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The Other Dodge Diesel: Get Close-Up With A Diesel-Powered 1978 Dodge D200!

The Other Dodge Diesel: Get Close-Up With A Diesel-Powered 1978 Dodge D200!

Say “diesel Dodge” out loud, even at a whisper, and the fan boys come flowing out with yowls of Cummins this, roll coal that, and some absolutely ragged but absolutely brutal square-body Rams that sound like the industrial revolution in full swing at idle. I’ll rip on the diesel freaks all I can, but I can’t talk bad about the Cummins engine…they’re revered for a good reason. But they are not Dodge’s first attempt at pushing a pickup around with an oil burner. In the late 1970s, the Dodge D-series was sold with a diesel engine option, but it was not the Cummins…instead, it was a Mitsubishi mill, the 6R5D six-cylinder. It was a diesel, yeah, but the Slant Six was more potent in just about every form. The only way the diesel D-series was an appropriate choice was either as a mileage maker or as a work truck where diesel was more plentiful than gasoline.

As we stick our nose back into the world of the Canadians of Cold War Motors, you’ll not only get a chance to experience this unicorn of a Ram, but some work on a mid-1960s Chevy that has the “opened too wide” door cave-ins, a bit of long Lincoln, and some Citroen work as well. Check it out:

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4 thoughts on “The Other Dodge Diesel: Get Close-Up With A Diesel-Powered 1978 Dodge D200!

  1. 69rrboy

    Interesting. I’m pretty sure that was a one-year only option in 1979 but that truck is definitely a 1978(hood, grille, etc).

    Since those guys are apparently in Canada and it has a “export” only kilometer speedometer perhaps it was an option a year earlier up there but only in 79 in the US?

    Regardless, that’s only the 2nd one of those I’ve ever seen. A guy in my one car club had a beige one in NJ years ago. Probably junked by now. Speaking of that I hope they do something with those 50’s Mopars in the background before they sink into the ground any further.

  2. Markis

    I laugh Millennials genuflecting to these old cranky junkers and all Dodge and Ram trucks in general. If you know anything about Dodge trucks back in the day or owned a few as I did you definitely wouldn’t be celebrating. You’d be running away. I had a ’77 D150, a ’75 and ’84 D350, a ’86 D150 Custom Royal SE, and a ’90 light 7500 GVW D250. They were basically the same truck from the 73 restyle all the way up to the beginning of the redesigned Rams in 1994. Mine were all gassers and the ’86 and 90 were the best of the lot with a 318 V8 and automatic with a 3-speed and lock-up torque converter Overdrive. But still, GM had the better trucks. I find it hilarious everybody thinks that these were great trucks. They were not. My 90 was the pick of the litter but the 77 was absolute junk. Rust-bucket. Electrical problems because the wiring harness was taped and spliced together. Dodge trucks were known for their failing electrical systems. Often all of the electrical in the steering column would short out or worse you have a ground open and your battery would constantly die. Ignition Systems often didn’t want to start in the rain. And let us not forget the fabulous lean-burn carburetors that they tried in the late 70s which often wouldn’t allow the truck to run well at all. I had a ’84 D350 with the plastic Carter thermoquad That I replaced three times in the four years years I owned the truck and it never ran right. Either always rich, or lean, or flooding out. The diesel was offered in the US in 1978 only and my father who was a contractor looked at 1 and shook his head and stayed with his Chevrolet Custom 20. Dodge trucks were a joke in the late 70s and through the early 80s until they figured out a decent electronic ignition system and Throttle body fuel injection around 1987. GM trucks were night and day better and they had a 6.2 litre diesel V8 that actually worked well. One only drove Dodgers back in those days because they were cheaper to buy than a Chevy or Ford. Or if you were trying to make a statement. But you paid your dues if you owned one. I drive GMCs now and have for over 20 years. I’ll never buy another Dodge truck. Ever.

  3. Paul Curry

    I had a 78 Power Wagon with this engine, 2 big block oil filters..
    ran it for nearly 400k miles, tough engine. 33″ tires 3:55 gears and 17MPG

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