What Was The First Diesel Pickup Truck?

In 1923, he unveiled the world’s first diesel truck. The five-tonner was powered by a four-cylinder diesel with 33 kW (45 hp) at 1000 rpm, called OB 2.

Who had the first diesel pickup truck?

People were hurting from the shock of petrol prices that had tripled in only a few years in the 1970s. Consumers scrambled for vehicles with improved fuel economy as a result of a nationwide 55 mph speed restriction, government-mandated fuel efficiency standards, and a 55 mph speed limit. Diesel engines, which had little representation in the American car and light truck market at the time, were immediately viewed as a fuel-saving solution. The idea of noisy, smelly, smoky diesels raised a collective American eyebrow, not to mention the relative scarcity of diesel fuel stations at the time, but the diesel’s high fuel economy and low cost of fuel were appealing, especially in the truck world, where a torquey gasser meant sub-10-mpg fuel economy.

GM and Dodge shared the honor of being the first to offer a diesel pickup in 1978. The Chevrolet entry was a C10 with the infamous Olds 5.7L V-8 producing 120 horsepower with natural aspiration. In 1/2 and 3/4-ton 412 and 4x4s, Dodge offered a 4.0L (243ci) Mitsubishi NA diesel inline six with 100 rip-roaring horsepower. Dodge dropped the Mitsu after 1979 and didn’t offer a diesel again until 1989, whereas Chevrolet kept the 5.7 in C10s until 1981, when it was replaced by the significantly superior 6.2L. The stage was now prepared for Ford to make a big entry.

In 1978, International Harvester began work on a V-8 diesel for medium-duty vehicles, based on the company’s 446-cid industrial gas V-8. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa The diesel, on the other hand, just adopted similar block proportions to make tooling up easier.

Although it is unclear when the IH diesel piqued Ford’s interest, a $500 million agreement was made in 1981 for IH to develop the engine for Ford light and medium duty trucks and supply engines for five years. It was evident right away that this was going to be a 3/4-ton-and-up powerplant because it was a heavy engine weighing more than 900 lbs.

The Ford diesel light trucks were introduced in late 1982 as 1983 models, with the new diesel engine available for $2,225. The F-250HD was the lightest-duty truck with the new 6.9L (420-cid) diesel engine (8,600 lbs. GVW). The light truck line, comprising the E-Series vans, as well as the medium-duty vehicles, were all available. With a compression ratio of 19.7:1, the first advertised rating was only 161 horsepower and 307 lb-ft. These were most likely prototype specifications, as 170 horsepower and a compression ratio of 20.7:1 quickly became the industry standard.

The 6.9 featured oil-cooled pistons, four bolt mains, a large forged crank with 2.2-inch rod and 3.1-inch main journals, valve rotators, roller tappets, and a gear-driven cam and injection pump, as well as valve rotators, roller tappets, and a gear-driven cam and injection pump. The Ricardo V combustion chamber was used to naturally aspirate it. A Stanadyne (Roosa-Master) DB2 rotary pump and pintle-type injectors popped at 2,100 psi provided indirect injection. Because of immediate problems with cold starting, the compression ratio was changed to 21.5:1 for the 1984 model year. As a result, torque increased to 315 lb-ft, and it stayed there for the rest of the engine’s run.

The engine was redesigned for 1988. The bore was expanded by 0.18 inch, resulting in a 7.3L displacement (444 cid). The heads, head bolts, head gaskets, rocker gear, and combustion chambers were all overhauled, as was the glow-plug system. A few tweaks were made to the injection system as well. As a result, horsepower was increased to 180 hp at 3,300 rpm, while torque was increased to 338 lb-ft (though some spec sheets show 345 lb-ft). The torque was increased to 360 and the power output was boosted to 185 in mid-1992. A serpentine belt system was also introduced for the 1992 model year.

The 7.3 modifications were mostly effective, but there were a few stumbling blocks. The increased tendency for cavitation damage on the cylinder walls in the water jacket was caused by the overbore and cooling system adjustments. This could have been avoided with the use of the correct anti-corrosive coolant additives (also known as SCAs, or supplemental coolant additives), but it became a well-known issue.

When the first turbocharged 7.3 engine was introduced late in 1993, the IDI attained its pinnacle. A Garrett wastegated turbo with an A/R of 0.82 was installed. The engine’s advertised power and torque were 190 horsepower and 385 lb-ft, although it was underrated. If you look at the neighboring power chart, you’ll notice that it strangely cuts off at 3,000 rpm, whereas the NA engine goes all the way to 3,300. At 3,300 rpm, the power line appears to be continuing climbing, and extrapolations imply the turbo engine would have created more than 200 horsepower. With the new 210-hp Power Stroke engine on the horizon, the IDI enthusiast group speculates that Ford marketing wanted to make sure the new engine was more enticing than the previous one. The IDI turbo engine was marketed more for its high-altitude performance than for its raw power, however tweaking over the years has revealed that the IDI turbo is capable of producing 250 horsepower with relatively moderate tweaking.

The IDI turbo gets upgraded head gaskets and a thicker fire ring on the inside. Keystone rings and anodized crowns were added to the pistons. The wrist pin diameter has been raised from 1.110 to 1.308 inches, Inconel exhaust valves have been installed, and the oil cooler bundle has been expanded from 24 to 30 FPI (fins per inch). The injection pump was re-calibrated, and new injectors were installed. In service, the minimum boost was 5 psi, although most people developed 8-10 psi.

In 1994, the Turbo IDI and the Power Stroke shared the stage, and sales overlapped a little after the Power Stroke debuted in the middle of the year. In truth, the Power Stroke is a direct descendant of the IDI engine. The IDI’s history is obvious, especially in the first-generation Power Strokes, and there are even a few parts that can be swapped out.


International Harvester produced about 1.5 million 6.9L and 7.3L IDI engines (now known as Navistar International). They are unquestionably one of the most important contributors to the rise of diesel power in pickup trucks. Despite the fact that the IDI is an old-school engine that can’t compete with current electronic engines in terms of power, it has a big and devoted following. Countless IDIs are still on the road, some in business livery, and they seem to keep going and going. Without a doubt, the Ford IDI engine is far from being obsolete.

The Ford Package

Ford introduced a new truck line in 1980, and the diesel joined the market smack in the middle of that generation, from 1980 to 1986. Because of its large snout, this body type is now known as the “Bullnose.” It was available in three trim levels: standard (base), mid-line XL, and full-boat XLT. Regular cab longbed, SuperCab longbed, and crewcab longbed were available in select years. In 1985, “Lariat” was added to the XLT designation.

You could choose between two transmissions at the time: the Warner T-19 four-speed or the renowned C-6 automatic three-speed. It comes with a BorgWarner 1345 transfer case if you chose four-wheel drive. Axles differed from year to year. The rear axle had a Dana 61 or 70 axle until mid-1985. The 10.25-inch ring gear Ford Sterling appeared in semi-float or full-float versions in mid-year 1985. (full-float only on the diesels). Dana 70 HD axles were most common on F-350 DRWs, however DRW Sterling axles are also available. The weight for the 4x2s was carried by the two I-beam non-driving axles up front. The Dana 44 twin traction beam (TTB) was standard on the F-250HD 44, with a Dana 50 TTB available as an option, but the Dana 50 TTB was standard on the F-350. The Dana 60 solid front axle was introduced in 1985, and it was standard on most F-350s. The diesels came in only two axle ratios: 3.55 and 4.10:1. This was to be the standard approach throughout the IDI era.

Ford made several stylistic tweaks in 1987, but did not change the basic body structure. These trucks are known as the “Bricknose” among IDI diesel enthusiasts. These trucks have a more aerodynamic appearance with their flattened noses and flush headlights. The interior of the Fenderwell altered as well. Under the driver’s headlamp, a little “Diesel” logo appeared. The trim levels have changed slightly, with the lowest level now being termed “Custom,” and each level moving upmarket slightly.

For model year 1987, the 6.9L engine was retained, however for model year 1988, it was replaced with the 7.3L engine. The ZF five-speed manual transmission option was a major breakthrough in 1987. Initially, purchasers had the option of choosing between the conventional T-19 four-speed, the ZF five-speed, or the C-6 automatic transmission. By 1988, the T-19 was no longer available, and the five-speed became the only manual transmission choice. It had a taller first gear than the gasoline version, just like the T-19.

The E4OD overdrive automatic was available in the diesel line for 1989. That was a huge breakthrough, giving customers who wanted automatics the mpg gains of overdrive, but it took Ford a long time to design one strong enough for use in greater GVW light trucks. Through 1994, trucks were constructed with a mix of three-speed C-6 and E4OD automatic transmissions, while the C-6 was only available in the commercial cab and chassis lines later on. Suspension and axles remained the same as before, however the Dana 44 TTB was discarded in favor of the Dana 50 as the standard front end for 4x4s in this era. The Dana 60 was still utilized in F-350s, with a few exceptions.

For ’92, the front wrap was modified once more, but the basic body shape stayed the same. For some reason, Ford diesel enthusiasts refer to this generation as “OBS,” which stands for “Old Body Style.” We assume this is due to the fact that the Power Stroke engine was installed in this vehicle far into the 1990s. The cabin was completely redesigned, although the engine options remained largely unchanged.

In 1993, Ford made headlines by introducing a turbocharged version of the IDI diesel. The naturally aspirated IDI remained the base diesel engine, although output had been raised to 185 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, the maximum power and torque numbers the NA IDI would achieve in factory trim. For 1994, the Power Stroke was a late entry, and the IDI trucks were quickly relegated to the “Oh, by the way” category.

What was the first American made diesel truck?

1933 The Kenworth Cummins Diesel was the first American-made diesel truck with a vertical exhaust stack. Clessie Cummins struggled to get his nascent diesel engine business off the ground during the Great Depression.

What is the number 1 diesel truck?

Because its 400-hp High Output 6.7-liter I-6 Cummins is the first diesel powerplant for general-use vehicles to surpass the four-digit torque mark, Ram’s 2020 Heavy Duty rates as an all-time greatest diesel pickup truck (and was MotorTrend’s 2020 Truck of the Year) (1,000 lb-ft).

What year did Ford start making their own diesel engines?

Although the first Powerstroke diesel engine didn’t appear until late 1994, the Powerstroke tale began in 1982 when Ford partnered with ITEC to produce diesel engines (International Truck and Engine Corporation). It was a 6.9-liter indirect injection (IDI) engine for the first one. Although it only had 170 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque, these were outstanding figures for the 1980s.

The 6.9-liter IDI engine was produced until 1987, when it was replaced by the 7.3-liter IDI engine. Between 1987 and 1993, this engine was produced with the same stroke as the preceding 6.9-liter but a larger bore. The cylinder heads were totally reworked, and the engine block was strengthened as well. There was no turbocharger on this engine. This 7.3L IDI engine was the forerunner of the 7.3-liter Powerstroke engine that we are all familiar with today.

The turbocharged 7.3L made its debut in 1993. Internal sections of the engine were also updated to resist the turbo boost pressure. This engine didn’t gain much of a power or torque boost despite the turbo. However, it didn’t matter in the end because Ford was ready to release the engine that would revolutionize the industry.

Introducing the First Powerstroke: The Legendary 7.3-liter

The first Powerstroke turbo-diesel was a direct-injection engine that was produced between 1994 and 2003. A wastegate turbocharger, HUEI fuel injectors, and an air-to-air intercooler were among the 7.3 Powerstroke items available at the time. This engine had the same displacement as the previous one, but it included an electronically controlled direct-injection system that allowed it to produce up to 21,000 psi.

The first model 7.3-liter Powerstroke was built to last, with a 4.11-inch bore, 4.18-inch stroke, cast-iron block and cylinder heads, and forged steel connecting rods. It routinely went to 300,000 miles and beyond. The air-to-air intercooler and HEUI fuel injectors were introduced in the second version of the 7.3-liter Powerstroke in 1999.

HEUI fuel injectors were a key component of the second-generation Powerstroke’s new parts. A low-pressure pump and a high-pressure pump were required for the new system. The low-pressure pump pumps oil into the high-pressure reservoir, which the high-pressure pump subsequently forces through oil lines into the high-pressure oil rails. The injection pressure varies between 500 and 3,000 psi, resulting in an increase in fuel pressure at the injectors due to the oil pumps.

This second series of 7.3-liter Powerstroke engines was produced until 2003 and is still regarded as one of the best diesel engines ever by many diesel enthusiasts. It frequently exceeded a quarter-million miles.

Meeting Emissions Requirements with The 6.0-liter Powerstroke

In 2003, ITEC, now Navistar, teamed up with Ford to produce the 6.0-liter Powerstroke engine. The decision to drop the venerable 7.3-liter was influenced by new government pollution standards. To compete with the GM Duramax and Cummins Turbo Diesel, the Powerstroke needed to provide higher power while emitting fewer pollutants.

The new 6.0L Powerstroke used a new variable geometry turbo and various new emissions control components to enhance power to 325 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque.

Unfortunately, some 6.0 Powerstroke equipment, such as the oil cooler, EGR cooler, high-pressure oil pump, and head gasket, were prone to failure. Despite the fact that several 6.0-liter Powerstroke engines are still in use today, the engine’s reputation for reliability caused Ford to discontinue it in 2007.

The Clean and Quiet 6.4-liter Powerstroke

In 2007, Navistar teamed up with Ford once more to produce the 6.4-liter Powerstroke. The HEUI technology was used in previous Powerstroke diesel parts, however this engine added a common rail system with piezoelectric injectors. The 6.4 received its boost from two consecutive turbochargers. This engine had a power output of 350 horsepower and a torque output of 650 pound-feet.

The 6.4 Powerstroke had other issues, while fulfilling the strict diesel emissions rules of the period. One of the most common criticisms was the engine’s low fuel efficiency for a diesel engine. It was, however, unquestionably quieter and more powerful than the previous engine.

It, like the 6.0, was only produced for a few years before the Navistar-Ford relationship ended in 2010.

The Powerful and Efficient 6.7-liter Powerstroke

Ford decided to build its own Powerstroke engine without the help of Navistar in 2011. This engine featured a new design that included a water-to-air intercooler and a DualBoost variable geometry turbo. The 6.7-liter Powerstroke benefited from cutting-edge diesel technology such as its Instant Start feature and a lightweight compacted graphite iron engine block, which made it 160 pounds lighter than the 6.4-liter Powerstroke. The 6.7 utilises a common-rail injection system, just as the previous engine.

Initially, this engine had 390 horsepower and 735 pound-feet of torque. Ford managed to push it to 400 horsepower with a new turbo just a year later. By 2015, Ford has increased the output of the new 6.7-liter engine to 440 horsepower and 860 pound-feet of torque. The max torque of the engine increased to 925 pound-feet in 2017, while the horsepower stayed same.


In comparison to the two engines that came before it, the 6.7-liter Powerstroke has shown to be quite reliable. The iconic 7.3-liter, on the other hand, is still revered by many diesel aficionados. If you don’t want to upgrade to Ford’s newest Powerstroke, there are plenty of 7.3 Powerstroke performance parts available to help you get the most out of this older engine.

ProSource has all the performance diesel parts you need for any Powerstroke engine, so you can get the most out of your truck.

What is the oldest truck brand?

Autocar, which was formed in 1897 and constructed America’s first truck in 1899, is the country’s oldest automobile brand. Autocar’s reputation as the “World’s Finest” among truck professionals in the twentieth century stemmed from the many technical innovations it pioneered that are now standard in all cars and trucks around the world, as well as its focus on custom-engineering trucks for the most demanding applications.

Since then, Autocar has grown to become the only American truck manufacturer dedicated to heavy-duty vocational applications, while remaining true to the mission that propelled the company to its early success: custom-engineered trucks that serve as purpose-built equipment for the toughest work.

“We’re ecstatic to be able to commemorate such a significant milestone in Autocar’s history,” Adam Burck, Vice President of Brand Management, stated. “Hundreds of individuals have put in a lot of effort over the years to create these incredible trucks. It’s a terrific chance to express gratitude and acknowledge their achievements.”

Autocar is the oldest automobile manufacturer in the United States, having produced the country’s first truck in 1899. Autocar has been dedicated to purpose-built trucks from its inception, and now it is the leading American maker of severe-duty cab-over trucks. Autocar has a strong and expanding presence in the markets for the biggest, baddest trucks on the road, including Class 8 garbage and recycling trucks, concrete pump trucks, terminal tractors, and other heavy-duty vocational applications.

What was the first Dodge diesel?

Diesel. The first diesel-powered Dodge pickup truck was introduced in the 1978 models. Mitsubishi’s 6DR5 4.0 L inline six-cylinder naturally-aspirated diesel, rated at 105 horsepower (78 kW) at 3500 rpm and 230 Nm (169 lbft) at 2200 rpm, was available as an economic option in light-duty vehicles and B-series vans.

Where are Dodge diesel trucks made?

Cummins produces diesel engines with displacements greater than 70 liters, therefore anything below the Class 5 truck market is considered “light duty” by them. The current High Output and standard 6.7-liter ISB inline-six oil burners in Ram’s 2500/3500 heavy-duty pickups and 3500/4500/5500 chassis cabs, on the other hand, are designed for medium-duty use. They’re built immediately south of Cummins’ international headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, at the Columbus Midrange Engine Plant (CMEP). We came to observe where this well-known truck engine is made.

In 1971, CMEP began manufacturing pistons, connecting rods, pulleys, rocker housings, and water pumps on a site covering more than 400 acres. It closed in 1988 to adapt to engine manufacture, restarted in 1991, and has since been feeding Dodge/Ram assembly lines. Other chassis makers have used CMEP, but their production pales in comparison to Dodge’s, and the plant should be producing engine No. 2 million soon. A total of 587,904 square feet of manufacturing and office space is available.

CMEP is easy to discover by car or even by air, as it is located just off Interstate 65. The roof of the factory, which also serves as a 500-space parking lot, is crimson. Sealing the roof is a routine maintenance item because it expands and shrinks up to 16 inches in temperature extremes.

Who made the first diesel engine?

Rudolf Diesel designed the efficient, compression ignition, internal combustion engine that carries his name in the 1890s. Due to the constraints of their compressed air-assisted fuel injection systems, early diesel engines were massive and operated at low speeds.

Is Duramax better than Cummins?

Torque is the most important factor in hauling, but horsepower isn’t far behind. Whether you’re towing or not, more horsepower means faster acceleration. With 445 horsepower, the latest Duramax 6.6L L5P diesel dominates this category. The modern Ram Cummins 6.7L 24V diesel engines have 400 horsepower. Historically, the Duramax line has had a modest horsepower advantage over the Cummins line.

Who has the most reliable diesel truck?

Diesel fans are well aware that pre-emissions diesel trucks were more reliable in general. One of them is the LB7 Duramax. There are no EGR, DPF, or SCR emissions control systems on this vehicle. This truck was rather light for an HD pickup, allowing it to achieve up to 22 mpg when not towing or hauling. It also had the option of a heavy-duty Allison transmission to help in towing.

The 6.6L Duramax V8 with Bosch common-rail injection was used in the 2500 and 3500 HD models in this model year range, and it was unaffected by later emission systems. These trucks are recognized for being dependable workhorses that can produce up to 450 horsepower when properly programmed.

  • For lots of towing capability, choose between an Allison six-speed automatic or a ZF-6 six-speed manual transmission.