Tuesday, March 17, 2015

10k: Heavy Fuel: 1962 Ford Econoline Pickup, OM617 Diesel Swap

The formula for restoring or modifying an old American work truck from the 1960s  goes something like this: Step 1 Find Chevy 350 V8, Step 2 Install Chevy 350 V8, Step 4 Profit.   Sometimes you might consider using a large V8 from the original manufacturer of the vehicle, but under no circumstances should your pick a donor engine from the worlds slowest luxury sedan from the 1980s.  Unless you are insane.  Find this  1962 Ford Econoline Pickup with OM617 diesel power here on eBay currently bidding for $5,200 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go, located in Lakeland, FL.

The Ford Econoline was introduced in 1961 as a competitor to Chevy's Corvair Greenbrier and Volkswagen's Type 2 (Van).  Ford's offering (based on the Falcon chassis) wasn't some wacky air-cooled rear engined setup and instead was configured like a miniature cab-over truck powered by available inline-6 and V8 gasoline engines.  It was not sold from the factory with an oil burner under any secret option list...ever...

But there it is.  An OM617 inline-5 cylinder turbo diesel from a Mercedes 300D shoved amidships into a Ford Econoline pickup.  I can't fathom the reasons that someone might swap in an engine that is more just as gutless than the original basic 144 cubic inch Falcon inline-6, but there you have it.  This 3.0 liter diesel fueld screamer revs all the way to a 125 horsepower peak at 4240 rpm and 181 ft-lbs of torque at 2400 rpm..which is actually more than the stock inline-6 engines from the 1960s, but considerably less than what you could get with a few modifications to those engines or a Ford V8 engine.


  1. Maybe that 144ci six was just too peppy for them. Just because you can do something...

  2. The diesel's cool. It's the least offfensive element of the work done to this truck.

    Let's face it: even in Florida the bikini babes are looking for something a little softer than a wood bench. We'd all like to think that a hard right turn will just plunk what you want in your lap, but if she's screaming about the splinter in her keister it's not gonna get you far.

    Okay, maybe you carry tweezers everywhere you go. Maybe that's how you get some. I'm sure there's girls like that.

    Still, I'm dubious. And that headliner...nah.

  3. Oh, and re the text of this post: the Falcon van/truck was never sold with a V8. There's been many swaps over the years, and back in the day Hot Rod did a nicely detailed piece on a 351C swap, but not from the factory.

    1. Whoops, you are correct, the Econoline was never available with a V8 from the factory. I guess I've seen so many over the years that I assumed it must have been an option.

  4. Now at $7600. Some plumber thinks it's a chick magnet. Maybe he's right.

  5. My gosh, I hope that thing in the headliner isn't a wooden ceiling fan!

    Anyway, this thing "wooden" wind up in my garage, that's for sure. I hate diesels.

  6. Stick a holset turbo off a 12 valve cummins onto the side of that thing and it should net a bit more power for very little outlay. Maybe even intercool the current setup with junkyard bits. It would probably get 25 hp and 40lb/ft. I love the idea of sticking a diesel where it never was before but if this where my project I think I would have started with a 2.0 vw tdi with a few hop up parts. I guess if it where my project it would not have had the mods to the body or that paint either.

    1. no man, theres just not a lot of fuel left in the pump to make more then about 150 or so, but if you can swap the pump out for a M-pump then theres ways to get more power like in the om60x series engines.

  7. It sold in May for $13,000. My guess why the MB 5 cylinder diesel was MPGs and possibly vegetable oil.


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