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Letter To The Editor: Colorado Diesel, 2.8 Duramax Is Nothing Short of Amazing

"On a test drive my truck chugged up that hill at 62 mph in 6th," writes Terry Onufer from Mars, PA who sent Torque News this letter sharing his driving experience of Chevy Colorado Diesel, 2.8 Duramax and says it will do most jobs a truck is called to do.


In the last 6 years, I owned a 2006 Ram 5.9 Cummins, and a 2008 LMM Duramax. Both were good trucks. I do not want to initiate a discussion about: "what is best? Ram, Chevy, Ford", that is not my point. I have a brother and nephew who each have a Ram 6.7, and another brother who has a Ford with the 7.3 Navistar, all are good.

I did not have a need for a 3/4 ton truck any longer, but could not bear to get a gasser. I almost bought a Ram 1500, it's a nice set up, but I did not want coil-over rear in a truck.

I read your blog and article about the 2.8 and decided to drive one (her refers to Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Diesel). A nearby Chevy dealer got the first one in they had all year, Baierl Chevrolet in Wexford, Pa. The truck was a long bed. On the test drive, there is a hill on Route 19 that's about 1/2 mile, and the truck chugged up that hill at 62 mph in 6th. That was it for me.

Having owned a modified 5.9 and a stock 6.6 GM, the 2.8 ran decent, but the pedal felt dead, and it just needed a little kick.

I contacted Paul Wilson at Duramax Tuner, and researched their tunes, talked to people that had their tunes, then ordered one. It's a 4 tune set; stock plus, tow, sport-economy, and extreme. I will never use extreme. Duramax Tuner / Paul recommended Sport Economy, but I run it most in stock plus, 10 hp and 10 lb ft for torque. Both tunes (stock plus and sport economy) run great, sport economy is plus 45 hp and 60 lb ft of torque. It is a different truck, and still will achieve over 30 mpg on highway, with 429 lb ft of torque.

With a tow rating of 7700 pounds, torque of 429 lb ft, and 30 mpg on highway (see Chevy Colorado compared to Toyota Tacoma by Torque News) all day, there's no other truck out there like it. I drove the Colorado from my home in Mars, Pa to our nieces wedding in the Harrisburg Pa area and back, and got 31.25 mpg actual. The trip computer showed 30.6 mpg.

Thank you for your review of the Colorado. This package, the 2.8 with a real 4 wheel drive, towing capacity to do most jobs a half ton will do, and 30 mpg plus on highway - it's nothing short of amazing. And add the Duramax Tuner EFI set of tunes and it's hands down a great truck.

Watch 2016 Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Duramax Diesel 1st. Off-Road drive with Engineer Mike Symons

If you have recently test drove a truck or a vehicle and would like to send us your impressions, send a letter to the editor, using Torque News Contact form. We welcome your comments in the comments section below to have your voice heard as well.


Mike (not verified)    December 1, 2017 - 2:59AM

I think by Duramax you mean VM Motori the same engine builders as the ecodiesel, except built in Thailand. Good luck tuning a timing belt diesel. Hopefully it has a good return to stock feature if that belt skips a gear and you need to head to dealer for warranty. Not trying to be a troll here, just saying I would return the thing to stock. Good luck.

Todd (not verified)    December 18, 2017 - 12:25PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

I think by Duramax he mean Duramax. What does it matter if it has modified tuning with a timing belt? If you modify the stock tuning and then something happens your warranty is voided.
Also, please show us the data, not just incidental internet comments, where tuned Chevrolet Colorado’s with a timing belt skip gears after the tuning was installed. Include a description of the tuning and how often it’s been documented, for each vehicle, gears skipped.

Mike (not verified)    December 19, 2017 - 12:18PM

In reply to by Todd (not verified)

No a 6.6 Duramax is a commercial diesel made by Isuzu. This is a small Italian companies design that is manufactured in Thailand. Common consumers like yourself don't know the difference. I have talked to mechanics about timing belt diesels before. They had a Chevrolet Cruze Diesel skip the timing belt just from snow buildup and cold startup. Go ahead and tune the timing belt diesel all you want it's a free country isn't it. I have an ecodiesel and I'm leaving that stock.

Scott (not verified)    February 21, 2018 - 8:59PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Strange. I spoke to GDE and they seem unconcerned. If you’re not sure who GDE is, check out Green Diesel Performance. Not sure about the knowledge and experience of the mechanics you talked to. GDE is about as knowledgeable and experienced as anyone in the diesel world. Not many mechanics or tuners I know have worked as OEM diesel engineers...

Seems much ado about nothing. Mine is running great. I know of another dozen running great.

By the way, while there is some commonality, there is a big difference between the 2.8 DURAMAX and the VM Motori 2.8 in the old Jeep Liberty. It is a DURAMAX.

Mike (not verified)    February 22, 2018 - 10:33PM

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

What's equally strange is you think the people selling you this magic tune is going to say bad things about the motor they propose to tune. My DEF system cost me over 3 grand the other week. Every dollar I saved over the Hemi in fuel was recollected and more in one lump sum. Good luck with the tuned non Isuzu "duramax". Ford has a "powerstroke" that started life as a Peugeot and has a timing belt. Maybe you should trade up to an F150? Great marketing there too. I'm done with diesels traded for a Hemi sport with 3.21. Never again.

Car Nut Seattle (not verified)    February 12, 2018 - 7:16PM

I'd buy the Chevy Colorado, if nothing else, for the 2.8 litre Duramax LWN Diesel engine. I can imagine a number of vehicles that would benefit from this engine. If the original gas engine is between 3.0 litres and 4.0 litres, this might fit comfortably. Is diesel for everyone? Probably not, but I'm sure there are people who would want it for some application.

BT (not verified)    February 27, 2019 - 11:27AM

Love my Cruze diesel and love my 1017 ZR2 with the Durmax. Belt. Eco diesel will have EGR issues just like all of them. Thanks to the tree huggers that want to save the ants.. lol.. I have a tune in my Real Four Wheel Drive and is great. Cruze my daily driver gets over 50 mpg the ZR2 gets over 30 MPG.. 150k the belt will need to be changed but so what .. No def to had no Emissions to worry about just a belt every 150k.

Shawn (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 8:37PM

In reply to by BT (not verified)

I always wonder if these angry white guys feel the same hatred to “treehuggers” and big gubbermint that gave you lead free gas, regulated nuclear energy and seat belts and air bags. I guess make America great again means 1960s tech should rule the world.

Gay Car Nut Tacoma (not verified)    February 28, 2019 - 6:02PM

The only thing I don't like about the Duramax LWN is where it's produced. I'd rather have a Diesel engine made in the USA, Canada, Germany, or Australia.

Gay Car Nut (not verified)    April 17, 2019 - 6:07PM

I want to breathe clean air as much as anyone, but I've always found the environmental requirements to be unrealistic at best.

Car Nut Tacoma (not verified)    April 18, 2021 - 8:07AM

I hope this is still being produced. I hope it's still being offered here in the USA. I can think of a number of vehicles that would benefit from a small displacement (2.0-3.0 litre) turbo diesel engine. Why should only full-sized trucks like the Chevy/GMC trucks have all the fun with the Duramax 6.6 litre Diesel? It's time that the smaller diesel engines get to shine.

Car Nut Tacoma (not verified)    March 11, 2022 - 11:00PM

I hope I'm wrong with this, but I read somewhere that the Duramax 2.8 litre Diesel engine will no longer be produced. I'd love to see the Duramax produced here in the USA, Canada, Germany or Australia. It doesn't seem right that anyone would stop producing an engine.