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Old 01-05-2001, 11:09 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 310
I figured you diesel guys would know.

I have a 79 Ford big van and would like to put in some diesel power. Are there any smart swaps known other than the Ford? I dont suppose a MB TD would suffice.?? I need the torque and economy. Regards, pardon the digression Steve
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Old 01-06-2001, 08:13 AM
Palangi's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Republique de Banana
Posts: 3,496
I imagine that if someone was determined enough it could probably be done, but the cost would certainly exceed the value of the vehicle. Around here I have seen pretty good looking Ford cargo vans with Power Stroke on tote-the-note lots for $4000. I have seen Ford diesel passenger vans advertised also but have not paid attention to the price.

2004 C240 Wagon 203.261 Baby Benz
2008 ML320 CDI Highway Cruiser
2006 Toyota Prius, Saving the Planet @ 48 mpg
2000 F-150, Destroying the Planet @ 20 mpg

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Old 01-06-2001, 09:42 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 52
If torque & economy are what you need (I assume you're planning on towing), the Ford/Navistar engine is the only option I can think of. Unless this is a van that you love so much that you could never abandon it, you would be better off taking Palangi's advice & purchase a used Ford diesel van with a variant of the 7.3L engine (non-turbo, turbo, powerstroke) than doing a conversion.
Just two thoughts (not necessarily facts):
1. TRANSMISSION: If you did this conversion, you would also have to replace the tranny. The auto tranny that Ford has used with their diesels wasn't a good match for the torque of the Navistar, so adapting anything lesser would be unadvisable. That brings me to my second thought.
2. WEIGHT: The Navistar is a big powerplant (it's used in school buses, beer trucks etc.) & adding the compatible tranny would probably also necessitate beefing-up the front-end components.

BTW, if this is a vehicle you love so much that you are determined to proceed with this project, I TOTALLY understand. At times, most of us gearheads ignore practical logic for the love of a vehicle. GOOD LUCK
1980 Mercedes 240D
1982 Mercedes 300SD
1985 Mercedes 300D
1993 Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel
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Old 01-06-2001, 07:21 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 310
Nope, definately not a vehicle I can't do without. Thanks for the feedback. Ther's always that hope that one could wave a magic wand and get what you want. I've got a 351 I can drop in and just burn the gas & save the strain. Cheers.

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