Engine of the Day: Mercedes-Benz OM617 5-Cylinder Diesel

Illustration for article titled Engine of the Day: Mercedes-Benz OM617 5-Cylinder Diesel

Could the OM617 be the most reliable automobile engine ever made? A very good case could be made for it, although its successors haven't been around long enough for us to judge whether they might be even better. Sure, diesel engines have the advantage of using a fuel that is itself a lubricant, and they generally operate at lower RPM ranges than gasoline engines... but once you get past 500,000 miles (as so many 70s and 80s Mercedes-Benzes powered by the OM617 have done), that line of argument loses much of its power. Make the jump to see some video of this engine in action. [Wikipedia]

Here's some video shot of a vegetable-oil-powered Mercedes-Benz at the 24 Hours of LeMons race last October; another veggie-oil diesel Benz finished 19th at that race.

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Matt Hardigree

This reminds me of my W123. Couldn't kill it. One day when driving home from school it magically overheated and started spewing smoke like the audience at a Cheech & Chong marathon. I pulled it over to the bank and carefully opened the hood. I started to unscrew the cap when I heard a loud whistle. I ducked and what was left in the reservoir when spewing out. I waited about thirty minutes, filled it up with water and drove on home. Turns out my dad had drained most of the fluid and had forgotten to tell be about it.