The Tempo diesel motor is a 2.3 Mazda motor, they are known for blowing head gaskets, but that's rare. The car itself is rare, there not many left. If you find one on the road, then you're lucky. They use a 5spd manual transmission, not sure if they came as autos. You can find a lot of parts online or on Ebay if needed. Make sure not to just start it right away, wait for the glow plugs to warm up. The black smoke is just carbon.
My friend bought one a month ago from Arkansas, and I just bought one in Illinois a couple days ago. They made the Escort, Tempo, Lynx and Topaz's in diesels, and they all have the same motor.
In 1980, Ford increased its share in Mazda. Part of this meant more Mazda/Ford cross-platforms, and part of it meant more Mazda parts in Fords at first, and then Ford parts in Mazdas later.
The engine in your car is a Mazda RF diesel engine. It is generally reliable, though head gaskets are noted to go sometimes. Just make sure you keep tabs on your temperature, and everything should go well. Escort/Tempo/626/Lynx/Topaz were equipped with this engine over here. In Europe and Japan, this is a common engine, so parts availability isn't too bad from overseas. Injection pumps are hard to find, so make sure you know where to get one. Most knowledgeable diesel shops should be able to fix the diesel part of your car. You're very lucky, because a diesel engine has few parts that mess up.
Enjoy your diesel Tempo. There aren't many left.
I got one of these too. The thing is amazing. At first I hated it, because I thought it looked ugly and old, but getting 45mpg really grows on you, and the thing just never dies... I've driven it between Washington and So Cal several times (17hr 1000+ mile drive), and never had a single problem with it. The only thing that I've had to replace so far has been the starter, and I've had it for over a year, and put countless miles on it.
Also pulling up beside all the semi's at truck stops to fill up is pretty priceless =).
The engine is a 2.0L motor. I own an 84. Only about 5% of Tempos had the diesel. No automatics were offered.
If your car smokes a lot it may have been "turned up." If you look on the injector pump there is a small hex head bolt that came from the factory wired in place, this will adjust fuel. Along with glow plugs, there is a heat plate in the intake. Trust me, I learned the hard way, it gets really hot.
I have a few questions for those with these cars, how big is the fuel tank? How many miles do you get on a tank?
I had a diesel Mercury Topaz. It was a 1986. I got the car in high school for $200 (1996).
It has been parked for several years due to a problem with the fuel system. My dad towed the car to a shop and had the fuel system rebuilt. They said that someone had put gas in the car.
The car had 50,000 miles on it. The lady that had it died and her daughter had the car, but it "broke" as soon as she got it.
I drove the car for 5-years and never had one problem with it.
It was a 5-speed hand shift. It got well over 40 MPG on the highway.
Mine actually had fairly good power at lower speeds, but once you got above 40 mph, the car was totally powerless.
At just under 100,000 miles, the clutch started slipping and I sold the car for scrap, but it still ran like new. I was ready for a newer car and it wasn't worth the $600 for a new clutch.
Selling that car for $75 scrap was the biggest mistake of my life. I didn't realize at the time how much the car would have saved me at today's fuel prices. Back then gas/diesel was not even part of your weekly budget; now fuel eats half of your income.
I am trying to remember things about the car.
It had an A/C, but we had to put 2-cans of freon in it per summer.
It had a full size extra tire for flats
It always started very quickly - no matter how cold.
It would smoke a bit if you had the gas on the floor - which I did have it floored all the time
I think the gas tank was like 13 gallons??
The interior was fairly modern, and the car cut through the wind fairly well for an 80's car. It was very aerodynamic for being so old.
The car was actually quiet.
I sure miss that car, and I'd give anything to have it back.
I am sure they just crushed it.