The Duramax Diesel is 10 Years Old


Duramax – the diesel engine that saved GM’s heavy-duty pickups – is 10 years old, and the company celebrated the milestone last week.

In 2000, Isuzu and GM started joint production of the first 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel engines for GM's . GM teamed with Isuzu to tap Isuzu's diesel engineering strengths to help GM become a major player in HD pickups. GM's earlier 6.2-liter and 6.5-liter diesel engines were widely considered to be noncompetitive versus Ford's Navistar-sourced Power Stroke and Chrysler's Cummins-built diesel engines.

How good were the 300-horsepower, 520 pounds-feet of torque Duramax oil burners? By 2002, GM had 30 percent diesel pickup market share, up from about 5 percent in 1999. By May 2007, the 1,000,000th Duramax V-8 diesel engine was built at the Duramax engine plant in Moraine, Ohio.

Although the base engine architecture hasn’t changed, there have been four versions of Duramax since its debut: LB7, LLY/LBZ and LMM. The latest Duramax 6.6, dubbed LML, is rated at 397 hp and 765 pounds-feet of torque, and 60 percent of its parts are new.

But the decade of the Duramax hasn’t been without at least one miss. In June 2007, GM introduced an all-new small-displacement 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 diesel engine that was designed entirely in-house without Isuzu’s assistance. It was slated for use in GM's light-duty pickups before falling truck sales and rising fuel prices caused GM to its arrival in March 2009.

Still, GM has lots to celebrate with the Duramax.

“The bottom line is that the DMAX engine plant built more than 1.2 million engines in 10 years with a track record of quality that sets them apart from other manufacturers,” said Rick Spina, GM vehicle line executive for full-size trucks. “Many of our loyal Duramax owners have hundreds of thousands of miles on their engines today.”

And we hear GM is hard at work developing an all-new large-displacement Duramax diesel for its HD pickups that we hope will continue its legacy for a long time to come.


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