GM served lawsuit alleging pickups can't run US diesel fuel safely

The lawsuit claims the fuel pump injects metal shavings that damages engines.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2015 chevrolet silverado 2500hd

Bad fuel injection pumps may be causing havoc in trucks like the 2015 Silverado HD.

General Motors

A new lawsuit claims General Motors knowingly sold diesel-powered pickup trucks that cannot run on US diesel fuel without damaging the fuel system and engine. Specifically, the litigation surrounds Chevrolet and GMC trucks equipped with the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 engine, as well as Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana commercial vans .

The Detroit News reported on the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in a Detroit-based federal court where plaintiffs provided alleged details of the faulty systems. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of eight plaintiffs, claims the trucks and vans feature Bosch-designed fuel pump systems that do not work with US-spec diesel fuel. 

Specifically, the lawsuit claims US diesel fuel is thinner compared to a thicker blend sold in Europe. Knowing the fuel is thinner, it provides less lubrication, which in turn creates air pockets. When these air pockets form in the fuel injection system, metal directly contacts metal. The alleged end result is metal shavings pumped into the fuel system and engine with major damage inflicted.

"Such catastrophic failure often causes the vehicle to shut off while in motion and renders it unable to be restarted, because the vehicle's fuel injection system and engine component parts have been completely contaminated and destroyed," the lawsuit reads in part. The filing goes on to call the Bosch fuel injection pump a "ticking time bomb" while drivers operate the pickups and vans without any prior warning.

Roadshow reached out to General Motors for comment on the lawsuit and the automaker said it "does not believe the lawsuit has merit."

The specific vehicles named in the lawsuit reach back to the 2010 Express and Savana vans. and 3500HD pickups from the 2011-2016 model years are included in the filing, as are GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HDs from the same model years.

The lawsuit believes the number of those affected by the potential fault in the fuel system is "at least" tens of thousands of owners.

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