Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I once owned a '79 Olds Cutlass Diesel. A 5.7 Litre Cutlass Wagon, which I purchased new. I can tell ...
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    winston4u is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    I once owned a '79 Olds Cutlass Diesel. A 5.7 Litre Cutlass Wagon, which I purchased new. I can tell you, I followed every procedure you outlined for proper care of the engine (added truck fuel filter and water separator), never ever used starting fluid, used the block heater in winter, changed oil religiously at 3000 miles, etc., etc. Nevertheless, the engine self destructed (broken crankshaft) at only 39,000 miles. Admittedly, this turned out to have been caused by an inept dealer repair on the torque converter, which snaped off its centering snout (where it aligned with rear of crankshaft) and loosened the bolts attaching it to the flex plate. Fixed under warranty, dealer apparently just tightened the loose flex plate bolts, which left the torque converter slightly out of balance, which eventually (in about 5000 miles) took out the crank.
    GM, however, with all the failures then taking place would only offer to replace the broken crank (including labor) absolutely nothing more. With the damage I subsequently discovered from the flailing of the broken crank, (cracked main bearing web, bent rod, ruined torque converter) this would have been just another disaster ready to happen.
    From the runaroud I got from GM at the time, I opted to replace the Diesel with a salvaged Olds 4.3 liter gas engine (which cost me a premium at the time because of the huge demand for what the yards called "Diesel changeout kits". Long story short, after my go around with GM over this, I never purchased another GM vehicle for almost 25 years -- until last year, when I bought an '03 Deville DTS. So far it's been as trouble free as any of the number of Hondas and Toyotas I've owned over the itervening years.
    The Olds Diesel and GM quality in general during the late 70's and most of the 80's turned off a lot of people, like myself. No telling where GM might be in market share today if they'd handled themselves differently back then, but one thing's for sure. Many, many of GM's problems today can be traced to the Customer Service attitudes and just plain poor quality control that prvailed back in the days of the Olds Diesel.

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    ben72227 is offline Banned
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    So, are you trying to call the diesel a complete failure? If so, i must say, im deeply offended, seeing as how i've kept mine running for 25 years...
    And while she has aged, she still performs just as she has for the last couple of decades...

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    winston4u is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    The fact that GM discontinued the 5.7 litre Diesel around '74 or '75 I think says it all. I also know a few friends (very few) who had them and had no problems -- I unfortunately was not one of them. Also, as I recall, the warranty replacements in Eldos and Cadillacs were an absolute disaster for GM as regards customer satisfaction with these high priced cars. The incredible rate of failures made several major stories in the Wall Street Journal between '78 and '80 as I recall. I suppose I should have been warned off, but I simply ascribed it to poor care by the Cadillac owners. I learned otherwise, to my chagrin.

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    winston4u is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    Forgot to mention, no offense was intended. I was merely relating my personal experience with the Olds Diesel in response to some comments Anthony made relative to this engine before. I must add, however, I was deeply offended at the time by the way GM cavilierly brushed off most complaints about what was a major, major problem with costly engine failures. I recall very well the letter I received from GM which in essence told me I could give my business to anyone I chose. That GM could care less. Well, I voted with my dollars -- all my business went to Honda and Toyota for the next 25 years. Nuf said.

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    ben72227 is offline Banned
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    it was discontinued in '86, simply because there was no use for it anymore (the high gas prices of the 70s had gone by now). But the majority of "failures" that came with it had to do with the fact that most people treated it like a gasoline engine (i.e., they revved it up, cranked it till the starter died, didn't wait for the glowplugs to warm up, put in the wrong motor oil, sometimes they even put gasoline in it , etc. etc. and i could go on and on)

    My cadillac, however, was WELL taken care of. The maintainence schedules were followed, and it was treated like a diesel car. That's why its still running.

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    winston4u is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    Did I say discontinued in '74 or '75 ? Meant to say '84 or '85 because the Olds I had was a '79 Cutlass Wagon. In any case, I was not one of those who thought they were diriving a gas engine. I knew what I'd purchased and treated it accordingly. And it self-destructed just as described. I was just pulling away from a traffic light, light acceleration when I heard a slight rapping sound that grew rapidly louder, then ceased abruptly with a tremendous bang as the engine stopped with a severe lurch.
    As a point of interest; at the time I worked for a major OEM maufacturer of heavy construction machinery. One of the major components of this equipment were heavy duty diesel engines. We offered Cummins, Caterpiller and Detroit Diesel. I remember asking a couple of Cat engineers what they thought to the Olds design. They said they had dyno tested one and while it was not in any way equal to a heavy duty Cat, its design had one major weakness when run continuously at rated output -- the piston ring package, they said, allowed tremendous blowby and they did not see it holding up well under severe continuous usage. What they thought strange, was why the Olds design engineers didn't consult with their counterparts at Detroit Diesel, who were well versed in designing diesel piston ring packages for durability. They said they thought the design would not hold the high compression a diesel needs for fast, reliable starts over a long life span. Which apparently was correct, since ring problems and loss of compression were problems Anthony alluded to in his original post.

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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    I admittedly know nothing about desiel design, and this is my frist, buuuut... While I'm working on putting an engine in my '94 STS, I bought a 1978 Olds Delta Royale with the 5.7 Diesel. So far, I've actually been very happy with it, as I've been driving it a hundred miles a day on the highway and have had no problems. I do need to put new glow plugs in it, as it just started getting very hard to start the first time each day and running rough for a minute or so when it does get going. The tranny leaks a bit, engine oil leaks a bit, but the thing runs great at 219K, the A/C works and I get 18-24 mpg out of it.

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Anthony Cipriano: Re. Your remarks on Olds Diesel Engine

    Quote Originally Posted by winston4u
    Did I say discontinued in '74 or '75 ? Meant to say '84 or '85 because the Olds I had was a '79 Cutlass Wagon. In any case, I was not one of those who thought they were diriving a gas engine. I knew what I'd purchased and treated it accordingly. And it self-destructed just as described. I was just pulling away from a traffic light, light acceleration when I heard a slight rapping sound that grew rapidly louder, then ceased abruptly with a tremendous bang as the engine stopped with a severe lurch.
    As a point of interest; at the time I worked for a major OEM maufacturer of heavy construction machinery. One of the major components of this equipment were heavy duty diesel engines. We offered Cummins, Caterpiller and Detroit Diesel. I remember asking a couple of Cat engineers what they thought to the Olds design. They said they had dyno tested one and while it was not in any way equal to a heavy duty Cat, its design had one major weakness when run continuously at rated output -- the piston ring package, they said, allowed tremendous blowby and they did not see it holding up well under severe continuous usage. What they thought strange, was why the Olds design engineers didn't consult with their counterparts at Detroit Diesel, who were well versed in designing diesel piston ring packages for durability. They said they thought the design would not hold the high compression a diesel needs for fast, reliable starts over a long life span. Which apparently was correct, since ring problems and loss of compression were problems Anthony alluded to in his original post.

    Certainly the Oldsmobile diesel engine was no match for the HD diesels that Cummins and Cat produced. Those class 8 and larger diesels cost more than your whole car did though. Putting a HD style diesel into a passenger car would have been very difficult and very costly.

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