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  • Detroit Engine

    I searched for this but couldn't find anything. We are looking at a used truck with a 50 series Detroit. I had heard somewhere that Detroit had a problem with one of their engines (something with the crankshaft I believe). Anyone know if this is a decent engine? I realize it isn't real high horsempower, but it isn't a real huge truck.

  • #2
    Originally posted by wischief View Post
    I searched for this but couldn't find anything. We are looking at a used truck with a 50 series Detroit. I had heard somewhere that Detroit had a problem with one of their engines (something with the crankshaft I believe). Anyone know if this is a decent engine? I realize it isn't real high horsepower, but it isn't a real huge truck.
    Perhaps this will help. I hope so.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Diesel_Series_50

    When I did a search for "detroit series 50 crankshaft forum" I didn't see anything on the first few pages that would scare me but didn't look too hard. They are using them in buses in large cities so they apparently aren't too much of a problem.

    Personally, since there are only a handful in the fire service, I have barely heard of them since they were introduced. If they were total crap they would be more famous.

    Just my humble opinion.

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    • #3
      The Detroit 50 was just a Detroit 60 with two cylinders chopped off. The 50 is a four cylinder.

      The 60 is an awesome engine, I can't imagine the 50 would be a bad one, although it wouldn't run as smooth.
      The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

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      • #4
        DDC Series 50

        Originally posted by txgp17 View Post
        The Detroit 50 was just a Detroit 60 with two cylinders chopped off. The 50 is a four cylinder.

        The 60 is an awesome engine, I can't imagine the 50 would be a bad one, although it wouldn't run as smooth.
        The Series 50 is as stated a 4 cylinder and I've sold a few a number of years ago as Freightliner offered it in their business class truck and the only issue I heard of was vibration in the mirrors when backing up and I know that a number of years ago Fort Worth had them in FL106's.

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        • #5
          I remember reading a report from several years back having to do with problems with 50 series mated to Allison transmissions. It had to do with low rpm harmonic vibration. I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for it now.

          I think that combination was popular in transit buses for a time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
            I remember reading a report from several years back having to do with problems with 50 series mated to Allison transmissions. It had to do with low rpm harmonic vibration. I wouldn't even know where to begin looking for it now.

            I think that combination was popular in transit buses for a time.
            Back in the mid 1990's harmonic vibration was a problem with all Allison World transmissions. It had to do with the second overdrive. That is why you don't see six speed Allsion EVS transmissions.

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            • #7
              The 50 series was a very underpowered engine used in medium duty delivery trucks and city busses . slow pick-up with low torque & only average fuel mileage

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wischief View Post
                I searched for this but couldn't find anything. We are looking at a used truck with a 50 series Detroit. I had heard somewhere that Detroit had a problem with one of their engines (something with the crankshaft I believe). Anyone know if this is a decent engine? I realize it isn't real high horsempower, but it isn't a real huge truck.
                We have a neighboring department with one I believe in a Pierce pumper. They don't seem thrilled with it, but maybe they're pushing their luck with what they carry on the engine. I think their primary gripe is lack of power, not so much an issue of mechanical issues.

                If you're interested, I could confirm that they have a 50 series and get you some contact info. My money says it is given the vintage of the rig and the horsepower rating.
                "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the info. This is a smaller truck, 28 ft long and only a 500 gal water tank so not sure how underpowered it would be.

                  NPFD801, if you could PM their contact info, I would like to call and see if they have had any troubles. Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wischief View Post
                    Thanks for all the info. This is a smaller truck, 28 ft long and only a 500 gal water tank so not sure how underpowered it would be.

                    NPFD801, if you could PM their contact info, I would like to call and see if they have had any troubles. Thanks.
                    Already sent a message to their assistant chief. Theirs is a late 90's engine with 1,000 gallons of water, so they're lugging around a bit more weight.

                    I'll send a PM once I know we're talking apples to apples.
                    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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                    • #11
                      Check with FDNY, they probably have 150 or more pumpers with the Series 50 engine in them.

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                      • #12
                        Detroit's problem child was the 55 series. We used these at ALF for a couple of years. They were known to have serious mechanical problems. This engine was a blue boat anchor made by Mercedes with Detroit electroincs.
                        The A/C is not cold enough, the warning lights are not bright enough, siren is not loud enough, the C.D. player skips every time we jump a curb, cab doors only open to 89.5* and it's been like this since day one!!!!

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                        • #13
                          We have two series 50's in our twin 1998 KME's. Yes they are under powered. 350hp and around 1000ft.lbs. I believe. One truck has 40,000 and the other has about 25,000 miles. We have had problems with engine components such as power steering pumps, etc. but I do not recall any engine problems. And yes, it a popular bus engine. Our county transit buses run detroit 50's. Our engines carry 940 water and 60 foam with a full rescue body.

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                          • #14
                            Series 50 is a heavy engine for the horspower and torgue output but will run hundreds of thousands of miles in a bus application.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by donethat View Post
                              Series 50 is a heavy engine for the horspower and torgue output but will run hundreds of thousands of miles in a bus application.
                              And SEVERELY underpowered for FD operations. Kinda like a 3208 cat. Yes they will work. As good as a 60? Not EVEN close. T.C.

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