What Is a Duramax And Is It a Reliable Engine? A Full Guide

What Is a Duramax?’ is often asked by truck enthusiasts and anyone who wants to buy a new and powerful engine for their car. Most car owners have heard about the Duramax motor, and you can even find trucks with the Duramax tag on it,

Types of Duramax Engines ~ Ran When Parked

If you’re looking for a new engine for your full-size pickup truck or want to buy a new truck, you should learn more about what Duramax is. In our guide below, we take a closer look at what the Duramax is, the types and how long it would last.

What Is a Duramax?

A Duramax is a diesel engine that was manufactured by Isuzu and General Motors in 2001. The engine is used in GMC and Chevrolet trucks, SUVs and vans. Duramax are considered as some of the best engines because of their high horsepower and durability.

General Motors and Isuzu partnered together to establish DMAX Ltd in 1998. The company was founded to create a high-pressure common-rail direct injection (CRDI) engine for the car market in the US.

The company released the first engine in 2001, which was a 6.6-liter V8 engine. It was named the Duramax LB7. The engine offered 520 pound-feet of torque and 300 horses, which increased its popularity in the US market.

DMAX has released 12 Duramax motors since it was released, of different types. They have four, six and eight cylinders, and the configurations are inline or V. There are over two million Duramax motors that are powering cars and trucks from General Motors and Chevrolet.

What Are the Types of Duramax Engines?

The types of Duramax engines include the LB7, LLY, LBZ, LMM, LGH, L5P, L5D, LM2, XLD28, LWN, and XLD 25. These engines have been developed by General Motors and Isuzu over the years and can still be found in some trucks, vans and cars today.

Duramax LB7

This was the first Duramax diesel engine released, with 520 lb-ft of torque and 300 ponies. The heavy duty engine was installed in the three-quarter and one-ton trucks from GM.

Duramax LB7 Engine ~ Ran When Parked

The engine is a 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel unit with 32 valves and aluminum heads on cast iron block. It also came with a high-pressure CRDI, passive catalytic converter and fixed geometry turbo.

Duramax LBZ

Manufactured between 2006 and 2007 is the LBZ Duramax, which produced 360 ponies and 650 pound-feet of torque. The LBZ engine came with stronger connecting rods and pistons, which allowed the engine to handle its impressive power. It’s a popular option among drivers to change the engine of a used truck.

Duramax LML

The LML engine was released between 2011 and 2016 and was an upgrade of the LMM engine. It increased its engine power and reduced the emissions with a higher-pressure fuel injection. It produced 765 lb-ft of torque and 397 horsepower. It also came with a urea injection system and could run on B20 diesel fuel.

Duramax LGH

The LGH was provided to cars from 2011 to 2016. It had similar specifications to the LML engine but was tuned down to make it last longer. It was a V8 engine but had different tuning applications depending on your truck.

Duramax LGH on Car ~ Ran When Parked

On most GM trucks, it provided 335 horsepower and 685 pound-feet.

Duramax L5D

The Duramax L5D is similar to the L5P, but it is a weaker version. It produced 700 pound-feet of torque and 350 horses, and was tuned down to enhance its reliability. It can be found in some 2019 Chevy Silverado HD models.

Duramax XLD28

The XLD28 is also known as the Mini Duramax, and it is a 2.8-liter, inline 4 turbodiesel engine. This impressive engine powers mid-size trucks like Canyon and Colorado, the Trailblazer SUV and other diesel-powered GM vehicles.

Duramax XLD 25

The Duramax XLD 25 was released from 2012 to 2014 and powers pickups like the Colorado and KB and SUVs like Trailblazer and Colorado 7. It is the smallest Duramax unit, a 2.5-liter 16-valve inline-4 engine. It produces 163 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Duramax LLY

The LLY engines were released between 2004 and 2005. It is an upgrade of the LB7 and came with an upgraded valvetrain and an EGR system for cleaner emissions. The engine could produce 310 hp at 3,000 RPM and 605 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 RPM.

Duramax LMM

The Duramax LMM engines were the first to use a diesel particulate filter. It was released in 2008 and lasted till 2007. The fourth-generation V8 engine featured a new ECU, exhaust gas recirculation and closed crankcase ventilation.

Duramax LMM for Transmission ~ Ran When Parked

It also powered your car with 365 horses and 660 pound-feet. It is paired with the Allison transmission.

Duramax L5P

The L5P engine was released in 2017 and is still running on the production line today. It is the first total redesign of the Duramax 6.6-liter engines, and so it had better fuel economy, emissions ratings and durability.

Duramax LM2

Also called the baby Duramax, the LM2 is a pretty reliable engine that has been around since 2019. The 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel engine powers different GM full-size half-ton trucks and SUVs, including the Silverado 1500, Sierra 1500, Suburban, Escalade, Tahoe, and Yukon.

Duramax LWN

Released in 2016, the LWN was tuned to meet the emission standards for cars in North America. It does not have as much power as other engines from Duramax, as it produces 181 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. It is a 2.8-liter inline-4 LWN with the cleanest emissions from Duramax.

What Are Duramax Trucks?

Duramax trucks are pickup trucks that are powered by Duramax. These include trucks from the General Motors group and Chevrolet, although there are some SUVs with Duramax motors. If you see the Duramax nameplate on a truck, then it is a Duramax truck.

Featuring Duramax Trucks ~ Ran When Parked

From GMC, the Duramax trucks are Topkick, Sierra, Sierra HD and Canyon. If you want a Chevrolet truck with a Duramax, you should consider the Silverado, Silverado HD, Kodiak and Colorado. The Hummer H1 Alpha also comes with a Duramax.

Why Is Duramax So Popular?

Duramax is so popular because they have impressive power, are highly durable and would last long, offer great towing capacity on truck applications, and are clean burning. These features make Duramax motors a top choice among truck drivers and car enthusiasts.

Impressive Power

Duramax is known for their impressive horsepower, which sets them apart from competitors. Engines are already known for having top power, but Duramax is even better. For instance, the L5P 6.6-liter Duramax is a smaller option, but in terms of horsepower rating, it’s second in its class.

Great Towing Capacity

With a Duramax under the hood of a pickup truck, you can expect a competitive towing capacity. Some of the newer engines are great for towing, as they come with high levels of torque.

Great Towing Capacity ~ Ran When Parked

Long Lasting Design

Duramax motors are made with an induction hardening process, making it the only engine that does this. It also goes through hot testing, ensuring that it would be highly durable in three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks.

Clean Burning and Quiet

Also, Duramax motors are quiet when running, and most of them emit cleaner emissions. Their injection technology makes the newer models sound quiet and clean when driving, making them stand out.

Includes An Exhaust Brake

Duramax motors come with an exhaust brake, which makes them stand out from other engines. The brake makes use of engine compression to slow down the vehicle. It would reduce the wear and tear on your standard braking system when you’re driving on a hill or incline.

What Are the Cons of Duramax?

The cons of Duramax include the expensive price, as it is costlier than other engines on the market. Also, Duramax motor engines have scarce parts, so it might be hard to replace or repair the engine. The engines require special maintenance, and not all professional mechanics will provide this.


Although the Duramax might be a powerful option, but this also means that it comes with a big price tag. The engine is really expensive on its own, and many trucks that come with Duramax factory-installed are also costly. If you’re thinking of replacing your Duramax, you might also consider buying a new car.

Expensive Maintenance

Since the Duramax is quite different from other engines, it is quite expensive to repair it. You can’t go to any mechanic repair shop to maintain or repair the Duramax, especially since it comes with advanced components and parts.

Maintenance of Duramax Engines ~ Ran When Parked

Parts like the water pump, lift pump and EGR valve require repairs.

Scarce Parts

It’s not very easy to find trucks with Duramax motors, especially if you’re living in a smaller city or town. So, if you want to maintain your engine or replace some parts, you would spend a lot of time and money getting the parts. But if you’re living in a big city, it might be easier to do so.

How Long Will Duramax Last?

A Duramax can last up to 500,000 miles, depending on the truck and whether it was properly maintained. The engines can last up to 20 years on average as long as you take care of it properly. It also depends on the truck that it was installed in.

If you want to buy a reliable Duramax motor, you should avoid those in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 model years. But some of the years for top quality include the 2006 model, 2007 and 2008, as they offer top performance and durability.


Now that you know the answer to the question, ‘What is a Duramax?’ you can consider installing this engine into your car or buying a Duramax.

Here’s a summary of our guide:

  • A Duramax engine is a diesel engine that was created by Izuku and General Motors in 2001.
  • The types of Duramax include LB7, LLY, LBZ, LMM, LGH, L5P, L5D, LM2, XLD28, LWN, and XLD 25.
  • The Duramax motors are GM Topkick, Sierra, Sierra HD and Canyon, and Chevrolet Silverado, Silverado HD, Kodiak and Colorado.
  • Duramax motors are so popular because they offer impressive power, towing capacity, clean burning and an exhaust brake.
  • The cons of Duramax include the expensive cost and maintenance, and the parts are scarce.

You can consider installing the Duramax in your truck if you want to get an engine swap. The Duramax is a top choice for trucks and SUVs.


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