The diesel engine, long popular on European roads, is now piquing the interest of American automakers. General Motors rolled out a diesel version of the Chevy Cruze in 2013, and says there’s more to come. Chrysler recently put its v-6 EcoDiesel in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Ford is said to be contemplating a diesel for its Focus sedan.
But while diesel engines have rarely been designed into American passenger cars and light trucks in the past, there have been a very small number out there. Oldsmobile produced a family of diesel engines in the 1980s and the Chevy Chevette employed a diesel around the same time.
We’ve collected photos of diesels in American passenger cars. From the Olds Cutlass and Chevy Chevette to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chevy Cruze, we offer a peek at American diesels, past and present.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow.
Oldsmobile introduced a family of diesel engines, including the 5.7-liter V-8 LF9, between 1978 and 1985. The LF9 was said to be the world’s first diesel V-8 designed for passenger cars.
Years ago, my father purchased a Volvo Diesel. He had a fairly long commute to and from work and the gas mileage, as well as the lower price for petrol, were very appealing to him. It ran well for a time period and he did get good mileage, but it was a bear to start in the morning and I mean mornings in the southern part of the US, specifically Tennessee. It also produced a great deal of affluent. The neighbors could always tell when we were driving in the neighborhood.
Flash forward about 40 years. I have a neighbor up the street with a new VW diesel and remain very impressed with its performance. I also have a friend in Bangor with a Mercedes Benz Sprinter. This is the same van FedEx runs locally for their deliveries. I am slowly but surely changing my opinion of these new versions of diesel engines. There, seemingly, have been great improvements over the past four decades. Much needed improvements.
Now that I agree with you. In Texas there's a 60 cent spread even though the massive V8 pickups that were once the norm are now more likey diesel powered so there's more demand as you stated.
Also diesel in refining terms is low man on the totem pole so it costs lots less to produce so the profit margin has to be way higher. Logic never prevails like last week when I went to buy a chain for my pole saw. It is 8 inches long but sells for exactly the same price as a 16 inch chain with 2x the teeth.
I had a 1983 Ford Escort wagon with a 4 cylinder diesel. IIRC, I got in excess of 50 mpg at 75 mph on I-80 wit hthe air conditioner running. It was a normally asperated diesel. The only fly in the ointment was that the engine became a bit of an orphan as far as Ford was concerned. I had nearly 300,000 miles on it before I threw a rod on a rather cold Nebraska night. I still found a buyer for the car, another Escort Diesl owner who wanted the Wagon body...and as many spare parts for his diesel as he could scrap.
The friend who bought the Escort from me was a long-time Diesel owner. In High School, (toward the middle of the last century) he bought an International Scout with a diesel engine. Last I heard, he was still driving it on a regular basis.
The prices I've seen here in south bay have Diesel either the same or up to 33 cents/gal more than regular. Just this morning, a saw a station in San Carlos with $4.09/gal for regular and $4.33/gal for Diesel. The point I was trying to make is that Diesel was, and should be, substantially cheaper than regular gas. I'm told it's a supply and demand issue but those economic principles have not changed while the price difference has. 15 years ago, Diesel was at least 25% less than the cheapest gasoline you could find.
Is that really an 5.7L GM diesel? The 5.7L was built from the 350 ci block, which had the starter on the right (passenger) side. The injectors could be OK, there were at least to styles. The injector pump doesn't look right, either, but there could have been more than one style, and its been 20 years since I had one to look at.
Gorsky, the engine had multiple weak points. For mine it was injectors. I think half of the problem was that people tried to drive them like a gasoline engine. Instead of tromping on the gas pedal, feed fuel to keep the engine at maximum torque for the current RPM. The end results is the same, even it doesn't push you back in your seat, and it is much easier on the engine.
Don't know where your info came from. My daughter just bought a new Mercedes GLK BlueTec diesel because the price of diesel in SFO is the same as regular gas while the V6 requires premium. That alone is a huge savings plus she gets 45 mpg
She has always been an aggressive driver having owned stick shifts all her life and the grunt from 369 ft lbs of torque satisfies her get out of my way driving attitude.
Although only 200 hp, it's torque that gets you moving. The V6 has 302 hp but only 273 ft lbs of torque.
Most people look at HP as the performance factor but in every day driving torque Is king!
She's 35 & her friends consider her progressive for having chosen the diesel. She surprises everyone who rides in it!
I started with a V-6 in a Ciera in 1982. Any problems related to the engine or transmission were due to service mistakes. The engine used aluminun heads on an iron block and was susceptible to bad gaskets. This could be caused by bad fuel, bad head torque, and refusal of GMAC who controlled repairs to machine or replace warped heads. Usually the area around one exhaust port failed and they would replace the gasket on the one head, but not allow the head to resurfaced or to do the other head as a precaution. Like any new technology it required a learning curve. It also had fluid passages machined into the transmission case and covers which could erode and cause pressure failures. If the trans didn't shift you could overspeed the engine. I had several friends who had the V-8 in either Olds or Cadillacs. The only one who had a problem used to run it on heating oil from his house tank.
In 1986 I started with Chevy Suburbans with Detroit Diesels and either Turbo 400 or later Allison MX transmissions. The 86 lost a driveshaft at 70,000 miles and was replaced with an 89, the 89 ran close to 200,000 miles and was replaced (still running) with a 99. The injection pump on the 99 was a new design by Bosch and it was a piece of junk, but it did have a 120,000 mile warranty. When Chrysler acquired Detroit Diesel GM stoped using them so the current Suburban has a 6.0 L pushrod V-8 and 33% less fuel mileage. During the time I had Diesel Suburbans the only chronic problems locally prior to 99 were with fleet owners who in one case ran theirs on Jet A ( a FBO)and another who used D-1 instead of D-2 (a transit agency). The units in the Silverado pick ups seem to be performing well and maybe the Diesel will return to the Suburban and Yukon XL.
Using sensors and a specialized test stand, engineers have discovered that the root causes of head trauma may lie in a complex pattern of forces that today’s football helmets aren’t equipped to handle.
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