The new 2.8-liter DuraMax diesel that’s now available in both the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon isn’t actually all that new. Versions of it have been powering a multitude of different trucks ans SUVs from various brands around the globe for a long time.
Other variations of the VM Motori A428 based diesel engine are also currently offered in the export versions of the Jeep Wrangler as well as GM and Isuzu trucks sold globally. An earlier generation of the engine was sold here in the States installed in the Jeep Liberty.
This version of the engine however has been tailored for use here in North America to meet our more stringent and current EPA emissions laws while also providing the output and fuel-economy our consumers will expect for its $4,000 price premium.
To that end it’s rated at 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Here in North America it’s mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, but you can get it with both two or four-wheel drive. With two-wheel drive it’s rated as high as 31 mpg highway.
To achieve this it has dual-overhead cams, four-valves per cylinder, common rail fuel-injection, a variable-geometry turbocharger, and even a built-in exhaust brake that helps it achieve its tow rating at up to 7,600 pounds in our 4×4 test truck.
The engine itself is built pretty stout for truck duty. It has a cast-iron block or course and an aluminum head. A forged crankshaft and rods plan to stay in one piece for a long life with its 16.5:1 compression ratio.
Vibrations and harshness are kept low by a two-piece structural oil pan and a special Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber in the torque converter. The spring loaded damper cancels out the engine’s torsional vibrations at critical rpm for smoother overall operation.
Following the air flow, intake air starts from the large filter box down to the turbocharger which can be seen if you look hard enough down below. It’s oil and wastegate hardware obscure most of it from view as you an see.
From there the intake charge travels up to the air-to-air intercooler ahead of the radiator and then back around to the main inlet on the driver side of the engine. There it is joined with additional air flow from the cooled EGR system which is part of the emissions hardware necessary here.
Other emissions bits and pieces include a selective catalyst system which uses a Urea injection also known as diesel-exhaust fluid to neutralize Nitrogen Oxides in the exhaust flow.
While there is a lot of complexity you can’t see here hidden down underneath as well as by its engine cover, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer for maintenance it’s all pretty straight forward. The oil filter for instance is right up on top of the engine. Checking the oil and filling it, just as easily done on top as well.
All the other fluids can easily be found around the engine bay pretty clearly too, the coolant, windshield washer fluid and the brake fluid up at the firewall. Being its for a diesel engine, the battery is pretty large, aside it the main fuse block.