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Detroit Diesel Repower Question

6113 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Birken Vogt
Hi All.... I am new here.

I have a bus with a 8.2L V8 Detroit Diesel in it. I am have heard very mixed reviews of this engine. My diesel mechanic advised me that they are great engines until they go wrong, at which point I will be better of repowering.

I use the bus for my work. My company builds handcycles and we use it to haul the handcycles to shows, events bikes races and handcycle clinics. So it is super important that we have an economical and reliable engine. The bus is a 39 foot Bluebird All American.... We have torn our the seats and retrofitted it to suit our needs carrying handcycles, so I really want to keep it.

At the moment I am planning towards the repower. The current motor produces 205 horsepower, and it is underpowered. With the re-power I am looking to increase the amount of power substantially and I want a bullet proof engine that will outlast me.

Any advice about which engines I should and which I should not be looking at?

Thank you!


Intrepid Cycles - Handcycle Specialists
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First off it is not a great engine design to begin with, as there are lots of design flaws that pop up and bite you with regularity. It also takes some special tools that are only used on that engine and the old guys that have them and remember how to use them are getting very scarce. Parts support was getting nonexistent back in the early 2000s also, but since then I think some third party had picked up the support so it may not be so bad any more. As the other poster said, it would be easier to fit an 8 cylinder in its place but the only other real candidate is a Cat 3208 and it is starting to get very long in the tooth as well. I wouldn't mess with it. I would take a 7.3 Ford Powerstroke engine for that bus if you can find one and somebody to do the swap. It should go in there with minimal adaptation. However the horsepower is only going to be marginally more, and it is not as stoutly built an engine in some ways. Better in others though. If you really want to up the power, a 5.9 Cummins like Dodge trucks have should fit. Being a 6 cylinder it is going to be more work to make it fit, but since it is small to begin with it should not be that bad. Also the power can go highest of any likely candidate engine, at least 260 HP. The Cummins will have a lower RPM range, though. The 8.2 is a 3200 rpm engine and the Cummins is more like 2600 so the rear gear will have to be changed and possibly the transmission. You might find one with an overdrive transmission already and then not have to. Birken
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The 8.2 is a "medium duty" engine made for short nose trucks just a step bigger than a pickup, and a series 60 is a "full size" engine made for big semis and stuff. It could be made to fit, sure, but you will need a much bigger radiator, you need to add a similarly sized intercooler in front of the radiator, a bigger fan, and it is much taller being a long stroke 6 cylinder and much longer in total length. Also very much heavier, can the frame/suspension even take it?

I still say the 5.9 Cummins or 7.3 Ford or International are your only real options and even then, to get the power you want, you will probably still need an intercooler and the air flow to go with it. This will not be an easy swap.

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