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Frankenstein Did you put a 6.5 in a Camaro? A Duramax in a boat? A Cummins in a Chevy? A Powerstroke in a van? Then you must have a touch of the good Dr. Frankenstein. Post your stories, questions, discussions in here... this is intended to be a place to discuss your questions on how to, what to do, etc...

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Old 01-12-2016, 02:27 PM  
ProCycle
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Diesel Corvette revisited (photo links fixed)

I've posted a little about my diesel Corvette in the past but never really did a build thread. All the details have been over on Blogspot. Well, it's no fun posting it over there because there's no real interaction with other diesel nuts. I figured I would close out the blog and start posting the story here.

How it all began...

I'm not sure why it got into my head to have a diesel powered Corvette. I remember looking online at nearby cars for sale. I saw a Corvette for what I thought was a pretty cheap price (around $2500). That just sort of got the wheels in my head turning. Although I never was all that interested in Corvettes (not really a "sports car") I figured it might be a fun toy for a while.

I've been a diesel fan for years. Owned 5 different diesel trucks and have always been impressed by the power and potential for more power from a turbo diesel motor.

Back during the gas crisis in the late 70s GM engaged Detroit Diesel to design a fuel efficient diesel motor to power GMC and Chevy pickups. To save GM from doing a bunch of expensive retooling the 6.2L diesel was designed to bolt right in place of the existing gas motors. It used the same bellhousing bolt pattern and motor mount locations. This modular approach makes swapping out a gas V8 for a diesel relatively straightforward. The original 6.2L was rather gutless but it would return fuel economy in the mid 20s. Not bad for a full sized pickup. in 1992 GM increased the displacement to 6.5 liters and added a turbo. This was done to make more power to compete with Dodge and Ford. Even so, the 6.5L turbo diesel is no powerhouse.

So after much shopping around I found a 1980 Vette on Craigslist. I paid about $3200. The car was complete and unmodified but old and somewhat neglected. I figured I'd drive it for grins and make some initial measurements to see what difficulties I might run into trying to shove a 6.5L motor in place of the stock small block 350.



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1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-19-2018 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:52 PM  
ProCycle
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What's the point?

Most folks that hear about this wonder why? I could just build another hot rod Vette with a big block or stroker mouse motor but why? There's lots of those and anything I did like that wouldn't be unique. Plus, it would be a gas sucking monster which would take away a lot of the fun of driving it.

The Corvette is about 2100 lb lighter than a full size pickup. In stock form the 6.5L diesel is rated at 190hp and 380 ft. lb. of torque. Same HP as the gas motor but with 35% more torque. That should motivate the Corvette at least as well as the gasser does now. As a plus, the slippery shape of the Vette should allow it to get great fuel economy. I'm not doing this just to save gas money but I think it's reasonable to expect fuel economy in the mid 30s or better. Most economy cars are severely lacking in style. This will be different!

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1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:57 PM  
elcaminonut69
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I'm subbed to this project. This should be fun to watch. Have you thought about a Duramax.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:12 PM  
ProCycle
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No, I never seriously considered a Duramax. The 6.5 was a really tight squeeze.
Plus, the 6.5 uses the old standard bellhousing bolt pattern and motor mount locations.
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1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 01-12-2016 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:14 PM  
ProCycle
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The donor truck

New power for the Corvette is coming from a 1992 GMC 1 ton C3500 pickup with 209,000 miles.


I bought the truck for $1700. The motor is not original but is a "Goodwrench" crate motor. No telling how many miles are on the motor but it starts and runs good. 1992 & 1993 6.5L diesels had mechanical fuel injection. Later models have computer controlled electronic fuel injection. Using a mechanical injection motor will make the swap a lot less complicated. I drove the donor truck around for a couple of months just to make sure there weren't going to be any problems. It turn out to be a nice little truck. OK, it's not little but after driving my 4-door Dodge 4x4 the GMC 1 ton feels like a mini truck. It will turn around in the street. You can park it in a regular parking space. Sweet! It's almost a shame to take it apart. But, it is this truck's fate to give up its motor for a higher purpose.
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1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-15-2018 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:16 PM  
ProCycle
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Driving the old Corvette

The late 70s and early 80s were definitely a low point for Corvette design. This is not the overpowered hooligan car that some people imagine. This car has the L48 350 cu. in. motor that GM rated at 190hp and 280 ft. lb. of torque. It motivates the car OK but isn't surprisingly fast or really all that exciting to drive. People like the look of it though and driving it around is kind of cool in an 80s American car sort of way.

I drove it for a few months and tinkering with those things that need attention - lights, stereo, etc. Other things that need repaired will wait until I'm deeper into the project - power steering cylinder, suspension, etc.
__________________
1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 01-12-2016 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:29 PM  
ProCycle
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With the motor out of the truck and on the stand I can start taking measurements to see where the biggest challenges are going to be.



One thing I knew from the start was the 6.5 oil pan was going to have to be modified. The diesel holds a lot more oil than the gas motor and the oil pan is a lot deeper. The Corvette doesn't have much ground clearance to start with so the oil pan has to be shortened.

(edit: This turned out not to be necessary. Further along in the project it will get an unmodified oil pan.)

I measured how far the oil pump protruded down into the pan and marked a cut line around the sump. Off to the bandsaw! There's a little bit of a thrill to be had taking perfectly good expensive parts and running them through a saw. Now you're committed! It worked out fine. I cut a piece of diamond plate to fit the oil pan bottom and welded it in place. I made it about 1/8" too short so a quick trip to the hydraulic press put a dimple in it right below the oil pump body for clearance. The pan is now about 1 1/2" shorter than stock. With this modification and some mods to the motor mounts to carry the motor a little higher I should have about the same ground clearance as 350 gas motor.

__________________
1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-15-2018 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:36 PM  
ProCycle
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I figure the Diesel Corvette is going to be a bit of a curiosity. Folks are going to want to look under the hood to see that big ugly diesel lurking in there. That means it needs to be made presentable. The oil pan is already looking pretty so I figure I better pull the valve covers and intake manifold and give them a good cleaning and a coat of paint.



To get the valve covers off you have to remove the fuel injection lines. The get the injection lines off you have to pull the intake manifold. Here's pics of the injection lines. The lines have to come off in the right order or you can't get a wrench in where you need to. The same goes for putting it back together. Check out the cobbled up (rubber) fuel supply lines. That will get tidied up as well.

__________________
1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-15-2018 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:19 PM  
ProCycle
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It is not a thing of beauty but at least it's presentable. The top half of the intake manifold is a snorkel that connects to the turbocharger that will be mounted to the right hand side of the motor. I'm going to have to modify all the turbo plumbing to get the turbo to fit in the tight space under the Corvette hood. That top snorkel will have to either be modified or (more likely) replaced with a fabricated part. The same goes for the water outlet and thermostat housing. It looks like it is going to be a little bit too tall. I'll probably have to make a replacement that doesn't stick up so high.



__________________
1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-15-2018 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:33 PM  
ProCycle
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There's a bit more to do to the 6.5 before it's ready to be dropped into its new home under the Corvettes hood. Even so, it getting to be time to get the 350 gasser pulled out. There will be plenty of tidying up to do in the Vette engine bay.

The view under the Vette hood. Ughh... The first thing to do will be to remove the radiator shroud and intake snorkels so I can get in deeper with a tape measure. I want to keep the car driveable for a little while longer.



__________________
1980 Diesel Corvette
6.5 from a 92 GMC C3500
DB2833-6284 turned up, HX40W-II turbo
4L60-E (LS-1) with US Shift Quick 1 controller & paddle shifters
Cold air intake with Lamborghini air filter
Custom hand-made stainless steel exhaust manifolds
Diesel Corvette Revisited

Last edited by ProCycle; 03-15-2018 at 09:19 PM.
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