled the motor in about 3 hours, and removed the front cover looking for the leak. And i found it.



After I got the cover off, I looked on the back, and saw this:



This was right where the oil cooler bolted to on the front cover. Can you guess what happened?

Yeah, when the guy dropped the motor back when he first got it, he replaced the oil cooler mount, but didnt notice it cracked the front cover at the same time.

So I bought a new front cover, HPOP gaskets, water pump o-rings, and reinstalled everything. Through it all BACK in the truck, and viola, no coolant leak!!!

So I called the shop and said I want to be reimbursed for all the parts that I had to buy and replace for THEIR mistake! He laughed and said he would give me a front cover that he has, but that was it because I couldn't prove that it was his fault in the first place. Needless to say the conversation instantly went south and very inappropriate words were said. I ended up telling him to take that front cover and shove it where the sun dont shine...

Pic of me installing the motor for the second time. In the rain. By myself.



While all this was happening, I had ordered a T500 pump through RiffRaff, and the day after I installed the motor, it came in the mail. So I got a new HPOP installed finally, a new motor, new turbo, all 8 good working injectors, and everything working exactly how it should be.

The truck SCREAMS now compared to any time before!!! I couldn't BELIEVE it!!! I was struggling to build 14-15 psi with horrible EGT problems, now im peaking at 36-38psi with Swamps tuning and EGT's are a little better!
 

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Wow, great job keep at it. You definitely had a hell of a time but you did it. Hopefully its ready to go another 350k miles. Thanks for sharing.
 

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geesh what a disaster! So glad its all finally done.
If I ever rebuild my 7.3 I will likely just buy a reman long block and avoid all these dang local "shop" hassles
Glad its all back together, again! Now you can enjoy it!!
 

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Project Shamu
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys! I've got a few more things to go over. That was about 6 months ago, so I've done a few more things since then, ill post it up when I get home from work tonight.
 
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