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Old 06-04-2014, 08:06 AM   #1
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Diesel Life Expectancy

I have a 2003 Silverado 2500HD with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission. It has about 116,000 miles on it. Never had any engine or transmission issues. Only "major" work was replacing a power steering pump and hoses as well as all the brake lines (seems the early 2000's had garbage for brake line material). It's great on fuel mpg (about 20 empty and 16-17 towing) and runs like a champ. The only drawback for me is the extended cab. I would much prefer the full four door setup.

Question: Since it's long since paid for and new truck prices are astronomical, what can I expect in longevity? It has a decent trade in value now but retirement imposes limitations. We want to take some far west trips and wife is concerned about reliability.

Jack
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:15 AM   #2
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If you have the maintenance records, that will show you everything you need to know about longevity. As with anything, if you take care of it, it will last. With proper care, I would imagine your engine could go as far as 200+ before any real repair work is done. I have a Ford 6.7 PSD (with the crew cab) with 55k on it and I am expecting no less than 250k before any issues. Heat is the destroyer of any diesel, so make sure your turbo is not overworking, your coolant system is maintained, and you stay in spec on your towing capabilities.
For piece of mind, you may want to look into aftermarket warranty insurance in case you DO get caught with something unexpected. Diesels are tough and tougher to kill. Negligence is your next biggest problem for longevity. From what you have on the history I would not hesitate to go cross country and feel secure.
You are correct, the 4doors are a great option. The added room sure comes in handy, and my F250 is a short box pulling a 5th wheel.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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Proper care and the life span is insane.

My buddy still has his 1997 Cummins/Dodge 2500. A single tranny rebuild was most costly item. Truck has rotted to a shame, but she runs top notch with 295,000 miles on her. You southern's could probably keep the things forever!
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:40 PM   #4
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So far so good!! I say keep it and run her. You can put a lot of money into repairs if necessary since it's paid for and much cheaper than buying a new truck. 300,000 miles isn't unreasonable for that motor and transmission. Usually the body and suspension are done before you hit that point. You are probably due for new shocks already if not already done. I recommend you go with Bilstein 5100's. If you haven't replaced then yet you will notice a definite improvement in handling.

I have as many miles as yours on mine already and it's only 3 years old!!

I agree the crew cabs are tempting. I'm on my 2nd CC after two extended cabs and can't go back, but unless you find a used low mileage CC with a great history and a reasonable price, I would stick with what you have.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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I would keep it and just put money away monthly (think put away a truck payment monthly) towards a possible major repair or a need to replace it if it dies on the road. This will have you ahead if your truck has a problem and it will help you see how you do with that amount of money paid out monthly. Who knows, you maybe able to almost pay cash for the new truck by the time this one dies at that rate.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:00 PM   #6
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Can't speak to your Duramax, but My 24V Cummins has 224K and still runs like the day I bought it.
Did replace the trans a while back, though.
As was said above, put a little something aside "just in case" and keep on truckin'.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:59 PM   #7
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The only thing I have heard on the Duramax of that vintage was the injectors have been a problem on some. We were fueling up out west one trip when we still had our Dmax and the guy next to me fueling asked me if I had any problems with injectors. He was hauling RVs across country. He said he had to replace his about the 90,000 mi. range.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:56 PM   #8
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I recently went thru the same decision and sold my '03 GMC 2500HD. The issue really isn't life expectancy of the diesel, but the rest of the vehicle and dealing with mechanical problems while on a long trip. No doubt, keeping the '03 is the cheapest answer. But if you put off making long trips or constantly worry while on a long trip, then the cheapest decision may not be the most enjoyable decision.

We made a number of long trips with our '03, but I decided it was time for a new tow vehicle for future trips. And if the '13 serves us as well and as long as the '03, then it may very well be our last tow vehicle anyway. Unless you absolutely know you will never need to replace the '03, then there will be a differential cost that will only get worse in the future.

We have several friends with diesel trucks older than my previous '03 and they basically have constant issues, transmission, water pump, starter motor, etc. And they minimize their RVing due to these problems. I have told them, better to replace the truck at a time and price that you decide rather than an unexpected, hurried decision.

Good luck
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:58 PM   #9
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Great truck but unfortunately you will most likely run into injector trouble with that engine, no rhyme or reason as to when they go, I've done them at 40k, and again at 90k on some trucks and some run for well over 100k before needing them. My best advice would be to keep fuel filter changed on a religious schedule and put some money away every month for when the time comes. FYI, I bought a 2006 duramax with 130k on it, much better injectors but my point is mileage did not scare me one bit. I also just finished adding better fuel filters to mine to help out, the fuel in this country is poor at best and better filtration is always better. I would install a NICKTANE adapter with a 2 micron fuel filter, better filtration, less expensive filters that filter better.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finder9 View Post
I have a 2003 Silverado 2500HD with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission. It has about 116,000 miles on it. Never had any engine or transmission issues. Only "major" work was replacing a power steering pump and hoses as well as all the brake lines (seems the early 2000's had garbage for brake line material). It's great on fuel mpg (about 20 empty and 16-17 towing) and runs like a champ. The only drawback for me is the extended cab. I would much prefer the full four door setup.

Question: Since it's long since paid for and new truck prices are astronomical, what can I expect in longevity? It has a decent trade in value now but retirement imposes limitations. We want to take some far west trips and wife is concerned about reliability.

Jack
We have the 2004 Chevy Duramax and we are at 210,000 miles on it and still runs with the best of them. The only major repaires to date are water pump, drive shaft center bearing, axle seal & pinion seal and complet brake job (rotors, calipers & pads). Personally if you are getting the mileage you say you are getting you are doing really good. We only get around 18 hwy unloaded and around 10.5 pulling the 5er. I have heard that the newer Duramax's don't get much better mileage then mine. Personally if you are not having any issues 100,000 miles is nothing on a well maintained deisel. I know guys that have well into the hundreds of thousand miles on their trucks with no major issues. I would hold onto it for as long as you can.
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