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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've got an '82 El Camino with a busted '305 in my yard... I've been tossing back and forth what to do with it exactly... but I'd really like to put a diesel into it.

My question is: What would be necessary to drop the factory-optioned 5.7L into my Elk? (asuming it had its accessories: exhaust manifolds, alternator, etc)

My transmission does have the dual bolt-pattern, so the olds engine should bolt right to that. I found a place I can get the diesels motor mounts, asuming the mounts attatch to the same place on the frame as the small block. I should be able to re-use my fuel tank and lines, as long as I clean them properly, right?

What about the front suspension? I know the engine weighs an extra hundred pounds or so. Is it just a matter of putting in the heavier coil springs? Or would ball joints and such be necessary as well?

I know the 5.7L has a bad rep, but I know the '81+ ones were much more reliable than the early, disastrous version. And with a few simple modifications, the engine can be made very reliable.

I also understand the lack of power produced by the engines... at 125hp, and 225ft/lbs, it's not going to set any records. I've got my '66 Toronado if I wanna go fast :p

I've done alot of research on what can be done with the engines if you sit and tinker with them... and you can actually build them up pretty well, and even throw a turbo on it if you build it right. All kinds of info on how to build them up here: http://a350diesel.tripod.com/v8-1.html

I found an engine on Craigslist, and I'm going to go take a look at it. I know to check the cyl heads for cracking between the intake and exhaust. But I'm trying to figure out how much I need to buy besides the engine to see if it is worth the trouble. Otherwise I'm going to be waiting untill I buy my parts car for my Toro, and use the spare 425 :p

I know there are alot of strong arguments on the logic of this idea (and some good ones too, admittedly). But I really just want to know what would be necessary, so I can make my own judgement on the matter.

Thanks.
 

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Sounds cool! But its got worse stats than the 305!

305 5.0L- 180 HP, 240 ft lbs. Torque
350 diesel 5.7L- 140 Hp, 185 ft lbs. Torque

In my opinion i would get a real 350 instead of a diesel. Or get an upgraded diesel like the old C-10's had 6.2 diesels but they only got 125 HP, 215 ft lbs. Torque.

What ever you want? Power, or a diesel?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds cool! But its got worse stats than the 305!

305 5.0L- 180 HP, 240 ft lbs. Torque
350 diesel 5.7L- 140 Hp, 185 ft lbs. Torque

In my opinion i would get a real 350 instead of a diesel. Or get an upgraded diesel like the old C-10's had 6.2 diesels but they only got 125 HP, 215 ft lbs. Torque.

What ever you want? Power, or a diesel?
I would /love/ to stick a 6.2 in there :p I've seen it done before, but there's too much modification required I think for me to be able to bother. Not to mention, with that much weight in the front, I think the rear tires would lift right off the ground :p

But, again, technical answers please :)
 

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My 83 was originally a factory diesel. The only good thing that came out of it was the hydroboost.I was in high school when these early diesels were out & every single one I knew of didn't last ,replacement factory diesel 's didn't last, most got converted to gas olds 350 engines. I haven't in modern times saw or heard of a running olds 5.7 diesel.
I can understand someone wanting a diesel. Have friends with duramax diesels,with bolt ons (& plug ins) making like 800 ft lbs at the wheels. I myself am now driving a sprinter van 5 cyl turbo diesel company truck with over 250,000 miles on it. The new turbo diesels are cool, but they are absolutely huge & complex.
As far as not talking you out of an older olds diesel goes, you will need the hydroboost setup,front springs, they are still available. Rest of suspension same. factory had wiring to match & a small computer up inside the top of the dash, Threw mine away a few years ago. Frame should have needed mount holes. Diesel had 2.29 gearset. May need larger fuel filler, still using mine. I would imagine a newer fuel filter setup could be adapted, this was part of their troubles that I remember.
If you know something we don,t (& of course never checked into) on making the old engine better, Then I,m not the one to tell you no. By the way, I do remember them sounding decent with dual exhaust.
 

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Sounds like a plan,, you seem to have the pro`s & con`s of the motor,, I was grinding crankshafts when those beast of burden showed up,, Cast crank,, thick mains and small rod journals if I remeber right,, if you had a good one it would run forever,, can it run veggie oil?? Go to NAPA and look at the spring rate in their book for the diesel front springs,, when ya do it post pics!! Matty man
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you know something we don,t (& of course never checked into) on making the old engine better, Then I,m not the one to tell you no. By the way, I do remember them sounding decent with dual exhaust.
Ah, yeah, I suppose there would not be enough vacuum fromt he little pump for the vacuum brake booster... Bet those hydroboost units are fairly scarce.... I know I went looking for a different one awhile ago in a salvage yard and couldn't find a single one....

As for making them better... from my research, the 81+ have virtually bullet-proof bottoms. They use the strongest crankshaft from a 455 that was available at the time. The pre 81's had really bad main bolt holes, and would eat crankshafts like candy. This is the primary difference between the D blocks, and the DX blocks. There were numerous other changes, such as different injectors, oil pumps and such of course.

The main problem with the 5.7L's is their cyl heads. Which do not have enough bolt-holes to hold them down properly, with the factory spec bolts. The bolts stretch under 22:1 ratio. Modern stud systems can eliminate stretching. This, combined with a water seperator, makes the engines as reliable as you would expect from any other diesel... as long as you keep up with its maintenence, and add lubricant to the fuel. Another common problem was a weak oil-pump drive shaft... you can get modern super-strong ones for about $20.

I've read that with some modifications, similar to what you'd do with any gasoline engine, you can more than double the output of the stock engine. At 250HP, and 400ft/lbs, we're getting into respectable numbers. This is something I would do in the future though, not something for right now. Porting and polishing intakes, using exhaust headers, custom fuel system, high volume oil-pump, and, of course, adding a turbo (which is actually possible if you replace the head bolts with studs) There was an aftermarket turbo built just for the 5.7L, but it only had about 3psi boost. With these mods, you can bolt a bigger one on.

At least, according to here: http://a350diesel.tripod.com/perfupg.html

The custom fuel system can add up to 90% above stock, a turbo another 30%, and similar other hefty boosts from exhaust, and porting.
 

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Hydroboost units were commonly used on1 ton dually trucks & panel trucks.The only real difference on the ps pump, as far as I know, is 2 return lines. I have a tee on my ls1 pump & it works fine.
Now that I think about it, 2 relatives dieseltrucks were approx 1980 years. they also many times ran this crude mixture referred to as drip from local southwest La refineries. The more I think about it, the more I see how these engines could be made better with some good knowledge & effort, Just like the 305's :poke:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just looked up the hydroboost parts on rockauto.com.... they're much more reasonable than I feared! The booster itself only running about $120. Heck, I might do that swap regardless of weather I actually put the diesel in :p The front springs only run about $60 for the pair, so that's peanuts in extra costs. The torque converter is proving somewhat more illusive however.. But I know they are out there.
 

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call tcs in chino ca they can build you any converter you want,even a deisel one.very reasonable and nice people.the duel return pump is still available and if you cant find one you just braze another return nipple on the pump you have. get a hardened stator support for your trans.the deisels chewed them up.you can get some really good mpg with the deisels and if done right are nothing to turn your back on. double dino mat your firewall as the deisels had a really thick firewall mat on the outside to keep the noise out of the cab. the deisel 350 had a really short rpm range that is why it had 229 gearing.you will need a really good big radiator and a oil cooler as well as a big trans cooler
 

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I have an entire hydroboost setup off a diesel Elco that I might be willing to sell, I was going to install it on my car but plans have somewhat changed. Let me know what you think
 

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diesel elky

I have one also(less engine) Had the stock hydroboost when i put in a mini blown 383. The brakes were fantastic until it leaked! I bought a replacement from rock auto, 2 weeks it started leaking! I now have vac booster and works good. Also if you use the hydroboost the brake pedal is for HB only. You have to change brake pedal for vac booster. Sounds like a good project.
 

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I was working in a fuel injection (diesel) shop when they were getting a lot of bad press for stalling with little or no warning.

The problem was a rubber "flex" ring in the fuel injection pump that held the governor weights.....over time the rubber came apart and stopped up the fuel return check valve.
The check valve had a bb sized glass ball in a brass fitting that you could "punch" out in about a minute and drive the vehicle home.
Bought a Fleetwood Caddy that way for $500.00 (non running) and the owner "fed up"...
He was really mad when I drove it home.....it still needed a repair kit for the pump, but Stanadyne had redesigned the flex ring by then. They eventually sorted out all the bugs in the fuel system.

I think that would be a cool project, and I still have friends in the fuel shop if I can refer you.

Good luck !

Hasbeen
 

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boneyards should have plenty of Astro vans with hydro-boost units
 
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