GM Indefinitely Postpones 4.5-Liter Duramax Light-Duty Diesel Engine

GM Indefinitely Postpones 4.5-liter Duramax Light-Duty Diesel Engine

Light-duty truck buyers interested in purchasing a half-ton diesel are going to have to wait until after 2010 at the very earliest. GM is the latest manufacturer to confirm a diesel engine won’t be offered any time soon in its light-duty pickups. Employees at GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant near Buffalo, N.Y., were told Monday that the all-new 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 diesel has been indefinitely postponed.

“Due to capital constraints and the current economic climate, the 4.5-liter Duramax is on indefinite hold,” GM powertrain spokesperson Susan Garavaglia told “It’s not canceled. Should the situation change, we’re still very interested in adding this technology to our product portfolio.”

The news of the so-called baby Duramax being placed on hold isn’t surprising. Ford and Toyota have also indefinitely paused their small diesel programs, and Chrysler recently said a diesel for the Dodge Ram 1500 won’t be available until 2011 at the earliest. Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota had previously promised half-ton diesels by the 2010 calendar year.

A rapid surge in fuel prices last year that left diesel fuel with an approximate 20 percent price premium over regular gasoline and the dramatic decline in pickup truck sales have been cited by other truck manufacturers, as well as the deteriorating condition of the general economy.

The 4.5-liter Duramax was a major innovation for diesel engines. It was designed by GM entirely in-house and represented a radical new approach to diesel engine architecture. It reversed the intake and exhaust relative to a conventional diesel so fresh air would enter the cylinders from the outer edges of the cylinder heads while exhaust gases were dumped between the cylinder heads directly into a turbocharger. The breakthrough design eliminated the intake and exhaust manifolds and other related components, saving weight, reducing size and lowering costs by up to an estimated $600 per engine versus a conventional diesel. GM promised power ratings for the 4.5-liter Duramax would be more than 310 horsepower and 520 pounds-feet of torque with up to 25 percent better fuel economy.

“We currently offer a full line of gas and diesel engines in different displacements to meet truck buyers’ needs,” Garavaglia said. “And our Two-Mode Hybrid gets up to 40 percent better fuel economy in the city (versus a comparable gas engine light-duty pickup). For towing and hauling we have our 6.6-liter Duramax diesel available for our heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra pickups. It will be updated for 2010 to meet the latest [EPA] emissions requirements.”

The 6.6-liter V-8 Duramax is rated at 660 pounds-feet of torque and 365 hp.

Garavaglia added that GM might license the 4.5-liter V-8 to an outside partner even if it doesn't build it on its own.

"If it was a win-win for both parties, we could potentially outsource production [of the 4.5-liter V-8] to a third party," Garavaglia said.


Well, that sucks, but its the way it has to be...for now.

Seriously. Is GM TRYING to go out of business? Because if they don't come up with an alternative like Ford already has with their ecoboost engine, they probably will go out of business. I mean, they have, excuse me, HAD all of this money and knowledge to build more fuel efficient cars using alternative fuels, but so far, they haven't really shown anything, and now, Japan is kicking our asses in terms of quality, safety features, and fuel efficiency.

Price Is Right loser horn sounds.....

Just like what got everyone into the mess they are in now. I am talking Ford, GM, Toyota, and Chrysler. Everyone is planning that things will stay constant and plan based on that. Where I am at diesel is at 1.789 and this is 100% diesel and 87 octane that is E10 is 1.669. Diesel has been slowly dropping and gas is slowly rising. I can go a lot further on the diesel than I can on the gas. Also, I live in Oklahoma and most of my driving is on the highway at 65 to 70 MPH and sometimes 75 MPH if I hit the turnpike. Sorry, but hybrids do not help here. Come on bring the diesels, there is a organization I noticed that is pushing the diesel efficiency over gas as well as the benefits and how much the diesel engines have changed even in just the last ten years to educate the public. Do something different for a change and bring the diesel. She mentions the hybrid, this does not help me and the 6.6 is in the HDs. I do not need the HDs. Then again who knows, GM may do a minor refresh for 2010 and throw DI on the pickup engines to add more power and fuel economy. The last comment is pure speculation on my part.

Can someone tell me what kind of fuel mileage do you get on the Duramax? Cause most of the people I talk to tells me they are terrible and told me to get the Cummins Diesel. So help me out who's better? Chevy, Dodge or Ford??? Thanks...

My 6.6 Duramax is getting 17.5-18.5 around town and anywhere from 19.5-21.5 on the highway. Thats with no EGR, no cat, stock tune, stock tires. 75MPH max on the highway.

wow they did the same whit the electice car they have something to win or progres,they decide not to build ,the 6,2 is cheaper to build and bye,but not like a diesel ,wy you dong give the buyer to decide if they whant a diesel or a gaz take a chance...

I was going to buy a new truck in late 2009 and patiently waiting for the new engine. Looks like I have no choice now but to buy a HD instead. What a missed opportunity for GM to show that they are interested in their customer base. Hybrids still burn gas, problems now with batteries, between the cost of a hybrid and a diesel, I'd pick the diesel everytime.

Looks like mahindra will corner this market. Wake up big 6.

What a bunch of schmucks!!!! I will be in the market for another half ton in the near future. I had my heart set on the Baby Duramax. Lemme guess the Camaro will be on hold. GM needs to remove it's head from in between its hind quarters and do something first. GM always waits on someone else to have a hit and then copy. I swear to you I will get a Ram Crew with the 5 liter Cummins if it's out first. Not everyone wants a 3/4 ton. I'd love one but money is money. This is why GM is in deep doo doo. No vision no leadership.
WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!

"A rapid surge in fuel prices last year that left diesel fuel with an approximate 20 percent price premium over regular gasoline "

Wake up. Diesel is at the same price as gasoline in many places right now. A wrong decision, on old information.

I have been waiting until 2010 to buy a new Tohue with the 4.5 deasel engine that is clean burning and gets good milage. The German cars already have then, but I wanted to buy American,so I waited. I can't believe that GM has the tecnology and is not going to produce it for the public. This is the reason that American car manufactures are continuing to fall behind. I hope that they seriously reconsider this and produce this engine as soon as posible !

Most of the design sounded great with the MAJOR exception to the intake above the heads. I can't imagine how foolish that idea was. Any chance there is air and motor oil in the same space? Motor oil going into the intake??? Can we say Detroit Diesel runaway?

I too am amazed, and incredibly let down that the production of this engine has been "indefinitely delayed". I've been a huge fan of diesels since I was a kid growing up in rural Alaska. I remember being 12 years old using our old truck to pull stumps and logs around our property. Now diesel is all I drive, and with new day pickups getting bigger and bigger, I was looking forward to a small block diesel in a lighter application. Right now I've got the LB7 motor in my CCSB, and like the fact that this potential powerplant will equal what I've got currently under my hood. GM is truly behind the 8-Ball if they don't come through and produce this motor. I've liked everything I've read about this motor, except the urea injection. I'm not too worried about even that though, as it's only a small matter of time after it comes out (hopefully) that aftermarket companies will come up with emissions delete kits.

Does anyone think there's a way to gather a support group, and send a plethora of emails to GM saying how much we want this motor? If there is, I'll gladly. In fact, go to I'll start a post right now.

My '02 2500 Duramax HD weighed in at 6700-6900 lbs. This new engine, the 4.5 Duramax, in a lighter 1500 platform, could weigh in at 5500-5700 lbs. With a 1000 lb. curb weight advantage, this truck should get 22 city and 26 hwy. That is still better than my Tundra with it's 5.7 gas and 6spd. trans, weighing 5700 lbs. Tundra gets 17 city and 19 hwy if I don't get into the throttle. Still, the 4.5 would be a huge improvement in mpg. and power, noticeably the torque at 510-520 ft. lbs. This is the same number as my '02 duramax. GM spent a lot of time refining the design, acquiring some patents along the way. I should guess that it will be reliable when it comes out. I agree that GM should have gotten this motor to market to help its sagging CAFE and product sales.

The 4.5 duramax is just what the big SUV needs. I have an excursion and I was just waiting for GM to bring this out. I don't tow alot but love the mileage and durability of the diesil. I was going to trade as soon as it came out. GM just lost more business.

It is high time for GM to get it's #%*# together and build a small powerful diesel for 1/2 and 3/4 ton units. MFG cost under $700? That's incredible..... Power, durability and good fuel economy, isn't that EXACTLY what we all need?
So bring it on GM, don't be the last one to the party...again.

I have to agree with comments made so far. Guess I will not trade for a 1/2 ton for a while. I have a 6.5 which has served me well for 189.000 miles and it gave me 15.6 Mpg for the first 100,000 miles. That included warm-ups, pullling a farm trailer loaded with hay or farm machinery. I keep a record of every gallon of fuel that goes into the tank. A gasoline engine to give the same performance as the diesel would probably have gotten less than 12 mpg. I prefer GM for several reasons but one of the main ones is "I would rather drive a worn-out Chevy as a new anything else". Bring on the 4.5. it has the HP and torque in a range that can be used. Not at high rpms a sane person never uses.

I agree with most comments thus far too... I was REALLY looking forward to this "baby duramax"!!!! I love the 6.6 duramax!!! The 4.5 would be so much better for the mileage tho :] Hope they get it together soon!!

i waited along time for gm to build a small-block deisel, and i thought it mightfinally happen,!!!!guess not.

I'm nearing retirement and have been waiting for the baby Duramax to come out before I got a new pickup. I plan to do more traveling especially pulling some boats and equpment trailers during retirement. Don't need a 3/4 ton for 98% of my hauling. Have traveled overseas a good deal and am always amazed at how diesel engines are used around the world in cars and trucks but not here in the USA. I agree that GM needs to lead but will be hard to do while the unions and gov't own them.

i just got the new issue of diesel world and diesel power gm is is actually wanting the publics opinion on it i think it would be a big jump for trucks they were the only ones to offer a diesel in a 1/2 ton with the 6.5 non turbo which isnt a bad engine if you want fuel economy but power forget it.but as far as i heard they are reconsidering the 4.5 dmax.i know alot of peopel that want a diesel but dont want a 3/4ton or 1 ton truck for a diesel waste of money and fuel.

I think this baby Duramax would be a great idea and I like the way its designed to save weight. By 2014 all the Diesel trucks are supposed to shave 500lbs and by 2016 1000lbs. I fully intend to buy one as soon as they hit the market for the fact Im going to be commuting back and forth from my home to college which is 2 hours away and I really dont wanna drive my 3/4 ton Duramax all the time. I would much rather get 25mpg instead of my lousy maybe 18mpg on the highway. I think GM is working out all the little bugs in this before they release it and are also seeing how the 2011 urea trucks do before they come out with this thing. Im fully optimistic that they will produce a 1/2 ton Duramax truck in the next couple years and ill be sitting and waiting until they do.
Diesel Place

i work at grch/ love to see my bros and sis at tonawanda engine plant to make this engine.i have an 04 silverado quad steer im itching to swap for a baby cant inagine!

Who needs a 4.5 duramax?

I NEED a 4.5 diesel. In need of a new truck mine keeps dieing and i keep patching.

Damn! And they were the first to come out with a half-ton diesel in the 80s and THIS IS NO EXCUSE GM! YOU BLEW IT!!!! BIG TIME!!!!!!

Come on, GM. Time to wake up and put the new 4.5 liter V-8 Duramax into production because it's already 2012! Remember that diesel is my type and I've heard that Toyota has the Australian Land Cruiser, which also has a 4.5 liter V-8. Put that 4.5 Duramax on the Suburban and it will be the best diesel SUV ever!

i have a 2000 chevy 1500 with a 5.3l and i would love to put a baby duramax in it i think it would be the best thing out there

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