Ask me anything about diesel engine repair. (1 Viewer)

Brodiesel710

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As a counterpart to the sound advice you can find on @SaltyCrew's thread, I wanted to offer help to anyone with diesel powered cars/trucks/vans, tractors, etc. I have 10 years experience in the trade and have worked on anything from single cylinder generators to 16 cylinder locomotive engines. Brodie is my last name, diesel is what I do, and 710 is my favorite engine, powering most all EMD locomotive found on the rails today. Hence the name @Brodiesel710. I am proficient at most aspects of electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic diagnosis and repair. YEEHAW!!!!

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Faceplant

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Would you mind helping me fix wife’s Cuisinart? Good on ya, mate, for helping out. I will start out by asking for an opinion

If I wanted the best somewhat economical diesel powered cargo van, but not a Sprinter or more modern one, whose would you prefer and why? Want to some day do a stealth-type van for travelling low key, likely a one-ton van. And I know the gas powered options would eat me alive in fuel costs. Thanks
 

SaltyCrew

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Thank you for the kind words, and excellent addition to the site/forum! Diesel engines are not my forté, and I will gladly send any advice seekers your way!

My girl is going to inherit a 94 2wd Dodge with a 5.9 and 5 speed at some point, I cannot wait to start tinkering with it, and when the time comes I'd love to pick your brain for all the "tweaking" I've heard you can do to these bullet proof engines!
 
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Brodiesel710

Brodiesel710

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Would you mind helping me fix wife’s Cuisinart? Good on ya, mate, for helping out. I will start out by asking for an opinion

If I wanted the best somewhat economical diesel powered cargo van, but not a Sprinter or more modern one, whose would you prefer and why? Want to some day do a stealth-type van for travelling low key, likely a one-ton van. And I know the gas powered options would eat me alive in fuel costs. Thanks
Whats the application? IE how much cargo? The majority of my friends (5 total now) have purchased variants of ex-USPS/FedEx or Frito-Lay "Step-Vans". These are aluminum bodied box trucks that sometimes come powered with the Cummins 5.9L 12v or 24v engines. Fantastic fuel mileage, light weight, and great for converting to live in. And they look low key since they just look like a work truck.

But if your mind is set an an automotive style van, and you DONT want a Sprinter I'd suggest a Chevy with the 6.5L turbo diesel (NOT the 6.2!!!) or a Ford E350 with a 7.3 Powerstroke (NOT the 6.4L!!) Personally not a big fan of either vehicles (I prefer Cummins engines) but regardless they will get you down the road.
 
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Faceplant

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Whats the application? IE how much cargo? The majority of my friends (5 total now) have purchased variants of ex-USPS or Frito-Lay "Step-Vans". These are aluminum bodied box trucks essentially that sometimes come powered with the Cummins 5.9 12v or 24v engines. Fantastic gas mileage, light weight, and great for converting to live in. And they look low key since they just look like a work truck.

But if your mind is set an an automotive style van, and you DONT want a sprinter I'd suggest a Chevy with the 6.5L turbo diesel (NOT the 6.2!!!) or a Ford E350 with a 7.3 Powerstroke (NOT the 6.4L!!) Personally not a big fan of either vehicles (I prefer Cummins engines) but regardless they will get you down the road.
I’d convert it in the most basic, low-buck way, for stealth camping, so a plain-jane white cargo van is what I would want. I would definitely search for a one-ton, high-top van, preferably extended version.

Dodge would be the Cummins powered van, then? Don’t see too many of them, usually just Fords/Chevy’s. I may have to compromise, then.
 
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Brodiesel710

Brodiesel710

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I’d convert it in the most basic, low-buck way, for stealth camping, so a plain-jane white cargo van is what I would want. I would definitely search for a one-ton, high-top van, preferably extended version.

Dodge would be the Cummins powered van, then? Don’t see too many of them, usually just Fords/Chevy’s. I may have to compromise, then.
Dodge/Chrysler never made a Cummins powered van, unfortunately! Somewhat rare but I've seen the Ford E-350, high top 4x4!! It's like these adventure vehicles I've seen on the West coast, they look really expensive.
 

Faceplant

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Dodge/Chrysler never made a Cummins powered van, unfortunately! Somewhat rare but I've seen the Ford E-350, high top 4x4!! It's like these adventure vehicles I've seen on the West coast, they look really expensive.
Did not one of the big three use the Cummins for a bit? I think a 4x4 would be way out of my price range,though. In fact , I’d probably have to look for a “mechanic special” just to afford a diesel powered van, as they are rare to begin with, plus pretty highly sought-after. I can count on you, then, when I find one, to let me drop it by your place for a re-build? I’ll start searching now.
 
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Brodiesel710

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Did not one of the big three use the Cummins for a bit? I think a 4x4 would be way out of my price range,though. In fact , I’d probably have to look for a “mechanic special” just to afford a diesel powered van, as they are rare to begin with, plus pretty highly sought-after. I can count on you, then, when I find one, to let me drop it by your place for a re-build? I’ll start searching now.
Yes Chrysler made the Dodge Ram truck with the Cummins 5.9 starting in '89, then in 2009 RAM became it's own brand, still making tnrucks with Cummins engines though (6.7L now).

I can help you find one from a Sacramento auction, Craigslist, or elsewhere, but I probably wont want to work on it though.
 

Faceplant

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I am only bullshitting you, Mike, got other projects at the moment, anyway. So, to your knowledge, was that Cummins in any cargo van, or passenger van?
 

SaltyCrew

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I am only bullshitting you, Mike, got other projects at the moment, anyway. So, to your knowledge, was that Cummins in any cargo van, or passenger van?
A school bus is an alternative to your van plan. They are very much more available with diesel option, fairly cheap, way more head room. Can get one in a shorty flavor. Not as incognito as a van, true, but how often are you trying to park on a city residential street to sleep in it? Wal Mart doesn't care if you're parking a school bus there, or a truck stop.

To my knowledge, there were not alot of vans produced with a diesel option to begin with. Full time traveling in a van I can see wanting a diesel, but if you're only looking for an excursion rig to camp out of occasionally, a van with a Chevy 350ci small block will get the job done all day long. Can find older ones with a 305ci engine that will get little better milage if that's a huge factor to you. Newer (1997+) Chevy express vans can be had with the vortec engines that will get a little better milage than the precursor engine.

The sprinters w/ diesel are becoming more available for cheaper as they get older, and I've heard great things about them going 200-300K miles before needing any major repair. Not sure what your budget is, but getting double the milage in a diesel sprinter would be worth paying a little extra up front in my opinion, if I was set on a van I wanted to see good fuel milage out of, and have the head room. Just my .02 cent.
 
D

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Can you talk about how diesel engines were orriginally designed to run off of vegetable oil?
 
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Brodiesel710

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A school bus is an alternative to your van plan. They are very much more available with diesel option, fairly cheap, way more head room. Can get one in a shorty flavor. Not as incognito as a van, true, but how often are you trying to park on a city residential street to sleep in it? Wal Mart doesn't care if you're parking a school bus there, or a truck stop.

To my knowledge, there were not alot of vans produced with a diesel option to begin with. Full time traveling in a van I can see wanting a diesel, but if you're only looking for an excursion rig to camp out of occasionally, a van with a Chevy 350ci small block will get the job done all day long. Can find older ones with a 305ci engine that will get little better milage if that's a huge factor to you. Newer (1997+) Chevy express vans can be had with the vortec engines that will get a little better milage than the precursor engine.

The sprinters w/ diesel are becoming more available for cheaper as they get older, and I've heard great things about them going 200-300K miles before needing any major repair. Not sure what your budget is, but getting double the milage in a diesel sprinter would be worth paying a little extra up front in my opinion, if I was set on a van I wanted to see good fuel milage out of, and have the head room. Just my .02 cent.
Totally true, in the 80's the only diesel truck/van options were Chevy or Ford, and both offered diesel V-8's that had no real power and were non-turbo charged. Bad on fuel milage, and a maintenance nightmare. Thats why in '89 Chrysler partnered with Cummins for that 1st gen. turbo charged truck. Don't know why they didn't do a van, but that would be SO SICK!!!!!

And I totally forgot @SaltyCrew ! Buses! I know @Faceplant a little bit so I know a big vehicle isn't quite his style. My good friend has been living in a short bus in Oakland for over 5 years, has a Cummins 6BT, the chassis is branded Ford though for some reason. Tons of buses/RVs out there powered by the Cummins 5.9, and sometimes CHEAP!! I mean $2,000 cheap.

I agree with Sprinter advice as well, I just have NEVER worked one, well, except I did find a rattle noise on one once, the compartment under the passenger side seat had the emergency jack kit and it came loose and was rattling around, yeah I guess I'm basically a Sprinter pro now!
 
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Brodiesel710

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Can you talk about how diesel engines were orriginally designed to run off of vegetable oil?
Yes but I don't want to. Ok but I will anyways, they were initially designed by Rudolph Diesel to be run off peanut oil, is peanut a vegetable? I guess so!?? At that time "the good ol' days" diesel engines were not really that popular and most industries were still favoring steam or industrial gas engines, by the time the advantages of diesel were realized, gas/diesel/petroleum/ancient decomposed plant matter was EXTREMELY cheap, readily available and every one thought it would last forever. And they were right because forever is here now and we can still get it. CHACHING!

But in regards to your awesome question, more specifically, since most modern diesel engines now are ENGINEERED to run off ULSD #2, running them off vegetable oil is a horrible idea and will definitely result in an untimely failure of your vehicle and thousands of extra $$$ in unforeseen parts costs and repair. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS.
 

SaltyCrew

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@Brodiesel710 , are you familiar at all with the M35 6x6 "deuce and a half" military trucks? I've been told the multi-fuel engines can basically be ran on any and all petroleum based liquid. I was told it's the consistency of the oil/fuel that's most important to get it to run good. Like, how awesome would it be to drive one around the country, burning used oil you get for free from say, mechanic shops, auto parts stores, etc. It costs them money to have the used oil hauled away, they would probably be happy for someone to take 20 gallons off their hands. And so the adventure continues...
 
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Brodiesel710

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@Brodiesel710 , are you familiar at all with the M35 6x6 "deuce and a half" military trucks? I've been told the multi-fuel engines can basically be ran on any and all petroleum based liquid. I was told it's the consistency of the oil/fuel that's most important to get it to run good. Like, how awesome would it be to drive one around the country, burning used oil you get for free from say, mechanic shops, auto parts stores, etc. It costs them money to have the used oil hauled away, they would probably be happy for someone to take 20 gallons off their hands. And so the adventure continues...
I'm familiar with them but have never worked on them. Hercules motor right? I know you can sometimes get em for super cheap since they are basically Army surplus. An old friend of mine in North Carolina had one for a while that he used to collect vegetable oil with, then he had this custom shop were he processed the veggie and made biodiesel out of it. It was all "over my head" at the time, but very cool. He said he'd drive it around town and people would salute him regularly. All my diesel knowledge is surrounded around mostly practical use, like tools, I haven't done too much "crazy shit."

I still have yet to meet a single person who has actually ran their diesel off of used motor oil though. In 2007/8 I had a WVO Dodge set up, I once poured the contents of an oil filled heater into the tank, guess that oil has similar properties to diesel, ran fine on it.
 

SaltyCrew

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I'm familiar with them but have never worked on them. Hercules motor right? I know you can sometimes get em for super cheap since they are basically Army surplus. An old friend of mine in North Carolina had one for a while that he used to collect vegetable oil with, then he had this custom shop were he processed the veggie and made biodiesel out of it. It was all "over my head" at the time, but very cool. He said he'd drive it around town and people would salute him regularly. All my diesel knowledge is surrounded around mostly practical use, like tools, I haven't done too much "crazy shit."

I still have yet to meet a single person who has actually ran their diesel off of used motor oil though. In 2007/8 I had a WVO Dodge set up, I once poured the contents of an oil filled heater into the tank, guess that oil has similar properties to diesel, ran fine on it.
Interesting...I've been in the market to buy one of those trucks for about 5 years now, but never pulled the trigger. There were a few different companies that built the virtually same LDT 465 multi fuel engine. From my understanding, the one to get is the "Whistler" turbo variant. The guy I talked to said you want to mix the oil to the consistency of trans fluid, and it will burn it. So if you run straight gasoline in a pinch, youd want to try and mix some oil into it as well to do the lubricating. I'm going to do some more research on it...
 
D

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Yes but I don't want to. Ok but I will anyways, they were initially designed by Rudolph Diesel to be run off peanut oil, is peanut a vegetable? I guess so!?? At that time "the good ol' days" diesel engines were not really that popular and most industries were still favoring steam or industrial gas engines, by the time the advantages of diesel were realized, gas/diesel/petroleum/ancient decomposed plant matter was EXTREMELY cheap, readily available and every one thought it would last forever. And they were right because forever is here now and we can still get it. CHACHING!

But in regards to your awesome question, more specifically, since most modern diesel engines now are ENGINEERED to run off ULSD #2, running them off vegetable oil is a horrible idea and will definitely result in an untimely failure of your vehicle and thousands of extra $$$ in unforeseen parts costs and repair. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS.
How do you know this? Lol. There, I asked!
 
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I have a 1982 international bus that hasn't been started since 2017 and the diesel in it is from 2015. Do I really need to drain the tank before starting it again?
 

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