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Old 06-22-2015, 02:20 PM   #1
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1980 International Scout Nissan Diesel

OK, I might be a glutton for punishment. I am debating getting an International Scout Turbo Diesel with the Nissan SD33 engine. Anyone know anything about it? I had a thread going a little while ago about gas vs diesel and it was a great discussion. There are a lot of you out there with a lot of knowledge so it would not surprise me if someone actually knew something about this vehicle. If you followed my last thread, you might know that, 1; I was on the fence about getting another diesel, and 2; my mechanic hears the word diesel and he runs up a tree like he is being chased by a grizzly. The latter I can deal with. There is a very good, reputable diesel mechanic down the street. (I am in Atlanta, anyone deal with the guys at Soban's Diesel Repair?) The only feedback I have had about this engine is my scardy-cat mechanic, who had a special dislike for this diesel in particular. I know the engine is a slow 0-60 in 6 days engine, and so far I have found that it was used a lot in forklifts. And it starts to break cylinder rings at around 250K. But that is all I know about it. I wanted to know what it might be like under load? I would like to tow a ~28 footer. Any feeedback would be appreciated.
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Old 06-22-2015, 03:13 PM   #2
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Not in my lifetime would it work
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Old 06-22-2015, 03:17 PM   #3
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OK, let me start the negative side.

Why

1.Would you want a 35 year old orphan vehicle with a rare engine to tow with?
2.Would you want a vehicle which was marginal to begin with when it was new?
3.Would you want to tow a large trailer (28') with it, the wheelbase is pretty short to begin with?
4.Would you want to put up with trying to fine someone to repair it when towing and away from home?
5.Would you want to subject everyone behind you to your slow speeds and black smoke from an old diesel that smoked to begin with when new?

And that is from someone who had Diesels from about 1962 until about 2000, and loved them. And I towed my '63 Bambi with a MB 5 cylinder 300 D. And my bigger Airstreams with a 6.2 L Suburban diesel. But times change. Technology changes. Expectations change.

Why?

I just can't imagine any positive reason to do it.
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:23 PM   #4
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HA! I know, I kind of agree. But I guess I was kind of leaning that way because of some of the people involved with the thread I mentioned earlier. Old diesels being like rocks that would not die. Yes, they are loud smoking monsters. But my experience with my 300TD wagons (two of them, and a few other 300's) was that they did not die no matter what you put them through. Well, I did throw a rod in one, but I think that was my fault. This truck is more for fun than anything else though. I will rarely be using it to tow. And most of the time it will not be on long hauls. It is more of a concession with my wife. I wanted an older classic truck I could use for typical house work (hauling lumber, firewood, house projects). Something that I could work on, and maybe partially restore. My wife, wants her little red convertible jeep. So this was the compromise. An IH Scout. But I would also like to use it to tow a trailer into the mountains. So I am not looking for something to go across country for weeks or months at a time. I am not going into this thinking it will be reliable. but at the same time, I want to know if there is something inherent in this particular engine that anyone might know is a red flag. Other that what you pointed out: It might not be a well known, or used engine. But I did read that it was easy to find parts for. I certainly would feel more comfortable with the gas engines that came with the Scouts. But I happen to have the opportunity to buy the diesel right now, so I was looking for an opinion on this diesel. But Idroba, I feel your concerns completely.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:59 PM   #5
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I remember reading about that vehicle in Popular Mechanics when it was new! I looked up the article on Google books and found some technical data. Assuming that the gear ratios are the same as for the 4 speed manual with the gas engine, you would do OK - just OK - with a Bambi on two lane roads. Even an older 27 or 29' at about 6000 lbs loaded would be very slow. Think maximum 50 to 55 mph.

On the other hand, judging by that old PM article, 55 mph was about the upper limit for comfortable cruising solo. 101 hp at 3800 rpm, 175 lb ft torque at 2200, redline of 4000, 3.73 final drive, 225/75/15 tires.

But hey, it might be just what you need to get to your fishing spot or whatever. You just won't be traveling across the country.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by scottg View Post
HA! I know, I kind of agree. But Idroba, I feel your concerns completely.
Whew, I was worried that I got carried away with my comments. I loved my old diesels and still have some feelings for the diesels today, but how technology has changed over the years. Gas engines have improved, as have diesels, but I would just not want to go back to what I had in Diesel technology in the 60's and 70's. And gas engine technology is so damn good now. Much less maintenance, always start and run well, and much more economical than in the past.

At any rate, happy hunting for your dream vehicle, be it diesel or gas.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:19 AM   #7
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Ive owner my 76 scout II since 1988. I would pass in the opportunity as a 100 inch wheelbase as tow vehicle for more than 16 footer. Scouts came from the factory with 0 degree caster built into the front axle... which is nowhere near enough. The last year of production in 1980 the added 2.5 deg of caster... which is still not enough for a front shackle suspension.

I have twisted my axles 6 degs, but after leaf sprung sagand longer shackles than stock, is have less than 2 degs when measured at an alignment shop.

Now even if you were willing to completely rebuild the front end and get custom axles like I did to add caster, I would still pass. Even then it will be a magnate tow vehicle, for shorter trailers. there is no way I would try my 23 footer... let alone a 28er.
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Old 06-23-2015, 03:38 AM   #8
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That is what I wanted to hear. Great info. Thanks! So much for that. You gave me some homework to do too though. I have been towing small trailers all my life. And occasionally heavy trailers with tractors. But I have never had to worry about castor before. I have no idea what that means in relation to towing. Or at least how it would have helped me out. I probably don't know what I was missing. The majority of what I did my towing with was with a GM 2500 though so it was set up just fine for towing in the first place for the most part.
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Old 06-23-2015, 06:31 AM   #9
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Hi Scott

We had one customer with an International Scout diesel back when it was new. He towed a 1980 22' with it for a year and then bought a 1981 28' which he had for a couple of years and then he towed a 1983 31' for a two or three years with it. I vaguely remember driving it and thinking it was very slow but it handled fine. I think we changed the stock tire size to something better. Maybe a P215/65 x 15"?

If you are looking for an older diesel to tow with the Mercedes in line 6 from 1995 was amazing for its day. It had 24 valves and a 6000 RPM redline with no turbo, it had individual tunnel rams about a foot long though. One customer towed his 34 classic with an E Class sedan with this engine for about 5 years. I drove it and was very impressed with the performance and his fuel mileage was around 20 MPG towing and 45 solo.

One of these might be easier to find and service. be sure and search Canada as diesels are much more popular here.

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Old 06-23-2015, 11:57 AM   #10
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Never would have thought. Good to see that the Scout performed though. Part of the reason for the Scout was the top off fun of it. This is a vacation vehicle after all. I plan on spending a lot of time cruising between Marathon key and Bahia Honda and shucking oysters in New Orleans with the top down. Then go back to the Airstream at night.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:17 PM   #11
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Cool to hear IH Scout mentioned again. We owned a 1980 Scout with a 345 gas engine for about 10 years. It was a fun truck, very rugged running gear but by today's standards the engine was weak.
We towed a 21.5' SOB trailer with it, but it wasn't pleasant. The short wheelbase and antiquated suspension made it quite squirrely.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:21 PM   #12
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All the International Scouts I ever saw were rusty prematurely. What is the body like?
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:41 PM   #13
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Yeah I know. This one is actually in really good shape. Typically, when I look for them I continually say "Wow! It only has 45K miles on it!" But then I realize that the rust holding the fenders on might break loose if you talk too loud around it. They just were not made to last that long. The body is the main selling point to me. If I find a diesel, I will hope it is running well (well enough OK?). But if it is gas, then I will probably expect to rebuild the engine if I have to. Better than doing a body rebuild. Speaking of the engine, I am surprised the 345 cu engine could be weak at any gear ratio. I have had limited experience with Scouts. But I used to drive one at a nursery in Athens. The owner collected them so I got to drive all models from the 800 to the Travelall. I never got the impression that it could have needed more power. We used them too! They were used as tractors on the nursery. That is one of the reasons I still kind of have a thing for them.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:04 PM   #14
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Owned several Scouts over my years.. First,, you don't drive a International,, you heard them.. Add in the short wheel base I would not tow anything with it.

The Datsun diesel you are looking at were good in there day but in today's world would be hard to find a needed part on the road somewhere. It might take 2 weeks to nail down a water pump or such if needed.. all depends on who the parts man is behind the desk..

They were not power horses by any ones standards. Just enough to drag them self and not much more. Only drove a Scout diesel once and was not impressed.

Hate to bad mouth a old IHC,, as I still depend on 3 of them on our farm but the truth is hard to swallow at times. Sodbust
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