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Old 06-04-2007, 02:01 PM
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Arrow 1977 Ford F-100 6.2L Diesel Conversion

1977 Ford F-100 6.2L Diesel Conversion

By Rod Gudgion, Member #514

This article first appeared online here in TDP in 1998

The answer to the obvious question (why?) is hidden in my make-up I suppose. I served a five year apprenticeship as a machine tool fitter and up until my retirement spent most of my working life inside, on top or underneath machines of all shapes and sizes.

I have always maintained my own vehicles and made various modifications mainly as a challenge, but also to have a vehicle I am comfortable and familiar with. One such vehicle being a 1966 Ford Falcon which I ran for 22 years during which time it had four different engines, various gearboxes and two paint jobs, the most radical modification being the installation of a Jaguar 3.8 engine with a Toyota 5 speed gearbox and a Mark 10 Jaguar independent rear axle.

Having retired earlier than anticipated I set about our planned tour of the Australian continent. However, I soon found that my 1977 Ford F100 was not well set up for the job of towing a 1700 lb trailer. The 351 Cleveland was running on an LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) which is the ideal fuel for in and around the major cities, but is not always available in the more remote parts. The four speed F100 gearbox was also unsuitable for towing when in a hilly or mountainous terrain because first gear is too low for normal driving and the gap between third and fourth gears being to large.

I decided to install a five speed gearbox and also investigate the options of a diesel engine (not forgetting the limited funds at my disposal), the most popular seemed to be the Isuzu. I hadn't any experience with diesel engines, but I knew I would need at least a 6 liter engine. Most truck wrecking yards could only talk in horsepower, however I eventually became familiar with the various engines, horsepower and torque ratings. I was primarily looking at Perkins, Hinno, Nissan and Isuzu. I was not aware that GM or Ford made a light V8 diesel (being rare in Australia) until one day I was in a local engine rebuild shop and was shown a 6.2 diesel and straightaway I could see the benefits of the compactness and lower mass of the V8 over the in-line sixes I had been looking at. The 6.2 is just under 41 kilos heavier than the 5.9 Cleveland.

After locating a 6.2 (previously the power unit of a US Army Hummer) the next move was to get some information on the 6.2, a phone call to the local Detroit Allison dealer was no help at all, I asked if spare parts were available for a GM 6.2 and was promptly told the 6.2 was obsolete, end of conversation. This matched the reply from Isuzu when I asked how heavy a particular engine was. They replied that they didn't know.

[FONT=Verdana]Undaunted, I logged onto the internet, typed the word diesel in the appropriate box of Alta-vista and "bingo", I got Marks 4 Wheel Drive and The Diesel Page. The former gave some performance details of a range of engines which enabled me to get a comparison between the 6.2 and a 350 Chev or a 302 Ford. The Diesel Page of course was like Aladdin
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