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Diesel Wars: The Big 3 Showdown

The arena is heating up among the Big Three for diesel power plants.

For years now, Chrysler has enjoyed being the only diesel engine supplier for half ton trucks in the U.S., but for 2018, that window is coming to a close as Ford’s new 3.0L V-6 Power Stroke diesel starts hitting the dealerships in the F150. General Motors, who is the reigning Mac Daddy of diesel engines— thanks to its nearly 100-year-old Detroit diesel division (that they sold to Mercedes)—announced in January 2018 at the Detroit International Auto Show, their intentions of entering the light truck diesel market as well.

General Motors threw everyone for a loop with their announcement of the new 3.0L Duramax entrant because of its configuration: Inline six. Inline-six engines are more expensive to manufacture and harder to place in engine bays due to their longer nature. Jeep famously discontinued their 4.0L inline-six engine from the Wrangler due to rising emissions standards and the difficulty of the long block motor meeting crash test ratings. The compounding difficulties convincing bean counters that the added manufacturing costs, and engineering costs of an inline-six engines ultimately lead to the phasing out of its design by all U.S. truck manufacturers with the exception of Chrysler, who continues to use the medium duty 6.7L Cummins diesel engine in their HD trucks.

The inline-six design however, is legendary for its simplicity, smoothness, torque and awesome exhaust tones, and for GM to throw caution to the wind and build their first inline-six diesel in decades really says something in this new fight for supremacy in the half-ton market.

No new information has been released on the new engine since its initial launch, other than it will carry the Duramax nameplate and is being co-developed by General Motors and its Isuzu branch, and will be mated to the GM/Ford 10-speed automatic transmission. Based on power numbers from Chrysler and Ford, around 300 hp and less than 500lb-ft of torque should be expected.

With four and a half more months till 2019’s NAIAS in Detroit, new information should be popping up shortly.

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