Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

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Thread: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

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    Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    As much as I dislike having to ever say anything bad about the Oldsmobile diesels -- there were three in all -- I want to ask you all: how many of you lucky owners still have at least one of these today in 2013?

    The three diesels in question were given displacements of 4.3 or 5.7 for the V8 (the 1979 4.3 V8 was the debored version of the 5.7), and one V6 displacing 4.3 liters (just the 5.7 with two less cylinders). Different RPO codes are assigned depending on the application.
    LF9 5.7L V8 (1978-85) (rear-drive and front-drive E/K chassis)
    LF7 4.3L V8 (1979) (Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon only)
    LT6 4.3L V6 (1982-85) (rear drive)
    LT7 4.3L V6 (1982-85) (front drive)
    LS2 4.3L V6 (1985) (front drive -- Electra/Park Avenue, DeVille/Fleetwood and Ninety-Eight only)

    Of course, that's provided if you took all the recommended fixes in the years after 1985, such as the use of ARP head bolts and a proper water separator...

    TIMELINE OF OLDSMOBILE DIESELS, 1978-85

    BUICK
    LeSabre, Electra Estate (B) (1980-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Electra/Park Avenue (C/RWD) (1980-84) (LF9 5.7L)
    Riviera (E) (1981-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Century (A/FWD) (1982-85) (LT7 4.3L)
    Regal (G) (1982-85) (LF9 5.7L 1982-83, LT6 4.3L 1982-85)
    Electra/Park Avenue (C/FWD) (1985) (LS2 4.3L)

    CADILLAC
    Seville (K/RWD) (1978-79) (LF9 5.7L)
    DeVille, Fleetwood (Brougham), 60 Special (C/RWD 1979-84, D 1985*) (1979-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Eldorado (E) (1979-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Seville (K/FWD) (1980-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Deville, Fleetwood (not Brougham), 60 Special (C/FWD) (1985) (LS2 4.3L)
    (* note the "D" chassis code is exclusive to Cadillac since it is a continuation of the 1977-84 "C" RWD chassis. Until Buick and Oldsmobile replaced their rear-drive "C" body Electra and Ninety-Eight respectively for 1985 with front-drive versions, the "D" code was assigned to Cadillac commercial chassis and limousines. Thus, when the Fleetwood Brougham continued into 1985-92 just as the front-drive DeVille/Fleetwood showed up in mid-1984, the "D" code replaced the rear-drive "C" code.)

    CHEVROLET
    C10 series trucks, Blazer, Suburban (1978-81) (LF9 5.7L)
    Caprice Classic/Impala (B) (1980-85 wagons, 1981-85 coupes/sedans) (LF9 5.7L)
    Malibu (Classic) (G) (1982-83) (LF9 5.7L and LT6 4.3L)
    Monte Carlo and El Camino (G) (1982-84) (LF9 5.7L 1982-84, LT6 4.3L 1982-83)
    Celebrity (A/FWD) (1982-85) (LT7 4.3L)

    GMC
    Sierra trucks, Jimmy, Suburban (1978-81) (LF9 5.7L)
    Caballero (1982-84) (LF9 5.7L 1982-84, LT6 4.3L 1982-83)

    OLDSMOBILE
    Delta 88, Custom Cruiser (B) (1978-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Ninety-Eight (C/RWD) (1978-84) (LF9 5.7L)
    Cutlass (Supreme) (A/RWD, G) (1979-85) (LF9 5.7L 1979-85, LF7 4.3L V8 1979, LT6 4.3L V6 1982-83)
    (for 1979 model year: the LF9 within the Cutlass family was only available for the Cutlass Cruiser wagon; the LF7 was used for the Cutlass Salons and Supreme coupe)
    Toronado (E) (1979-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    Cutlass Ciera (A/FWD) (1982-85) (LT7 4.3L V6)
    Ninety-Eight (C/FWD) (1985) (LS2 4.3L V6)

    PONTIAC
    Bonneville, Catalina, Safari (B) (1980-81) (LF9 5.7L)
    Grand Prix (A/RWD, G) (1981-84) (LF9 5.7L)
    Bonneville, Safari (G) (1982-84) (LF9 5.7L)
    6000 (A/FWD) (1982-85) (LT7 4.3L)
    Parisienne, Safari (B) (1983-85) (LF9 5.7L)
    (for some reason, Pontiac never cataloged the LT6 4.3L diesel V6 for its G-body product lines)

    ~Ben

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Always been curious about the LF9.

    I had a ride in a new Sierra about 1981 that was diesel. The engine seemed quite unrefined and short of low end torque.

    Also had a ride in a new Cutlass about 1985 that was diesel. I remember you had to wait for the glow plugs before starting but after that it felt quite refined.

    I've heard it said that if you can get an LF9 to work it will last forever - but that's an oxymoron.
    Tomko

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    I guess we were in the Twilight Zone.

    Sold a ton of the 5.7's. Only significant problems we ever had were when farmers tried to pull with the C10's. We did install the water separators. Never dealt with the other two.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    While working for Oldsmobile in the early '80s, I bought a new Toronado with the LF9. Loved it. With about 6k miles on it while traveling to a buddy's wedding, the fuel filter loaded up and limited max speed to about 60-65 MPH. Not knowing what was happening at that time and unable to pass people on the expressway, I elected to drive back home and missed the wedding. Sold it with about 10k on it.

    I drove an Olds Ciera with the LT7 in it about five miles between assembly plants once. Lots of low-end torque and very perky in lower-speed driving. This would've been a winner had the crankshaft issue not been present.
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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    The D & DX blocks are the strongest Olds ever made. The most serious Olds hotrodders choose them to this day & they're making 650 na & over twice that w/turbo. My plan for this '79 Salon I have involves this block & twin turbo, Lenco & Dana, aiming for ~1200 hp/tq on pump gas.
    ____________

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    My grandfather purchased a Cadillac with the infamous Olds Diesel ... (probably a 1979 as he owned a trucking company and was excited to be an early adopter). The car was constantly in the dealership, and eventually he got fed-up and paid a mechanic to convert the engine back to regular gas, and drove it for several years afterwards. Supposedly such conversions were pretty common.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Quote Originally Posted by vcs2600 View Post
    My grandfather purchased a Cadillac with the infamous Olds Diesel ... (probably a 1979 as he owned a trucking company and was excited to be an early adopter). The car was constantly in the dealership, and eventually he got fed-up and paid a mechanic to convert the engine back to regular gas, and drove it for several years afterwards. Supposedly such conversions were pretty common.
    In all those eight years, nobody's ever heard of using ARP head bolts and adding a proper water separator as ultimate solutions.

    Anyways, once these diesels are converted to gas power (whether that's an Olds 5.0 or 5.7, Chevy 5.0 or 5.7, or a Pontiac 4.9 turbo) the "Diesel" badging becomes irrelevant except to the historians.

    ~Ben

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicTVMan1981X View Post
    In all those eight years, nobody's ever heard of using ARP head bolts and adding a proper water separator as ultimate solutions.
    This is phrased a as a rhetorical question ... But did "GM Goodwrench" hear of this or not? Since you started the thread, it sounds like you should be stating your opinion rather than waving your hands.

    My speculation is that many owners converted them to gas, complained about the cost, and drove them until they got their money's worth. Historians don't care because they were crushed just like the other 99.9% cars of this generation.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    * COUGH *

    - as the Cruze D release draws near I expect will have oodles and oodles of GM / Olds diesel 'nostalgia' threads come out - all over the internet.

    It's like how the '80s gets so much coverage - and likely in most cases for the same purpose.

    It's a Goldman - Farley kinda' thing.

    Well, two can play.

    Best Ford engine of the same era - hands down btw, was exclusive to Lincoln and was a diesel - a BMW diesel.

    Yeah unbelievably, the Ford gassers were literally that bad.
    Last edited by AMERICA 123; 01-24-2013 at 01:38 AM.
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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    The early 80s Escort, Ranger and even the COurier pickups had a diesel version.
    Not to mention the s-10, cavilier and Olds Cutlass diesels which were a heck more
    reliable than the GM converted V-8s.

    Haven't see one in a long time!

    Of course they didn't sell either.............................

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Know a few with conversions still running around. Those were nice for avoiding smog checks in some states. Nice duals on a 350 Olds or Chevy. But the NA 80s diesels were so low on power it was stupid. Get them up to an elevation and they were dangerously underpowered. Some stuff belongs in the trash can of history.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Quote Originally Posted by AMERICA 123 View Post
    * COUGH *

    - as the Cruze D release draws near I expect will have oodles and oodles of GM / Olds diesel 'nostalgia' threads come out - all over the internet.

    It's like how the '80s gets so much coverage - and likely in most cases for the same purpose.

    It's a Goldman - Farley kinda' thing.

    Well, two can play.

    Best Ford engine of the same era - hands down btw, was exclusive to Lincoln and was a diesel - a BMW diesel.

    Yeah unbelievably, the Ford gassers were literally that bad.
    That BMW turbodiesel was a really nice motor. It was particularly impressive since BMW came out of nowhere with that, they had never made a diesel before, ever, then came out with really the best diesel on the market, anywhere, better than even Mercedes who had been making diesel cars for 50 years by that time (and probably longer in trucks...)

    And of course, the BMW engine was based on their gasoline six... just like VW's diesel... but no mechanical problems. I dunno why the "conversion" thing about the Olds diesel gets so much flak.

    Last edited by Smaart Aas Saabr; 01-26-2013 at 07:40 PM.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    I'm wondering if you guys actually have any pictures of your Olds diesel-powered stuff from back in the day (1978-85)?

    ~Ben

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonjaab View Post
    The early 80s Escort, Ranger and even the COurier pickups had a diesel version.
    Not to mention the s-10, cavilier and Olds Cutlass diesels which were a heck more
    reliable than the GM converted V-8s.

    Haven't see one in a long time!

    Of course they didn't sell either.............................
    I don't remember the Cavalier having a diesel engine but I remember then the Chevette got a Isuzu diesel engine. The Ranger got a Mazda diesel before having a short-lived 2.3l turbodiesel who was briefly used also by the Aerostar.

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    Re: Oldsmobile Diesels (1978-85) - How Many of You Still Own One Today?

    I own a Commodore blue 1978 Cadillac Seville Diesel with a production date of March 1978. I was told they became available midway through the model year which would make this one of the first Seville Diesels to arrive in showrooms. Of course it now has the DX block Mr.Goodwrench Replacement diesel engine. It also has the optional CB radio and Astroroof. I have been hoarding NOS parts, emblems, lenses, interior switches for a proper restoration.
    Across town (I live in Houston, TX) is a nice 1979 Seville Diesel that is silver or gray and has under 80K. These cars hit the streets just as I was starting Kindergarten, and I fondly remember the louder chatter of running GM diesels around the town I grew up in. Later I remember the difficulty some had starting their diesels during the frigid Texas Panhandle winters.

    The first GM Diesel I got a ride in a was a new dark blue 1979 Eldorado Biarritz with the stainless top and astroroof that was owned by a local business woman who owned the arcade I frequented. At 6 or 7 years old I was really impressed with the burl wood on the dash, the fancy light blue leather, and especially the soft 'fur' carpeting. It also had more than a few chrome switches on the doors, seats, and dash. For a few years most of the cars that were sold in our area were highly optioned diesel Fleetwoods, Devilles, Phaetons, Sevilles, Eldorados, Toronados, Ninety-Eights, Electra Park Avenues and Bonneville Broughams... I would guess that more than half of those had GM's 5.7 Diesel engines.

    I thought it was strange one frozen morning when I watched my neighbor lady repeatedly crank and crank the starter of her new lemon yellow '80 or '81 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Diesel for half an hour (or was it 45 minutes) without ignition, finally giving up and disappearing back into her house only to reappear once or twice more for another long cranking session until the batteries gave out.

    Much Later, by the time I started driving around 1988, there were usually a few pristine bodied Diesel Cadillacs or Oldsmobiles parked on bargain row (far in the back) of the used car lots and dealerships in my locale. Of course if you asked about them, you'd find out most werent running at the time, and only cash specials or sold for parts (dirt cheap!)

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