5 Most Common 2.8 Duramax Problems | Expert Advice & Fixes

The 2.8 Duramax engine is a great choice for pickup trucks because it is powerful and efficient. It can produce 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That means it can move much weight quickly and efficiently with an impressive 27 MPG average.

You may face problems when using the Duramax engine. Since 2006, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado have come with this engine option, which is not without its drawbacks. Over time, the 2.8 Duramax problems may start to show up.

This blog post will discuss the common problems with these engines and how you can fix them. We’ll also advise keeping your running safely and what to do if it fails safety inspection. 

Duramax 2.8L I-4 Turbo Diesel Engine Specs & Overview

Duramax 2.8L I-4 Turbo Diesel Engine Specs

General Motors has a joint-venture with the Italian manufacturer VM Motori to make the engine. The specification chart of the 2.8 Duramax engine is as follows:

Engine Model2.8 Litre Duramax LWN  i-4 Turbo Diesel 
Manufacturer General Motors
Assembly PlantGM Rayong Plant. Rayong, Thailand.
Production Years/ModelsChevrolet Colorado: 2016-CurrentChevrolet Express 2500, 3500: 2017-CurrentGMC Canyon: 2016-CurrentGMC Savana 2500, 3500: 2017-Current
Engine DimensionLength: 25.4 Inch (645mm)Width: 25.8 Inch (655mm)Height: 34.1 Inch (865mm)
Engine Weight~520 lbs (~235.9 KG)
Displacement2.778 Liters (2.8 Liters Nominal)169.45 CID (170 CID Nominal)
Cylinder Configuration In-Line 4 
Firing Order1-3-2-4
Bore & StrokeBore: 3.7 Inches (94mm)Stroke: 3.94 Inches (100mm)
Bore/Stroke Ratio0.94 (under square) 
Compression Ratio 16.5 : 1
Valve ArrangementDual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC)4 Valve per Cylinder (16 Valves)
Engine Max Speed5,000 rpm
Horsepower 181 HP @ 3,400 rpm
Torque369 lb-ft @ 2,00 rpm
Fuel Injection SystemSolenoid type fuel Injectors with direct injectionHigh Pressure Common Rail from DensoMax Pressure: 29,000 psi (2,000 bar)
Fuel TypeUltra-Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel (ULSD) Up to B20 Bio-Diesel compatible 
Cold Start Support4 Glow Plug (1 per cylinder) 
Engine Oil CapacityCapacity: 6 Quarts w/ Filter change ( 5.7 Liters)
Engine Oil SpecsSAE 5W30: Ambient Temperature > -20º FSAE 0W30: Ambient Temperature < -20º F
Air Intake SystemTurbocharged and Intercooled Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) from Garrett or Honeywell
Material UsedEngine Block: Grey Cast IronCylinder Head: Cast Aluminum AlloyIntake Manifold: CompositeExhaust Manifold: Cast IronCrankshaft: Forged SteelConnecting Rods: Forged SteelPistons: Aluminum AlloyCamshaft: Powdered Metal with Sintered cam lobes
Equipment to reduce Emissions Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV)Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

Which Car Models Have A 2.8 Duramax Engine?

If you’re looking to buy a car with a 2.8 Litre DURAMAX Turbo Diesel Engine, you’ll need to know the models equipped with this engine. This engine is only available in certain car models in the United States.

Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet Colorado has an option to choose from a 2.8L Duramax engine. This 4-Cylinder engine is perfect for driving on different terrains, as it is very powerful and efficient. 

Chevrolet Express 2500 & 3500

Chevrolet Express 2500 & 3500

Owners of the Chevy Express 2017 to current models can choose to have this engine fitted to their van. This will be driven through 8-speed automatic transmission. 

GMC Canyon

GMC Canyon

GMC Canyon’s 2.8 Duramax engine variant can generate  a towing capability of 7,600- 7,700 pounds (3,447-3,492 kg) on a 2WD or 4WD drivetrain. While still being fuel-efficient. 

GMC Savana 2500 & 3500

In 2017, GMC Savana offered the new 2.8 Duramax diesel with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It makes the 2017 GMC Savana the first van to have this small but powerful powertrain.

5 Most Common 2.8 Duramax Engine Problems

The 2.8 Duramax engine is often praised for its great features. However, it has some drawbacks that many people dislike but are usually few. The most common problem with this engine are discussed below:

01. Oxygen Sensor Malfunction

Your vehicle’s computer uses information from the oxygen sensors to calibrate the air/fuel mixture. If there are problems with the oxygen sensors, the computer gets incorrect information, leading to problems with the air/fuel mixture. That can cause reduced mileage or low engine power.

02. Dusty Intake Manifold

The intake manifold is important for distributing the air and fuel mixture to the engine cylinders. The 2.8 Duramax is known for accumulating carbon on the valves and piston’s surface. These clogged carbons are important to clean periodically to ensure the efficiency is not affected. 

03. Misfiring Issue

The engine needs multiple parts like a fuel pump, fuel injector, spark plug, glow plug, and the air intake manifold to work together. One part can cause a problem. Your Duramax engine needs the correct air and fuel to mix and ignite in the combustion chamber. 

04. Timing Chain Problem

Proper synchronization requires the timing chain to rotate along with the crankshaft and camshaft. To make sure the intake and exhaust valves work accordingly. If there are any problems with the timing chain, the combustion will be uneven and jerking. 

05. Error Codes

Error codes indicate there is a problem with the engine. You may clear the codes when it appears on your dashboard by cleaning the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). When codes are created, an explanation of the problem and a solution are usually included in the user manual’s maintenance schedule. 

What Are The Signs Of 2.8L Duramax Issues?

If you’re experiencing trouble with your 2.8 Duramax engine, it’s important to know the signs that should signal you to take action. 

Signs of bad Injector

If you are exhibiting any of the following signs, it is time to look at the injectors.

  • In idling, excessive/constant smoke, 
  • Sluggish or Clunky acceleration, 
  • An increase in fuel consumption, 
  • The engine is shutting down while idling. 

Signs of faulty fuel pump 

A faulty fuel pump can cause all of the signs 

  • Low fuel volume, 
  • Engine won’t start or misfiring, 
  • Smell gas in or around the car. 

Signs of faulty water pump

 Water pump fault can lead to several damaging signs.

  • The engine may idle rough and stop suddenly,
  • Make a loud noise when it starts,
  • The engine may overheat quickly,
  • Do not reach its intended power levels,
  • The engine may struggle to accelerate,
  • There may be water leaking from the engine.

Signs of Engine Overheating

If you notice any of the following signs of engine overheating, it’s time to take action. 

  • Stalling of the engine shortly after starting.
  • The engine feels hot to the touch, 
  • Trouble accelerating or reaching highway speeds,
  • The truck emits a thick smoke from its exhaust.

Signs of Transmission Failure

Transmission failure can cause your truck to lose power, leading to loss of control and an accident.  

  • Transmission shuddering or jerking, 
  • Poor acceleration or reduced speed,
  • Erratic or hard shifting,
  • Difficulty in making gear changes,
  • Poor fuel economy,
  • Noise from the transmission.  

How To Fix 2.8 Duramax Problems?

There is no doubt that the 2.8L Duramax is the best and most reliable engine running on the road. Though Duramax owners are reporting problems with their 2.8L engines. Now, we’ll provide a few tips on fixing 2.8 Duramax problems. 

Check the Sensors

First and foremost; you should check the sensors. These tiny pieces of metal measure the engine’s oxygen requirement,  performance, and heat. If they become clogged or dirty, the engine will not be able to calculate the units properly and not function as efficiently. 

Clean the Air Intake Manifold

It’s important to clean the air intake manifold. Follow these steps to clean the air intake manifold:

  • Remove the air intake cover
  • Unscrew the manifold bolts
  • Loosen the manifold clamp
  • Lift the manifold and clean it with a detergent and water solution
  • Replace the Air Filter with a new one if it becomes unusable or used for 10,000 miles or more
  • Reinstall the manifold and tighten the bolts.

Replace the Fuel Pump & Filter

If you are having trouble starting your Duramax engine (like low fuel), you can take a few simple steps to fix the issue. Check the fuel pump and filter, which are commonly affected by issues like clogged pipes and sediment buildup. 

Replacing with an aftermarket lift pump to your engine may significantly increase the engine’s performance with the appropriate tuner for 2.8 Duramax. In addition, you should also check the fuel lines for any kinks or cracks and replace them as needed. 

Check the Cooling System

Make sure the engine is cold before checking the cooling system. Then, check the thermostat. Is the thermostat open wide enough to allow coolant into the engine? If not, you’ll need to replace it. Next, check the fan belt and pulley. 

Inspect the Transmission System

You can save your 2.8L Duramax transmission issues before they become too much trouble. Inspect the transmission fluid level and ensure it is at the correct level and the transmission lines for leaks, cracks, or other damage. 

You can also read our guide on- 3.0 Duramax Problems

2.8L Duramax Maintenance Guide

2.8L Duramax Maintenance Guide

The 2.8L Duramax engine is just like any other engine and needs to be properly taken care of to run smoothly. Follow the recommended engine maintenance schedule to keep your 2.8 Duramax longevity over the lifetime: 

Change Engine Oil Timely

Here are the two most important things to remember when changing your engine oil:

1) Always change your engine oil every 5,000 miles interval or at the same time yearly, which comes first.

2) Follow the manufacturer’s recommended grade of Engine Oil

  • SAE 5W30: Ambient Temperature > -20º F
  • SAE 0W30: Ambient Temperature < -20º F.

Check the Engine Cooling System monthly

According to the experts, a failure in the cooling system can lead to significant engine damage and even a fire. To keep your Duramax running safely and efficiently, check the engine’s cooling system monthly and take any necessary repairs or adjustments.

Check for any leaks

Here are a few tips to help you detect and fix leaks:

  • Check the engine oil level and the coolant level frequently,
  • Check for any unusual noises or knocks from the engine,
  • Look for signs of fluid or oil leaking from the engine or chassis.

Always Check your Engine Light

Keeping your Duramax engine in top condition is essential for your vehicle’s longevity and performance. By regularly checking your engine light and addressing any issues as soon as you notice them, you can extend the life of your engine and ensure that it performs optimally. 


Some Frequently Asked Questions about the 2.8 Litre Duramax turbo diesel engine related to the performance and problems are discussed below: 

Did Gm Stop Production Of The 2.8 Duramax?

No, General Motors will not stop producing the 2.8L Duramax engine, but it will discontinue the Chevrolet Colorado lineup at the end of 2022. 

GM is a major highlight as this engine is used in many popular vehicles, including the Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana Vans, and Canyon Truck. 

How Many Miles Will A Duramax 2.8 Last?

That’s a difficult question since it largely depends on the driving style, conditions, fuel type, and other factors. However, you can typically expect a Duramax 2.8 engine to last 4,00,000 miles. 

What Year Does 2.8 Duramax Have Problems?

2020 may be a problematic year for General Motors, producing the 2.8 Duramax engine. This engine is used in many pick-up trucks and SUVs, and it has been reported that these engines may experience problems due to their high emissions levels.

Final Words 

The 2.8 Duramax is impressive because of its high horsepower and torque. However, 2.8 Duramax Problems were raised earlier. But, looking at them more closely, you will realize that they are not as big of a deal as people might think.

The most important selling point for the 2.8 Duramax engine is the MPG rating and impressive towing capacity. These two factors sold the engine compared to other diesel engine brands.

Although the other engines have their strengths, the 2.8L Duramax engine is the best. It is still a great engine for your race car, small boat, or travel trailer. It may have minor problems, but it is still a good engine overall.

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