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Top and Bottom US Truck Engines

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by GMC Sierra, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    I know I have seen some discussion regarding top and bottom US engines on the forum before. Here is my list, broken into gas and diesel categories. As always, this is one man's opinion...I have owned many of the these engines, some I have heard enough about, driven, or read about to form my conclusion. I am starting off about the mid 90's....I cannot legitimately comment on prior engines. My intent is to be fair and balanced. Your thoughts:

    1. 5.7L Vortec Chevy/GMC/GM V-8 (350CI)- I do not expect much differing of opinion here. This motor is a legendary powerplant that I continue to own. From my trucks to Corvette (LS1) it is hard to argue on this motor. I has been rock solid dependable, great power and torque, and when it is time to fix (rare) the costs are very reasonable. Well engineered and a clean design....I see routine posts of 250K+ miles on these engines without major issues. From crate engines to marine applicatons (marine is the true test of durability), this basic confguration is very popular....becuase of its reputation. This is/was the best US engine built in my opinion.

    2. 6.0 liter Vortec Chevy/GMC/GM V-8- My wife has this in her Denali. Great motor...POWER. 300HP gets it done. Very clean looking motor and easy to service. Well engineeed.

    3. 7.4L GM 454- what can I say- this is a legend too. Very powerful and the lugging torque that could run with the diesels of that generation. Yeah, I know, gas mileage was terrible. In terms of longevity, I have been told as you appoach 200K miles, it starts getting tired. Well, it is a big block!

    4. Hemi- 5.7 Could not foget this motor. Dodge is into the power...and HEMI slogan is money. Dodge got more HP and torque out of a 5.7L than GM (truck application).

    5. Dodge 318- I owned an 80's 318. Good motor. However, if you ask around, the 318 ususally comes up as a bulletpoof powerplant for Dodge. I tend to agree. Thus it is on the list.

    6. 4.0 liter in line six Jeep- Owned this as well. Great motor. Easy to work on and TORQUE for a small motor. Something about an in line six (hint- see diesel below). This motor is also known for longevity.

    7. 4.3 liter Vortec V6- my buddies had these in their blazers when we were in high school. Dependable motor that could take a beating. Fairly good power as well for a six. Also known for high mileage engines. Take 5.7 liters divided by eight and multiply by six....equals 4.3? Coincidence for GM? I think not.

    8. 351 Cleveland V-8 Ford- Ford guys always mention this motor as a positive. Similar to the 350...sounds like it has good power and dependabiliy.


    1. Cummins 5.9L Dodge- Any generation, any confguration (turbo, nonturbo, 12V, 24 V) this motor is the best. I have not owned one...just a matter of time (I own Cummins stock though). However, I never hear a bad word about this motor. Dependable, power, in line six monster torque, LONGEVITY, ability to take harsh abuse. A genuine diesel that is based on the concept of compresion! Long live the Cummins!

    2. 7.3 Powestroke- Ford- Hey- this was Ford's best diesel in my opinion- a very noteworthy engine. Power and longevity. I know many still wish the 7.3 was in production for a Super Duty. Don't mess with a good thing!

    3. Duramax- GM needed to catch-up in the diesel arena for over a decade- let' face it. They did this with the Duramax (thank goodness). I need to see and hear more stories of dependability and longevity to make my final conclusions....but the motor seems be off to a good start.

    BOTTOM (Gas and Diesel)

    1. 5.4 liter Ford- This motor advertises 300+HP, but whenever I drive one, I am unimpressed. This motor does not belong in a 3/4 truck as the base motor. Also seems like I read about dependabiliy issues?

    2. 6.5 Liter GM Diesel- Hey, I call it as I see it...I owned one of these....not GM's finest hour. Weak on HP, did not like to start in the cold and injector pump and control issues galore. I really also question the longeviy of this diesel. I am glad that engine is retired.

    3. 5.0 Liter GM and Ford Gas- What was the point when you had the 5.7 and 351? These were good motors, but the difference in gas milage beween these and their bigger brothers did not justify them- at least to me. I owned a 5.0 GM in a truck...sold it because I did not like the power.

    4. 6.0 Ford Powerstroke- The issue here, among other things, was the 7.3 was so good!

    The truth be told, US manufactures have really improved in building engines that are world class. You end up splitting hairs on somes of these engines. Clearly competition has led to some wonderful motors. My expectation is that a motor should get to 160K (minimum)withuot an issue (normal maintenance). My hat is off to GM, Dodge and Ford.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    You're going to ruffle some feathers grouping a Ford 302 with a Chevy 305.....
  3. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    You leave me hangin'? Which is better, 302 or 305? Why? The 302 is the legenday Mustang motor, 305 common in Camaros etc. My point is to gain further insight on strengths and weaknesses of the engines. What is your opinion?
  4. Ryan03

    Ryan03 Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    I also think the 6B cummins is a top notch engine, but they also had some issues. Google cummins 5.9, 53 block and see how many pages come up about blocks cracking at the bottom of the cylinder barrels due to inferior Brazilian castings.Cummins blocks cast in other countries during this time period did not have this issue. If my memory serves me correctly, Dodge installed around 200,000 of these 53 blocks in Rams between around 1998 and around 2000.

    I am not trying to start a diesel pissing contest, as each of the mentioned diesels can have some issues related to their respective design, just pointing out that some recent Cummins engines have potential issues just as the others do.
  5. MLLC

    MLLC Member
    from MA
    Messages: 49

    how about the 6.8l V10 ford engine that would blow the spark plugs out of the block
  6. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    Wow, that is scary. I though I read he 5.4 had that issue too. I usually hear decent stuff about the Ford V10. However, my issue wih V10's is that they seem to be a manufacturer short cut to building a more poweful engine....engineer more out of a V-6 or V-8....anyone can get power by building a V-10....why not a V-12? Look at Cumins...They stay with basically the same configuration (inline six) and just build on it with better technology...I respect that.
  7. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    Thanks for the info...I was not aware. In all seriousness, this is the first time I have really heard a true negative against the Cummins. Overall, I think they are the best diesel in a domestic light duty truck (and you appear to agree). Thanks for your post.

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    There is WAY too much to comment on. I hope you know there isn't 1 part that is the same between a 5.7 vortec and the 5.7 ls1 in your vette.
  9. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Your Info on ford engines is not so good.First off the 351 Cleveland was never put in a truck,I assume you are confusing it with the 351 M which while it is similar in appearance is quite a different engine.The 302 in a truck is not even close to the Legendary Mustang engine which would be the Boss 302.As for your diesel list wouldn`t the GM 6.2 be worse than the 6.5?
  10. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    I thought Ford had a 5.8L motor which was the 351 (perhaps not a "Cleveland" engine)- I think this is what you are referring to- thanks for the correction. I agree, a 302, perhaps a good engine, does not belong in a truck. Finally, good point on the 6.2....although, I really consider the 6.2 and 6.5 the same/similar poor engine...one is just turbo charged! Either way, until the Duramax came-out, GM did not have a competitive diesel in my opinion (6.2 or 6.5). Just curious, do you agree with any of the list?
  11. GMC Sierra

    GMC Sierra Member
    Messages: 41

    Noted...My point is that the 5.7 is an outstanding base engine. For example, the 5.7 is commonly used in marine applications (I believe it is called the 5.7 Bravo)....those motors I am sure are much different in materials than my truck (probably more stainless, etc). However, the point remains that the configuration has proven to to be in high demand...due to a strong reputation

    I see in your signature line, you own many of the motors I discuss (5.7, 7.4, cummins, 6.5 etc). I would value your input on what you think...you own them!
  12. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    The 5.8 you are refferring to is the 358 Windsor,and yes I agree with pretty much your entire list.I am surprized that you did not include the pre-vortech Chevy 350,it was around forever and powered everything from 1/2 tons up to Medium duty trucks.
  13. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I actually love my 6.2 and in a lot of ways wish all my trucks had one. Sure, a little underpowered (they were never designed to be a real powerful package), but mine starts reliable in all weather (plugged in if extreme cold) and gives great mileage. Plenty torquey down low with a little gear. Mine just rolled over 430,000km, can't prove its original but all signs say it is...

    Not in the same league as the 7.3 or 5.9. Those are both medium duty engines shoehorned into a light duty truck. Both are fantastic engines IMO.

    Any sound running Chevy 350 of any year makes a great plow engine. As for the 305, my one ton had one when I bought it, and it plowed just fine. You don't need much power to plow, you'll always be limited by traction in a truck. The extra weight did finally kill one cylinder in the 305 though, 0psi compression in it, but it did still run. Never bothered to open it to see what died. Certainly not my first choice of engine, but better than plowing with a Pinto. :D

    Everyone will have their favorites.
  14. Ropinghorns

    Ropinghorns Senior Member
    Messages: 122

    cummins rule!!!!!!wesport
  15. tuna

    tuna Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Believe it or not the Marine engine is not much different than a truck engine.There is no stainless or any other special materials.The Bravo name reffers to the outdrive not the engine,usually a V6 or a small block has an Alpha drive while big blocks get the Bravo drive.My last 2 boats have been 5.7`s with the Alpha one drive.