Not all diesel trucks are created equal. We’re spotlighting the ones that have fallen short, plagued by mechanical issues, poor performance, and reliability headaches. From engine failures to repair bills, these trucks have earned their reputation as some of the worst in the industry. Let’s take a closer look at what makes them stand out for all the wrong reasons.

1982-1993 Chevy & GMC C/K

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Diving into the annals of diesel history, we stumble upon GM’s misguided foray with the 6.2L diesel in the ’82-’93 Chevy & GMC C/K trucks. Borrowing engine expertise from Detroit didn’t pay off this time, as they churned out an engine that was as underpowered as it was oversized. Cranking out a pitiful 130 hp, it barely outpaced a modern Smart Car in a horsepower showdown. The cherry on top? Its penchant for oil leaks, necessitating a transmission removal for repairs.

1994-2001 Chevy & GMC

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Fast forward to the mid-’90s, and GM’s diesel saga trudges on with the 6.5L engine. The automotive community had a good chuckle, while mechanics steered clear, thanks to its oil-burning prowess and trailing performance behind its Cummins and Powerstroke contemporaries. Sticking to indirect injection, it mustered a modest 180 hp. But the real kicker? A slew of mechanical issues, with pump-mounted driver failures leading the charge.

1978-1981 Chevy & GMC C/K

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Rewinding to the late ’70s, GM’s 5.7L diesel experiment in Chevy and GMC C/K trucks (and some sedans) was a classic case of a bad idea executed poorly. Converting a gas engine to diesel led to a myriad of issues, most notably, the cylinder heads developing a penchant for levitation due to weak bolts and excessive compression. A vintage nightmare on wheels.

2014 Dodge Ram 1500

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The 2014 Ram 1500, with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel, promised luxury and muscle but delivered headaches. Oil cooler failures and leaking exhaust couplers sour the experience, introducing diesel fumes into the cabin. A truck that smells as bad as it runs? Not exactly the selling point one hopes for.

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke

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Ford’s 2018 F-150 Power Stroke might pull hefty loads, but it’s the truck’s own weight of issues that drag it down. Unpredictable shifting, a grinding noise during acceleration, and a soft brake pedal that barely engages spell trouble for owners, making for a bumpy and unreliable ride.

2008-2010 Ford F250 & F350

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The ’08-’10 F250 & F350 Super Duties bring power to the table but at a cost. Their poor fuel economy and finicky emissions equipment, coupled with the hassle of cab removal for many repairs, make ownership as enjoyable as a root canal.

2003-2007 Ford Super Duty

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Enter the infamous Ford 6.0L turbo disaster, a masterclass in reliability issues. From head gasket woes to fuel system collapses, and a repair process that might as well require a second mortgage, it’s a marvel of modern mechanical misfortune.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado

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The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado’s compact form factor hides a disappointing secret under the hood: a 2.8-liter Duramax that’s as prone to misfiring and transmission failures as it is to underwhelming with its power output. A lightweight in a heavyweight fight.

1983-1987 Ford F250 & F350

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The mid-’80s F250 & F350 models are a mixed bag, offering a “bulletproof” engine that, unfortunately, struggles with cold starts. While robust, the 170 hp output and 315 lb-ft of torque are reminders of its age.

1988-1994 Ford F250 & F350

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Continuing Ford’s tradition, the late ’80s to early ’90s models suffer from their own unique ailments: problematic cylinder walls and an unquenchable thirst for oil. Pair that with the cold start blues, and you’ve got a frosty reception.

1991½-1993 Dodge W250

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The early ’90s Dodge W250 might fetch a pretty penny as a collector’s item, but its performance is decidedly average. It wasn’t until the introduction of an intercooler and an overdrive transmission that this model found its stride.

2003-2004 Dodge Ram HD

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The early 2000s Ram HD might not be the worst of the bunch, but it’s far from the best. A respectable workhorse with a 5.9L Cummins diesel, but it falls short in modern conveniences and safety features, making it a relic of its time.

Worst of the Worst: Reviewing the List

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If you don’t want to look back through at the list, take a look below to see which diesels you should steer clear of.

  1. 1982-1993 Chevy & GMC C/K
  2. 1994-2001 Chevy & GMC
  3. 1978-1981 Chevy & GMC C/K
  4. 2014 Dodge Ram 1500
  5. 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke
  6. 2008-2010 Ford F250 & F350
  7. 2003-2007 Ford Super Duty
  8. 2016 Chevrolet Colorado
  9. 1983-1987 Ford F250 & F350
  10. 1988-1994 Ford F250 & F350
  11. 1991½-1993 Dodge W250
  12. 2003-2004 Dodge Ram HD

Author

  • JoshC

    Josh Clark is all about beards, classic cars, and family. As a Christian husband and dad, he balances his time between his family, and his love for vintage rides and dedication to beard grooming. Josh knows firsthand how tough it can be to figure out beards, and he's here to help other guys get it right. Whether it's tips on keeping that beard looking sharp or talking about the coolest cars, Josh has got you covered.

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