6 Common GM 2.8L Duramax I4 Diesel Engine Problems

Are you interested in purchasing a Chevy or a GMC with the 2.8L Duramax and want to learn more about the 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems? If that’s the case, you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover on this specific engine.

Doing your own homework before you buy a model with a certain engine is one of the smartest things that you can do. There are many engines out there and each of these engines has certain issues. Some of them to a lesser extent, while some of them to a much greater extent. And that’s why we are here to pinpoint these problems for you.

First, we are going to cover the 2.8L engine specs and learn more about the variations of this engine. Then, we are going to cover the 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems and the applications of this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Basic 2.8L Duramax I4 Diesel Engine Specs

The 2.8L engine is an engine from the Duramax family of engines by GM. If you didn’t know, Duramax branded engines are only the diesel engines that General Motors include in their line of vehicles. They come in GMC and Chevy pickups and SUVs, and even in vans by these two companies.

When it comes to the configuration, it is worth noting that the 2.8L Duramax is an inline-4 diesel engine that is turbocharged. This engine implements a cast iron block and aluminum cylinder head. The compression ratio of the engine depends on the variation. For example the LWN has a compression ratio of 16.5:1.

When it comes to the variations, it is worth mentioning that there are two of them. The first is known as the XLD28. This engine was produced between 2014 and 2016. While the LWN which is the second version of this engine was produced from 2016 onward.

  • 2.8L Duramax XLD28

The XLD28 engine produces 200 hp @ 3,600 rpm and 360 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm.

  • 2.8L Duramax LWN

The Duramax LWN engine produces 181 hp @ 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm.

Both engines are assembled abroad. More specifically in Rayong, Thailand. They are used in the North American models and are also used a lot in the applications sold globally by GM.

6 Common 2.8L Duramax I4 Diesel Engine Problems

Let’s briefly cover the common 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems and see what troubles this engine the most.

Common 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems include:

  • Clogged EGR
  • Clogged DPF
  • Carbon Buildup
  • Clogged Fuel Injectors
  • Turbocharger Failures
  • Timing Belt Problems

Now that we briefly covered the 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems. Let’s further elaborate on them in depth. Let’s learn when and how they appear and also the symptoms that are connected to these issues.

1. Clogged EGR

The first and most common problem with this engine is the clogged EGR valve. So, what is an EGR valve and what does this EGR valve do?

Well, the EGR valve is a simple valve that recirculates some of the exhaust gasses into the intake manifold in order to burn them. Thus, reducing emissions.

This exhaust gas recirculation valve is not something new. It was invented in the early 70s in order to tackle NOx emissions.

Since then a lot of engines have adopted this technology, especially diesel engines which tend to produce NOx more compared to gas-powered engines.

And all of the engines that use EGR valves will end up clogged at some point.

The carbon particles simply stick to these valves and when the engine reaches 100,000 miles, the EGR will stop working because of too many carbon deposits.

Some people clean them. But it is best to replace this valve, which can be somewhat expensive.

Symptoms associated with a bad EGR include the check engine light, rough engine work, higher emissions, and loss in performance. The engine will also run pretty poorly.

2. Clogged DPF

Another common problem with these diesel engines is the clogging of the DPF filter. So, what is the DPF?

The DPF is the diesel particulate filter. This is a special filter that is installed on every modern diesel engine.

As you probably know, diesel engines create a lot of soot. So, in order to trap this pollution, carmakers have installed these DPF filters.

They trap the soot and once the DPF is ready, it will start to regenerate. This is a process that burns out the soot from the DPF.

What a lot of people do is not regenerate these filters. They drive a lot through the town on short distances. So, the DPF doesn’t even reach the operating temperature to regenerate.

In this case, you will end up with a clogged DPF. And this is what a lot of owners of the 2.8L Duramax are experiencing.

Whenever this problem occurs, you will get the DPF light, check engine light, limp mode, engine stalling, and poor fuel economy.

The only way around this problem is to completely remove the DPF and clean it with a special machine. This can be expensive but it has to be done if you want to return the engine to proper working order. Now let’s move to the next 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems.

3. Carbon Buildup

Carbon buildup on these engines is another big problem. This carbon buildup is a problem since this is a diesel engine.

There can be carbon buildup in the EGR valve as we mentioned and this can cause the EGR to fail. But there can also be other places where you can have carbon deposits.

Namely, there can be carbon buildup in the intake manifold, especially on the MAP sensor and this could pretty much obstruct the flow of air into the engine. And also, there can be carbon buildup on the intake valves.

The main cause of excessive carbon buildup on diesel engines is excessive idling. These engines do not like to idle a lot. In addition to this, short trips, cold weather, and less frequent oil changes can also cause the development of carbon deposits on these engines.

Symptoms associated with this problem include, poor fuel economy, check engine light, and rough engine work.

4. Clogged Fuel Injectors

Fuel injector issues are also one of the 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems. And frankly, this is a very common failure on these diesel engines.

Diesel engines are using common rail injection which is like a direct injection for diesel vehicles. They use very complex injectors that over time, can clog up.

The solution to this problem is to add an additive to clean them off. Or if you cannot clean them, they have to be properly cleaned by a professional service.

Sometimes the injectors can also start to leak diesel and worsen the carbon buildup and also fuel consumption.

5. Turbocharger Failures

Turbocharger failures are another common problem with the 2.8L Duramax. Especially at higher miles, the turbocharger can fail.

Whenever a turbocharger fails, it’s usually the shaft of the turbo that starts to wobble around. The only way around this problem will be to completely rebuild or replace the turbo.

This is a very expensive repair and can cost you a few grand to get this component sorted out. This is why you need to make sure that the turbo is good before you buy.

6. Timing Belt Problems

And the last on our list of 2.8 l Duramax diesel engine problems is the timing belt issue. This is not mainly an issue.

The only drawback with this type of setup is that it is not very friendly for diesel vehicles. The timing belt can wear out too quickly and if you are not aware, it can snap and fail the engine.

So, after 100,000 miles, it is a good idea to replace this belt. Even though it is recommended that you should replace it after 150,000 miles.

Cars With The 2.8L Duramax I4 Diesel Engine

The 2.8L Duramax engine was included in the following applications:

Duramax XLD28 For International Markets

  • Chevy Colorado
  • Chevy Trailblazer
  • Holden Colorado
  • Isuzu KB

Duramax LWN For US Market

  • 2016-2022 Chevy Colorado
  • 2016-2022 GMC Canyon
  • 2017-2022 Chevy Express
  • 2017-2022 GMC Savana


What Are The Common 2.8 l Duramax Engine Problems?

This engine does not have serious defects. It is a pretty reliable engine. But once the engine surpasses the 100,000-mile mark, you will have to do a timing belt change, also the EGR can fail, DPF can clog up, problems with the injectors are common on higher miles, and turbocharger failures are also common on high miles. This is basic stuff when it comes to diesel engines. So, before buying one of these 2.8L engines, make sure that you have these issues checked.

Is The 2.8L Duramax Diesel Reliable?

Yes, the 2.8L Duramax is a fairly reliable engine. The only downside of this engine is probably the inability to tow a lot as other diesel engines do. This engine is more like a base gas-powered engine. It lags a lot behind the bigger Duramax engines.

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