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Oldsmobile produced three versions of a diesel engine between 1978 to 1985: a 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 in 1978-85, a 263 cu in (4.3 L) V8 in 1979, and a 261 cu in (4.3 L) V6 1982-1985. The engines powered front and rear-wheel drive vehicles; the 4.3-litre V6 was adapted to both transverse and inline front-wheel drive applications. Sales peaked in 1981 at approximately 310,000 units, which represented 60% of the total U.S. passenger vehicle diesel market. However, this success was short-lived due to a decline in gas prices as well as fuel quality issues including large volumes of diesel fuel containing water or foreign particles.[2]

Oldsmobile rocketlogo.png   Diesel
GM Olds' Diesel logo on a Buick.jpg
ConfigurationV6, V8
  • 261 cu in (4.3 L)
  • 263 cu in (4.3 L)
  • 350 cu in (5.7 L)
Cylinder bore
  • 3 12 in (88.9 mm)[1]
  • 4.057 in (103.0 mm)[1]
Piston stroke3.385 in (86.0 mm)[1]
Block materialCast iron
Head materialCast iron
ValvetrainOverhead valve 2 valves x cyl.
Compression ratio22.5:1[1], 21.6:1[1]
Fuel systemIndirect injection
Fuel typeDiesel
Oil systemWet sump
Cooling systemWater-cooled
Power output85–120 bhp (63–89 kW)
Torque output160–220 lb⋅ft (217–298 N⋅m)
SuccessorDetroit Diesel V8 engine

The Oldsmobile diesel subsequently gained a reputation for unreliability and anemic performance that damaged the North American passenger diesel market for the next 30 years.[3][4]

In spite of this, the Oldsmobile diesels' strong blocks continue to see use in gasoline-powered race engines.[2][5]


The LF9 is a 350 cu in (5.7 L) diesel V8 produced from 1978 to 1985. Earlier versions and those used in pickups (1978-1981) produced 120 hp (89 kW) and 220 lb⋅ft (298 N⋅m) torque, while later versions produced 105 hp (78 kW) and 205 lb⋅ft (278 N⋅m) torque.



The LF7 is a 260 cu in (4.3 L) V8 putting out 90 hp (67 kW) and 160 lb⋅ft (217 N⋅m) torque.



1983 V6 experimental at the RE Olds Transportation Museum

The LT6 is 4.3-liter V6 produced from 1982 to 1984 and installed in rear-wheel drive vehicles. Power was rated at 85 bhp (63 kW) at 3600 rpm and 165 lb⋅ft (224 N⋅m) at 1600 rpm. Applications:


The LT7 is a transversely-mounted version of the 4.3-liter V6 produced from 1982 to 1985. Power was rated at 85 bhp (63 kW) at 3600 rpm and 165 lb⋅ft (224 N⋅m) at 1600 rpm.



The LS2 4.3-liter V6 produced only in 1985 and installed in front wheel drive vehicles.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Oldsmobile Diesel Technical Magazine". Retrieved 20 Dec 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The Worst Automobile Engines of All Time - Features- Popular Hot Rodding Magazine". Retrieved 26 Jan 2016.
  3. ^ "What's Hot". Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.
  4. ^ "TECHNICAL: DIESEL REDUX". Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.
  5. ^ "Ghosts of Diesels Past: Failed cars from 20 years ago still haunt GM, U.S. market - Autoweek". Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.