: Was there a good diesel model?



90deville415
12-18-05, 02:54 PM
Lots of people out here in California are buying old Mercedes and Volkswagen diesels because diesels can run on modified vegetable oil (biodiesel). [You wouldn't believe the premiums people are charging on diesels out here because of this.] Much as I love my 1990 Deville, I feel guilty filling up each week knowing that some of the money will be funding radical Islamic schools (and probably worse) in Saudi Arabia etc., so I'm really eager to try this biodiesel thing and have that money go to the American farmer instead.

Can anyone recommend a good Cadillac diesel model? I've noticed a couple cheap 1981 devilles on craigslist both with about 70,000 miles. Any word on the reliability of that model? Were there any diesels made in the nineties? I don't care about acceleration or power, just reliability.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

caddycruiser
12-18-05, 03:07 PM
There were none as far as GM cars in the 90's, and the ones like the 80's Cadillacs actually had regular V8's that were converted to diesel, so they could be "interesting" at times. Not that they're horrible (and I don't have any first hand experience), just that they aren't spectacular.

That being said, I'd be interested to see what some of the more "in the know" people around here have to say. I certainly do understand your interest!:thumbsup:

The Ape Man
12-18-05, 03:50 PM
The Olds 350 diesel was not worth the trouble. You really want a turbodiesel for automobile use. Makes a huge difference in driveability. GM used a little turbodiesel Onan 120 HP 215 C.I. or so engine in late '80's UPS trucks. The warranty and parts for those are now handled by Cummins. THAT would make a good little engine for a passenger car. Of course a 6BTAC Cummins would be nice too but you would never recoupe the cost in fuel savings.
Clack clack clack.....

90deville415
12-18-05, 10:51 PM
63,000 miles, $1500... it's tempting:

http://www.craigslist.org/sby/car/116981612.html

If I can only figure out a place to park 221 inches (length) in the city... I'm just getting used to 206 inches with my 1990.

Bro-Ham
12-19-05, 01:03 AM
Hello!

When the deVille and Fleetwood were shrunk for the 1985 Model year they had an optional diesel 4.3 liter V6. I drove a 1985 Olds 98 with the motor back at the time and also had a 1982 Cutlass Ciera diesel with about 150k miles come through my lot about 5 years ago. The engine seemed quiet and fairly powerful. I think I would rather have a 1985 deville with the diesel over the HT4100. 1985 was the last year of the diesel Cadillac. The 350 diesel was used for the last time in 1985 in the rear drive Fleetwood Brougham, Seville, and Eldorado.

Dave

Destroyer
12-19-05, 01:05 AM
Get yourself an old Mercedes diesel. Perhaps a early 80's 240D?. They were indestructable and pretty cool at the same time. I own a 97 S series Mercedes and I have owned older diesels as well. The older ones aren't as nice but they are a helluva lot more reliable and they have a certain charm as well. Caddy never offered a good diesel, period.

Big_Blue
12-19-05, 01:36 AM
you can convert your gas running car to run LPG fuel which is propane and its cheaper then diesel.


http://www.lpg-conversion-autogas.com/

davesdeville
12-20-05, 01:58 AM
you can convert your gas running car to run LPG fuel which is propane and its cheaper then diesel.


http://www.lpg-conversion-autogas.com/
Exactly what I was going to suggest. Find like a carbureted 307, run an OHG-450 propane mixer and X1 converter, increse compression as much as possible...

90deville415
12-20-05, 03:39 AM
Wow... what great ideas. You guys really know your stuff! I think I want to do all of the above: esp find myself a 1985 diesel deville and a 240d station wagon. I can do that on a teacher salary, right? If I can only find the parking...

The Ape Man
12-20-05, 10:38 AM
Get yourself an old Mercedes diesel. Perhaps a early 80's 240D?. They were indestructable and pretty cool at the same time. I own a 97 S series Mercedes and I have owned older diesels as well. The older ones aren't as nice but they are a helluva lot more reliable and they have a certain charm as well. Caddy never offered a good diesel, period.

Make it an SD or an SDL. Can't beat 'em if you can do your own work. If you have to get the mechanical work done for you then forget about it.

BluEyes
12-20-05, 10:58 AM
Switching a diesel to run on veggie oil isn't as easy as everyone selling one makes out (they are probably selling it because they figured out the difficulties)
Generally you need two fuel systems unless you live in a hot climate.

Biodiesel is good, but can cost as much as regular diesel in some places, and I've heard there can be problems with biodiesel having higher acidity and causing injector pump prolems.

Do a quick search on these forums, there's tons of info:
http://mbca.cartama.net/forumdisplay.php?f=5
http://www.mercedesshop.com/shopforum/forumdisplay.php3?f=15

Also, the older MB diesels aren't actually as fuel ffecient as most people claim. The 45MPG people claim out of 240D's and 300D's is a FLAT OUT LIE!!! People gripe about this on the above two forums constantly. My 220D (it's 4-speed even) gets about 34mpg in flat highway-only cruising. Do the math, with the price of diesel that won't save you money over a gas economy car. The 300D's are often in the mid-high 20's for economy depending on model.
No, I'm not knocking (hehe) on MB diesels. I love mine, it is great fun to drive, and a very well-engineered machine. It is an excellent car, and they do last a long time if well taken care of (like most cars). But, alot out there are pretty beaten down, and parts are NOT cheap. If you are looking to save money right now and don't do your own work, these might not be the best choice.

The best way to have a reliable car is to learn to work on them yourself. Lots of "reliability" problems are, IMHO, owner neglect. Either by not servicing things properly, or continuing to drive when something is in need of repair/adjustment. Many people make a bad problem worse by just thinking that that funny noise will go away on its own. It won't, and if it does, that probably means that it will now cost even more to repair!

Seriously, start adding up the costs of buying a new car, fixing what might be wrong with it, and then switching it to biofuel and compare that to the cost of your current car. Unless you have a real lemon currently, you are probably not going to save money.

caddydaddy
12-20-05, 12:02 PM
Thanks! Makes me glad I'm sticking with my 27 MPG highway 1994 Deville, when everyone else is getting Prius' and Civic hybrids! :)

DBA-One
12-23-05, 09:55 PM
If I were to buy an older Diesel car It would be the Benz. For the simple fact that parts can be had regardless of expense. Seems to me I'd have trouble looking for a particular part for an '83 Olds' Diesel part.

I may be a little nuts but there is something kind of cool about a Cutlass Supreme with that motor. By that I mean you would never see yourself coming or going. YOu would never park next to another. I haven't actually seen one since 1991 or so myself.

SilverFleetwood85
12-24-05, 07:23 PM
Does anyone know if that 4.3 Diesel offered in the olds, cad, buick, FWD cars is any good? Was it a gas to diesel converted engine like the Olds 350? I have never even seen one before, although I knew it was offered only in 1985 models.

70eldo
01-02-06, 09:47 AM
Over here in Europe a lot of people convert their oldies US cars to propane. It is indeed a lot cheaper to run. Since these cars are not daily drivers, the fact that it slightly wears more is neglectable. I just like to keep it original, so I chose not to convert to propane for my 70 eldorado.

If you look for a good efficient diesel, you should look for a 90's or newer Euro turbo-diesel. GM made diesels at Opel/Vauxhall. Chrysler/Dodge made diesels too, but not so good as the European brands.
Mercedes diesels are indeed indestructable. I drove a 90's Mercedes diesel taxicab that had driven over a million km (620,000 miles). I believe VW offers the Passat in turbo-diesel in the US? That one is really fuel efficient! BMW has diesels too! Most models in Europe have a diesel version... In Europe diesel has been here for quite a while and the technology is way more advanced over the US diesels where diesel is not so popular yet.

Bio-diesel can indeed be more acidous. People here even burn salad oil, corn oil and sunflower seeds oil in their diesels! It's like driving behind a deep fryer! HAHAHA
This can cause problems in your engine though. You might need to thin it, otherwhise your fuel pump and injectors will eventually get clogged. Also, these untreated oils extract water and CO2 from the air. Especially the newer generation diesels need modifications to handle bio-diesel. Most older diesels can run on bio-diesel without modification. It just noticably stinks!

mccombie_5
01-02-06, 09:50 AM
Over here in Europe a lot of people convert their oldies US cars to propane. It is indeed a lot cheaper to run. Since these cars are not daily drivers, the fact that it slightly wears more is neglectable. I just like to keep it original, so I chose not to convert to propane for my 70 eldorado.
If you look for a good efficient diesel, you should look for a 90's or newer Euro turbo-diesel. GM made diesels at Opel/Vauxhall. Chrysler/Dodge made diesels too, but not so good as the European brands.
Mercedes diesels are indeed indestructable. I drove a 90's Mercedes diesel taxicab that had driven over a million km (620,000 miles). I believe VW offers the Passat in turbo-diesel in the US? That one is really fuel efficient!
In Europe diesel has been here for quite a while and the technology is way more advanced over the US diesels where diesel is not so popular yet.
Bio-diesel can indeed be more acidous. People here even burn salad oil, corn oil and sunflower seeds oil in their diesels! It's like driving behind a deep fryer! HAHAHA
This can cause problems in your engine though. You might need to thin it, otherwhise your fuel pump and injectors will eventually get clogged. Also, these untreated oils extract water and CO2 from the air. Especially the newer generation diesels need modifications to handle bio-diesel. Most older diesels can run on bio-diesel without modification. It just noticably stinks!


Agreed!

The current breed of Astra Diesels is just as good as petrol equivelant.

My Phaeton is a 3.0TDI and could literally be the 3.2 Petrol, its as quiet and as smooth, and it gets 29mpg!

BluEyes
01-03-06, 01:17 PM
Around here I wonder how much propane would save me - 1.99 for propane, 2.09 for regular, and 2.25 for 92 octane. Propane has alot less energy per gallon than gas, so the mileage will be less.
Also, for anyone in the US, keep in mind that propane you buy at most places is not legal for use as a motor fuel becuause there are no road taxes applied to it. I know alotta guys will say "screw that" but remember the IRS are the guys who got Capone... Plus, many places won't fill your vehicle if they can see you are using the propane for fuel, not for cooking your food. The IRS I am told does have forms you can fill out to be legal and pay the proper taxes, but that will raise the cost of the fuel.
You also lose power with a propane conversion. Partly because of propanes lower energy, but also because the compression on a gas engine is nowhere near what propane wants. 12-14:1 compression is more the range that propane should be run in, but that would preclude switching back to gas without some big work.

I do like those euro TDI's, but there aren't any available in the US that will haul around a Caddy. I mean, diesels are slower than gas engines, but a Passat 4-cyl TDI in a Caddy? Now, that would be about as slow as my Mercedes 220D!

mccombie_5
01-03-06, 10:01 PM
I mean, diesels are slower than gas engines,

Nope

Most diesels are now faster than their regular equivelant engine sizes, and produce oodle sof torque.

Example, the 2.0d BMW engine is actually faster than the 2.0 regular, this works for most cases, sports model cars are even available with a diesel engine now, its just that US diesel technology is miles behind EU.

My VW Phaeton 3.0 gets up to 145mph, and does 60 in around 8 seconds.

Smallest engine in the range...

Stoneage_Caddy
01-04-06, 12:17 AM
The Olds 350 turns out isnt related to the gm small block , it was its own thing , but i belive it did share the bore center dimentions and such ....its like saying the 283 and LS2 are the same ....they are ....in a way ....

They got a bad rap that i think they never deserved , too many people used them like a gas engine , not allowing the glowplugs to cycle properly before starting and things like that ....6.2 and 6.5 diesels also got a bad rap at times ,they also didnt deserve it ...kinda like how turbo engines never caught on in america , people would never warm them up or cool them down properly , and in turn manufacturers would gethigh warranty claims for failures that really had nothing to do with design but more with abuse

BluEyes
01-04-06, 08:28 AM
Nope
Most diesels are now faster than their regular equivelant engine sizes, and produce oodles of torque.

Yes... and no. Gotta compare apples to apples.
Most diesels thesedays are turbocharged. Most gas engines still aren't. When OEM's get on it and start turbo'ing all the gas engines things will change.

If you want an example, look at Audis race team. They are running a V12 TDI in the new R10. Yes, it makes insane power and torque. It's also up at the displacement limit (and probably the boost limit) for LeMans racing. Anyways, calculate the hp/l and torque/l that their race diesel makes and compare that to the engine in the R8. Gasser makes more hp and more torque per liter. Both engines are turbocharged, direct injection, so there are fewer differences between the two engines than what you see in most street engines.

Some US diesel technology is up there - the trucks. Passenger car diesels in the US just don't sell. When diesel fuel costs more than premium gas, diesels lose a fair amount of their economy potential.

mccombie_5
01-04-06, 10:19 AM
Yes... and no. Gotta compare apples to apples.
Most diesels thesedays are turbocharged. Most gas engines still aren't. When OEM's get on it and start turbo'ing all the gas engines things will change.
If you want an example, look at Audis race team. They are running a V12 TDI in the new R10. Yes, it makes insane power and torque. It's also up at the displacement limit (and probably the boost limit) for LeMans racing. Anyways, calculate the hp/l and torque/l that their race diesel makes and compare that to the engine in the R8. Gasser makes more hp and more torque per liter. Both engines are turbocharged, direct injection, so there are fewer differences between the two engines than what you see in most street engines.
Some US diesel technology is up there - the trucks. Passenger car diesels in the US just don't sell. When diesel fuel costs more than premium gas, diesels lose a fair amount of their economy potential.

Thats a point, but diesel costs quite alot more than regular here ni the UK, and 40% still run it, because returns of 30mpg from a luxury car cannot be achieved with petrol engines.

Turbo or not, I'd still take a diesel engine, the work harder, last longer and get better mileage. Even with a Turbo, a petrol engine doesnt get anywhere near as good mileage.

For example, I'm pretty sure VWs 1.9 TDI engine is faster than the 1.8T...

BluEyes
01-04-06, 11:40 AM
Yes, diesel will always get better mileage. Don't forget that diesel has more BTU's per gallon than gas - that's a big factor. But, a 30mpg diesel costs the same to run as a 26mpg gas engine on regular gas with the price difference that I have right now. Diesel is still ahead in the $/mi department (which is what I care about) but not nearly as much as they used to be.

Gas engines still accelerate faster, given the same equipment. To be fair, let's look at the Passat, because it gets the more powerful version of the TDI. The TDI puts out 134hp/247lb*ft vs the 200hp/207lb*ft 2.0T gas. The gas engine hits peak hp 1100rpm higher while having peak torque 100rpm lower than the diesel and keeping peak torqe steady to 4700rpm (well past the diesels peak HP). Even if the power were more equal, the higher RPM's of the gas engine would let it keep a lower gear for longer, and out-accelerate the diesel. Both engines are turbocharged, both are direct injection. Both engines will probably outlast their owner thesedays if taken care of.
If you compare equal technology, it is still the same as always - diesel is the option for fuel economy, gas is the option for speed. Both are great motors, so don't think I'm saying that diesel is a bad option or that gas will replace diesel. Current technology HAS overcome the terribly slow acceleration of diesels of the past, but in the meantime gas engines have turned pedestrian cars into comparative rocketships that could beat many of the top musclecars of years past.

Stoneage_Caddy
01-04-06, 12:51 PM
the problem is that we cannt get the same technology as europe does as far as diesels , due to the VERY poor quality of our diesel fuel , sulfur content being one of the big problems , europe and aisa has very strict stanrds for diesel fuel , we dont ....thus the american public never gets a taste of the great modern diesel , they really dont have any idea on what there missing out on ...

Audi has the drag there own fuel over here to run the r10 ...

Pressure needs to be placed on the american goverment to fix the fuel issues here in the states , oil comapnys are makeing record profits by useing the excuse of hurricanes and such , why arent they turning around and investing it into cleaning up our fuels rather then building that new 65,000 gallon fishtank for the CEO ?

as soon as the fuel is fixed the automakers will simply flip a swtich and start slideing those great new deisels into american cars , and the public will snap them right up once word gets out about them....

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-04-06, 03:03 PM
So to summarize:
Cadillac never had a good diesel model.
Other car companies make good diesels.

(sorry if I am wrong, but this is what I have heard, and I havent kept up with this thread)

Bro-Ham
01-04-06, 05:55 PM
Hi,

I believe the 4.3 diesel Cadillac in the 1985 models wasn't so bad. Heck, I'd drive one if I could find one. Keep your eyes open!

Dave

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-04-06, 06:05 PM
ah I always seemed to forget about the 4.3 diesel. When I think of "Cadillac diesel", I always think of the 350 diesel. Did they use the 4.3 for 1985 only, or was it 85-86 in the Fleetwoods/devilles?

BluEyes
01-05-06, 08:02 AM
the problem is that we cannt get the same technology as europe does as far as diesels , due to the VERY poor quality of our diesel fuel , sulfur content being one of the big problems , europe and aisa has very strict stanrds for diesel fuel , we dont ....thus the american public never gets a taste of the great modern diesel , they really dont have any idea on what there missing out on ...

Did some research on sulfur - European fuel used to be at 350ppm, US fuel at 500ppm. In 2005, Europe dropped theirs to 50ppm. But, the US is phasing in ultra-low sulfur diesel over the coming years. ULSD is 15ppm, so it looks like we might have cleaner diesel fuel than europe soon.

I don't think Cadillac themselves ever made a diesel. The 350 was technically an Olds motor, guess I'm not sure who made the 4.3 diesel though. The 4.3 diesel was also available in Celebrities and the Buick, Olds, Pontiac equivelant of the same chassis. Dunno if they got it for more than one year or not. A 4.3 diesel in a lighter chassis like that would rock!
Yes, they are rrer than hens teeth, but I did read somewhere once about a guy swapping one into a Fiero.

Bro-Ham
01-05-06, 03:00 PM
Hi,

The 4.3 V6 diesel, like the 5.7 V8 diesel, were both made by Oldsmobile division. The 4.3 was available from 1982 through 1985 on Celebrity, 6000, Ciera, and Century. In 1985, the 4.3 diesel was available on 98 Regency, Electra/Park Avenue, and Cadillac front drive deVille/Fleetwood. 1985 was the last year. Too bad this engine was discontinued since it was smooth and had decent power.

Dave

ben72227
01-10-06, 01:31 AM
There was nothing *wrong* with Cadillac diesels. That being said, there also was nothing *right* with them:thumbsup:. They were a good attempt, but they shouldn't have been attempted in the first place. The headgasket problems on the early models were awful, but by the end of them ('85) they had DX blocks and supposedly those are supposed to be very decent NA diesel engines. They take lots of work though, but most owners today are pretty much diesel mechanics and diesel fanatics. They have a website I think. Look up 350 diesel on google. Pretty wierd; its a message board of people obsessed with GM diesels:eek:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-10-06, 02:12 AM
Why didnt they ever make it a turbodiesel?

and by "it" I mean the 350 diesel

SilverFleetwood85
01-10-06, 03:38 AM
Hi,

The 4.3 V6 diesel, like the 5.7 V8 diesel, were both made by Oldsmobile division. The 4.3 was available from 1982 through 1985 on Celebrity, 6000, Ciera, and Century. In 1985, the 4.3 diesel was available on 98 Regency, Electra/Park Avenue, and Cadillac front drive deVille/Fleetwood. 1985 was the last year. Too bad this engine was discontinued since it was smooth and had decent power.

Dave

You have driven a 4.3 Diesel equipped car, which make and model did you drive?

Bro-Ham
01-10-06, 07:06 AM
Hi,

I most recently drove a 1982 Cutlass Ciera with the 4.3 V6 diesel. I am a car dealer and took the car on trade about 3 years ago. As I recall it had slightly over 100k miles. One owner vehicle that was very well maintained and looked fantastic! The car was very nice driving and it sold immediately to a diesel enthusiast.

Previously, I drove a front drive 1985 98 Regency 4.3 V6 diesel back in 1985.

Dave

ben72227
01-10-06, 04:01 PM
Why didnt they ever make it a turbodiesel?

and by "it" I mean the 350 diesel

There was a big rush to get the engine out after the '79 oil embargos. GM was losing market share to Datsun, Toyota, etc. and they needed fuel efficiency to beat them AND to conform to CAFE regulations.

Some people turbo-ed them aftermarket though, and by the end of the run, I think many dealers installed turbos too to keep up with MB;)

I~LUV~Caddys8792
01-10-06, 06:06 PM
Interesting....I imagine the turbo made the car a lot less lethargic.

I remember reading in a road test of an '80 Seville diesel that it would do 0-60 in like 19 seconds, and the 1/4 mile at like 21 seconds at like 70 mph.

GMC350Diesel
01-21-06, 07:27 PM
Contrary to popular belief the 5.7L GM diesel was NOT a converted gas engine. What it was, was GMs first attempt to build a diesel and it was rushed to the market to boot, not enough R&D was done. The early versions of the 5.7L were, shall we say, less than perfect but so was the market. Near the end of the 5.7L diesels life the engines were actually decent well running and put together engines. The engines failure is attributed to may things, first the average person who bought cars and trucks with this engine were not familiar with operating diesels, second technicians who worked on the cars and trucks were not familiar with diesels and often used the wrong types of lubricants in the engines, and third diesel fuel quality in the late 70s and early 80s was horrible.

The only thing the 5.7L diesel shared with the 5.7L gas was tranny bolt patterns and motor mounts. Other than that they were completely different engines. If you were working on both and only looking at the crank from the underside you would see very little similarities.

The 5.7L diesel was rushed to the market so it had to fit in existing products and run down existing assembly lines. GM marketing came up with the idea that if the displacement were the same it would be easier to convince its customers that diesels were just as easy to own and operate as gas.

If cared for, they last for a long time.
I love my diesel. Its super slow (zero to 60 in 20 seconds) but if you can get over that itís a great ride.
Speaking of, if anyone is in Washington/ Pacific Northwest region and have one of these engines lying around, I would love to take it off your hands.

BluEyes
01-22-06, 11:59 AM
Speaking of, if anyone is in Washington/ Pacific Northwest region and have one of these engines lying around, I would love to take it off your hands.

If you ever get by Spokane, look up www.pullandsave.com No way of knowing what they have but to go in and look under the hoods, but I have seen a number of 350 diesels in there from time to time (one that looked like a recent replacement and I was tempted to grab it for no other reason...). You'll dig their prices, but you've gotta supply your own gruntpower and tools. (they do have hoists though)

Didn't the olds diesel share stroke/bore dimensions with the olds 350 gas? Thus leading people to believe it was the same block?