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10 Most Reliable Engines Running Beyond 300,000 Miles

I ran across this and found it interesting

Yes, definitely
Maybe yes, maybe no

The only one of those engines with which I had personal experience was the Volvo B20 engine. Despite meticulous maintenance, mine began burning a significant amount of oil by 50k miles, and by 70k miles, I was dumping a qt of oil into it every 600 miles. And, before you say that I got a lemon, my experience was essentially the same as every other owner of early to mid-70s Volvos with whom I was familiar.

Hmmm…Maybe the Swedes sent all of their bad engines to The US, and kept the good ones in Europe…

You can make an engine run forever by keeping replacing parts that wear out.

The most durable I have seen was a Toyota Corolla diesel in Asia used as a taxi with 1.4 million kilometers ( 870,000 miles) without any internal work. The next longest was an old Cadillac used as a taxi which had nearly one million miles on it and still was not using oil.

Nearly all those highly publicized Volvos have had considerable engine work done on them.

There is a guy in town here who has an 80s Toyota Celica with nearly 1.9 million miles on it. The car came from the desert near Las Vegas and was used for courier service. Not sure how much engine work was done on it but it has the original engine.

Heavy duty diesels used in Class 8 trucks routinely get a million miles on them between overhauls…

Our own experience was with a1984 Chevy Impala with a 302 V8 that was finally sold with over 300,000 miles on it and had only the fuel pump and timing chain replaced. The reason for sale was corrosion. The kid who bought it for $700 drove it for several years.

The video tells me very little.

I owned 2 Cherokees and 3 Ford trucks that clocked over 300,000 miles and maintained quite a few fleet vehicles passing the 300,000 mark, most notably Fords with 300 6 cylinders. But as for privately owned daily drivers passing 300k I recall a Buick 3800, 2 Ford Crown Vics and several GM cars and trucks with SB V-8s. America’s greatest automobiles seem to be a few of the bread and butter models that have quietly kept running without much attention.

Those diesels belching clouds of black smoke…yuk! Too bad they last so long!


Modern truck diesels meeting the new Tier 5 specs have virtually no smoke and run very clean. Those standards are now being applied to large marine diesels as well. Even luxurious cruise ships emit a large amount of smoke if they have old style diesels.

Cannot imagine how many miles must have been on the old checker marathon taxi cabs, remembering driving by a cab company in chicago, piles of transmissions and brake drums.

I rode a Checker cab in Pittsburg some time ago. The driver said it was an “ex-New York” cab and had 450,000 miles on it. Checkers had near indestructible bodies and could go through several engines and transmission in their life time.

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The last Checkers had Chevrolet small block V-8s with 350 Hydramatic transmissions and some earlier models I have seen had Continental flat head 6 engines. They were about as basic and solid as a park bench.

George Orwell, commenting on identity, observed that we say it’s the same knife after replacing the blade 3 times and the haft twice.

When I was in college (early '70s), an old English instructor rode a Model T to work. His license plate read, ‘EXTANT’.

When a caller to ‘The Car Show’ wanted a car that would last forever, the late great Len Frank told her that she didn’t, that cars improved too much over time to want to drive around in an old one. He said that as long as you knew a blacksmith you could keep a Model T going forever, but you didn’t want to.


Current US waters emissions standards caused Carnival to refurbish the Pride cruise ship, which operates out of Baltimore, to include scrubbers. The original engines are still in use. This allowed Carnival to continue operating out of the profitable Baltimore market and meet pollution requirements while still using bunker fuel.

I recall Top Gear’s “test drive” of a fully restored Model T.
When the transmission was kept in first gear, it crept along too slowly.
When you released the pedal and allowed it to go into its top gear, it went too fast for both the suspension and brakes to be able to safely control it on a bumpy road.

Clarkson seemed to be genuinely spooked by the experience of trying to control it in its top gear on a bumpy road.

I suppose if it’s taken out of context (time context). Think: horseless carriage days. I was genuinely spooked trying to control a horse during Horsemanship I or Horsemanship II at Klintner’s riding Academy during my Community College PE classes.

I finally rolled the damn thing and it could have killed me! It’s all relative!

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I wonder if he know about pulling the throttle down?