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6V53 engine in 1948 fire engine


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Yes, very definitely a repower. 700 Series ALF's ("The Bathtub) were commonly delivered with Continental (straight 8) or Lycoming (V12) power. Later in life when these engines grenaded or the owners wanted to upgrade to an oil burner, the 6V53 (unfortunately) was a common choice due to similar horsepower and torque curves as well as fitting in there without much shoehorning or other work. But a common theme was that they created a turtle (a loud, obnoxious one at that) that wouldn't get out of its own way as they went from a 3200rpm engine to a 2100 engine, and didn't have the money to swap out the rears.


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The v6-53 was a good transplant for any old or newer truck with a gas motor, sure it did not have the power of a 318 or even a 6V-71 but it gave you the RPM'S and more power then the gas motor would give you, and that's a fact! It also gave you many more years of reliable service.


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The easiest way to tell difference between Detroit Diesel 53 Series or a 71 Series is the 53 series valve cover mounts to head around bottom of valve cover with bolts and a 71 series mounts to head thru top of valve cover.71 and 92 series valve covers are interchangeable.The newer style cast aluminum are much better than the pressed steel ones for making a tighter seal to stop oil leaks. Joe D.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a little late to this party, but it fits my situation.

I'm in the process of buying a '47 700 pumper that was re-powered with a 6v53 that seems to run well.

What I know of Diesels is from working with VW, so I know the concept and realize the difference from gasoline engines.

I will be giving this DD a proper major maintenance, as well as everything else on the rig.

But, will I be able to drive it?

It concerns me that I will likely be looking into swapping out the rear.

How complicated is this going to be? Can the gears be changed out or is the whole rear end going to be replaced?

I was hoping to retain as much original as possible, at least what can be seen.

If going the used school bus rear route, what's involved?

Anything I know about conventional drive trucks is from a distance. I've been a rear-engine, air-cooled car guy for four and a half decades, don't know much about front engine, rear drive. Basics and what I caught from my buddies in high school.


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As Joe D said in an earlier post, The 6V53 will turn 2800 RPM. No Idea how fast the original gas engine turned but probably not much more than that? Unless you are planning some long road trips you should be OK.. Remember you have to stop it also and those old brake systems were not that effiecnt either..


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Remeber your truck was in service with that motor in it and it was used to responed to emergencies, so I'm sure it was driven with the pedal to the floor. I'm sure it sat and idled on scene for hours too. I have a freind with the same set up and he used to drive that truck all over to shows in PA. We live in NY so he ran it up and down the hills of ot RT 81 he rigged up a trailer hitch to the fire body and pulled a trailer with it too. As long a fluids are up in the motor and driveline you should be able to run that around til your ears ring!

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Thanks, that's good to know. I'm just concerned that I won't be able to go over 45 and it will take forever to get to any musters that are usually a couple of hours away.

And, my ears are already ringing. Too many years of abuse will do that.

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