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.
I was in DongGuang City back in 2007 and there were a lot of quite interesting vehicles all powered by a "Diesel Mule", which was an intereting assembly designed to replace a plow horse. What was most interesting is that the engine was a one or two cylinder diesel, air cooled and not runnng tha fast. The vehicle consisted of the front drive portion coupled to a two-wheeled wagon section, and pivoting in the middle. These were going right along the main streets in the huge industrial metropolis. Since the traffic seldom went above 30MPH they got along fine. But such a vehicle would not meet any of our safety standards here in the USA. Oh Wel.
The president of the company I used to work for bought a 1979 Cadillac Seville with the V8 diesel. Besides being one of the ugliest car I had ever seen, it also spent more time in the shop than on the road! Regardless, he still loved it, so much that when it was a few years old, he hit a deer head-on one night returning from a hunting trip (during which he never even saw a deer!). When the insurance company declared the car totaled, he took the wholesale value oif the car as settlement, and paid out of pocket to have it rebuilt! The rest of the management team unanimously questioned his judgement after that.
Recarding the old generation of Mercedes diesels, I had a friend who had been a Mercedes mechanic. He told me an interesting story: Mercedes policy for service of injection pumps was that they had to be returned to the factory for rebuilding; they were NOT otherwise repairable. As a smart guy, he figured that surely he could rebuild one himself and make money since the factory rebuild cost something like $1000 (in 1970s!). He started to disassemble the unit on his bench. After the first couple of screws were removed, the unit suddenly disassembled itself, with parts flying everywhere! He rounded up all the pieces, but there were lots of small springs, and reassembly required numerous jigs to hold these in place during the procedure. Since he didn't have these (nor did Mercedes sell them to anyone), he had to pay for a new pump out of his own pocket for the customer! It wasn't "designed by monkeys," but by Mercedes!
I have driven a number of European diesels in recent years, including a Peugot 5005, a German Ford, and VW Golf TDI. All were quite capable (including 200kmph+ on the autobahns) and enjoyable to drive (although the Peugot's handling was a bit dicey at those speeds).
With the availability, cost, and environmental concerns of 100LL some manufacturers have started developing diesel aircraft engines. Cessna even has a turbo diesel 172 Skyhawk with a range of over 1000nm and a TAS of 131kts. Compare that to 600nm and 105kts on the 172M.
@tomintx: Well my worry is that someday there will be a big issue with fuel been very expensive because of its supply being low. So whats the next best alternative for it ? I know there are a few which are in the experimental stage but still nothing has impressed as fuel.
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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