We purchased a new 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 crew cab LTZ 4x4 with the Duramax diesel over a month ago. I’m in my sixties but this is my first pickup truck and first diesel. We will use it primarily for towing a relatively light travel trailer (5500 lbs GVWR). During the research about this truck, I have read the opinions out there about the pros and cons of the Duramax 3.0. The straight six seems to be a positive for reliability and performance. There are concerns with the wet belt for the fuel pump and associated maintenance at 150K and that it uses 0w20 engine oil. Regardless, here are some things I have learned and a few additional questions.
In the short time I have owned it, I am impressed. It is smooth and quiet, tows with ease and gets wonderful mileage. I even like the way it looks, but of course, that is subjective. In terms of care, I followed the manufacturers break-in recommendations: first 500 miles at max 55 mph. They also recommend a break-in period for towing that specifies an additional 500 miles at no more than 50 mph. That was difficult to follow when you’re driving on the interstate, but we managed to do it. My apologies to those wondering why that idiot was going so slow.
After both break in periods, I have an additional 1900 miles on it. The owner’s manual says to check the oil level at every gas fill up or every 400 miles. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that. I finally checked it at approximately 2500 miles and guess what? The dip stick was dry. Panic set in! We were on the road and used our phone app to find the nearest place to get some motor oil. Of course, my research suggested the oil this engine uses (0w20, DexosD) is difficult to find. As I understand it, there are currently only two brands for this oil: AC Delco and Mobil 1. The AC Delco brand is available from your local Chevy or GMC dealer (if they have it in stock) and maybe your local auto parts store (NAPA) can order the Mobil 1 ESP X2 0W-20. What do you do when you’re on the road and need at least a quart or more? I looked for my closest Chevy or GMC dealer and luckily found one only a few miles away from where I checked it. I went to the parts department of the GMC dealer I found in Loveland, Co and told them exactly what I needed: AC Delco 0w20 Dexos D . The parts person sold me two quarts and even walked out to my truck to help. He couldn’t believe my dipstick showed no oil at all. We added a quart and it brought it up to the middle of the cross hatches on the dipstick. I was relieved. At least it wasn’t so low that damage was done. We leave and arrive home 150 miles later and then I look closely at the oil he sold me. It was AC Delco 0w20 Dexos Gen 2. THAT IS NOT DEXOS D. That oil is for gasoline engines. Shoot. I assume it is close enough to not do much harm but now I feel like I need to drain and replace my entire crankcase. I decided to do it myself. I am not mechanically inclined, but I can usually handle an oil change. So here goes….
Now I had to find that “hard to find” oil with the correct specs. The Chevy dealers in and around Denver carried the AC Delco brand so I drove 95 miles (in my Subaru) to the nearest Chevy dealer and purchased 8 quarts (the 7 needed for the oil change and an extra quart for any future top off). There is one guy on YouTube that documented his oil change (though not in a real detail way) for the Duramax 3.0 and he pointed out it is helpful to have an oil filter cap for removing and reinstalling the oil filter. He was right. After draining the oil, I had a difficult time removing the oil filter. I went to the auto parts store and purchased a cap that goes over the filter where you can use a socket wrench to remove it. I went home but it wasn’t a great fit so the oil filter slipped through the cap and wouldn’t come off. So, back to the auto parts store with a replacement filter in hand and I determined the oil filter cap with the specs 75.6 mm, 14 flutes would work best. This close fit made a big difference and the filter came off without too much effort.
I’m sure there are instructions somewhere on the specifics for doing an oil change on the new Duramax 3.0. Does anyone know where I can find them? For example, what size socket / wrench do you use on the oil plug? How much do you torque it? Is the oil supposed to be warm before draining it? I guessed as to the answers to those questions. I tried different standard and metric socket sizes and determined the metric 15 was the best fit for the plug. It worked fine but it would be nice to have definitive information.
The new oil filter I installed by tightening by hand and then three quarters to a full turn beyond using the filter cap and socket wrench. However, how tight do you tighten the oil plug? I tightened it with my socket wrench but I guessed at how tight to make it. I tightened it down snug and then just a little more. I’m pretty sure it’s tight enough but I think one needs to be careful not to over do it. Hopefully, I didn’t.
So….I’m looking forward to someone doing a detailed YouTube video on doing an oil and filter change on the Duramax 3.0. For me it would have been useful.
One last point. The manual says the truck needs to be level and the engine cold when using the dip stick to check the oil level. If the engine is not cold, you are suppose to wait a specific amount of time before checking it. My experience is that the proper reading of the dipstick is sensitive to both recommendations.
That’s it. Kind of long and winded but hopefully helpful to someone out there. If you have answers to my questions, I thank you in advance! In the meantime, I really like this truck!