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Old 06-18-2018, 04:38 AM
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2 questions about Diesel in U.S.A.

I have 2 curiosities:
1) In the '70's-'80's there where some Diesel automobiles manufactured in the U.S.A. Did they ever managed to made rebalible engines?;
2) Some one told me that he seen at an gas station the Diesel fuel pumps somehow in the back of the station, while the gas pumps where in the front. Is this the exception or the norm in U.S.A.?
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecolor 3007 View Post
I have 2 curiosities:
1) In the '70's-'80's there where some Diesel automobiles manufactured in the U.S.A. Did they ever managed to made rebalible engines?;
2) Some one told me that he seen at an gas station the Diesel fuel pumps somehow in the back of the station, while the gas pumps where in the front. Is this the exception or the norm in U.S.A.?
Diesel cars except Volkswagen and some Mercedes are not so popular due to a variety of reasons, including historically cheap gasoline, higher initial cost, worse performance versus the gasoline version, and fairly strict pollution regulations.

Notwithstanding, the big three US auto companies do sell lots of diesel powered light trucks, which many people use as their primary car. They are extremely popular and reliable, because diesel engines are so good for trucks and especially hauling trailers. Not every gas station sells diesel, but it's very easy to find in areas where trucks are popular.

Diesel fuel is commonly availible at gas stations along side gasoline in areas where people own a lot of trucks. Diesel fuel pumps have a slightly wider spout so won't fit into a gasoline car's fuel filler.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:16 AM
zeno zeno is offline
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Some GM cars were diesel. They were DOGS. They converted
the 350 CID Chevy engine & it just didnt work. The 350 running
gas was about as good an engine ever built BUT not the
diesel. Pick up trucks I believe all used purpose built diesels &
are fine. I would never get one just because of repair costs.
The bill can look liker a telephone number !

73 Zeno
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by zeno View Post
Some GM cars were diesel. They were DOGS. They converted
the 350 CID Chevy engine & it just didnt work. The 350 running
gas was about as good an engine ever built BUT not the
diesel. Pick up trucks I believe all used purpose built diesels &
are fine. I would never get one just because of repair costs.
The bill can look liker a telephone number !

73 Zeno
LFOD !
If you're regularly hauling a large travel trailer, or a horse trailer, the fuel savings of a diesel truck make economic sense. Diesel car engines have a tough sell though - worse performance and more cost in everything except fuel efficiency, but even that advantage evaporates with the new direct injection gasoline engines. They do tend to work forever though with minimal maintenance. My 1986 Toyota diesel is as reliable as anything I've ever owned. Like all other diesels though it's noisy and it stinks!

And with the whole VW scandal ruining public opinion of diesel engines, I can't see them getting more popular in the short term.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:07 AM
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Some stations have diesel hoses on the same pump as the gas (usually in pickup truck country), some have the diesel pumps separated under a different awning (usually in places where big-rig semi-trucks are the main customers since those things are huge and hard to maneuver in a swarm of small cars), others don't carry diesel.

I've also seen places (usually rural) where only one pump is diesel...Some of those places also have a separate pump for kerosene and or heating oil.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeno View Post
Some GM cars were diesel. They were DOGS. They converted
the 350 CID Chevy engine & it just didnt work. The 350 running
gas was about as good an engine ever built BUT not the
diesel. Pick up trucks I believe all used purpose built diesels &
are fine. I would never get one just because of repair costs.
The bill can look liker a telephone number !

73 Zeno
LFOD !
Actually, they were Oldsmobile engines. Same 350 CID displacement.
The Duramax of today is actually an Isusu design.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:20 PM
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<-- recovering diesel head, I've had 6 diesel VWs, from '91 to '12, a Ford 6.0 Powerstroke, and a 91 Mercedes SDL Turbo. The '12 VW TDI is actually being bought back by VW next month

Anyway, yes some stations in the USA do have the diesel pumps in their own island away from the gas pumps. As long as they aren't all high flow rate truck pumps, I preferred this since a gas car wouldn't be blocking the diesel pump while they filled up!

At newer stations all the pumps are generally together.

Regarding the GM 350 diesels, from what I read by 82 they had figured out the issues.... but the problems up to that point, and horrible dealer mechanics had so tarnished the brand that when fuel prices went down in 85 they stopped selling them in 86.

PS: Here's a nice bit of diesel trivia: What's the only automotive engine with no belts and no chains? A: The VW V10 TDI. Everything, including the accessories is gear driven off the back of the motor. The are also 15 fuel pumps on that vehicle. We have one of those too... it's currently parked waiting on replacement camshafts

-J
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:45 PM
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I'm curios how relaible would be an 1988 "Cadillac" Diesel.
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Old 06-18-2018, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhifi View Post
Diesel fuel pumps have a slightly wider spout so won't fit into a gasoline car's fuel filler.
At least some gas-powered cars can accommodate a diesel spout. I've heard of people filling their gas tank with diesel, one car being a late-model Crapolla. The owner was only able to drive a couple of blocks before the stuff got into the engine and wouldn't ignite. Once the diesel had been pumped out and the car was running again it was smoking like it had a bad head gasket.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon A. View Post
At least some gas-powered cars can accommodate a diesel spout. I've heard of people filling their gas tank with diesel, one car being a late-model Crapolla. The owner was only able to drive a couple of blocks before the stuff got into the engine and wouldn't ignite. Once the diesel had been pumped out and the car was running again it was smoking like it had a bad head gasket.
IIRC all classic cars that used leaded gas had fill spouts that could accommodate a Diesel nozzle...Sandy G posted a hilarious tale about making that mistake way back in the day...Apparently, carborated cars can take a good portion of their tanks being filled with diesel and still begrudgingly manage to run.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:16 PM
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One day I was in a small "Daewoo" Damas van with somebody (I don't poses a driving licence) and he ask me to put the fuel. I thought it had an Diesel engine, but luckly I asked if I have to put Diesel fuel (motorină)... the vehicle haves an gas engine, not a Diesel one.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:39 PM
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At least some gas-powered cars can accommodate a diesel spout. I've heard of people filling their gas tank with diesel, one car being a late-model Crapolla. The owner was only able to drive a couple of blocks before the stuff got into the engine and wouldn't ignite. Once the diesel had been pumped out and the car was running again it was smoking like it had a bad head gasket.
The other way around is potentially much worse - I had a girlfriend who filled her Dad's Diesel Jetta with gasoline, luckily the car figured it out and shut down before anything got damaged... he was furious at her! It had to be towed to VW, fuel tank drained, engine cleaned out.. I think he paid $400 to have it fixed. I am always careful not to do it with my Toyota, it would be a fast way to ruin the engine!

As for running carbureted cars on diesel.. never did that, but if you want to troubleshoot an exhaust leak on an old car without a catalytic converter, one thing you can do is put a vacuum hose into a cup of engine oil.. it sucks it right into the engine and makes the car smoke like crazy.. drawing attention to the exhaust leak. I think a modern car with sensors and stuff could be damaged by this practice, but it didn't seem to harm my old 69 ford.

Last edited by maxhifi; 06-18-2018 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
IIRC all classic cars that used leaded gas had fill spouts that could accommodate a Diesel nozzle...Sandy G posted a hilarious tale about making that mistake way back in the day...Apparently, carborated cars can take a good portion of their tanks being filled with diesel and still begrudgingly manage to run.
If I recall correctly it was a 1976 Cutlass. Gas-powered cars that will actually run with diesel in the tank will smoke like a tire fire. On the flip side, according to something I saw on TV (Mythbusters I think) only a modern vehicle will run reasonably well on hi-po hooch that would be poisonous to drink.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhifi View Post
The other way around is potentially much worse - I had a girlfriend who filled her Dad's Diesel Jetta with gasoline, luckily the car figured it out and shut down before anything got damaged... he was furious at her! It had to be towed to VW, fuel tank drained, engine cleaned out.. I think he paid $400 to have it fixed. I am always careful not to do it with my Toyota, it would be a fast way to ruin the engine!

As for running carbureted cars on diesel.. never did that, but if you want to troubleshoot an exhaust leak on an old car without a catalytic converter, one thing you can do is put a vacuum hose into a cup of engine oil.. it sucks it right into the engine and makes the car smoke like crazy.. drawing attention to the exhaust leak. I think a modern car with sensors and stuff could be damaged by this practice, but it didn't seem to harm my old 69 ford.
Yes, gasoline's much lower ignition point would likely grenade the engine in short order. Must have knackered the car's computer settings as well. With diesel in a modern gas car one can just disconnect the line under the hood and hook the pump directly to the battery or a charger and pump the diesel out. Got to use a meter for that part to see which two wires go ~12 volts for a couple of seconds when you turn the key on; don't want to hook up to the sending unit and burn it out. Then, re-fill the tank with gas, turn the pump back on and flush the system through. Finally, plug the pump back in, re-connect the line under the hood, hold the gas pedal half way down and crank 'er.

I'd say you're right about the test you described. I reckon the worst thing that could come out of doing that to a classic car is attracting the fire department. Personally I'd rather use some kind of sensor like the gas company does; being around that much smoke would probably be like being near someone who's trying to get high off hemp.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:14 PM
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Heh, the VW didn't "figure out" it had diesel instead of gas in the tank... it just couldn't run on gas. On a 2009+ TDI filling the tank with some gas will make the high pressure fuel pump come apart and fill the entire fuel system with metal shavings. The normal dealer procedure is to replace every single component fuel touches, to the tune of $6000+

Leaded gasoline and auto diesel fuel nozzles are the same. High rate truck nozzles are bigger. 2013+ VWs have a device in the fuel filler neck that prevents the smaller unleaded nozzle from going in!

There are no 1988 Cadillac diesels... unless someone was swapping things around. I've seen swaps where a 6.2 or 6.5 is plug in place of the 5.7 gas a Broham would have come with. 1985 was the last year GM sold their "classic" IDI diesel passenger cars, with the 5.7 V8, 4.3 V8, or 4.3 V6. None of the old GM IDI diesels were very powerful, though they could get acceptable fuel economy. A 6.5 TD mounted in a car would probably give acceptable performance, and with the 4L80e's lockup torque converter you might be able to touch 30 mpg!

-J
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:34 PM
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I used to drive a GMC pickup with the 350 Oldsmobile diesel. I actually liked it; it seemed to have the power of decent 6 cylinder. I didn't own it, though, and I didn't have to pay for the head gasket it blew one day! I did own an early 80's GMC with the 6.2 "Detroit". S-L-O-W, without much pep, and acceleration was very poor. Also, it was weak off the line, and sluggish to boot. Great fuel mileage, though! How else can you take a big-old hunk of Detroit iron, designed in the early 70's, and push it down the road at over 20mpg?

GM was the only one of the American automakers to build it's own diesel engines back then. Chrysler offered a Mitsubishi for a short time & Ford used International engines in trucks; a rare option was a diesel Escort which I'm guessing used a Mazda engine.

My mother had a diesel Mercedes in the 80's. There was only one filling station in town that sold diesel and the pump was way off to itself at the corner of the lot. When that station stopped selling gas in the mid-90's there was a period of 5-10 years where nobody sold it in are little town. Even now, all the little stations that sell it have it over on the side of the parking lot. The bigger, nicer stations do have it at the same pump, though.

Oh, and my mother-in-law once pumped a hafl-tank of gas into my father-in-laws Cummins powered Dodge. It ran enough for her to drive it 30 minutes to me, so I could have some body clean it out before he figured out what she did! Not much power on gas, I remember that.
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