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2.8L LWN Duramax Specs, Tow Ratings, and Fuel Economy

A Comprehensive Guide to GM’s 2.8L LWN Duramax

In 2016, the 2.8L LWN Duramax was introduced to North American consumers, available in the Colorado and Canyon pickup trucks. With 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque the 2.8L “Mini-Duramax” is the ideal choice for Colorado or Canyon owners that will be towing or carrying loads in the bed. Fuel economy is also very impressive, with up to 22 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway for 2 wheel-drive models. This Inline-4 cylinder duramax diesel engine is also one of the quietest and cleanest diesels GM offers. It wasn’t easy making a clean, powerful 4 cylinder diesel engine capable of towing up to 7,700 lbs. We’ll explain just how GM accomplished these feats and give you all the 2.8L LWN Duramax specs you need to understand the Mini-Duramax.

2.8L LWN Duramax Diesel Colorado

Adding the 2.8L LWN Duramax To The Popular Colorado/Canyon Lineup

Up until recently, diesel truck ownership couldn’t be justified by many people. Traditional diesels like the 6.6L Duramax offered in GM’s heavy duty trucks are bigger, more expensive to own, and more expensive to operate. That was always the case until recent half-ton and medium size pickup diesel pickup truck offerings. Now, consumers can enjoy smaller diesel pickup trucks that offer impressive fuel economy, performance numbers, and the utility of a pickup. GM brought their 2.8L LWN Duramax to market in 2016 in their Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks. It’s available as a premium powertrain option compared to the 2.5l I-4 or 3.6l V6 gas powered options. Since it was introduced in their smaller truck lineup, it’s been a very popular option because of its impressive performance and outstanding fuel economy. In 2017, GM added the 2.8L LWN Duramax to their express and savana vans.

LWN Duramax Performance Specs

The 2.8L LWN Duramax engine isn’t a brand new engine. The 2.8L GM diesel engine has actually been around since 2011 and is built in GM’s Rayong, Thailand plant. It’s based on the VM Motori A428 engine. GM owned a significant portion of the Italian automaker before they sold their interests to FCA. Despite selling their shares, they retained the right to produce the 2.8L Diesel engine. Despite the design being around for a while, GM changed a lot of features on the 2.8L engine to meet North American Emissions standards, and improve performance. Some of those key engine specifications are listed below.

Key 2.8L LWN Duramax Engine Specs

The 2.8l Duramax engine is composed of an iron cylinder block and an aluminum head. A forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods are used. An oiling circuit provides increased pressures and faster oil delivery for better lubrication. The Pistons were redesigned in 2014 and feature a standard 3-ring design but are joined with new piston cooling oil jets to help meet stricter emissions standards. A Denso common rail direct fuel injection system is used as the fuel system on these trucks. If you’ve driven one or been around, you may have noticed how smoothly they operate and how quiet they are. A laminated steel oil pan, featuring an upper aluminum section, contributes to the quietness and the rigidity of the engine. To further assist in NVH, noise, vibration, and harshness, acoustic damping is used on the engine, firewall, and the dash is used too.

LWN Duramax Air Induction

The turbocharger used on the 2.8l I-4 Duramax diesel engine is a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) made by Honeywell. It provides plenty of power and efficiency across the entire RPM band. To improve reliability and durability of the 2.8L Duramax’s turbocharger, it’s water-cooled, effectively reducing heat under heavy loads and high speeds. A different compressor wheel is used compared to international engine variations to assist with performance at higher altitudes. The turbocharger also features a dedicated feed from the oil circuit for increased pressure and faster oil delivery.

Features Unique to Colorado/Canyons with the 2.8L Diesel Engine

  • Smart Engine Braking (Exhaust Brake)
  • 6L50 6-Speed Automatic transmission with a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber to reduce noise and vibration
  • Integrated trailer brake
  • 3.42 rear axle ratio

2.8L LWN Duramax Specs

Years:2016+
Engine DesignInline 4 Cylinder Turbocharged Diesel
Vin Code1
Displacement2.8 Liters or 169 cubic inches
Bore3.7 inches or 94 mm
Stroke3.94 inches or 100 mm
Cylinder HeadCast Aluminum
Engine BlockGrey Cast Iron
CrankshaftForged Steel
Connecting RodsForged Steel
Firing Order1-3-2-4
Compression Ratio16.5:1
Fuel InjectionCommon Rail Direct Injection
Solenoid Injectors
TurboChargerHoneywell Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT)
ValvetrainDual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC)
4 valves per cylinder
Ignition SystemCompression /w Glow Plug Start Aid
Transmission(s)
Colorado/Canyon
Express/Savanna
See Below
Hydra-Matic 6L50 6-Speed Automatic
8L90 8-Speed Automatic
Weight520 lbs
Engine Oil Capacity
(With Filter Change)
6 Quarts or Liters
Emissions DevicesDiesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)
Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)
Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR)
Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
EGR Cooling-bypass system
FuelB20 Biodiesel Compatible &
Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel
Fuel Capacity26 Gallon or 37.5 Gallon fuel tanks
Horsepower181 horsepower @ 3,400 Rpm
Torque369 lb-ft @ 2,000 Rpm
Max Engine Speed5,000 rpms

Hydra-Matic 6L50 Transmission Specs

The Hydra-Matic 6L50 is a six-speed automatic transmission offered on a variety of GM vehicles. It features a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber (CPVA) that reduces noise and vibration.

GearGear Ratios
First4.06
Second2.37
Third1.55
Fourth1.16
Fifth0.85
Sixth0.67
Reverse3.20
Final Drive Ratio3.42

2.8L LWN Duramax Diesel Fuel Economy

The fuel economy chart below is based off the initial LWN Duramax models, brought to market in 2016. These fuel economy ratings are EPA estimated and found on the GM Media Website. Remember, if you add aftermarket components like a lift kit, bigger tires, or other performance modifications fuel economy could drop.

ConfigurationMPG CityMPG Highway
2WD 2.8L LWN Duramax Diesel2231
4WD 2.8L LWN Duramax Diesel2029

2.8L LWN Duramax Tow Capacity

The 2.8l LWN Duramax towing specs below are based on the 2019 model year Chevrolet Colorado. There may be slight differences in tow capacity depending on the trim you pick. Make sure you check the GM website or your owner’s manual for exact tow capacity for your duramax.

ConfigurationPoundsKilograms
2WD Extended Cab 6’2″ Box7,700 lbs3,493 kg
4WD Extended Cab 6’2″ Box7,700 lbs3,493 kg
2WD Crew Cab 5’2″ Box7,700 lbs3,493 kg
4WD Crew Cab 5’2″ Box7,600 lbs3,447 kg
2WD Crew Cab 6’2″ Box7,700 lbs3,493 kg
4WD Crew Cab 6’2″ Box7,600 lbs3,447 kg

Payload, Curbweight, & GVWR

The following payload, curbweight, and GVWR numbers are based on 2016 Model year GMC trucks as listed by their specifications on the GM Media Site. Different trim levels like the Chevy ZR2 may offer different tow ratings than what it is listed below. Check your owner’s manual or the GM website for more information.

ConfigurationGVWRBase Curb Weight
Max
Payload
Ext. Cab 6’2″ Box 2WD5,900 lbs
2,676 kg
4,383-4,407 lbs
1,988-1,999 kg
1,464-1,488 lbs
664-675 kg
Ext. Cab 6’2″ Box 4WD6,100 lbs
2,767 kg
4,619-4,641 lbs
2,09-2,100 kg
1,430-1,452 lbs
649-659 kg
Crew Cab 5’2″ Box 2WD6,000 lbs
2,722 kg
4,462 lbs
2,024 kg
1,506 lbs
683 kg
Crew Cab 5’2″ Box 4WD6,200 lbs
2,812 kg
4,698 lbs
2,131 kg
1,470 lbs
667 kg
Crew Cab 6’2″ Box 2WD6,000 lbs
2,722 kg
4,524 lbs
2,052 kg
1,444 lbs
655 kg
Crew Cab 6’2″ Box 4WD6,200 lbs
2,812 kg
4,748 lbs
2,154 kg
1,420 lbs
644 kg

Learn More About the LWN

Visit our other LWN Duramax resources by clicking on one of the links below.

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ABOUT Kamil

Founder of Diesel Resource and a complete diesel head. Has a little bit of problem buying too many trucks. Learn more about him by checking out his truck.