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On this day, September 13, 1977, General Motors introduced the Oldsmobile Diesel engine. (Original Post) mahatmakanejeeves Sep 13 OP
LOL and it was a bust in the end.... Historic NY Sep 13 #1
I worked on these as a tech in the 1980s and early 90s Best_man23 Sep 15 #2
A now departed neighbor had one of those Old Crank Sep 28 #3
This message was self-deleted by its author Old Crank Sep 28 #4
My dad bought one! A HERETIC I AM Oct 1 #5
They kept the same bolt patern as the gas engine Old Crank Oct 1 #6
There was a lot of that kind of thing back then, apparently. A HERETIC I AM Oct 1 #7

Historic NY

(37,252 posts)
1. LOL and it was a bust in the end....
Wed Sep 13, 2023, 09:21 AM
Sep 13

they really should have looked elsewhere instead of using the tooling of a V-8- V-6 .

Never developed to the full potential and turned off buyers. Today there small efficient diesels with high torque but it took several decades to attract buyers again.


(4,768 posts)
2. I worked on these as a tech in the 1980s and early 90s
Fri Sep 15, 2023, 07:02 AM
Sep 15

They made great boat anchors and planters for gardening.

As engines, they left a LOT to be desired. When I see TikTok video of people in Pakistan and other countries forging pistons using tools that are a couple of steps above stone knives and bearskins, I've commented "And this is how Oldsmobile Diesel engine pistons are made."

Old Crank

(2,786 posts)
3. A now departed neighbor had one of those
Thu Sep 28, 2023, 06:48 AM
Sep 28

He was fastidious with his car. He was the crew chief for Howard Hughes on the Spruce Goose, actually birch.
He added and extra fuel tank to give himself range. Las Vegas to Minnesota with one fill. He added a separate fuel filter and water trap to augment the stock silly one. All maintenance done by the book. The engine compartment was pristine. When it was before the recommended time to replace hoses he did and had aircraft grade clamps. I watched him one day and he had a special compound that allowed him to just slide the hoses off their fittings. The engine still failed right around the time they all did. He was really disappointed.

He took it as an affront to engineering.

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)


(24,170 posts)
5. My dad bought one!
Sun Oct 1, 2023, 11:28 AM
Oct 1

It ran fine until it didn't! As stated above, the engine made a great boat anchor!

Seems to me they just took a gas engine and redid the fuel system, not really modifying the heads for the high compression needed for a proper Diesel, as your Wikipedia article indicates.

He took a serious bath on it when he had to get rid of it.

He bought a Peugeot Diesel as well. He got that in the late 80's and sold it to me in the early 90's. I was living in Michigan at the time, and the first really cold morning I found out it wouldn't start! Why? Because the glow plugs had gone south and he never replaced them! Well, he lived in Miami and it didn't really matter! My dad was a child of the Depression, and so he was kind of cheap. He never refilled the windshield washer fluid with proper fluid, just water, so that was another surprise for me the first winter I drove it in Michigan. The fucking reservoir was a block of ice! I ran it into the ground, pretty much and got maybe $30 for it when a towing company came and took it away.

Old Crank

(2,786 posts)
6. They kept the same bolt patern as the gas engine
Sun Oct 1, 2023, 03:24 PM
Oct 1

Made it easier to machine on existing set ups. They also didn't have a water oil separator. Then the tranny was garbage also.

Evidently an engineer who pointed out the problems was retired early.


(24,170 posts)
7. There was a lot of that kind of thing back then, apparently.
Sun Oct 1, 2023, 04:16 PM
Oct 1

When I was working in Indy Car, I had the chance to talk to a lot of Chevrolet engineers. One related a story about a great idea put forward in a meeting by a young guy and one of the old guys said "That won't work! We tried that back in the 70's!"

The guy telling me the story said he had to bite his tongue cause all he could think of saying was "WELL YOU OBVIOUSLY FUCKED IT UP BACK THEN, DIDN'T YOU?!?"


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