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Looking at HD's, 8.1L or Duramax???

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 7d9_z28, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    So, Ive been watching around my area for about a year now. A duramax with 200,000+ miles sells for 12,000 on up, even with rust. Im eyeing a couple 8.1L trucks though, same trucks (extended and crew cab, short and long boxes, all 4x4) and Seeing a couple that are rust free with 100,000 to 120,000 mile for 7,000 to 13,000 bucks. Im on a budget, dont really want to go too much over $10,000. I plan to plow with it, but not as a "professional", just the way I do now. couple small buisnesses, and residentials, non-contract. It will be a daily driver. I know the Duramax will last longer and fuel consumption is lesser, but the 8.1L doesn't seem to get too bad mileage. :confused::confused::confused: Any suggestions? I've never owned a diesel, but have worked on a couple Duramax, I know its a bit tougher and more expensive to maintain than a gasser.

    not sure which pros outweigh which cons.
  2. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    If you do a search,this has been discussed ad-nauseum on here forever.My vote would be the Dmax hands down but whatever you choose,if you're not able to do it yourself,hire a mechanic to completely check it out first.By me,even a 2001 Dmax truck would be well over $12K.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I personally love the 8.1 in my dump truck and wouldn't have it any other way. Due to the weight and gearing, a diesel wouldn't have given me much better fuel consumption.

    I'd put my 8.1 up against a diesel any day in terms of power and performance. I've never driven a heavy dually that would chirp the tires and my truck does just that. The 8.1 is also classified as an industrial/marine motor and will stand up against abuse and give you longevity.

    Fuel consumption isn't an issue in my case as I have a smaller truck for daily driving and lighter work. If you plan on using constantly, then you might want to steer towards a diesel in that regard.

  4. LCPullman

    LCPullman Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I have both, and their both excellent engines with lots of power. If you are comparing a 200k duramax to a 120k 8.1, I'd take the 8.1 any day. The duramax gets expensive very quickly if you have to start replacing things (like injectors, pumps, etc)
    Now of course, the 8.1 really does use the fuel . . .

    P.S. The front end will love not having to hold up a diesel if you put a plow on it.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  5. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Well, I made it a rule to look only for Duramaxs that have had the injectors replaced. The maintenance was a concern on the d-max, like you said pumps and what not..

    and the 8.1L, from what i read on forums and such, gets 10-12mpg avg, which is exactly what i get now with my 184,000 mile 98 silverado. granted I drive it kinda hard, but I digress...

    where the Duramax will outlast, I sort of feel like the 8.1L may be a better investment at first, and if i get one with 110-120,000 miles for $6-8K, I should be sitting ok, right?

    the guy at the bank said the 01 im looking at right now NADA books at like 11,500.. hes asking 8 or best...
  6. LCPullman

    LCPullman Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I assume your talking 01-02? $6-8k sounds about right, depends some on the wear on the vehicle, e.g. worn seats, buttons that don't work, scratches in the paint, small dents, etc.
    With proper care, I think an 8.1 has the potential to get you to 300k mi, I know a dealer around here who ran a 454 to over 300,000 (mostly towing other cars) without lifting the valve covers.
    The Allison is a really nice tranny, much better than the 4L80.

    If you do your own work, the 8.1 has much more room under the hood . . . Do you do any towing, or just planning to plow?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  7. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    yeah this truck is an 01. heres the truck: http://centralmich.craigslist.org/cto/2871485113.html
    It has surface rust starting at cab corners (surprise surprise) but no holes. guy seems cool, its getting u joints and a tranny cover? that came loose?

    I usually do my own work, save for the fact I do not have a garage so extensive work is iffy. but yeah, I plan to plow, daily drive 3/4 of the year maybe pull a trailer here or there. Like I said it should get about the same mpg as my current truck, with more capability. the MPG is one more factor that leans towards Duramax, plus the tuneability. but I really like this truck!
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    You can tune out an 8.1, but leaving it stock will be fine.

    The hardest repair on that motor is replacing the Crank Sensor. Sucker is hard to get to and then to get it to release to come out is a nightmare. Took me 4 hours to get mine out, and 5 minutes to put the new one in. Ended up having to make my own hook tool out of a piece of 1/4inch re-bar to hook on the lip of the sensor to get any grip to pull and not break the head of the sensor off.

    Really wish I have the Allison behind mine, they stuck a 4l80E that has bit different internal configuration over the PU truck 4l80E. But, the previous owner got 10 years worth of abuse out of it until it broke right before I bought it. Too bad when they installed it they goofed and cracked the bell housing around one of the mounting bolts, and I'm waiting for the tranny to drop out of it.

  9. LCPullman

    LCPullman Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    The only thing I can think of that might be is heat shields protecting the tranny from the exhaust/cat/muffler. Not really sure.

    BTW. I'm a little leery of diesel tuning, I wrecked a 6.5 that way . . decided not to try it again. Problem is you can pull so much power out of a diesel that you can't from a gasoline engine that you easily exceed the bounds of its design.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  10. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    That's funny, I only look for ones that need those to be fixed. :laughing:
  11. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Philbilly- the little work on diesels i have done, consisted of injectors in a duramax. :realmad: did not enjoy that. Im a certified mechanic, but when I worked in a shop we didnt do any diesel work. that truck was the bosses cousins truck. but that whole family had CCSB duramax 4xs and I drove every one of them and loved it!

    on the note of tuning, there have been alot of advancements, I have seen a stock duramax with just tunes and exhaust pull 900hp and like 1500ft/lbs. I know with twin turbos and heads and whatnot, its INSANE what they can pull for numbers.

    the only complaint i ever hear about the 8.1L is the MPG, but like I said thats what I get in my truck right now
    Granted, I never hear any complaints about the duramax (save for the injectors)
  12. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Yeah, they suck. I hate doing them. But finding Duramaxs for between $3000 and $5000 becuase the injectors are out. Then putting a set of injectors in to it for $1500 gives you quite a margin for error and for resale.
  13. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Theres a duramax dually on a local craigslist, with 345,000 miles and surface rust starting, and hes asking 15,000. thats the kinda pricing im dealing with in my area. I havent seen a single duramax under 10K anywhere near me
  14. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    what do you guys think about this truck and the price? NADA top retail is less than his asking. asking price includes new shocks, programmer, and something else of the like. I told him not to be offended but I would lay an offer of 7500 on the table. based on the other 8.1l trucks on the market with similar mileage, his is the highest priced one ive seen. I really like it though!
  15. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    What cab/ box configuration are you looking for.

    Duramaxs under $10,000.

    I just found 4 within 13 miles of your zip code
    1 more within 29 miles
    another one within 62 miles
    2 more within 68 miles

    All on craigslist

    If you want the real cheap ones, you have to drive a little. Down in arkansas and tennesse, the trucks don't seem to hold the gold value like they do up here.
  16. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    definitely not going out of state. that blue/black 8.1 is already 4 hours away.

    prefer crew cab short box, but looking at ext. cab short box. my target price is $7000, give or take a little. but Im not going to spend that much on one rusted out, and alot of them in my area have 230,000+ miles on them. not saying thats bad, but Ive never owned a diesel, so that number is high in my mind when I glance at it

    forgot to add, looking only at 2500HD 4x4 trucks. and only allison trans trucks
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  17. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    Are you really saying 900HP is capable on a DMAX with just a Tune? From what I've seen stock internals are only good till about 500hp to the wheels. If those two morons on "two guys garage" can do DMAX injectors, anyone who can turn a wrench can do them.
  18. 7d9_z28

    7d9_z28 Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I odnt know if those ratings were to the wheels or or what, but those were the numbers. stock with tune and exhaust.

    And like I said, I HAVE done injectors on a Duramax. Just not fun. or cheap.
  19. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    Aint nobody making 900 rearwheel hp on a stock duramax... Well it might last for 1 or 2 pulls
  20. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Some shops have a weird way of coming up with HP numbers.You are correct. 500HP at the wheels is all a stock duramax will handle for any period of time.