Detroit 60 series EGR problem

Detroit 60 series EGR problem

The Detroit series 60 engine is still a great deal for any customer. This engine is still a good choice if you consider the value for the money it gives. Even though the production of this engine is off for a couple of years now, it is a good choice for its reliability and satisfactory history throughout the years.

Among the issues of the engine, the EGR problem is the most severe. If you are opting to buy one of these engines, don’t worry. Today, we are going to show some of the common problems of a 60 series Detroit engine along with the EGR problem. In addition, we are also going to show you the ways to bypass the problems. Stay tuned till the end!

Detroit Engine 60 Series

This heavy-duty engine first came out in the market in 1987. It was the first heavy-duty electronically controlled engine. This engine has three versions. The 11.1 L was continued till 1998. That is why the 12.7L was a common choice till the 14.0L got introduced. The 12.7L and 14.0L have peak horsepower of 505 and 575 respectively.

The 12.7L was the most popular in terms of an on-highway diesel engine. This type of engines is generally electronically controlled. The process runs with the proprietary DDEC (Detroit Diesel Electronic Control) system. There were four types of DDEC system- DDEC I, DDEC II, DDEC III, DDEC IV.

DDEC system is pretty easy for both the driver and the mechanics. Besides, this system allows the owner to download some necessary information like engine management reports, idle time, hard braking, overspeeding, and other parameters. Generally, the system shows two indicator lights. The yellow is for light issues while the red indicates a major engine fault.

EGR Problem of a 60 series Detroit Engine

We know how things went for the first emission control system equipped vehicles. It was horrible for the owners and there was only one way out of it. Deleting the EGR. Well, nowadays the emission systems are so well adjusted that you won’t even notice any issue in performance.

But things are different for the old school vehicles. Even if the emission systems are up to date, there may be some compatibility issue with the engine. It is the same for our Detroit series 60 engine. Among some common problems, the EGR problems are the most severe.

We all know how an owner or a driver may get affected by the EGR problems, don’t we? Going to the mechanics frequently is the least among them. Our Detroit series 60 face EGR problems mainly because of its outdated EGR cooler.

Older engines are prone to coolant leaks in the EGR. While the problem is not necessarily serious, it can lead to white-tail pipe smoke, minor overheating, and loss of coolant over time. Coolant loss will eventually become severe enough to cause severe overheating and shutdown.

We want to portray here that, as time passes, the coolant problem will grow. The minor types of overheating can be turned to severe overheating over time and it may cause critical engine failure and shutdown. So, without proper care, you are always in trouble.                                                   

Common problems of a 60 series Detroit Engine

As we have mentioned earlier, the Detroit series 60 is a very reliable engine. But as the age of the engine, some of them face issues over time. The most common issues a series 60 may have are-

  • Starting Issues: The series 60 engines mainly face starting issues in cold temperatures. The engines may not start and have troubles starting. However, once the engine starts, it will no longer face any further issue. This issue can be resolved by a starting fluid. Besides, you can even use TRS (Timing Reference Sensor) and SRS (Synchronous Reference sensor) to battle this issue. But keep in mind, you have to replace them both at the same time for proper functioning.
  • Throttle Problems: Throttle problems mainly occur in series 60 due to the aftermarket brakes that are installed in the vehicle. This happens because these brakes may require different programming compared to the default. If you are sure that is not the issue, the throttle problem may still occur due to the throttle position sensor (TPS). If you can resolve the TPS issue, chances are, you are most likely coming out of this problem.
  • Spun Bearings: The spun bearing problem can happen due to the lack of lubricating. Sometimes the bearings often lose their shape, which makes the problem more severe. If proper lubrication is possible, you won’t be in a problem.  
  • Decreased Fuel Economy: This issue is mainly targeted toward the 14L. The 14L is bigger than its siblings. For this reason, this engine consumes more fuel to meet more horsepower. Well, it is a reasonable claim. But sometimes, experts say that the poor fuel economy is not because of the engine design, it is because of bad driving habits. The pro drivers always advise making a good driving habit. It may not serve you instantly, but in the long run, you will feel the differences for sure.
  • Wrist Pin: This problem mainly occurred in the pre-2002s. In some of the models, the wrist pin was defective in nature. It led to damaging the engine block and sometimes causing catastrophic engine failure. Well, all the pre-2002s did not have this issue, but you have to make sure whether the problem remains if you are opting to buy these old models.

The solution to the EGR problems

Getting rid of this problem is very important if you want to have a clean experience with the Detroit series 60. We previously stated that the EGR faces problems mainly because of the problematic cooler. So, you can consider replacing the cooler with a good aftermarket product. However, the following steps may help achieve your goal if you can do the job properly-

1. Replace the EGR cooler:

We have already said this. The defective cooler is the main culprit behind most of the problems regarding the EGR. That is why if you can replace the cooler with a good aftermarket part, it will do the job nicely. Thus, you will have a new, good performing cooler and the solution to the EGR problem will be a plus.

2. Replace the EGR valve:

Although it may seem the default EGR is a good one, due to aging and other reasons, the EGR valve itself may become underperforming. If that is the case, you have no option left but to replace the EGR. You will have a brand new EGR along with the problem being solved.

3. Get your vehicle to the mechanics:

If you are a newbie or don’t want to get anything wrong while replacing, it is always a better option to leave the things for the experts. There is always the chance that they will understand the problem better. Thus the chance of a better solution increases too.

4. Delete the EGR:

Beware. There is almost a 100% chance that your state doesn’t permit deleting the EGR. You can do so if your intention is to use the vehicle only for the off-road purpose. We know how well a deleted vehicle serves. If everything is fine, go for it.

5. Create a good driving habit:

The rule of keeping a thing to its best shape for a long time is to use it with affection and care. If you can manage to create a good driving habit, it will pay off in the long run. Regardless of the vehicles, if you don’t push limits, you are going to have a good time with them.


Is the Detroit series 60 a good engine?

Yes, definitely. Actually, Detroit series 60 engines are quite famous for their heavy-duty performance. Although these engines are a bit outdated, they are still capable to take a lot of loads. In primetime, Detroit series 60 was named by the Diesel Power Magazine as the second “Best Diesel Engine Ever” in 2006. Now, can they be called good? It’s up to you.

How many miles does a Detroit engine last?

Initially, the overhaul intervals were 500,000 miles. Later Detroit changed it to 750,000 miles. These are the numbers. You can even touch the figure of 1 million with a good driving habit and few minor tweaks. Some of the drivers reported that they didn’t even get to the 500,000 miles. It is completely okay because some of the drivers said that they crossed the 1 million point without any issues.

What is the cost to rebuild a Detroit 60 engine?

The rebuild cost varies upon the condition of your vehicle and engine. For example, if you have crossed 1 million miles with your truck, Detroit may want $10,000 for the rebuild with 1 year and 100,000 miles warranty. If your vehicle is in an even better situation, the cost may not be that much. Most of the time the cost doesn’t cover the labor cost. If you are a total beginner about the rebuild cost, you can make a budget of around $12,000 to $15,000 to get everything covered.

How much horsepower can a 60 series Detroit put out?

There are three versions of the series 60 engine. The answer depends on which one you are asking. The 11.1L had a peak of 365 hp. The 12.L is able to hit 505 hp. And the robust 14.0L can hit 575 HP at its peak.

What is the best Detroit engine?

The Detroit diesel series 60 is the best engine produced by Detroit. This engine is really famous for its reliability and overall performance. Back in the prime days, this engine was even named as the 2nd best diesel engine ever.

Is Cummins or Detroit better?

It depends on your demands. For example, going uphill is the job of Detroit engines. And for common and simpler uses, Cummins is a better choice. There are several other sections where the Cummins beat Detroit. That is why unless you need a truck for going uphill, Cummins engines are definitely a better choice.


Old is gold. This proverb perfectly suits the Detroit series 60 engines. These engines may look outdated if you consider the years they stopped production. But the numbers tell us a different story. 1 million miles with a single overhaul is not a joke.

Anyway, if your vehicle is a bit old in age, it is better for you to find and address the common issues with the engine. This will help to last the engine longer. Although the EGR problems of the Detroit series 60 engines may give you a little headache, following the correct pathways will relieve you from any possible harm.

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