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Diesel vs. Big Block (updated)

Discussion in '1936-Present Suburban' started by nevercomplete, Oct 13, 2002.

  1. nevercomplete

    nevercomplete 1/2 ton status

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    I'm trying to formulate a plan for my Sub. The 350 I have now has nowhere near the power I want. I was looking into either a TBI 454 or possibly a diesel conversion. It will be a while before I begin this project but I want to start getting my plan together. I know the diesel would be a more difficult swap. I would like everyone's opinion. The pro's and con's of each choice. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

    Ok, it seems like the deisel is winning out. Now my question is what kinda deisel should I consider. I'm sure a 6.5 would be the easiest swap, but what are my other options?
     
  2. Ddragggon

    Ddragggon 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    454 carries a certain prestiege with it, not generaly found in the diesel. it also produces mad horsepower, and can be made to do a crapload of torque without much effort. its also easier to start it when its cold out, and fuel prices generaly are cheaper then diesel. parts for your bigblock are plentiful, and relatively inexpensive.

    the Diesel will get better gas mileage, which usually offsets the cost of fuel. never flood the carbureator*, regardless of what retarded angle you drive it at, and produce tons of off idle torque.


    *(because it has none)

    the other advantage to a big block is that everyone knows how a gasoline engine works, whereas many people are in the same boat as me: Diesels run on Voodoo power. I mean conceptually I know that a diesel runs on its own compression, but other then that, I think its fueled with the souls of dead yaks, which are agitated by the glowplugs, causing them to fly into an exposive rage, which ignites the diesel fuel, or something like that.
     
  3. nevercomplete

    nevercomplete 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Hilarious post. I'm also very unknowledgable about diesels...along with most other things in life. I do know much more about gas engines than diesel. High horsepower is not what I am looking for. I want torgue. Thats why I am considering the diesel in the first place. Yes the 454 has a great reputation as having gobs of torgue and power, but it also has a reputation for using lots of fuel. I am however leaning towards the big block. Thanks for the help.
     
  4. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Me personally, since I don't know a damn thing about diesels, I would go with a big block.
     
  5. pilgrim

    pilgrim 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    My vote is for the diesel.

    1. As said before you can run it at some crazy angles, provided that you keep the oil pickup in the oil.

    2. Because diesels use the heat generated by the compressing of the air to ignite the fuel. They have no electric ignition system. So this is one less thing to worry about if you plan on building your rig to go diving in a river.

    3. Due to there higher compression ratios (18-22:1)needed to heat the air high enough in temperture so as to ignite the fuel. Causes them to have an e-fish-shen-see (i'am so sorry that i can't spell well, and that i'am to stinking lazy to get a dictionary out) rateing 30% higher than gas engines. Thats why diesels get better mileage.

    4. Because of the high compression ratios , they are built very strong.

    5. As i mentioned in an earlier post you can make you own fuel www.yellowbiodiesel.com . This guy does it for like 50 cents a gallon. Of course there are basic start up costs but dudes, to be able to make you own fuel is just very cool.

    6. They sound cool.
     
  6. muddysub

    muddysub 1 ton suburban status Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    i'd go with diesel personally.
     
  7. nevercomplete

    nevercomplete 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Diesel would be awesome, but I wouldn't know where to start on a conversion. Then there is the fact of choosing the type of diesel to run. If I'm not mistaken diesel's are a lot more expensive too...right?
     
  8. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Go diesel.

    I knew nothing about diesels until I bought one - much like I knew nothing of driving stick until I bought a truck that was. I was impressed both times.

    My diesel Burb is making me want to convert my 350-powered crewcab. I had a big-block ready for it, but mileage became the determining factor. Who was I kidding? I was not going to see any better economy on a 6000+ lb truck. After all, my father gets 200km to the tank (20 gal.) on his stock '79 454 crewcab - and that's with 3.21's - not 4.10's like I have.

    My Burb is seeing 15mpg (vs. 8-10mpg on my crewcab). Not hard to decide which to drive, is it?

    For a diesel conversion, start with a diesel parts truck. The same generation truck makes for the easiest swap. Then you can grab everything you need from the radiator to fuel tank sending unit.

    Happy dieseling /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  9. BanksBurban

    BanksBurban Registered Member

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    I didn't realize how much torque the diesel has until I tried towing the same trailer with a gas engine. But don't expect to do 0-60 in 5.3 with a diesel. They're all about torque, not quick accelleration. If you want the neck snapping, seat of your pants thrill....go big block.
    Definitely get a parts truck for the swap. I just priced a new diesel radiator for my burb /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif $550 /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif
     
  10. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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  11. Ddragggon

    Ddragggon 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    did you try autozone? I generaly found that the lifetime warranty on thier parts more then covers any initial outlay in price, especialy if you never plan to sell your vehicle, or don't plan on selling it for several years. I'd like to immagine that the Diesel radiator is the same one they use for the bigblocks, ( 4 core, 3 inches taller, and 4 inches longer then a 350 3 core) and you can get that one for 250 from autozone, lifetime warranty.

    -Rich
     
  12. BanksBurban

    BanksBurban Registered Member

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Thanks for the link /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
    The diesel radiator has a tranny cooler on one side and an oil cooler on the other. I guess that's the difference in price.
     
  13. u2slow

    u2slow 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    The oil cooler isn't a big deal unless you are doing some serious towing - and then you should have an external one anyway.

    Most times the lines (at the block) rattle loose from all the vibration. My lines leak - they will be treated to pipe plugs shortly.

    Once you take the oil cooler out of the equation, I think you can just use the 34" big-block radiator instead.

    My 2 cents.
     
  14. BanksBurban

    BanksBurban Registered Member

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    Re: Diesel vs. Big Block

    Well...I'm not a CK5 member, so we're back up to $384, but I got NAPA to give me one for $349 with lifetime warranty and no sales tax
     

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