"Eco" Ford F-250 Running on Biodiesel

This is an interesting truck, to say the least. The seller made some mods which, in theory, help fuel economy. This is not the usual pitch from the seller of an F-250 diesel, but the bio-diesel/veggie oil crowd is, well, different (and proud of it).


We're not sure whether this truck is a nightmare or a dream. The seller put in a fair amount of effort trying to get every possible mile (or portion thereof) out of each gallon of bio-diesel. Mods include fender skirts, solid front wheel covers, "seal" between bed and cab, slanted bed cover and, apparently, a closed-off grill. We hope the truck still cool fairly well...  Despite all of that, the upgrade from four-speed to five-speed trans with overdrive probably made the biggest difference.

This truck runs the International Harvester 6.9-liter diesel and, as mentioned, the seller runs bio-diesel - "professionally refined", in this case, which probably means it's not harvested directly from Long John Silvers or Popeye's.

The truck runs right now, but has a miss and air in the radiator, which means, at a minimum, a head gasket. The seller also thinks it might need valve work. Here's the seller's statement:

"Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them.  If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k."

We're a bit concerned about the impression that valves and head gaskets are "buried deep", considering this is an overhead valve engine; but, if that's what the seller thinks, we're glad he or she didn't try to fix it!

Bottom line on this one: it's a real oddball built out of something mundane.  We love it...

Click for eBay ad
Richmond, CA, USA
$2,125 with ZERO bids and five days to go


Note that fender skirts, bed "seal", grill cover and, possible, clear tape over lights! Definitely no exterior sun visor here!


The rear fender skirt is especially glorious from this angle, as is the bed cover.


Overload much?  We're not sure whether the right outside bed side is painted or in primer - maybe this is an older photo?


This manual bed lift is included in the sale! Note also the various biodiesel decals.


We wonder about the aero vs. mass tradeoff here.


The seller highlighted so many things with red boxes that the emphasis is lost. Like we said, this truck is a bit of a hot mess. It's all there, though.


Here's the mighty diesel.  No turbo here.

Ad text:

One of a kind machine.

I made some custom mods to improve fuel economy

Read more about it here: 
http://ecomodder.com/blog/bakari/

and here: 
http://www.instructables.com/id/Vehicle-efficiency-upgrades/

or watch the video here: 
https://faircompanies.com/videos/mad-max-hypermiler-hacks-2-ton-truck-doubles-fuel-economy/

Now for the big caveat: this truck needs some work.
It is running currently.  It starts right away and has decent power.  I'm still driving it regularly.
However, it is running uneven, with a slight tapping sound and smoking more than normal when it's cold.  
It has all new injectors, all cylinders are firing, and there is very little blow-by, so I suspect (at least) one exhaust valve (or seat) isn't totally closing.
It is also getting pressurized air in the radiator, which means the head gasket is probably going bad.  It is possible the head gasket is causing both issues.

Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them.  If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k.

However, if you have the knowledge and time (2-4 days if you are experienced) to do the work yourself, you end up with an otherwise strong truck for a great price.  

It has the original International Harvester 6.9L IDI (non-turbo) diesel engine.
For the last 12 years I have run it professionally refined biodiesel.  

I replaced the stock 4speed transmission with a 5 speed (ZF5) (from the same model truck a few years newer) for better highway fuel economy.

Other mods include 
- angled bed cover and wheel well covers for better aerodynamics, 
- removed most engine belt loads (has manual steering, electric fan, electric brake boost and electric fuel pump) 
- alternator cut-off switch and added solar panel and on-board 120V charger (plug it in at home, leave the alternator off, and get ~5-10% better MPGs), 
- starter and kill switch on the shift lever (making it easier and safer to shut the engine in stop and go traffic and at long lights).
- LED driving and brake lights

All together I was able to raise MPG from about 15 to between 25 and 30 (depending on driving habits and loads)

Also included:
- Detachable manual liftgate (lift up to 500lbs to bed height, using a drill or ratchet) 
- all sizes of hitch ball including a full load leveling tow system
- sheet quick unloader system (for unloading soil etc) plus reversible bedliner mat (slick on one side, friction on the other)
- chilton manuals 
- spare parts inc. the original brake booster vacuum and a full size spare tire
- big ol lugnut wrench and giant hubnut socket (for bearing/brake maintenance)
- Garmin GPS (with traffic updates)
- 15W solar panel and dual battery charger for its two (deep cycle) batteries

Old school quality and simplicity.  The old Ford International Harvester IDI diesels were some of the most durable engines ever built, with many going half a million miles or more before a rebuild, and a few reported cases of a million.
How many miles are in this one, no one will ever know, because previous owners didn't keep track of how many times the odometer turned over, and now it isn't even hooked up.  
It is an over 30 year old truck, so of course it has its share of quirks and issues, but when anything does have a problem, it is relatively easy to find and fix without a mechanic, as it has no computer, no turbo, no power anything (manual steering, manual locks, manual windows).  

misc issues include:
- the synchros being somewhat worn on 3rd (doesn't really matter if you shift slowly, and at the correct speed),
- the speedometer doesn't work (I never got the adapter for the ZF5, I just use the one built in to the (included) GPS),
- the fuel gauge doesn't work (its a dual tank, so when one gets low I just switch, and then I have ~400 miles to get around to filling the empty one), 
- drivers seat is very worn, needs at least a seat cover, a new bench seat from pick'n'pull would be better

For over a decade I've used this truck to haul loads of furniture, building supplies, piles of soil, tons of broken concrete, and tow boats and trailers, including a 7500lb 35ft RV trailer (that I lived in at the time), and it has held its own, but I'm shifting gears in my business and don't need something so large anymore.

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