One Ford F-Series model that’s seen its share of complaints is the F-250. Indeed, some newer models have had reliability issues, but older ones seem to have been built tougher. The 2003 Ford F-250 and F-350, in particular, handled their daily jobs without too many underlying problems.
In fact, MotorTrend just named the 2003 F-250 Super Duty, along with some F-350s, on “The 10 Best Diesel Pickup Trucks of All Time.” How did it end up in such an esteemed group? And how well could the 2003 model hold up today?
What’s so impressive about the 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty?
The 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty was a heavy-duty pickup that could haul 12,500 pounds with the right equipment. But to handle that kind of weight, Ford had to put heavy-hitting engines under the hood. The 2003 F-250 had four motors to choose from, each providing an ample amount of power.
According to Edmunds.com, these models packed a 5.4-liter V8 and a 6.8-liter gasoline V10 motor. They also offered a couple of diesel options. You could get a 7.3-liter turbodiesel, and later that year, Ford added a 6.0-liter turbodiesel engine.
As for standard equipment, the 2003 F-250 Super Duty sported four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power-adjustable pedals, fold-down armrests, and a utility storage bin. Ford offered tons of options to add to your purchase. They included an electronic four-wheel drive you could shift as needed, telescoping mirrors for trailering, and a suspension package.
The 2003 F-250 also boasted a roomy cabin with large comfortable seats that could hold five to six passengers as long as you chose the super cab or crew cab body style. Edmunds said it handled on-road and off-road surfaces “confidently” due to its suspension components.
Is it tough enough to last 500,000+ miles?
MotorTrend listed the 1999-2003 Ford F-250 as the “best budget Diesel” for a few reasons, notably its potential longevity. But, of course, you’d have to have the right equipment and take good care of it.
Though late-model Ford trucks have some reliable engines, none seems to come close to some older ones. The key piece of this puzzle would be the 7.3-liter Power Stroke V8, which powered the F-250 and F-350. Admittedly, it generates only 235 hp, but it’s “built for the long haul, literally, with internal hard parts and oil-based fueling that give it a lifespan of well beyond 500,000 miles (when properly maintained),” as MotorTrend reports.
MT goes on to explain that this powerhouse motor easily handles tasks on campgrounds and job sites as well as daily driving routes. You can pretty much bet that with this motor, your F-250 or F-350 would be around, hauling your stuff, for many years.
How have other owners felt about their 2003 Ford F-250 Super Duty diesel trucks?
Edmunds shows 64 reviews from 2003 Ford F-250 owners, and overall it received 4.5 stars out of 5. Some of these reviews are even from owners who purchased their pickups used.
One reviewer bought theirs almost 10 years after it rolled off the production line. Despite the rugged appearance, the F-250 had 168,000 miles on it, and the motor was reportedly still going strong at the time of the review.
Another owner bought a brand-new one in 2003 with the 7.3-liter Power Stroke motor. They wrote their review about 10 years later, with the truck still in their possession and still working. At the time they wrote about their experience, the pickup had about 174,000 miles on it. They only had to replace a few things like the alternator and ABS module but otherwise didn’t have any major problems with the truck.
A 2020 model could cost around $33,000 to start, but you might get a better value if you found a used one in good condition. And if you found a 2003 Ford F-250 or F-350 with the right components and took good care of it, you could have a long-lasting truck. It might even surpass the 500,000-mile mark.