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Discussion Starter #1
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.

 

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'93 Fleetwood Brougham...Dad's
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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:
 

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1980 FBC
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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.....
 

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1979 Sedan deVille d'Elegance
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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
 
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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...
 

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Destroyer said:
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.
 

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1970 Sedan deVille hardtop
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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.
 

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2005 Escalade 6.0L 2WD, 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited CRD
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Thanks! Makes me glad I'm sticking with my 27 MPG highway 1994 Deville, when everyone else is getting Prius' and Civic hybrids! :)
 

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2005 DeVille
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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.
 

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1992 Cadillac Sedan Deville
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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.
 

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1970 Eldorado.
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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!
 

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70eldo said:
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!
 

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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!
 

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BluEyes said:
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...
 

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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
 

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mccombie_5 said:
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.
 
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