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IH Scout Diesel

I am thinking of purchasing a Scout with the Nissan turbo diesel. Is this a good or bad idea? I love the vehicles and have always wanted one, but it has to be ultra reliable. Any thought are welcome.

That car is almost 30 years old. Can you find one in good condition?

It has some minor rust in the usual spots, but overall I believe it to be pretty solid. I have heard that the sd33t under the hood is great, albeit under powered. I just want a super reliable vehicle that I will love to drive for the next 500,000 miles.

They are prone to rust and leak water, but are great for off roading and are reliable.

I would say that no 30 year old anything is “ultra reliable”. Why is that a requirement? Safety?

It has some minor rust in the usual spots, but overall I believe it to be pretty solid.

Minor rust is tough to judge. Like an insect infestation, you see at times less then 10% OF what actually exist. Friends IH’s from years past were such rust buckets after 10 years, I’d hardly recommend one not owned and stored by Jay Leno in an AC garage that old. Parts a problem ? Fall in love with something that will love you back…unless the plan is to treat it like an investment antique.

I’d never buy a car that old on “belief” without a thorough inspection and absolute knowledge.

cellojef; this vehicle is 30 years old already. If you drive 20,000 miles per year you intend to have it till it’s 55 years old. And you expect to be able to get parts for this machine at that age.


Lets see, what would a current 55 year old vehicle be like; try 1954 Hudson Jet, Kaiser Henry J, Nash Metropolitan. All these were relatively low volume cars of that age. Imagine trying to get parts for it, and getting someone to service it!

At very best an old Scout can be is a hobby car to show off with at car shows, not a daily driver.

What about a 10 year old 4Runner, Explorer, or Blazer? With older cars or trucks, the way they were maintained is much more important than the brand. No, they don’t have a diesel. but if the engine ever goes up, you might be able to put a 5-cylinder Isuzu Diesel in with a transmission adapter. I know you can do it with the Blazer, and maybe the others, too. A web search for ‘isuzu diesel conversion’ should show you how.

Now you’re talking…


I’ve driven my two Scout diesels for over 400,000. I drove my first one off the showroom floor in 1980 and ran it for 350,000 miles. These SD33 and SD33-T engines were/are used in forklifts & industrial applications. Parts are available. There are a couple of websites that have Diesel pages that cover these engines in depth. Lots of knowledge available. Once you get into the community you’ll learn what to do and where to go if you can’t do it yourself. Ultra reliable depends on U. You have got to be hands on. It?s a learning process.

My own personal guess is that if there are 3,000 of these 1980’s on the road that would be optimistic. The Few, the Proud, the Machines! Anything less is just a car.

Full disclosure: Parts are not cheap, figure double as compared to a gasser. But again once your in the community your not at the mercy of any one parts dealer.

As to the rust issue I can’t disagree with anything that’s been said. In general the further East you go the worst it seems to be. But there are always exceptions.

Good luck!