Not all diesel trucks live up to their reputation. In this article, we’re taking a look at the ones that fall short. These trucks are notorious for their mechanical issues, poor performance, and frequent breakdowns. From engine failures to expensive repairs, these models have earned a reputation for being some of the biggest disappointments in the diesel world.

1994-2001 Chevy & GMC

Image Credit: Angilas89, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

1982-1993 Chevy & GMC C/K


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.

1978-1981 Chevy & GMC C/K

Image Credit: PreatomicmattCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Image Credit: RL GNZLZ from ChileCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Image Credit: ©Ford

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


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

Image Credit: Bull-Doser, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Image Credit: ©Chevrolet

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

Image Credit: Smartmlp at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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


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.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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