350 Oldsmobile Diesel Caddy

Jacob Minkel

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2001 GMC Sierra Pickup, 1981 Cadillac Deville
Hi, I'm new here and not sure how well this topic has been covered but I wanted to talk about it.

I have a '81 Deville with the 350 Olds diesel in it that my grandparents bought new. This is the second motor in the car because the first one committed automotive suicide when the oil cooler leaked out. The engine was replace by GM under warranty and was a reliable car for many years.

I am try to get the car fixed up both mechanically and cosmetically as it has been a northern car all it's life. I was wondering if anyone has any information as how to improve these engines other than converting the car to gas. I know that usually the gaskets blow out and the timing chains stretch out, resulting in worse performance. I thought I heard once that there were improved head bolts but I don't remember where I heard that.

One final thought. I believe these engines get a bad rap. Although they had their design flaws and could have been vastly improve, the engines did do what they were designed to do. They weren't supposed to make outrageous horsepower or torque, they were designed to bring up GM's fuel economy to the federal requirements. Another classic case of sacrificing power for economy.

Thanks for any helpful feedback or information
 

73eldoconvert

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Didn't notice this down here before.......

My theory on these was like Johnny Cash said as long as you got one built on a Wednesday you were fine. The survivors are all Wednesday cars. The Mon-Tue-Thurs-Fri cars are long gone.

If the engine was replaced its already got the most significant updates. Other than keeping leaks under control I don't think I would do anything preemptively. If its got serious issues sure then you can do ARP studs and a few other things but if its happy now I don't think I would risk upsetting what must be a perfect balance of parts. Recently a lot of the parts have become hard to find. I don't think anyone has made parts for these since the 80's but there was so many on the shelf it was enough to keep the few survivors running all this time but the supply had finally run out.

I have been semi daily driving one of these for I think 7 years now and have had very few unique issues, most problems are just that they are 30+ year old cars.
 

Jacob Minkel

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What vehicle(s) do you drive?
2001 GMC Sierra Pickup, 1981 Cadillac Deville
Thanks for the good suggestion. I will keep it in mind and usually follow the "if it ain't broke, don't fix" motto. Slight side question, does anyone know the correct width of the white wall on the white wall tires these cars take? I know the right tire size but not the white wall width. I hope to have it derivable by summer and I need good rubber for that.
 
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