What would it take to turn the OM616/617 engines into true multifuel
engines capable of burning the same fuel set as military Continental or
Hercules truck engines?
First, a hardened fuel pump with engine oil lubrication and a
viscosity compensator would be needed. This would be possible because a
suitable four or five cylinder pump could be assembled from off the
shelf Diesel Kiki or AMBAC parts. Remember, MBZ used diesel style
injection pumps on many spark ignition gas engines, which used the same
housings and other internal parts as the diesel pumps.
Secondly, some form of ignition system would be needed. A
distributorless electronic system or a magneto could be used. There may
be a latent distributor pad hole on the 616 which could be machined out
and a Benz distributor put there on this engine. The head has to be
modified and I don't know if the stock casting will accomodate a spark
plug, which has to be a special high pressure type. Hot tube ignition
as on Hercules engines is a possibility as well and this could likely
use stock glow plug holes.