Best Detroit diesel engines

The Detroit Diesel engine line is widely recognized as the most reliable, fully-featured and cost-effective diesel engine. These engines are known for their reliability and longevity, making them a perfect fit for every type of vehicle. The Detroit Diesel engines can be found in various vehicles, from light-duty trucks and vans to heavy-duty equipment and commercial trucks.

The Detroit Diesel engines are known for their durability and ability to endure high operating temperatures while delivering top performance. Their intricately-designed cooling systems and high oil capacity are ideal for working in hot climates. Whether you’re looking to replace an old engine, upgrade an engine’s power or add an extra engine to your fleet, the Detroit Diesel engines are a perfect fit for every purpose. The best Detroit diesel engines include:

1. Detroit Diesel Series 60

The Detroit 60 Series engine is the most widely used, heavy-duty, 4-stroke cycle diesel globally. It is known for its high horsepower, excellent fuel economy and massive torque. Detroit Diesel earned a reputation in the industry as a consistently reliable power of choice for most marine, farm and construction equipment. Plus, you can’t beat the pricing.

The Series 50 is also wildly popular among both consumers and fleet managers due to its ability to provide excellent power at a fraction of the cost of competitors. It offers one of the highest fuel-savings rates of any engine on the market with its Detroit Diesel DDEC system. This Detroit features an electronic diagnostic system that allows you to automatically monitor everything from oil pressure and hours run to even the closing speed of your vehicle, so you’ll know when something is up before it becomes a problem.

The Series 60 is powerful, dependable, and a leader in heavy-duty engine performance. It is engineered to last and provides years of maximum uptime and minimal maintenance. It provides up to 515 hp at 2,100 rpm while offering a maximum torque rating of 1,650 lb-ft at the same rpm. The Detroit Diesel Series 60 is available in 12.7L and 14.0L displacements with rated power outputs of between 400 hp to 515 hp.

2. Cummins 855 Big Cam

This liquid-cooled diesel engine operates at an electronically controlled variable crankshaft speed, enabling the engine to operate efficiently over a wide range of operating conditions. Fuel is injected under high pressure at cooler temperatures to increase fuel economy and reduce wear. The lower pressure injection system allowed higher specific power levels and was a pioneering design in the mid-1980s.

The Cummins 855 Big Cam is the ultimate 14-liter power plant that produces up to 605 horsepower and 1,118 ft-lbs of torque at 1,800 rpm. It features Cummins’ most advanced emissions system and standard rail fuel injection on-demand high pressure. It also features a maintenance-free turbocharger that offers lower emissions and exceptional performance. The cylinder bore was increased from 4.31″ to 4.88″, resulting in 35 horsepower over before.

3. CAT 3406E

The 3406E engine shares the same block as the 3408E and 3412C engines but has a different head. It has an electronically controlled fuel injection system and an EGR system to reduce emissions while providing excellent fuel economy. This heavy-duty workhorse is used in small trucks and heavy-duty construction equipment applications.

The 3406 came with a fuel pump, high-pressure oil pump, electric fuel injectors and a digital camshaft position sensor back when other manufacturers were still using mechanical systems without sensors. This digital system allowed better control of the valve timing, fueling and electromechanical lobe position sensors. This is why the 3406 had such a loyal following among owners willing to invest in aftermarket performance parts.

The CAT 3406 Engine is an inline, six-cylinder engine found in models such as the Mast Caterpillar Forklifts and Caterpillar Wheel Loaders. The engine is known for being simple but durable and reliable. The Caterpillar 3406E was made with a 14.00-liter capacity and produced 475 hp at 2100 rpm. It has a torque of 1750 at 1100 rpm. The engine weighs around 2700 pounds, and its dimensions aren’t larger than 131×36.4×43 inches. It is also water-cooled and includes an air compressor for better fuel efficiency and direct starting.

4. Mack E-7

The Mack E-7 engine has many great features. It is simple to keep in working order and do what you need. The E-7 engine is universally commended as one of the most reliable engines. The E-7 is an excellent option for your heavy-duty truck, and you will never have any issues with this great engine.

The Mack E7 is a powerful and efficient engine that provides versatility and low fuel costs. It is engineered to power more than 100 models of trucks and trailers. The E7 family comprises three segments: conventional, cab over engine (COE), and tractor-trailer combination (T/TC). With power ratings of up to 454 hp, the E7 offers ample power distribution throughout the lineup. It features a six-cylinder inline engine with four valves per cylinder and turbocharging. The E7 provides up to 1,855 ft.-lb. of torque, allowing it to haul and tow heavy loads efficiently.

5. International DT-466

The International DT 466 series is the backbone of the medium-duty fleets all over the country, running everywhere from construction sites to timber yards. These trucks are known as “workhorses”. While not cheap, they are incredibly reliable and can be rebuilt right in the truck’s frame.

The International DT466 is a 4-stroke, 6-cylinder diesel engine with no timing chain. It displaces 466 cubic inches (7.6 liters) and was used in high-capacity trucks.

The International DT-466 is an electronically controlled inline six-cylinder diesel engine. This engine was introduced for use in a series of diesel trucks. The DT-466 produces between 350 and 500 horsepower (260–370 kW) from its 16.4:1 compression ratio, depending on the engine’s configuration.


While all diesel engines work simultaneously, outstanding performance depends on how individual parts like the turbocharger and cooling system work together. All of the diesel engines that made this list perform well because their systems compensate for each other.

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