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Old 06-25-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Duramax Diesel Problem:15 mph on a Hill...

It's a fairly hot day here in Huntsville, Alabama, and our 2003 Chevy Duramax with the 6.6L Diesel/Allison Transmission took me to work and back with no problems earlier in the morning.

Hitched up the Airstream [30' '94 Execella ~8500lbs.] and headed up Governor's Drive to the excellent Monte Sano State Park. All went well on the freeway to Governors, then problems started on the hill.

Usually march right up the hill (it's a fairly steep incline), but could only get to 45mph--first time that's happened. Then on Monte Sano, dropped to 2K rpm and only about 15 mph. All gauges were within range. Half way up the hill, the "check engine" aka "OBD" light came on. Limped into the camp, dropped off the AS, and on the way back down the mountain, it's like nothing was wrong--The truck was right back to being delightful again.

What's up with that? Any ideas? Tranny too hot? Will it be this way in hot weather on inclines? Thought I was invincible with the big diesel, but guess not!

Thanks for your ideas and for reading this!
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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If the check light came on it should have set a code. Check that for a clue.

A wild guess fuel filter clogged.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:07 PM   #3
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Had similar problem once towing with my gas truck. Baffles in the tailpipe had clogged with particles from the muffler causing huge back pressure problem. You may want to check the exhaust for flow.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:09 PM   #4
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SSChanger.....You may be better off posting this inquiry on the Diesel Place Forum that is dedicated to the Chevy's & GMC's with the Duramax.Diesel Place - Duramax Diesel Discussion Forums
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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Duramax

Possibly a dirty fuel filter. These need to be changed about every 7000-8000 miles. The symptoms sound very similar. This is an area where you should not go on the cheap for the filter. The better filters will work much better. You can go to the Duramax forum for the best method to replace these filters or simply go to your local Chevy dealer.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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I agree with the probability of a problem with the fuel filter. I had the same problem with my 2004 (down from 30 mph to 10 with my foot all the way to the floor) going through Yellowstone. Stopped several times, restarted and ran OK for a short while and then the same thing. At the dealership they confirmed the Duramax has a system to not completely shut the engine down but restrict the speed, etc if the fuel filter is plugged.
I believe the newer Duramax's indicate when a fuel filter needs to be replaced. Ours do not and I bought a special gauge from Kennedy Diesel (plus spare fuel filters, oil filters and a OBD device) which should tell me when to change the fuel filter and not simply based on how many miles since the last change.
If you want any other details send me a PM.
Cheers,
Don
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:34 PM   #7
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only takes ONE bad tank of dirty diesel to clog a filter.
BTDT....mine was a dirty filter when it happened to me.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:42 PM   #8
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I think I have to agree with previous posters. First place to go,FUEL FILTER . You may need to stay away from MOM&POP gas stations that sell fuel. Try always to deal with high profile diesel suppliers,in others words,those who TURN alot of fuel. Truck stops are the best places. Becareful when changing the filter,try to catch as much of the fuel comming out of the old fiter as U can and let it settle is something clear plastic,such as a clear peanut butter jar or old glass pie plate. You should be able to see the water in the fuel.
When I first got the 7.3 ,I went thru $100 worth of fuel filters the first week and $20 worth of fuel treatment, I was the second owner and I bought a LEMON.thru FORD(lemon law vehicle). Funny Ford dealers never fixed the problem or even found it. Now at 80K I have never had a problem since.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU,
Roger
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:12 PM   #9
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I may reveal my ignorance of the Duramax, but if it is anything like my Dodge it has neoprene connections on the metal air supply tube that goes from the turbo to the intercooler. If one of those is not installed correctly, has slipped off, or has damage it will cause severe loss of power. Couldn't hurt to pull an inspection.

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Old 06-26-2010, 05:32 AM   #10
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Driving a friend's '97 Chevy diesel. Lost all power, engine light, etc. Had it towed to a dealer. No codes. Said the problem was that I let the fuel get below a quarter of a tank. Confused why service engine light came on and then no code. An expensive lesson. Was buying fuel at Mom and Pop, but after reading this forum I will be buying at truck stops. Thanks. Jack
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:22 AM   #11
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Bingo! It was the fuel filter, and we're back in business. What I learned is that when the rig starts to show a bit of hesitation in shifting under non-towing hard acceleration, that's a clue. Last fuel filter change was 10K miles ago, and may've gotten some heavy sediment.

Thanks to all of you for your counsel--you nailed it!

Dennis
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:55 AM   #12
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The same thing happened to me a week ago. Mine set a code that it was a turbo over boost, I have gauges but the tech said it happens so fast that unless you are looking at the gauge when it happens you don't see it. Haven't had it happen again.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:57 AM   #13
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Oh well, started this a couple hours ago and got distracted by company and just got back to finish. Glad you got it solved.
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