While the 6.6L Duramax Diesel found in Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup trucks is a very reliable engine there are a few recurring problems to look out for.
1. Fuel starvation due to air in fuel lines
The Duramax fuel system on Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup trucks utilizes a single high-pressure fuel pump that pulls fuel from the tank and pushes it under pressure to the injectors. This creates a high vacuum between the pump and the tank that is susceptible to pulling air into the fuel system, much like a broken drinking straw does, at some common points. The most likely suspects for air seepage are a cracked fuel filter housing, failed O-rings, or leaking gaskets. There are also reports of difficulty when priming the fuel system after changing fuel filters.
2. Water pump failure
Duramax water pump failure between 80,000 and 100,000 miles is a somewhat common problem. This is likely due to issues inherent with the water pump manufacturer more so than Chevrolet but that’s of little consolation when your water pump fails.
While overheating does not occur in every Duramax, it does appear to be more prevalent than in other diesel engines. Of course, the already mentioned water pump failure is a common culprit to overheating, but towing heavy loads during summer heat can lead to overheating conditions as well. Overheating is often caused by a faulty fan clutch which prevents adequate airflow through the radiator to keep the system operating at the desired temperature. An overly dirty or clogged radiator can also contribute to the problem, preventing the free flow of air required to keep the engine coolant cool.
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