Old diesel v old petrol cars - Paul Robinson
I read with great interest in the ?peugoet cam belts? topic the arguments in favor of ?a
middle aged well maintained simple diesel?. I?ve always been enthusiastic about
motoring on a small budget (bangernomics). Previously I have been swayed by the
argument that if you have a mechanical problem with an old diesel it?ll be expensive.
Although you?re more likely to have a problem with an old petrol car, it should be
much cheaper to fix and represents a safer bet.

What do other people think?
Re: Old diesel v old petrol cars - Chris
The expensive bits with diesels are the same bits as on petrol engines i.e. gear boxes and internal oily bits. Everything else - pumps, belts, injectors, bearings, alternators etc. - are more or less the same, and in fact will probably last longer on the diesel. Batteries and exhausts also seem to in my experience. As long as you get a well maintained one - not smoky, no "Mayonnaise" and with good "pull" - you will exempt yourself from problems with spark plugs, points, HT leads, Cat Converters, poor damp/cold starting, WD40 addiction etc. Get one with history and a recent MOT so you know the emissions are ok and with regular oil/cambelt changes you really can't go wrong. It will also reduce your fuel costs by around 25%, maybe more. At motorway speeds the lazy style of the engine gives a similar feel to much larger, thirstier petrol engines.
Re: Old diesel v old petrol cars - Ian Cook
I couldn't agree more with Chris' comments. With the older Indirect Injection (IDI) engines that were common until the last 2 years or so then, provided you have a good battery and glow plugs, the engine will start in any weather and just carry on running - no misfiring, stuttering, or special damp weather nurturing.

Yes, a non turbo model will be a little blunt on acceleration but they are superbly tractable and you don't need to use the gearbox (and clutch) anywhere near as much. This is a definite benefit in a motorway traffic jam when the car will run along on tick-over in any of the first three gears and keep pace with the crawlers without recourse to constant clutch dipping, revving and gear changing.

With regard to plugs and HT leads etc. diesel is another distinct advantage. In fact if petrol engines had never been invented, imagine the response to being told "we have invented this wonderful new engine where you have to put highly flammable fuel in it Sir, and you'll need these 30,000 volt wires and ceramic plug thingys that have to kept dry and changed at regular intervals"? It wouldn't catch on, would it?

Re: Old diesel v old petrol cars - simon
I fully agree with the above remarks.Diesel technology is improving in leaps & bounds & I firmly believe that with the inevitable continual increase in fuel prices, diesel frugality & performance superiority over petrol engined counterparts will result in a significant attitude change in the motoring public.Whilst I cannot claim vast experience on older diesels, monitoring of diesel forums in both the USA & Europe reveal considerable numbers of these cars attaining prodigious mileages , sometimes with minimal servicing & care.
I require & enjoy reliable motoring with additional zest & I would be extremely
unwilling to return to a petrol engined variant.

Re: Old diesel v old petrol cars - D J Woollard

That argument in favour of the "simple" petrol car did apply somewhat 10 - 20 years ago. Then diesels were crude and formed such a small part of the overall market, few people in the car world really understood them. Also the petrol car then would have no Cat, no ECU, perhaps just a simple electronic ignition and often a simple carb with manual choke. Everyone had a friend who could get your car going on Sunday morning. Hence "Bangernomics" equalled petrol.

Now as the years roll on and most of these simple cars hit the breakers quite sophisticated petrol vehicles are coming under £1000 and into your Bangernomics class. Have a look at the auctions and see the high mileage/Cat/EFI/ECU/Aircon laden early Xantias struggling to hit £1000. These are the type of petrol vehicles you will have to understand for banger motoring in the next few years. And just look at the threads for running faults on such vehicles to see what is looming. Take the latest one about the P-reg Golf for example where VAG are unable to sort its faults.

Look at a pre'96 diesel and you have something little more complicated (and no jokes about little more refined because many high geared diesels actually feel more refined when cruising than a busy petrol engine) than my 30yr old tractor, any old fitter from years ago could sort it for a packet of fags.

The acid test is cost. I guess if a company was providing my car and paying for fuel I would have a sporty petrol model. As all the bills are my own diesel is the vehicle of choice, and not second best.....unless of course you have anything with that dog of a Ford 1.8TD fitted!


Value my car