Go For The Green Pump
Whenever I get the change to drive a big diesel pickup, I act like a dog that hasn't seen its owner all day. Perhaps it's the process of warming the glow plugs before twisting the key, the grunt of the engine when it first fires up, the spooling and whooshing sounds of the turbo, or effortless torque no matter what you've got hitched to your bumper. However, I think it's mostly because it reminds me of long, straight stretches of rural highway or towing the boat up to the lake. Whatever the case might be, the question remains: if I were to get a diesel, which one should I get?
Well, that's a question truck guys have been asking for years and years, but the answer is still the same – Cummins. And let me explain why. Unlike its Powerstroke and Duramax competitors, the Cummins still features the same legendary inline-6 configuration and is the only diesel to offer both a cast iron block and cylinder head. If you look at the big OTR semi-trucks, that's the same configuration they use, and they do it for a reason.
That's because the inline-6 engine is an engineer and mechanic's dream. They're simple in design, easy to work on, and inherently well-balanced making for an engine with an ultra-smooth operation. Couple smoothness with strong materials (e.g. cast iron) and that's how you get an engine that will travel a million miles. All of the disadvantages of the inline-six, which include the higher center of gravity, and being hard to fit under the hood, aren't as impactful in a pickup.
Even the Ford and GM guys will probably agree, the inline-6 is the right choice for longevity and reliability, so why would people choose the others? The answer, beyond brand loyalty and design, is most likely fit and finish and performance.
The Cummins produces 370 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque, whereas the Duramax produces 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque and the Powerstroke produces 450 horsepower and 935 lb-ft of torque. Keep in mind, however, those numbers are achieved with 'V8' engine designs and cast aluminum cylinder heads, meaning they'll likely have less longevity, and do you really need more than 800 lb-ft or torque? (If so, you can get the Ram 3500 and get 930 lb-feet of torque with a tuned up version of the Cummins).
So if you're like me, and you're looking for smooth operation, longevity, and simplicity, the answer is clear – go with the inline-6 Cummins and tow without a worry in the world.
What are your thoughts, people? What's most important to you when it comes to heavy-duty pickups? Let us know in the comments below.