1981 Chevy 5.7 IDI Diesel

Messages
583
Location
Virginia
I just bought an 81 chevy with the 5.7 diesel. everything works and its super clean. Not only did I pay $700 for it but its a one owner with 44,000 miles on it. The only issue I have is I cant find any fluid capacities on it anywhere. Does anyone have a link where I can find the oil capacity or does anybody know off-hand? Btw I know this is a [censored] engine so please dont knock my purchase. I was on a tight budget.
 
Messages
22,458
Location
Apple Valley, California
some of the biggest problems with those was the lack of s water seperating fuel filter. put a spin on one on it,napa can sell you a mount and a filter. i think its a 3123 napa filter. it needs a diesel oil but you already know that.back then people were used to gassers and put gasser oil in them and that killed them. get all the glow plugs working. do not use starting fluid ...ever! these 3 things will make a huge difference in how long it runs.
 
Messages
2,285
Location
Ottumwa, Iowa
I think another thing about these that helps the life is don't hot rod it. A lot of those old diesels would run just fine if you didn't have a lead foot and let them take their time to wind up. Helm inc should have the owners manuals and service manuals.
 
Messages
4,924
Location
Lima, Ohio, USA
http://www.amsoil.com/mygarage/VehicleLo...02WD%20PICKUP+Z CAPACITIES: Engine, with filter..........5 quarts [1] Cooling System, Initial Fill..........23.8 quarts AMSOIL Antifreeze and Engine Coolant Automatic Transmission, THM400 Initial Fill..........4.3 quarts Automatic Transmission, THM350 Initial Fill..........3.5 quarts Automatic Transmission, Total Fill 3 speed THM400..........11 quarts 3 speed THM350..........10 quarts Manual Transmission, 3-SPD..........3 pints Manual Transmission, 4-SPD..........8 pints Differential, With 10.5 RingGear Rear..........6.3 pints Differential, With 8.5 RingGear Rear..........4.2 pints Differential, With 8.8 RingGear Rear..........3.6 pints Differential, With 9.5 RingGear Rear..........5.5 pints Differential, With 9.75 RingGear Rear..........5.9 pints
 

Volv04Life

Thread starter
Messages
583
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted By: Chris142
some of the biggest problems with those was the lack of s water seperating fuel filter. put a spin on one on it,napa can sell you a mount and a filter. i think its a 3123 napa filter. it needs a diesel oil but you already know that.back then people were used to gassers and put gasser oil in them and that killed them. get all the glow plugs working. do not use starting fluid ...ever! these 3 things will make a huge difference in how long it runs.
The glow plugs work great. I put new batteries in it and it fired up. I just want to change the oil but dont know how much it takes.
 

Volv04Life

Thread starter
Messages
583
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted By: Chris142
Originally Posted By: abycat
44000 miles. That's awesome.
thats cause its been in the shop! grin
Lol. It runs great so im keeping my fingers crossed.
 

Volv04Life

Thread starter
Messages
583
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted By: earlyre
http://www.amsoil.com/mygarage/VehicleLo...02WD%20PICKUP+Z CAPACITIES: Engine, with filter..........5 quarts [1] Cooling System, Initial Fill..........23.8 quarts AMSOIL Antifreeze and Engine Coolant Automatic Transmission, THM400 Initial Fill..........4.3 quarts Automatic Transmission, THM350 Initial Fill..........3.5 quarts Automatic Transmission, Total Fill 3 speed THM400..........11 quarts 3 speed THM350..........10 quarts Manual Transmission, 3-SPD..........3 pints Manual Transmission, 4-SPD..........8 pints Differential, With 10.5 RingGear Rear..........6.3 pints Differential, With 8.5 RingGear Rear..........4.2 pints Differential, With 8.8 RingGear Rear..........3.6 pints Differential, With 9.5 RingGear Rear..........5.5 pints Differential, With 9.75 RingGear Rear..........5.9 pints
Awesomesauce!
 
Messages
2,362
Location
Virginia
I would use Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 motor oil... Napa's water separator filter is a FIL3405 and their base is a FIL4770.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,648
Location
Ontario
Originally Posted By: Chris142
Originally Posted By: abycat
44000 miles. That's awesome.
thats cause its been in the shop! grin
Didn't the odo roll over at 100k miles? All cars of this vintage get advertised as low miles for that reason. It is more likely it has 144k.
 
Messages
36,463
Location
ME
Some like to put in ARP head studs as they last longer than the factory bolts. If this car's a keeper, that is.
 

dnewton3

Staff member
Messages
8,514
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Do what you can to make it last, but don't sink an ton of money into it, because that engine will disappoint eventually, regardless how you treat it.
 

Astro14

$100 Site Donor
Staff member
Messages
13,098
Location
Virginia Beach
Legendary problems, but largely due to unintentional consumer abuse. My brother had an Olds wagon with the diesel 5.7 Olds engine, ran perfectly through 200K. No issues. Ever. At the time, though, my Dad was on his second Peugeot diesel, a 505, so he made none of the owner mistakes that killed these things early. It was totaled when he was rear-ended at a toll booth. High speed collision, the other driver didn't brake for the stopped cars.... The Olds saved him.
 
Messages
10,877
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Don't let it get hot, don't beat on it, try to avoid towing with it, get a better heated fuel/water separator (although that's less of a problem now than when it was built, fuel quality is better now). If you plan on driving it in winter, be sure the plug-in engine heater heats, or invest in a magnetic oil pan heater (Wolverine is a good one)-an IDI can be fun to start in winter, esp. if it has a direct drive (non-gear reduction) starter.
 
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