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1980 International Scout Turbodiesel - Diesel Alternatives

Lasting Impressions

Photography by Jason Thompson

To mainstream America the diesel engine is often misunderstood. For one thing, diesels aren't built for the present-obsessed. Instead they're prepared for what's on the horizon and answer a confident "yes" to the question; will it last? Take Donald Riepe's Nissan diesel-powered International Scout for example.

Before he retired, Donald installed and repaired diesel generators for a telephone company. This is what gave him his special knowledge to buy a diesel. Back in 1980 Don bought this International Scout II 4x4 turbodiesel. As he told Diesel Power, "Some of my friends thought I was crazy to pay $11,000 for it-most of them are dead now, but my Scout still lives and runs perfectly." The engine has steel cylinder sleeves, five-ring pistons, piston cooling oil jets, and a block-mounted oil cooler. Plus, everything on this engine is gear driven, so according to Don, "It will run for eternity."

So far, the Scout and its 198ci Nissan straight-six has traveled 212,681 miles, while getting 20-25 mpg. Donald believes diesel engines come from the factory optimally dialed-in for longevity, and has left well enough alone. A quick look underneath the Scout reveals an astonishing find. This 28-year-old engine doesn't leak a drop of oil! All the factory stickers are intact and the body is nearly rust-free.

The only modifications made to the Scout were stout steel front and rear bumpers, and an aftermarket fuel filter (the original engine-mounted filter was a pain to service). The front fender was replaced after an accident on the freeway, and unfortunately Don's wife was driving the Scout when its rear axle broke and came out of the housing. The Scout came to a rest after taking out a sign. There were no injuries.

Owner: Donald R. Riepe
Make/Model: '80 International Scout Turbodiesel
Miles: 212,681
Fuel Economy: 20-25 mpg
Engine: Nissan 6-33T six-cylinder turbodiesel
Displacement: 198 cubic inches or 3.2L
Horsepower: 101 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 178 lb-ft at 2,200 rpm
Injector pump: Kiki (Japanese Bosch)
Turbo: AiResearch TO-3
Axle Ratio: 3.54

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