Turbo OM 617

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3DB
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Model you own: w123
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Turbo OM 617

Post by 3DB » Sat 19 Dec, 2015 9:34 pm

I thought I’d share some of the research I’ve been doing on adding a turbo to the NA OM 617. A lot of this is probably old news to you and I apologise in advance for that, especially to Anth who has done an awesome DIY job just recently.

Something I haven't mentioned before is that I'll be running it on biodiesel which I currently make and run my ute on. This may go some way to explaining why I would bother trying to build a fast diesel car. I have these two conflicting interests: a past with performance cars and motorbikes and sustainability. 'Cognitive dissonance' I believe it is called.

Anyway, I’ve looked a two potential project vehicles so far:
• 1979 Japanese delivered auto sedan with no SLS and 100,000 km, which was probably a bit too nice for my project; and
• 1977 Australian(?) delivered sedan with a 4-speed manual with no SLS, manual door locks & window and an alleged 200,000 km. It had a lot of rust and an interior that suggested many more km – perhaps 1,200,000 km? I took a video of the blowby and would appreciate comments on that so I can gauge better in the future. Check out the video here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jtkll18d3ckwe ... y.MOV?dl=0

So I covered 2 ends of the spectrum there.

I don’t have the tools or skills to fabricate a custom turbo exhaust manifold, so I’ve made some enquiries through a friend in the US to get factory turbo exhaust and intake manifolds to make life easier. I should be able to have them sent over for under AU$500 (they are a little over $US100 each, but the exchange rate and shipping are what adds up). This has got to be cheaper (probably not better, admittedly) than getting a local custom turbo shop to fabricate, although I admit I haven’t checked that yet.

I’ve also wanted to rebuild an engine as a project for a while, having helped a friend do a Chevy small block V8 once and a few motorbike engines myself, so I investigated that too. I found a running donor engine for $1,000 on Gumtree, which could probably be negotiated down a bit. I also got some prices for most of the major parts you would replace in a rebuild and individually they don’t seem that expensive, but when you add it all up, there isn’t much change out of $2,000 on top of the base engine. So let’s say $3,500 in round figures to rebuild a NA engine and add the turbo mainfolds + another $750 or so for a Holset HY35 turbo.

So I got my mate to enquire about a second hand factory turbo engine over in the US. Here’s what I found:
• One of the later OM617’s, straight out of a car. Originally a 125 horsepower model. Compression currently over 390 on all 5 cylinders = US$1,800.
• The same engine with a rebuild including all rings and bearings, gaskets and seals, checking head surface, inspecting the valves & replacing as needed, test run & compression check = US$2,600.
• Freight to Sydney or Melbourne = US$750.

So all up, I’d be looking at around AU$5,200 including GST for a rebuilt factory turbo engine. For the sake of comparison, a reconditioned Toyota 1HD-T from an 80-series LandCruiser is more than $8,000. Granted, there is an element of gamble in there buying from the US, but it seems like a pretty good deal when compared to rebuilding a local NA engine.

I don’t know if this is really a financially viable option for me unless I could find a good rolling chassis and gearbox, but thought I’d share the findings.

Or I could buy a $1,500 car with rego, add the turbo bits to a worn out engine and gearbox, run until failure, buy another $1,500 car and repeat :laughing6:
3DB
1976 W123 300D (weekend warrior on biodiesel)
1995 Holden Rodeo 2.8 factory turbo diesel ute (daily driver...also on biodiesel)
(@thirddegreeburns on Instagram)

anths
Gelandewagen
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Joined: Thu 20 Oct, 2011 5:55 pm
Model you own: w123
Location: mornington peninsula victoria

Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by anths » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 3:22 pm

HY 35 is to much turbo, a suitable turbo will be a T3 which will have no lag and will support 11 psi all day everyday and won't care if you run Veg oil , bio or blended diesel and run with the stock pump simple !
My "Grenade" has run 2 years on straight veg oil before I converted back to diesel ,nothing wrong with sustainability and performance my friends tow their E85 drag cars on waste veg to the track :dance:
Cheers Anthony

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3DB
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Posts: 242
Joined: Thu 15 Oct, 2015 2:46 pm
Model you own: w123
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Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by 3DB » Mon 21 Dec, 2015 1:10 pm

anths wrote:HY 35 is to much turbo
Thanks for the turbo tip, Anthony. Where's the best place to get a T3/T04E? Plenty of cheap knock-off's on eBay, but risky I imagine? Is a genuine Garrett the go? Sounds like you have a fair bit of experience here.
3DB
1976 W123 300D (weekend warrior on biodiesel)
1995 Holden Rodeo 2.8 factory turbo diesel ute (daily driver...also on biodiesel)
(@thirddegreeburns on Instagram)

timtams
Dernburg Wagon
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun 31 May, 2015 9:37 am
Model you own: w123

Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by timtams » Mon 21 Dec, 2015 2:35 pm

Im also doing this conversion as we speak, Ive imported the factory manifold for this as it was $112 delivered from the US and I will see if it needs any other mods once that's bolted up

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Tony From West Oz
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Model you own: I own multiple different models
Region: Victoria
Location: Bedfordale WA

Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by Tony From West Oz » Mon 21 Dec, 2015 7:58 pm

timtams wrote:Im also doing this conversion as we speak, Ive imported the factory manifold for this as it was $112 delivered from the US and I will see if it needs any other mods once that's bolted up
Was that for both manifolds?

Merry Christmas,
Tony
Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.

'83 W123 300D 325000km (Wife's car Josephine - sold).
'84 W123 300D replaced good OM617 912 with OM617 952 and enjoyed having good acceleration for the first time since first driving a 300D in 2002
'86 W124 300D sold
'85 W123 300CD, 275 000km (Fatmobile) rebuilt turbodiesel transplanted into 280CE (SOLD)
'99 W202 C250 Turbodiesel
'98 W202 C250 Turbodiesel
'06 Ssanyong Musso Crew Cab 2WD Ute (OM662 diesel and Auto Transmission)
'00 Ford Courier Crew Cab 2.5TD

anths
Gelandewagen
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu 20 Oct, 2011 5:55 pm
Model you own: w123
Location: mornington peninsula victoria

Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by anths » Mon 21 Dec, 2015 9:42 pm

A T3 will be plenty with no lag , not a T04e like mine........ Chinese made turbo's have come a long way most will except genuine garret bearings and compressor wheels ect,
The only major issue is the compressor housing ,They are not cast the same as a genuine Garrett turbo making them impossible to convert to carbon seal for draw thru applications which isn't a issue for diesel engine............... bang for buck nothing wrong with Chinese turbos



Cheers Anthony

timtams
Dernburg Wagon
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Joined: Sun 31 May, 2015 9:37 am
Model you own: w123

Re: Turbo OM 617

Post by timtams » Tue 22 Dec, 2015 12:06 am

Tony From West Oz wrote:
timtams wrote:Im also doing this conversion as we speak, Ive imported the factory manifold for this as it was $112 delivered from the US and I will see if it needs any other mods once that's bolted up
Was that for both manifolds?

Merry Christmas,
Tony
Hey tony,

Nah I only bought the exhaust for now, in guessing that running an intercooler the factory inlet will need modifications anyway

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