April 1982 We Drive The new Diesel Chevy Blazer - Trail's EndPosted in Features on June 20, 2014 0) (
In 1982, GM rolled out the Detroit Diesel-designed 6.2L diesel engine, and they bolted it in various trucks and SUVs as an option. That same year, you could purchase a Commodore 64 computer with 64 KB of RAM. Or you could opt for the Apple III computer with 128 KB of RAM, made by a company owned by some guy named Jobs.
What did the 6.2L diesel and the Commodore and Apple computers have in common? Well, they were cutting-edge for the time, and buyers went haywire over ‘em.
We were thumbing through the April ‘82 issue of Four Wheeler where we found an interesting story about the then-new Chevy K5 Blazer equipped with the 6.2L diesel engine. We wrote that the Blazer wasn’t changed much from the 1981 model, so obviously the engine was the big news. This diesel engine was groundbreaking for GM. The previous 5.7L diesel, found in GM cars and two-wheel-drive trucks, was a reworked gasoline engine, whereas the 6.2L was built from the ground-up for truck use. It was available in four-wheel-drive models, too. The non-turbocharged engine had a power rating of 130 hp at 3,600 rpm and a torque rating of 240 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm. Of these numbers, we wrote, “Both figures are impressive for a diesel, and they are reflected in excellent power and outstanding performance. We can’t stress that enough.” We went on to note that the diesel also returned good fuel mileage. “But the kicker is that at the same time, it delivers fuel economy exceeding the EPA ratings of similar size gasoline engines by about 25 percent.” During our testing, the diesel-powered Blazer returned a maximum of 26.46 mpg on-road and a maximum of 18.72 mpg off-road. The Blazer we tested was equipped with the four-speed overdrive automatic transmission and optional 3.42:1 axle gearing. “With the power this diesel has with a 3.42 axle, we can imagine what it would do with a set of 4.10 or 4.56 gears,” we said.
"During our testing, the diesel-powered Blazer returned a maximum of 26.46 mpg on-road and a maximum of 18.72 mpg off-road."
However, “Good things don’t come cheap,” we went on to say. The diesel engine option cost $1,334, and the diesel engine equipment package (we weren’t sure exactly what it contained) cost $1,125. Add to that the 3.42:1-ratio cogs ($35), the four-speed auto tranny ($637), and other combined options, and our Blazer’s as-tested price was $9,874.20.
By today’s standards, the 6.2L engine specs are woeful for a light-truck diesel engine. Compared to GM’s current Duramax, the 6.2L engine had 205 percent less horsepower and 219 percent less torque. However, the engine was incredibly simple, it returned pretty darn good fuel mileage, and it was propelling a truck with a pair of solid axles and a respectable 27-degree approach angle. Sounds like a combination we could actually live with even in 2014. We’ll pass on the antiquated Commodore 64 and the Apple III computer, though.