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Thread: Best and worst diesel engines ever put in a big truck

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    Midnight Flyer's Avatar
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    Default Best and worst diesel engines ever put in a big truck

    I imagine this topic will get many opinions and responses. In your opinion what's the best diesel engine ever put in a truck? What about the worst? 8)
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    flood is offline Senior Board Member
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    well for us the worst is the new VOLVO D-13

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    As a company driver, I like the Cummins ISX. Good power, fairly quiet and smooth running. Also, it seems to be pretty dependable. I've never had anything major happen to an ISX - maybe a belt here and there or a sensor or 2 - oh, and a starter.

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    Although I'm a full blooded Mack Truck fan, I would have to say the best Diesel engine ever used in trucks would have to be the "classic" big block Cummins. It was designed in the 1930's as a 672 cu. in. engine, then later punched out to 743 cu. in., and finally to 855 cu. in., and had a production run from the 1930's to the early 2000's, when the EPA finally put it out of production for emissions reasons.

    Nearly a 70 year run, can't get much better than that.

    As for the worst Diesel engine ever used in a truck? The 3208 Cat. What the hell were they thinking putting those in class 8 trucks. Cat has made some great truck engines, the 1693, the 3406 A,B,C, and E, the C12, C13, C15.

    The 3208 was just a POS.
    If you can't shift it smoothly, you shouldn't be driving it.

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    The 92 series Detroits. Put GM out of the truck engine business. The 3208 was junk. We had 1 in an 1800 Massey tractor. Threw a rod bout every 500 hrs.. Turned screamin rpm's (3300-3400). It was called a throwaway cat for a reason.

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    Best engine I've had was a 3406E and an N-14 PLUS comes in second. Every Detroit I've ever driven has not only come up short, but also spent time in the shop too often.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowdoc
    The 92 series Detroits. Put GM out of the truck engine business. The 3208 was junk. We had 1 in an 1800 Massey tractor. Threw a rod bout every 500 hrs.. Turned screamin rpm's (3300-3400). It was called a throwaway cat for a reason.
    Was that 92 series the V/8 Detroit? 8)
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    Mack E-9 V8 500hp. THE BEST THERE WAS 8)
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    Larry Heyns is offline Member
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    A couple of failures in the 1970s: The Allis Chalmers truck engine, and the Deutz air-cooled truck engine.

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    Worst Cummins: Signature 600. Hands down.

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    BigDiesel is offline BANNED Rookie
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    Worst.... Thats easy.... Yellow Motors....

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    The 3208 is the V-8 right ? We have one in our 1988 Ford pumper at the fire department. It's definitely a dog. Although it obviously doesn't have many miles on it we haven't had to do anything to it for the 20 years we've had it. We used to have this 1968 truck just like it. It had this, I think, gas 585 Cadillac motor in it. That thing barely moved. It got like 3 miles to the gallon. Guys would run out of gas taking it to parades, usually half way back. We replaced it in 2000 and we couldn't even sell it because it had a gas engine, nobody wanted it. We gave it to the Rotary for $1000 so they could donate it to some Indian Reservation in North Dakota or maybe it was south, can't remember. The president of the Rotary actually drove the damn thing all the way out there. OK, memory lane over with. 8) 8)

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    I worked for a Cat Dealership in San Antonio in the 80's and drove 2 different Ford F-800 trucks that had the 3208 in it. Sometimes I hauled D-9 tracks or roller assemblies 60 miles south to the uranium mines. That engine coupled with a 5 speed and split rear end got up to 90 mph, but climb a hill and it was a dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Splitshifter
    Although I'm a full blooded Mack Truck fan, I would have to say the best Diesel engine ever used in trucks would have to be the "classic" big block Cummins. It was designed in the 1930's as a 672 cu. in. engine, then later punched out to 743 cu. in., and finally to 855 cu. in., and had a production run from the 1930's to the early 2000's, when the EPA finally put it out of production for emissions reasons.

    Nearly a 70 year run, can't get much better than that.

    As for the worst Diesel engine ever used in a truck? The 3208 Cat. What the hell were they thinking putting those in class 8 trucks. Cat has made some great truck engines, the 1693, the 3406 A,B,C, and E, the C12, C13, C15.

    The 3208 was just a POS.
    What about the 3176. Damn thing couldn't get out it's own way if it wanted to. I loved my Series 60 Detroit and my 3406E Cat.
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    There was both a 6V92 and a 8V92 Detroit. Both were junk. Yes the 3208 was a V8.

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    I've had a lot of old salt drivers say the V/8 Detroits made excellent boat anchors! 8)
    "Looks like a legend and an outta work bum look a lotta like Daddy," Little Enos Burdette.
    Hook 'em Horns!!
    "Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid." John Wayne
    "Talk to me Goose".
    "What we're dealin' with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law," Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
    Friends don't let friends drive for C.R. England!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TK THE TRUCKER
    We used to have this 1968 truck just like it. It had this, I think, gas 585 Cadillac motor in it. That thing barely moved.
    Now that I think about it that can't be right, a GM motor in a Ford truck, duh ops: I remember 585 and some kind of motor. I'll have to ask my father what the hell engine it was. 8) 8)

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    i have had good luck with the 3406 cat and the dd series 60 i love cat engines but when it comes to repairs detroits are the easiest to work on and the parts are cheaper as for the worst the cummins n14 gets my vote
    nothing but trouble

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    Owing to reliability issued, I'm going to have to go with the 2003 model Detroit 60 Series. Another one which comes to mind would have to be the DT466 (another terrible choice for a Class 7/8 vehicle).

    As for best... I dunno. I think the 3406B was the most reliable that I've operated.

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    beeiatch is offline Rookie
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom309
    i have had good luck with the 3406 cat and the dd series 60 i love cat engines but when it comes to repairs detroits are the easiest to work on and the parts are cheaper as for the worst the cummins n14 gets my vote
    nothing but trouble
    Cummins N-14 is the best motor out there. Detroits are a POS, and CATS, well you know they say about anything painted yellow.

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