The Oldsmobile Diesel was a mysterious engine, and if you could actually find anyone who knew of it, it was mostly talked down upon. It seemed as if the only information that anyone had regarding any types of repairs was to actually replace the Diesel with a gas engine. I found this common answer to be absolutely irrelevant, if not just completely ridicules. With the lack of information in both repair manuals and on the internet, and with the irrelevant advice of master technicians, I sought out to discover exactly how such a surreal reality came to be. I began to study the engine from every angle, comparing them to heavy duty diesels and high performance gas engines alike - documenting my research on what was then considered a "Home Page". In hopes to speak with other owners, I posted my email address, advertised the site for free with several search engines (Google had not yet been born)...and the emails came rolling in.
It had begun. Other owners began sharing their stories and experiences with me via-email. With a bit of a fan base and my stubborn refusal to take no for an answer, I realized that my job was clear: To provide informative answers to others that actually pertained to the diesels. I would find the issues that would occur "for no reason" and correct them. I decided to give my little website a name: "The 350 Diesel Page". Social Networking was nothing like it is today, but I thought that it would be very beneficial to find a way for these owners to have the ability to converse with each other with ease. After a little searching, I discovered a way to do so by creating a "Forum". In late 1998, The 350 Diesel Page Message Board was created. The conversations began, and Message Board began taking shape as the center of Oldsmobile Diesel networking. From personal experiences to technical questions, it was a place of absolute assistance.
Seeing what was happening, I decided to step it up a little bit, giving The 350 Diesel Page its very own "Dot Com", thus changing the name from The 350 Diesel Page to Olds-Diesel.com. The title seemed to work wonders, as more and more emails rolled in...but this time, by a vast array of people. College Professors, Engine Builders, and even Certified GM Technicians sent their inquiries forward. The history of the Oldsmobile Diesel program itself began to unfold, when emails came through from some of the engineers (now retired) who where actually on the development team.
In early 2000, I was contacted by SRC (Springfield Remanufacturing Company) in reference to the massive amount of Oldsmobile Diesel parts that remained in their warehouse facility after GM pulled the plug on the Diesels in 1985. It was Discovered that SRC was the company that was contracted to build the GM Goodwrench replacement engines for General Motors. They needed these extra parts out of their possession in order to make room for the LT1 engines. SRC offered me the deal of a life time, but unfortunately, I just did not have the resources available to make that happen. However, I could not allow such a gold mine to disappear into the scrap pile. SRC gladly worked with me in creating a massive inventory list of what was available. From complete engines right down to a single bolt, it was all there. I published that list on the site and did my best to advertise it. I bought what I could, and with in several months, everything was gone. SRC said that they couldn't believe the amount of parts that were going out by the pallet load. I was very glad to see these parts redistributed.
In 2004, after six years of member communication, talks of forming an actual Oldsmobile Diesel Rally became popular amongst members of the message board. A long time member of the message board got clearance to offer his location in West Virgina. With the majority of members ranging from the Midwest, to Michigan, to New Hampshire, and as far south as South Florida, it seemed as if this was a very nice point of center. Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit far for members on the West Coast, the issue mainly being travel time. The idea was that rallys could be held in different regions as desired. The event was named "The Greater North-East Oldsmobile Diesel Rally". It was set to be a two day event that even featured free lodging arrangements! Members of the message board worked extensively on this. Many owners signed up to attend the event. As the time approached, issues arose that prevented some of the members from attending. Unfortunately I was one of them. However, the show went on. Even the bad weather and flood waters didnt stop some of those die hards from attending! A 2005 Rally was thought up, and there were talks of holding it at another members 100 Acre junk yard, which happened to be filled with over 100 Oldsmobile Diesels. Missouri was thought to be a good idea as to accommodate those on the West Coast, but it never made it past planning stages. < BR>
With the energy alive, more ideas came forward.... To Be Continued...
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