What’s the Best Diesel Engine? Cummins, Duramax, and Power Stroke Face Off

When the job calls for a strong truck to pull the load, you want a heavy-duty truck with a diesel engine at the ready. This might sound a bit obvious, but which brand of diesel power is right for the biggest jobs? With three incredible names to choose from, you’ll find brand loyalists pulling you in their direction, but the brand name isn’t all you should look for. Will you choose the Cummins, Duramax, or Power Stroke diesel engine for your big jobs?

The diesel names tell the story

As soon as you hear the names of the diesel engines, you know the brands of the trucks. Ram offers the Cummins engines, GMC and Chevy use the Duramax models, and Ford carries the Power Stroke engines under the hood. Let’s take a look at the numbers that matter provided by MotorTrend:

Ram 2500 HD Using the Cummins Diesel Engine
Ram 2500 HD | Ram

Ram Cummins Diesel

  • 6.7-liter inline 6-cylinder engine
  • 400 horsepower
  • 1,000 lb-ft of torque
  • 35,100 pounds of towing (Ram 3500 HD Dually with Regular Cab)
2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD parked in grass
Chevy Silverado 3500 HD | Chevrolet

GMC/Chevrolet Duramax Diesel

  • 6.6-liter V8
  • 445 horsepower
  • 910 lb-ft of torque
  • 35,500 pounds of towing (3500 HD Dually with Regular Cab)
2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty
Ford F-Series Super Duty | Ford

Ford Power Stroke Diesel

  • 6.7-liter V8
  • 450 horsepower
  • 1050 lb-ft of torque
  • 37,000 pounds of towing (F-350 Super Duty Dually)

Which engine is the best of the three?

All three diesel engines offer the longevity and strength needed to get some big jobs done. It’s easy to see from the list above that the Power Stroke had the largest towing capacity, but that might not make it the best engine for you. The Cummins engine is the heritage model, according to AutoList, which also tells us all three engines offer an excellent warranty. If you’re searching for the engine that will last the longest, you can’t go wrong with any of these three diesel power plants.

Is a diesel engine better?

If you’re wondering whether a gasoline engine is better than a diesel model, you’ll quickly learn that engines using diesel fuel are much better. Car and Driver tells us diesel engines have fewer components, meaning you have fewer potential problems. While each maintenance visit could cost more with a diesel pickup truck, the power plant lasts more than twice as long as a gasoline model. A diesel also carries a much longer warranty, giving you the peace of mind you desire.

What is special about a diesel engine?

The high thermal efficiency of a diesel power plant compared to a gasoline engine is what makes it special. This allows a diesel pickup to be more efficient and offer greater torque ratings than you’ll find for comparable gasoline vehicles.

Why do diesels last longer?

Hot Shot’s Secret offers some insight into why these engines last longer than their gasoline counterparts. They tell us the factors that contribute to the longevity are:

  • Design
  • Fuel
  • Lower RPMs

Diesel engines have a higher compression ratio and higher cylinder pressures to be sturdier than gasoline engines. These engines use a gear-driven design, piston cooling jet, and don’t have any spark plugs, which offers more efficient fuel use.

The use of diesel fuel allows the engine cylinders to wear more slowly than in a gasoline engine. Gasoline is mostly a solvent that causes wear and tear on the engine, while diesel offers more lubricating qualities because it’s formulated from crude oil.

Because diesel trucks offer more power from lower rpms than gasoline engines, they can last a lot longer. This means fewer rotations and firings in the cylinder, creating less wear and tear on the engine.

Which diesel pickup truck should you buy?

With extremely comparable power numbers, the decision to buy a Ram, Ford, GMC, or Chevy pickup truck with a diesel engine could be made using other factors. You’ll want to consider price, equipment, and convenience when shopping for these pickups. At least now you know you’re not losing out or gaining a great deal by selecting one diesel brand over another.

Check out the next article to learn some of the pros and cons of a diesel-powered pickup truck.

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