Diesel power is the classic form of hauling power used in many large trucks. You might think that diesel engines have been in pickup trucks for a long time, but that’s simply not the case. It wasn’t until 1982 that a diesel-powered GMC truck appeared, with a Ford model coming shortly thereafter. The Power Stroke and Duramax names we know today didn’t arrive until 1995 and 2001, respectively.
These engines have evolved since they first appeared, making us wonder which one is the better of the two diesel engines.
Ford went about making their Power Stroke engine more environmentally friendly
The second generation of the Power Stroke diesel engine had several problems as Ford worked to design it with stricter emissions guidelines. The 6.0-liter model, which replaced the original 7.3-liter version, had a list of issues. These problems included clogged EGR valves and head gasket failures. Thankfully, the current 6.7-liter turbocharged Power Stroke diesel engine is a solid performer.
Is the Power Stroke diesel a good engine?
Yes, the current Ford Power Stroke is a good engine. This model gives us:
- Compact graphite iron engine block designed to be strong and light
- One large turbocharger
- Smart exhaust brake
- Compatibility with B20 diesel
For the Ford Super Duty trucks, this 6.7-liter engine makes 935 lb-ft of torque, which is the most important number for these engines. This allows for towing up to 37,000 pounds, which is an incredible number.
Larger trucks have this diesel engine
Ford does not offer a version of its Power Stroke engine in the Ford F-150. Even so, if you move up to the heavier-duty Class 6 and 7 trucks, the engine comes with a 250,000-mile warranty. For the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty models, the warranty is five years/100,000 miles. Trucks with this engine do not require EPA fuel mileage ratings. Therefore, we don’t know the fuel economy rating of the Power Stroke diesel engine.
The Duramax diesel engine has been through several generations
The 6.6-liter size doesn’t seem to be much different now than in the first generation of the Duramax engine. This engine has been through some changes over the years. Since the first model, called LB7, we have seen the LLY in 2004, the LBZ in 2006, the LMM in 2007, and the LML in 2011. Today, the big Duramax is a 6.6-liter L5P version.
What does the diesel engine for the Chevy/GMC trucks bring to the market?
The big 6.6-liter Duramax engine gives Chevy and GMC trucks:
- B20 compatibility
- Cast-iron cylinder block
- Higher boost pressure
- Lower exhaust emissions
- Cold-start system
This impressive engine makes 910 lb-ft of torque and gives owners up to 36,000 pounds of towing capacity.
How long does a Duramax diesel engine last?
Similar to the Power Stroke engine, the Duramax model comes with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty. While this warranty is impressive, many Duramax engines are known to last up to 500,000 miles. It’s more likely owners will need to replace other components of their trucks before the engine ever starts to give up.
What Duramax has the most power?
The Duramax diesel engine that has the most power is the 6.6-liter turbocharged diesel V8 found in the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Dually. This is the setup needed to tow up to 36,000 pounds. Unlike Ford, GM offers a Duramax engine across all models of the Chevy and GMC pickup trucks. Those engines are:
Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon
- 2.8-liter turbocharged Duramax diesel four-cylinder engine
- 186 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque, 20/30 mpg (2WD), 19/29 (4WD), 18/22 (ZR2)
- Tow rating 7,700 pounds
Chevy Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500
- 3.0-liter turbocharged Duramax diesel six-cylinder engine
- 277 horsepower, 460 lb-ft of torque, 23/31 mpg (RWD), 22/26 mpg (4WD)
- Tow rating 13,300 pounds
Chevy Silverado 2500 HD/3500 HD/GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD
- 6.6-liter turbocharged Duramax diesel V8 engine
- 445 horsepower, 910 lb-ft of torque
- Tow rating 2500 HD 14,50 pounds
- Tow rating 3500 HD 36,000 pounds
Should you buy a Ford with the Power Stroke or a Chevy/GMC truck with the Duramax?
If you’re looking for a half-ton or midsize truck, you don’t have much choice. Ford doesn’t offer the Power Stroke diesel engine in smaller trucks. On the other hand, if you want the biggest truck with the most towing power, the Ford Super Duty models have the GM models beat by 1,000 pounds.
Next, check out a midsize truck showdown, or watch the video below where the three major diesel engines face off against each other.
This article was updated on 8/15/2022.