Why Does the US have so few diesel cars?


Why are there so few diesel powered cars in the US? Polls reveal that Americans aren’t as comfortable with diesel-engined passenger cars and some say it has to do with a poorly-designed Oldsmobile diesel engine made in the 1970s. Here’s the story:

In order to meet new American emissions regulations in the mid-1970s, executives at General Motor’s Oldsmobile Division decided to design and a series of diesel engines for passenger car use. Diesels were not subject to the same Federal emissions requirements as gasoline engines and this helped them meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) records of the time.

The first GM diesel vehicles hit the dealer’s lots in 1978 and immediately there were problems with the engine. Specifically with the engine heads. Ask any car buff and they will tell you that the problem was that GM engineers “simply slapped new diesel heads on the standard 350 block” and did little else. Historians say this is an automotive urban legend, though. The service techs at www.covertchryslerdodgejeepram.com know the story well and tell us that the new block was properly built. The trouble came from the cylinder heads alone. This is why:

Diesel engines have higher compression ratios than gasoline engines do and this puts higher stresses on engine head bolts. This usually means engineers use stronger head bolts and more of them. The Oldsmobile diesel, however, maintained the same 10-bolt pattern and head bolts as the gasoline engines. This would prove to be a fatal decision for the production engineers.

Even though improvements were made, production of the Oldsmobile diesel lasted from 1978 to 1985. During this time, many engines failed and this caused a class-action lawsuit that saw owners reimbursed the cost of replacement engines. The Oldsmobile diesel debacle was so bad that it spurred legislators in several states to draft early lemon laws.
Today we may be seeing the result of this. An American consumer who is suspicious of “American-built Diesels”. This , unfortunately, is an erroneous conclusion because today many fine diesel automobiles are available from companies such as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.

Source: Covert Chrysler


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