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  1. #1

    Question 350 Diesel questions

    My dad used to have a 1980 Chevy 1/2 ton 2WD with the 350 diesel converted to a gas motor. We were talking about the truck after I found some old photos of me around the truck when I was 4 or 5. Long story short, he sold the truck 12 or 13 years ago, and I am wanting to recreate the truck, and when we started to talk about the motor, he said it was a Chevy 350 diesel, and I said it was an Oldsmobile 350 diesel. He was certain that it was a Chevy. I have only heard of an Olds 350 diesel. Can someone please clarify this for me? I want to recreate this truck, and I want it to be acurate to the original, so I need some help.
    Thanks.
    1999 Chevy K3500 CC LWB
    Vortec 454, 4L80E, 4x4 - Like a Rock!!

    1987 GMC R1500 Sierra Classic
    350 TBI, 700R4, 2WD - my project

  2. #2
    Master Mechanic bigdaddy77084's Avatar
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    yes it was the olds block,that diesel was a pos.
    95 tahoe 2dr 4x4 200,000+ miles

  3. #3

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    It was an Olds engine but Chevy claimed it, just one of many mistakes.
    Do yourself a favor and base you truck on any other engine but that one.

    Pros:
    Made a great boat anchor

    Cons:
    No power
    Ran terribly
    Very few replacement/repair parts available
    Extremely hard to start in cold weather
    Terrible fuel consumption
    Issues with head gaskets
    Issues with cooling system

    This list could go on forever, if the engine was even mediocre there would be engines available to purchase, as it is their almost non-existant.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbplus10 View Post
    It was an Olds engine but Chevy claimed it, just one of many mistakes.
    Do yourself a favor and base you truck on any other engine but that one.

    Pros:
    Made a great boat anchor

    Cons:
    No power
    Ran terribly
    Very few replacement/repair parts available
    Extremely hard to start in cold weather
    Terrible fuel consumption
    Issues with head gaskets
    Issues with cooling system

    This list could go on forever, if the engine was even mediocre there would be engines available to purchase, as it is their almost non-existant.
    Agreed. however they have a large following in the Drag racing community because a set of Vortec Alum. heads on top of that very stout block with a good set of forged pistons, and rods on the once again very stout crank, and you have motors that will take a lot and i mean ALOT of abuse... But that is only using the block itself... They throw the rest of the motor away.
    Mike

    Currently

    1997 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4X4 with 330K miles and counting (Hunting rig).

    2009 Saturn Aura XE (wifes car)

    2011 F-150 Crew 4X4

    "Hold it to the floor till you see God.... Then Brake!!!!"

  5. #5

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    Sounds like none of you either owned or worked on these engines. They had their faults such as head gasket failures, but a little extra work in that department during a rebuild and you have a fine motor that will give you over 30mpg easily. They weren't made for racing so maybe that's why people are disappointed with their speed, but if driven correctly and not MASHING DOWN on the accelerator like most people do, you can easily get 300K out of these engines with few repairs. Just basic maintenance done on a religious basis and it made for a damn good engine for me in my 81 Grand Prix.

    But I understand it's easier to just chip a new vehicle than to do mechanical work on an older engine. It's so much easier to just repeat what you've heard when you've never owned or worked on something. I will agree on the way they behaved in the cold. They didn't always want to start when you got pretty cold, so big batteries and a block heater will save you a lot of frustration.

    That being said, those engines weren't meant to haul like the 6.2s were. So they were more at home in cars than they were in trucks. This project sounds like a good tribute to your dad. If you really want to do it, then do it! There are some alterations you can make to the engine that will extend the life of it, and the reliability of it. And if you can get the truck to look like your dads, I'm sure he will be proud.

    And it was an Oldsmobile engine with the BOP bell housing pattern.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by opusd2 View Post
    Sounds like none of you either owned or worked on these engines. They had their faults such as head gasket failures, but a little extra work in that department during a rebuild and you have a fine motor that will give you over 30mpg easily. They weren't made for racing so maybe that's why people are disappointed with their speed, but if driven correctly and not MASHING DOWN on the accelerator like most people do, you can easily get 300K out of these engines with few repairs. Just basic maintenance done on a religious basis and it made for a damn good engine for me in my 81 Grand Prix.

    But I understand it's easier to just chip a new vehicle than to do mechanical work on an older engine. It's so much easier to just repeat what you've heard when you've never owned or worked on something. I will agree on the way they behaved in the cold. They didn't always want to start when you got pretty cold, so big batteries and a block heater will save you a lot of frustration.

    That being said, those engines weren't meant to haul like the 6.2s were. So they were more at home in cars than they were in trucks. This project sounds like a good tribute to your dad. If you really want to do it, then do it! There are some alterations you can make to the engine that will extend the life of it, and the reliability of it. And if you can get the truck to look like your dads, I'm sure he will be proud.

    And it was an Oldsmobile engine with the BOP bell housing pattern.
    I owned two of them, one with less than 50K when I got it and one with a 100K and neither lasted over 150k, if you owned one you had to work on them because they werent reliable and as you mentioned were terrible in cold weather.
    The engine had many problems and suffered from many recalls during its time.
    Evidence of it's unpopularity and reliability can be found in the fact that very few of them are left running now a days.
    Thats great you had good luck with yours but you were the minority.

  7. #7
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    I still own one.. Ive been keeping the car in hopes of tearing out the motor to build my aformentioned drag racing motor.. However here in MN it never started below 25degrees even with a block heater.. It ate glow plug controlers like they were bugs on the highway.. IT smoked terribly (this car was owned and maintained from new by my local GM dealer)
    I do not disagree as a tribute it would be fine but moving to a 6.2L would work as well and greatly improve the reliability

  8. #8
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    I can tell you from being in the military and driving those old chevy blazers and pickups that they were junk, they constatnly had to be worked on, horrible in the winter time. And even with the big gears that the military had in them there was NO power band to be found. Mind you these are just a straight NON-turbo diesel no power what so ever.
    99 K1500 Suburban LT "THE BEAST"
    Hypertech III, K&N, true dual
    285/75/16
    ___________________________
    Jason

  9. #9

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    I can attest that many of the guys I knew in the Army were very unintelligent when it cam to maintenance on diesels, gassers, whatever. Having written service manuals for many of the new larger HMMT or HEWATT vehicles made by Oshkosh Corp, everything is just pulled and replaced and not repaired, because as I was informed repair work in the motor pools is not exactly a strong suit. If there's a problem replace.

    And don't take offense to this as I know this first hand from Air Force experience, you don't always get the sharpest pencils in the pack when it comes to the military. It's always jump in and run, not waiting for oil pressure to build or even if the air cleaner allowed any air through. And just counting the number of vehicles with the oil fill caps lost and plugged with rags (on the lucky engines) I'm surprised there are any working vehicles out there.

    Don't knock a 6.2l diesel or even the 350 olds diesel unless you have worked on and rebuilt or maintained either. Kinda sounds like another case of "If it isn't a new diesel I can chip for power, it ain't no damn good" to me. I apologize if I am wrong about your tastes in diesels, but those vehicles you mentioned are pretty damn tough. That 6.2 diesel was our farms workhorse for many years until the Ford 6.9 diesel (also no turbo, but it didn't need one because I wasn't trying to race, I was just pulling tractors with duals and other large implements with it. Then my brother turned wuss and got his 94 Dodge. It has more power to get up and go faster, but I can pull whatever he can - just at a more leisurely pace. And I don't have to worry about the little breakdowns his chassis usually has. That's all with a gooseneck. I have no problems without a diesel.

    It's usually the ones who have driven a turbo once or twice after running a NA that start cutting the older mechanical engines down. See you in 500K miles, I am halfway there - all work miles.

  10. #10

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    And poor fuel consumption? The olds diesel in my 82 Pontiac Grand Prix averaged over 32 mpg, and the 6.2l diesel in my 82 Suburban 4x4 got aroun 28 with a best of 31mpg. It's all how you drive them, slow on the go pedal and you'll be fine. Keep them cool and youre doing great for the head gaskets. But if you DO have to do head gaskets which isn't uncommon and which I did on my mom's car, use a good sealant spray. I forgot the name of the kind I used, but it was used by Benz for their engines, and use a quality headgasket which should be retorqued after so many hours of running/break in time. It's a bit of work, but saves a TON of headaches. I've heard of ringing the cylinders, I've just never done it. If I ever need to redo one of my engines that everyone hates, I will do so.

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