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Old 01-05-2009, 08:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fuel efficient (small!) diesel engine for Pickup truck

Hey Folks,

I am toying with the idea of replacing my Chevy S10 2.2l gas engine with a small diesel engine.

Yes there actually was a diesel S10, once upon a time. They are nearly impossible to find now though.

I believe that the engine in the diesel version of the S10 was an Isuzu 2.2l 4-cylinder. These were also used on things like Bobcat skid-steers.

I saw a Bobcat engine listed on Craigslist, and I asked the seller for more information on it.

Also, there are still a lot of older, NON-turbo, direct inject VW engines around. These were 1.6l 4-cylinders - mostly used on the front-wheel driven Rabbit.

Would one of these work in my pickup truck? Any idea what I would need for a transmission to connect it to? What kind of performance might I get? Mostly I am looking for fuel economy and the ability to run on bio-fuel. I would like to do some basic towing and hauling with the truck, but most of the time, it's just a one person vehicle.

Any thoughts on what might work for a basic, fuel-efficient diesel pickup truck setup?

Thanks,

-Ben

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Old 01-05-2009, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The rabbit P'up engines are turds, they were never designed to do anything more than haul groceries and pets around LOL.

Just about any small diesel engine will have plenty of torque to get you where you need to go, including some small equipment engines, like Bobcat and Hyster (Hyster mostly used Mitsubishi 2.0/2.4 gas engines).

Depending on what you want to haul, you may be able to find an older 40 HP 3 cylinder Suzuki snowmobile engine, which usually produces lots of torque down low to keep the sled from bogging down, and are a popular swap for trikes, even though they're gas, and not what you're asking about.

Almost any engine that is small enough to fit in your engine compartment will work though, and bolting it to the tranny is a matter of making an adapter plate - which you're already familiar with.

I'll put my nose out there and see what I can come up with as far as possibilities for you to look into though.

I do wonder what type of problems you'll run into w/ the S-10 being OBD compliant though... You (obviously) won't be able to run the stock ECU and sensors, and may have a problem with emissions crap trying to make everything work if you don't have an emissions based engine (would technically have to be at least the same OBD rating as the chassis, preferably newer.)
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd recommend a 5-cylinder Benz diesel.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The 5 cylinder Benz engine is surprisingly powerful and efficient! I worked on a Dodge Sprinter van fully loaded with this engine and I was completely blown away on how well the engine performed.

Another note. The S10 has always been known for V-8 swaps usually the 5.0L or 5.7L Chevy engine was the popular choices. Well, back in the day, GM had a 5.7L diesel engine available in it's large cars, but they were notorious for head problems. Basically, the 5.7L gas engine converted to diesel could not handle the compression, but if you read up on these, I think there are builds out there that have become very reliable.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This is a Daihatsu engine rated for about 26 HP max, but I didn't find a dyno sheet for it:

432447-522447 drawings - Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton small engine sales by Tulsa Engine Warehouse

Seems like it'd be a pretty good replacement for a gas engine from a Metro, being 3 cylinders and ~1.0L (950cc).

The first link is the dimensions and the second link is the order info and a rep pic of it.

I'd bet with boost and some tuning, that thing could make a few more than 26 HP, and be able to haul a decent amount of crap in your truck while getting great efficiency!
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
The rabbit P'up engines are turds, they were never designed to do anything more than haul groceries and pets around LOL.
Or a Vanagon/Doka.

Most of the problems seen on VW diesels had to do w/ poor maintenance. Not changing the timing belt and having pistons meet valves, over-tightening the t-belt when changing it and shredding the intermediate shaft bearing, not rebuilding the injectors, not adjusting internal pump pressure when diesel makeup changes, etc...
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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1.9tdi FTW!

If you want a 1.6 non turbo diesel VW in a truck just buy one; they are cheap. Very slow, but cheap and efficient. Edit: http://www.mpgomatic.com/45_MPG_Pickup_Truck.html

I've got a few friends who have owned them in the past if you have any questions.

There is a thread on TDI club about putting a 1.9 in a toyota Pickup; looks like a nice swap. Edit: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=176999

Edit: I'd recommend that you stick with an automotive diesel, most of the industrial / equipment units run fixed injection timing which is less than ideal for street use.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've heard that people really like the 5 cylinder Mercedes engines.

I have actually seen a few older Mercedes for sale lately, but I really don't want to drive one of those. A Benz engine in my truck though - hmmmmm.

I can get a 1.6l VW non-turbo for $500. I was talking to a guy earlier tonight on the phone. He said those engines were great, if there were ever problems, it was from people not maintaining them. I have also heard that they are real easy to work on and have lots of potential for modification.

I also mentioned using an engine from a Bobcat to that guy, and he said that technically, it might not be legal to do. Since I have already been talking with all the people over at emissions testing, I did find out that diesel swaps are practically a loop-hole in the state of Wisconsin. If you put a diesel engine in a gas car, you don't have to get tested for emissions at all. Yet an electric car still does....

PS: My truck is a 1995 - OBD1
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
I've heard that people really like the 5 cylinder Mercedes engines.

I have actually seen a few older Mercedes for sale lately, but I really don't want to drive one of those. A Benz engine in my truck though - hmmmmm.

I can get a 1.6l VW non-turbo for $500. I was talking to a guy earlier tonight on the phone. He said those engines were great, if there were ever problems, it was from people not maintaining them. I have also heard that they are real easy to work on and have lots of potential for modification.

I also mentioned using an engine from a Bobcat to that guy, and he said that technically, it might not be legal to do. Since I have already been talking with all the people over at emissions testing, I did find out that diesel swaps are practically a loop-hole in the state of Wisconsin. If you put a diesel engine in a gas car, you don't have to get tested for emissions at all. Yet an electric car still does....
The problem there is that in Wisconsin, it might be fine - but according to the EPA and NHTSA, it't illegal to bypass the OBD-2 system in favor of ANY swap that still uses emissions controlled fuel.

I wouldn't worry too much about it, for obvious reasons, but just a heads up, just b/c the state doesn't say anything doesn't mean the fed won't.

PS - those VW engines aren't bad, they're just weak and slow LOL. They're great and reliable, yes, but if planned on hitting 50MPH with anything in the bed, you better have a long straight stretch LOL.

Ok, maybe that's exaggeration - but you get the point.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The only Fault I know of with the 1.6 idi which is not maintenance related is the headgasket, which fails for no reason.

I have to recommend that you drive something with a 1.6 idi before doing the swap; honestly the slowest vehicle I've ever ridden in; just not sure how much power you *need*.

The I5 Benz is short on power also, but not nearly as much so as the VeeDub. But I'd drive it no problem.

Sprinter is great; I've been after my dad to buy one since 04.

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