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  #1  
Old 04-28-2008, 05:59 PM
rotarycarnut rotarycarnut is offline
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Default Early GM 5.7 Diesel

I have tried to e-mail Chris to get some answers, prior to placing an order for a kit, but I am still a bit unclear on the answers he delivered.
They are in reference to an early GM Diesel, and since I am sure he is BUSY, and that my follow up mail is simply in the backlog of mail I am convinced that he is dealing with on a regular basis, I thought that I would try to make both his and my life easier and see if I could not get my answers here on the forum.
The car that I would like to convert is a 1983 Buick Park Avenue with the 5.7 diesel. The car has the mechanical pump on the front of the engine, bypassed/eliminated and an electric pump was installed at the rear of the car, near the tank. Since I did not do this, and I am not sure why it was done, I am not sure how it is plumbed.
My first question that I am still a little unclear about, is that since there is not a kit for this vehicle offered on the site, I had inquired as to what I needed to order to make the conversion. Chris did answer that question, and if I understood him correctly, he said that I could order ANY kit that was offered, that had a tank that would fit in the trunk of my car, since the kits only varied on installation. Now, does that mean that there is no difference in the kits for the Mercedes with a 15 Gal. round tank, and a VW with a 15 Gal round tank? That being asked, is it safe to assume that I could order either kit, and use them to make the conversion on my old Buick? Or, would there be a better suited kit offered, to make the installation easier to accomplish?
Since the lift pump that feeds the IP is now at the rear of the car, I assume that it would be easiest/best to install a new and separate pump to service the WVO tank. Given that scenario, what additional switches/relays/valves/etc.. would be needed? Or, will plumbing that be a nightmare, and there is a better/simpler solution?
Last but not least ,has anyone here had ANY experience doing a conversion on one of the early GM diesels?
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:29 PM
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DieselBurps DieselBurps is offline
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Look to the 6.2L crowd for information - your 5.7L IP is basically the same as the one they use. There don't seem to be many of those 5.7's around anymore - I haven't seen one advertised in a long time.
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:09 AM
rotarycarnut rotarycarnut is offline
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Thanks! I have looked at the 6.2 postings! Not found the info that I am looking for yet. Still hope that I will get some info to help me get this project started.
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:54 AM
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DieselBurps DieselBurps is offline
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As to your fuel pump situation, I've always liked having the fully redundant system. It came in handy last weekend for me when my stock lift pump died - I was able to drive home still. It was cheaper than a tow truck!

Putting the fuel pump near the tank makes it much easier to prime the filter and it makes air leaks much less of a problem.
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:23 AM
JeffNLisa JeffNLisa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
The car that I would like to convert is a 1983 Buick Park Avenue with the 5.7 diesel. The car has the mechanical pump on the front of the engine, bypassed/eliminated and an electric pump was installed at the rear of the car, near the tank. Since I did not do this, and I am not sure why it was done, I am not sure how it is plumbed.
Generally people will replace the mechanical pump because it is made with a rubber membrane that pumps the fuel, and when it wears out and breaks, it will spill fuel into the crankcase and strand the car. It was a very common pump in use on a lot of engines in the 70s and early-mid 80s. My brother and I began servicing cars in the late 70s with an older cousin, and he was full-time and I pert-time by the early 80s. Since then, in all that time, we have only ever seen one failure in hundreds and hundreds of cars we have serviced. But it does happen, and apparently a lot more than we have seen. So a lot of people will put a block-off plate where the pump came out, and go to an electric lift pump by the tank. All that needs doing for the plumbing is to splice the line that went into the stock pump up to the line that came out of the stock pump (or replace with a new piece of fuel line).



Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
My first question that I am still a little unclear about, is that since there is not a kit for this vehicle offered on the site, I had inquired as to what I needed to order to make the conversion. Chris did answer that question, and if I understood him correctly, he said that I could order ANY kit that was offered, that had a tank that would fit in the trunk of my car, since the kits only varied on installation. Now, does that mean that there is no difference in the kits for the Mercedes with a 15 Gal. round tank, and a VW with a 15 Gal round tank?
We worked on a Cadillac with that engine, and it had a dealer-installed aluminum aux tank in the truck already. We did not do the original conversion, but someone else had already added a crude heated fuel pickup to it. What I do recall is that in that Cadillac, that tank was 38 inches across, which is the same size as the Frybrid Mercedes tank for 123 and 126 chassis. Measure the trunk space you have, and see if the tank size listed in the products page will fit there. If you don't have room for 38 inches, I think the tank for the 124 chassis is 34 inches. Check the dimensions on the products page. If either of those tanks will fit your space, that is what I think would be best IMO. That car should get about 25mpg or better, and the Frybrid MBZ tanks hold something like 21 gallons. That will give you some 500 miles range on a single fill-up.

The spare-tire tanks are smaller. I think 15 gallons is optimistic but even if it really does hold 15 gallons, it will seem like you have to fill it all the time. Some people like it, I hated it.

The standard Frybrid kit for MBZ and the standard kit for VW are the same. For later TDI VWs you need to add a pump, but that doesn't come in the kit anyway.





Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
That being asked, is it safe to assume that I could order either kit, and use them to make the conversion on my old Buick?
Yes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
Or, would there be a better suited kit offered, to make the installation easier to accomplish?
No, it's a pretty straighforward conversion, and other than the pump considerations and tank considerations, there's nothing else special about it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
Since the lift pump that feeds the IP is now at the rear of the car, I assume that it would be easiest/best to install a new and separate pump to service the WVO tank. Given that scenario, what additional switches/relays/valves/etc.. would be needed?
There are several ways you can go.

Yes, if you have an electric pump for the diesel, you will also need one for the VO, if you run the VO with a regular return to tank. If you run the VO with a return to loop, you will need to locate the pump somewhere in the fuel loop, but out of the path of the diesel. This is very easy to do, don't let the words throw you.

You might opt for a new lift pump that handles both fuels, in which case you will eliminate the one by the diesel tank and put a more stout and robust pump near the engine.

Or you might eliminate the electric pump and go back to the mechanical pump, and in that case of course you would have brand-new one. I do always tell people that are going to use that mechanical pump for VO to always replace it with a brand new one before running VO, unless they know they replaced already within the last six months or so. VO will soften some rubbers, and can aggravate the problem of that membrane failing.

I prefer the mechanical pump myself, and since they cost $35 it's not tough to replace them every year or two. Just my opinion, but there are answers to your choices.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
Or, will plumbing that be a nightmare, and there is a better/simpler solution?
Plumbing is very straightforward on this engine. The options I mentioned are about it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rotarycarnut View Post
Last but not least ,has anyone here had ANY experience doing a conversion on one of the early GM diesels?
I have not converted one from scratch, but we worked on the Cadillac I said and we also worked on a Buick that someone had single-tanked. We advised them to let us put in a two-tank system, but they didn't want to think that far ahead, and we have not heard from them again if their car is still going.

Hopefully helpful--

Jeff
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98 Jetta TDI, Frybrid, Installation thread here. 50,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08
91 F-250, 7.3, 5-Spd, Cheap redneck homebrewed conversion. 19,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08
87 MBZ 300SDL, PlantDrive single-tank system. Lisa's new car, 12,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08, over 10,000 miles on one filter.

Installing VO conversion kits (all makes) in Southern California, e-mail me
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2008, 11:49 AM
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Pir8Darryl Pir8Darryl is offline
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IMHO, the 350 Olds diesel is not a bad engine at all.
It's actually heavier and beefier than the 6.2/6.5. Uses the same db2 IP as the 6.2, and even the 7.3 Ford IDI, and parts are cheap... Tho they are becomming more difficult to find.

Oldsmobile racers seek out the diesel block because it's super heavy duty and has a fantastic oiling system. They install 455 cranks and overbore them up to 425 cid. Theoretically, I suppose it's possible to push a diesel version up to 425 cid, but it would require custom pistons [about $700], and you could also crank up the IP...... Probably not practical, but an interesting thought... Of course if your going to go that far, you could turbo charge it too.
Yea, yea, I know, I'm talking too much
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:58 AM
JeffNLisa JeffNLisa is offline
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It's actually quite a nice engine to drive. The problems with it will come if you get water in your fuel. Contrary to popular belief it is not the same block as the gasser 350, it was a specially developed diesel block made very very strong. That is why the racers will seek them out. As long as you avoid water in the fuel, it will not give any more problems than any other diesel, and will run many hundreds of thousands of miles.

It is smooth and surprisingly powerful, and gets astonishing gas mileage for a V-8. I had friend who had one for many years, and he got 28mpg out of his.

Jeff
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98 Jetta TDI, Frybrid, Installation thread here. 50,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08
91 F-250, 7.3, 5-Spd, Cheap redneck homebrewed conversion. 19,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08
87 MBZ 300SDL, PlantDrive single-tank system. Lisa's new car, 12,000 miles on VO as of 1/1/08, over 10,000 miles on one filter.

Installing VO conversion kits (all makes) in Southern California, e-mail me
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2008, 09:39 AM
rotarycarnut rotarycarnut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pir8Darryl View Post
IMHO, the 350 Olds diesel is not a bad engine at all.
It's actually heavier and beefier than the 6.2/6.5. Uses the same db2 IP as the 6.2, and even the 7.3 Ford IDI, and parts are cheap... Tho they are becomming more difficult to find.

Oldsmobile racers seek out the diesel block because it's super heavy duty and has a fantastic oiling system. They install 455 cranks and overbore them up to 425 cid. Theoretically, I suppose it's possible to push a diesel version up to 425 cid, but it would require custom pistons [about $700], and you could also crank up the IP...... Probably not practical, but an interesting thought... Of course if your going to go that far, you could turbo charge it too.
Yea, yea, I know, I'm talking too much
Just wanted to say THANKS, and that I enjoyed your reply here. I am truly looking forward to getting my kit installed. Maybe getting it up and running on cheap/virually free fuel, will get my wife to be less of a kill joy where this project is concerned. LOL
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