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Old 04-06-2022, 10:06 PM   #1
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What's the best diesel in a pickup?

Let's say 2010 and later, what is the most reliable and powerful diesel engine you can get in a pickup?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think towing comes down to 3 things:

1. Torque rating at the wheels. (Manufacturer numbers are at the crank. So your looking for as little drivetrain loss as possible.)

2. Torque curve. The most torque you can have at any given RPM.

3. Axle ratio. The higher the number the better.

Name the model years after 2010 that are reliable and why.
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Old 04-07-2022, 04:02 AM   #2
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You could throw a blanket over all of them. You just like stirring the pot don't you?
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Old 04-07-2022, 04:42 AM   #3
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If you want a useful discussion on this subject you should really specify what it is you want to tow. Are you towing a travel trailer or a 5th wheel? If a 5th wheel, then how big and how heavy? Single wheel or dually? You also forgot to ask what is the best transmission. Is this just a trailer hauler, work truck and or everyday driver?

FWIW my 2021 RAM 2500 diesel seems pretty rock solid. I'm towing an Airstream with a 1000 pound tongue weight and 8500 pound max gross weight. Drives very nice, gets around 13 MPG towing, 21 Highway without the trailer.
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Old 04-07-2022, 05:48 AM   #4
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I plead the fifth.
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Old 04-07-2022, 09:27 AM   #5
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You seem to have defined "best" as "most powerful". Once the power is adequate for the load (towed or carried), I'm not sure that more is better. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy sprightly performance, but beyond some point other factors are important too, e.g. fuel economy, reliability, ease of service, etc. For example, I don't want a rear axle ratio any higher than necessary to move my rig easily. As long as it is well-matched to the engine rpms and torque curve, it doesn't have to be "high". And larger diesels typically have a very low rpm range, e.g. 500-2000 rpms, so the peak torque or HP rpm is rarely far away.

In short, I'm more interested in a well-balanced powertrain than maximizing any particular parameter.
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Old 04-07-2022, 09:28 AM   #6
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Any one of the big three will get the job done. There's not a dimes worth of difference in the specs. Ford is the highest power at 1,050 torque and 475HP. Duramax is last with 910 torque and 445 HP. In the real world they are all going to be so close that it's a wash. All have premium interiors depending on package, and all are available with about the same bells and whistles.

I opted for a loaded LTZ Duramax and it will effortlessly pull a 38' 16,000# toy hauler faster than anyone needs to be towing. I recently pulled up the Mogollon Rim on I-17 out of Phoenix at about 60 mph which is about all one should be doing with the curves and traffic.

Duramax and Cummins are both proven engines, and I suppose the Ford is also. I have just been leery of Ford since the 6.0 and 6.4 almost bankrupted the company.

If you want detailed info concerning towing capabilities, fuel economy, etc. try looking at tests that have been done on the Gantlet on I-70 in Colorado.
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Old 04-07-2022, 05:29 PM   #7
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This is like asking what beer is better, what whiskey is better, who's wife is hotter.....
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Old 04-07-2022, 06:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rollondown View Post
This is like asking what beer is better, what whiskey is better, who's wife is hotter.....
Mine, mine, mine.

Forums traditionally attract trolling questions...and they tend to result in what they are after...lots of arguing.

Answer: it depends.
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Old 04-08-2022, 05:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rollondown View Post
This is like asking what beer is better, what whiskey is better, who's wife is hotter.....

Or how you only have 7 posts in 3 years…….
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Old 04-08-2022, 05:14 AM   #10
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Ram is the best, no wait GM is the best, no wait Ford is the best.

These 3 seem to leap frog each other which only last 1 maybe 2 years before the leap frogger becomes the leap froggy.

2011 all trucks got better than 2010. GM introduced a new frame, Ford introduced new engines and Ram kept up. I would also say in 2022 they are producing the best trucks that have ever been on this planet.

Any truck will do what an RV person wants. Now if I was going to tow 35,000lbs I might do more research but for me I will pick the one I like most.
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Old 04-08-2022, 06:38 AM   #11
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Its just IMO but after owning and operating them from a commercial perspective....the white one is best.
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Old 04-08-2022, 09:33 AM   #12
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I like white trucks for towing. The white paint is easier to keep clean. But as to the engine, it seems that they have all had a few issues. The ones to stay as away from and I mean a long way away, are the Ford 6.0L and 6.4L diesels.

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Old 04-08-2022, 10:00 AM   #13
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Why doesn’t the Troll Patrol report the crime?
Aren’t we also supposed to be nice and provide helpful answers?

2010 is the dawn of the DEF transition. I’d go pre-DEF Cummins, which I’ve seen as late as 2012 or pre-DEF Duramax, (2010). The engine won’t be the weak link.

I’d also recommend doing some research outside of this forum, if you’d like to get information other than people telling you to get what they have.
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Old 04-08-2022, 10:28 AM   #14
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there are no good diesels in pick ups based on the question. when you have emissions the require def then you have added sooooo much back pressure the engine cannot breathe well. that will cut years off the life span. when you design trucks that require mechanice to lift cabs off, its not a good truck. all because the general population cannot figure out how to park a truck that 10" longer. the better question would be "which later model deisel engine has the least number of problems?" duramax (isuzu) is out of the running right from the start. i have owned power strokes for many years. all of them have been 7.3 ltre engines for good reason. i will not buy a newer diesel pick up truck due to complete lack of longevety and poor design. you will be better off buying a gas engine or a class 6 truck.
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