Brunswick 6.5 Chev Engine failure

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 18:19
ThreadID: 81427 Views:17621 Replies:12 FollowUps:21
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Hi all,
has anyone has had dramas with Brunswick Diesels?, the reason I am asking, Dec 2008 I had a engine conversion with a 6.5 Chev in my cruiser troopy, 29000.00Kms later (2 weeks ago) my engine suffered catastropic engine failure, my mechanic advises the rocker shaft retaining bolt had snaped in the head and this caused the second bolt to loosen, the rocker shaft has come away from the head inside the cover, the rocker cover had split from the loose components slapping around inside, one of my push rods is in the engine somewhere?, a endoscope was placed inside the engine and damage can be seen on the cam lobes.
From this I will need a complete engine rebuild, brunswick Diesels advise because the engine is out of waranty it will cost me to rebuild the engine, I would of thought I would of got more than 29000.00Kms from this engine.
The question is has anyone out their been in the same position as me and what was the outcomes.


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Reply By: Member - DOZER- Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 18:28

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 18:28
A guy at work had one of their engines fitted and it lasted a week. He pulled the motor out and drove down to their shop with it in the trailer....and watched them pull it appart...a gudgen circlip had been left out.....they were very appologetic and offered him this explanation....his motor was built by a mechanic they had had issues with, and he left shortly after building this motor....that was 6-12 months ago or so.....
Your best course of action is to insist they do something about it or you will bad mouth them all over the net....if it is out of warrenty then they have no legal requirement to fix it but they have an ethical one....and if you push this barrrow, they may assist you with fixing it
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 19:45

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 19:45
Not quite true about the warranty - yes out of the warranty they supplied but all goods have a statutory warranty provided by the Trades Practices Act which means the good must be fit for purpose. Normally means that it is up to a court to decide - basically they may consider irrespective of the makers warranty a correctly built engine should last - say 100,000km without requiring major work but would consider an engine that has done say 300,000km is at its use by date. They could decide that a properly serviced engine that failed at 29,000km was not fit for purpose. As I said the problem with this is the aggrieved has to prove everything.

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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 20:10

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 20:10
I would say that is a fair assessment Garry!! Michael
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Follow Up By: howesy - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:16

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:16
garry is 100% right about the statutory warranties under the trade practices act and you should mention this and your preparedness to have the matter heard in court which could result in much bad publicity for them. Mongrels would probably claim it on insurance anyway
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:41

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:41
a stat warranty also has other clauses and considerations along with the fit for purpose

basically how much you pay gets taken into account

for instance if you have payed 2k for your motor there would be no reasnable expectation of it lasting longer than the warranty period

however most places seem to charge a premium for those donks so you would have every expectation of it lasting for its full desighn life rather than the end of the importers warranty
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:43

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:43
ahh hang on

did you get one of their second hand untis or there remnafactured ones?

the lower price and disclosure of a second hand donk would possibly tip the stat warranty in their favour

there would be no reasnable expectation of a second handy lasting as long as a newy/recon unit
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:34

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:34
You asked Steve! Had a Perth firm do the rebuild and wore the price. Good luck; but do try an get justice from them first, but i doubt you'll get it at that many kms.

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Follow Up By: cycadcenter - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:48

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:48

That's only 29,000 km in less than two years, that's not a great deal of use.

One would expect 50,000km or two years on most products.

I'd certainly want them to wear the cost of a rebuild.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:55

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 22:55
Thanks for correction Bruce - I have been going cross eyed looking at the screen too long, and saw too many zeroes reading it as 290,000 - perhaps because failure at 29,000 is unbelievably poor. I certainly agree that Coldsteele's experience is NOT GOOD ENOUGH as 29,000 is nothing for a diesel.

Steve, what warranty do they give?


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Reply By: Member - peter f (VIC) - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 23:15

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 23:15
the 6.5 is a heap of rubbish . when we ran them in ambulances .
we had broken cranks, porous blocks . dozens of Injector pumps and modules .
harmonic balancers come to bits , water pumps . vac pumps , alternaters by the dozens . cylinder heads . not to mention oil leaks from you name it and it leaked
cheers mechpete
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Follow Up By: Roach"ee" - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 08:06

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 08:06
I've owned my 6.5 Chev Patrol since November 2006. It was converted by Brunswicks in December 2000 and has had no major problems.

Yes, I've changed the starter motor and got rid of the mechanical vacuum pump (replaced with an electric vac pump).

Mine has done 250,000 odd klm; most of it extended trips.

I don't think they are an engine suited to ambulance type work.


Because they are a very agricultural engine (IMHO) and they require a period of several minutes at idle before being driven. Even after a warm-up period, I still drive mine as though it was a Kenworth.

They certainly ain't no sports car engine and need to be driven accordingly.

I'm happy with mine overall. Yes it gets a few little oil leaks (more like "weeps" than leaks as they don't drip onto my garage floor).

I equate owing one of these engine to owning a Landrover...... other people think you must be mad to own one, but often they haven't got one themselves and have a jaded view.
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 17:10

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 17:10
Hi Peter,

Please tell me more about the problems with the Ambo 6.5's. I have just bought a GMC running a 6.5T Chev that was an Ambo around Bendigo. I would be interested in what to keep an eye out for and anything I can do to prevent known or common problems with them.

I must say this one goes like a cut snake and I am curious as to whether the Ambulance service run chips on them or not? I have driven plenty of the older mechanical pumped 6.5's and none of them ever went like this one does so I was curious about whether they run a chip or even if they have the computer to support a chip even? As I say I have just bought it and know nothing about it at all ....yet.

Any advice would be welcome even if you would prefer to MM me I don't mind.

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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 17:11

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 17:11
PS: No Roachie it is not going in the GU hahhaha.
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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 18:29

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 18:29
Trevor as Roachee said the engine is/was never intended for the sort of use an ambo would have. They can be lumpy and rattly when cold and definately don't like to be pushed until at operating temp. The 6.5T is still a mechanical injection pump but has electronic fuel metering. The only ECU in the ambo would be for the 4L80E transmission which does need inputs from the engine.
The 6.5t was given a bad name by constant fuelling problems caused by mounting the PCM which controls the fuel to be mounted on the side of the IP and of course electronics don't like heat and vibration when of course there is plenty of both in the valley of a V8 diesel. The theory was that the IP and the PCM would beb cooled by the fuel flow through the pump, fine in theory but not in the real world.
The cure is to unplug the wiring from the PCM on the IP and fit an aftermarket PCM on a dirty big heatsink with an extension cable somewhere in the front of the vehicle where it would be in cool airflow. Most problems that beset the 6.5 T are tied up with electrical rather than mechanical problems.
No you can't chip them but you can fool them into supplying more fuel by changing the preset resistor in the PCM.
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Follow Up By: Member - peter f (VIC) - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:13

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:13
hey trevor .
just to put you in the correct picture . what humvee said is incorrect .
they were not made to be electronic enigine control because of the perceived
problems with overfueling . it was to meet emissions . as for the only ecu in an ambulance is for the trans . is wrong again , this is an PCM for the engine and trans
to diagnose faults the tech 2 is plugged into it an it reads all the electrical systems
including factory central locking . the only way you can set the pump timing is with the tech 2 and follow the correct procedure to get the base timing within specs .
Also the FSD mounted on the body of the pump .was at first thought to be suffering from heat soak from the engine , but that was wrong too . we infact converted nearly all our vehicles to remote mounted FSDs on a heat sink , that was
found not to be the answer also . after having a vehicle extensively tested in a heat chamber , I might add that I was on the vehicle group that involved in this . it was found after having
sensors located alll around the engine that the pump mounting was in fact the coolest place in the engine bay . we had the results to prove it . the only way to
reduce the risk was to have a schedules replacement of the FSD . As for the bulk of the problems being electrical ,thats incorrect ,out of the 30 vehicles that our workshop serviced . we had 12 engines that suffered porous blocks . GM didn,t even pull them appart , they just replaced the engine complete with all accesaries
,there was a batch of faulty cyl heads , burning valves , several harmonic balancers
rattled to bits , 1 broke a crankshaft while cruising back the the branch , heaps of vacc pumps ,rattling noise . water pumps leaking prematurely .lift pumps by the double arm load .all but 2 had at least 2 an sometimes 3 pumps fitted to them .
the cutting out problem was both the FSD an the pump same simptoms .we replaced both each time . No they were standard engines ,when you changed the pump you have to change the resister in the old FSD to the new .
cheers pete .
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 at 06:58

Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 at 06:58
Thank you to both Peter's for your information. As you are both members here I hope you both don't mind if I MM you with questions at some time in the future as you both seem very knowledgable regarding this engine. I am in the very early stages of owning this rig and I am sure I will need to get to know a lot more about it as time goes on.

Thanks again,
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Follow Up By: Roach"ee" - Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 at 09:27

Thursday, Sep 23, 2010 at 09:27
Hey Trevor,
Also, spend a few minutes (or maybe that should read "hours" or even "days") reading through this thread:

Les Addison is a very knowledgeable bloke too and I think he lives in SE Qld.


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Reply By: Member - William H (WA) - Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 23:46

Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 at 23:46
Steve where are you.... and dont let that motor out of your might need it.The young bloke who worked at brunswick diesels who put the motors together left about 2 years ago,He knew those motors inside out, when he left that place, he is now a lot better off,and is now working over seas in Singapore.

Cheers for now...Williamh...Bunbury...WA.
AnswerID: 430830

Reply By: wots up - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:21

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:21
steve Have a contact for you that might help . Email me Cheers Mark
AnswerID: 430844

Follow Up By: Coldsteele - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:24

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:24
Thanks again, what is the contact that you have.
I dont have your details.

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Reply By: wots up - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:30

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:30
A followup to what william H said He is right about not letting that engine out of your sight
AnswerID: 430845

Reply By: Keith Berg - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:48

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 09:48
The key is to be able to prove faulty workmanship or negligence on the part of the engine builder, rather than misuse by the operator. To do that you might need the services of an independent expert who can go right through the dismantled engine and determine what went wrong.
My experience has been that a good independent expert will cost $800-$1500 to look at the dismantled engine and prepare a report good enough for court evidence, plus any costs in getting himself there and back. If you're successful, you can perhaps claim the cost of the expert.
But this all takes time and you'll want your vehicle fixed quickly. Maybe you could ask the repairer to strip the engine down at your cost and then to both abide by the expert's opinion, with the at fault party paying for the expert.
If you need the name of an expert that I have used, here in Sydney, please contact me at
AnswerID: 430847

Reply By: ob - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 10:28

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 10:28
Rocker retaining or any other bolt breaking can be traced to overtensioning, faulty material or reusing a bolt that is required to be replaced after one use. Bolts are that are tightened beyond the "yield point" are going to fail at some later date.

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Reply By: Coldsteele - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:05

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:05
Hi All,
Thankyou for your advise, the waranty I was given was 12 months 20.000Kms from date of installation.
My location is in the Northern suburbs in Perth WA.
I am so bleep ed off right now.
I visited Chev Power today and they veiwed my parts removed and advise the initial cause was the broken rocker shaft retaining bolt and subsequently caused the rest of the catastropic engine failure.
I have contacted Dept of consumer protection, they advise I do have a case however I will need to prove 100% the broken bolt was over torqued or faulty.
Sounds to me you will need to be a CSI (Forensic) investigator to prove this.
Either way I am up for a fight.
My last resort is A Current Affair.


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Follow Up By: Member - William H (WA) - Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 13:11

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 13:11
Steve give me a phone number for me to contact i have had this problem before and i can tell you where to go for advice.

Cheers for now...William...Bunbury ...WA.
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Reply By: Coldsteele - Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:22

Monday, Sep 20, 2010 at 20:22
does anyone know of a independant expert in the Perth area and how much will this cost, I am thinking about calling the RACWA and see if they can help?
What do you think?

Thankyou to you all.

AnswerID: 430897

Reply By: Mark R - Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 07:10

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 07:10
Hey guys,

Aren't we all getting a bit carried away here? There is no mention from Steve that he has even contacted Brunswick Diesels to get a response from them and we are already getting expert opinions and going to Consumer Affairs. Surely we should be taking one step at a time and at least getting their feedback before we (by implication) bad mouth them on the forum.

If he has contacted them and been given the shaft (sorry for the pun) then fair enough.


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Follow Up By: Member - Paul F (INT) - Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 13:01

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 13:01
"From this I will need a complete engine rebuild,brunswick Diesels ADVISE because engine is out of warranty"
I think that means they Do know.
After having a small amount to do with them would suggest that you can only try to get satisfaction but be ready for The attitude that WILL be attached

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Reply By: Coldsteele - Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 15:34

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 15:34
All, I have made contact with Brunswick, Greg said because the car is out of waranty the best I can give you is half price parts and freight.
Contacted Scotty at a latter date, he was more simpathetic to my cause, he advised he is 2 mechanics down and it may take a while, I advised I have a second car, so going to and from work is no big deal and he can have the cruiser for as long as he see fits.
I have contacted a number of tow companies and they quote between $450 to $550 to transport the car down to Brunswick Junction.
I asked scotty next time a local tow contractor is delivering a clients car to Perth, maybe duck around and collect my cruiser and deliver to Brunswick, to date thats been a week ago, heard nothing since.


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Follow Up By: Member - Laurie C (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 20:12

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010 at 20:12
I too have a warranty claim with Brunswick and thus far am more than satisfied with their response. Scotty had been very co-operative despite being back on deck after a stroke but unfortunately he suffered another stroke last week. So there is a good reason Scotty has not responded yet. Greg has taken on my claim and I am overwhelmed by the way he backs his product.
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Follow Up By: Coldsteele - Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010 at 15:21

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010 at 15:21
To Member - Laurie C (NSW), at least you have a waranty claim, I dont.
Thats unfortunate Scotty has suffered another stroke, my condolences and simpathy to his family.
hope he pulls through soon?
The bigest hurdle I have for now is getting the cruiser to Brunswick junction for them to even to look at the car.

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Follow Up By: Coldsteele - Sunday, Oct 03, 2010 at 21:29

Sunday, Oct 03, 2010 at 21:29
The damaged head area parts have been inspected by a independent expert and he advises the broken bolt was the cause of the engine failure, I am waiting for the broken bolt to be anylised by a expert for the specific outcome.
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Follow Up By: Torquetuff - Saturday, Oct 09, 2010 at 11:11

Saturday, Oct 09, 2010 at 11:11
Hey guys; let me say that its normal practice to replace these bolts with new ones when rebuilding these engines.
Its a fact that Brunswick Deisels have a duty of care as an engine reconditioner and as installers of these conversion engines to provide an engine which is in good working order and surely its reasonable to expect same to last well past 20,000 or 30,000 km.
There's little point in having these conversions done if you're not going to get at least 100,000 km so surely its reasonable to expect Brunswick Deisels to provide a warranty that lasts at least that long!!!!
There seem to be way too many problems with their conversions so maybe people should think about other options.
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