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Duramax History

In the late 1990s General Motors lagged woefully behind its competition in the Diesel Powered Heavy Duty Pick-Up Truck segment, garnering a mere 3 percent of the market. The Detroit Diesel Engine that GM offered in its trucks was deemed inferior by consumers, so they took their business elsewhere. As GM was finalizing plans for its next generation of full-size pick-ups, the company was acutely aware of the need for a powerful, winning combination in its Diesel powertrain.

At the same time Isuzu Motors was in the process of developing a totally new diesel engine. Isuzu was then, and still is, recognized as a worldwide leader in diesel engine technology. As one of GM's manufacturing partners, Isuzu was selected as the provider for the new GM Diesel Engine. Although Isuzu had been planning a 2003 release date for the new engine, the partnership with GM resulted in cooperative, fast-track development between the two companies which resulted in the introduction of the new engine in GM's 2001 model Chevrolet and GMC HD Diesel trucks. To accomplish this accelerated production schedule, a new joint-venture company was formed which was owned 60% by Isuzu and 40% by General Motors. The new company built a brand new 650,000 square foot engine plant in Moraine, Ohio and adopted the name DMAX Ltd. The name Duramax was chosen for the new engine to signify durability and maximum power, cleanliness, and fuel economy.

The new engine created and built by DMAX Ltd was a 6,599 cubic centimeter (6.6 Liter), direct-injection, turbo-charged Diesel V8 with 90-degree placement, aluminum cylinder heads, and 32 overhead valves. Isuzu accomplished all of the main engine design, but General Motors was responsible for the electronic fuel injection design which provided maximum power for every drop of fuel used. The Duramax 6600 Diesel was an immediate success, achieving best-in-class honors for both operating quietness and smoothness, even gaining favorable comparisons with similar sized gasoline engines. As evidence of the overwhelming success of the Duramax 6600, the market share GM enjoyed in the Heavy Duty Diesel Pick-Up Truck category rocketed to 30 percent. Truly, Diesel Truck enthusiasts embraced the new engine as worthy of their truck investment dollars.

The Duramax Diesel 6600 was selected by Popular Science Magazine to receive its coveted “Best of What's New Award” in 2000. The engine was also chosen by Ward's Magazine as one of the “Ten Best Engines in the World” in both 2001 and 2002. Additionally, the Duramax Diesel 6600 was an instrumental contributor to the 2001 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty Pick-Up Truck as it received the prestigious “2001 Truck of the Year Award” by Motor Trend Magazine.

The Duramax Diesel 6600 continues to evolve, and, yes, each new iteration yields improvements in emissions, power, and torque. The latest design of the engine incorporates improved piston oil flow, yielding improved temperature control to further enhance the Duramax's durability and reliability. The new design also affords the opportunity for the Duramax Diesel 6600 to surpass required engine emissions standards. For a decade now, the Duramax Diesel 6600 has proven that it is a force to be reckoned with in the Heavy Duty Diesel Pick-Up Truck genre. The next decade should be very interesting!

Model Number Cylinders Year Description
6.6L Duramax LB7 8 2001 to 2004 Duramax Engines - 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine LB7 (2001 to 2004)
6.6L Duramax LBZ 8 2006 to 2007 Duramax Engines - 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine LBZ (2006 to 2007)
6.6L Duramax LMM 8 2007 to 2010 Duramax Engines - 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine LMM (2007 to 2010)
6.6L Duramax LGH 8 2010 to 2011 Duramax Engines - 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine LGH (2010 to 2011)
6.6L Duramax LML 8 2011 Duramax Engines - 6.6L Duramax Diesel Engine LML (2011)