Detroit Diesel Series 60: 3 Most Common Problems

The Detroit Diesel Series 60 is a beast of an engine that sometimes falls ill. Here are the most common problems it sees.


A Storied History

Detroit Diesel began in 1939 in the final years of the great depression. The war effort had created a need for engines to be manufactured for tanks, landing craft, road building equipment and other heavy-duty stock. General Motors then created the GM Diesel Division, which would eventually become Detroit Diesel.

Know How + Show How + The Power To Win | Photo Credit: David D. Jackson

When the war ended GM knew they had to expand their production in order to sustain their growth. They entered the commercial heavy-duty engine market in 1945 and began producing engines for long haul trucks and agricultural equipment.

In 1987 they released the Series 60, their first heavy-duty engine with integrated electronic controls. Since the discontinuation of the 11.7 litre Series 60, there are two models of the Series 60 on the market for tractor-trailer applications—a 12.7-litre model and a 14-litre model

Series 60 Specs

For a complete breakdown of the Series 60 specifications, please refer to the official spec sheet.

3 Most Common Issues with Series 60

1. Spun Bearings

The Series 60 is no stranger to bearings issues. Older Series 60 models are particularly vulnerable due to idling and low pressure. Spun bearings are caused when bearings aren’t lubricated properly. They overheat and they’ll eventually seize. If you have an older Series 60 ensure that your bearings are properly lubricated.

2. Poor Fuel Economy

Poor fuel economy is a common complaint, particularly for the 14L Series 60 engines. As Detroit Deisel made the engine bigger and built it for more horsepower, fuel usage increased as well. Depending on who you talk to, people will claim that the lacking fuel economy is a result of bad operational practices and not a design fault. If poor fuel economy is a recurring issue with your Series 60, try to make sure that you’re not running your engine at a high RPM constantly.

3. Cracking Exhaust Manifold

Exhaust manifolds obviously function to collect exhaust from each cylinder and combine it into a single pipe. It’s the first line of defence from hot and dangerous gases that are emitted from the head. However, a leaking exhaust manifold can affect the whole exhaust system and cause severe problems for you over time.  Here’s how to identify issues before they become bigger problems.

Symptoms of a cracked exhaust manifold

  • Excessive engine noise
  • A decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency
  • Burning smell coming from the engine bay

Potential damage caused by cracked manifolds

  • Burned exhaust valves
  • Improper fuel trim
  • A catalytic converter failing
  • Problems with EGR function

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s best to get your engine serviced by our professionals.

Looking To Schedule Service? Get In Touch And We'll Respond Within 24 Hours.

Contact the team to schedule your appointment today

Fill out the form to get in touch with the team—give us details about your vehicle and we'll recommend the best course of action. Or, just leave your name and number and we'll reach out by phone.

Request A Quote
Calendar icon
Fit to your calendar

Adrenaline Diesel has extended service hours to ensure you get the best appointment time possible.

Speeding Clock icon
Fast turnaround

Sourcing parts for complex jobs is our specialty. We always aim for the fastest turnaround possible.