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GM 1500 Truck w/3.0L Diesel - follow-up @32k miles


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I've commented in a few different threads about my experience towing with my 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 3.0L diesel.  In 2.5 years, it now has 32K miles and about 5k towing my LEII.   I thought I would post a follow-up that may be helpful for anyone considering the GM half-ton diesel as a tow vehicle.

After owning Toyotas for almost 20 years, I have to say I was hesitant about the reliability of a GM product -- but it's been great so far.  



  • Power/torque more than adequate for towing an LEII.  I just returned from a trip that took me over Loveland Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass and Berthoud Pass in Colorado.  The diesel engine has absolutely no problem and no stress getting up and over.  No noticable loss of power at high altitude and no high-RPM downshift that can happen with a gasoline engine. 
  • Fuel economy has been very good.  I average 17 mpg while towing and the truck gets around 30 mpg in highway driving when not towing.  In Colorado, diesel is now a little less expensive than regular again (yay!) but a year ago it was more per gallon so that wiped out any significant savings.
  • 10 speed transmission is super smooth
  • Automatic engine brake is fantastic on the long downhill runs.  It's very reassuring to have it kick-in automatically and only touch the brakes a few times.  I've always felt stable and in-control - even rolling all the way down Loveland pass at speed with traffic!
  • GM trailer tow package and 360 degree camera package is excellent.  It recognizes and remembers my trailer. It checks and notifies me of a wiring fault (I still check my lights/brakes manually). I purchased and self-installed the GM accessory trailer rear-view camera and it works extremely well.  The live-motion back-up guidelines are super helpful (see photos).  The truck monitors the TPMS sensors in my Oliver tires (had the GM sensors installed) and it displays on the dashboard screen.
  • Comfortable and quiet ride both while towing and when being used as my daily-driver.  You can barely tell its a diesel engine as there is almost no "clack" sound
  • No problems in 32k miles so far


  • Payload is around 1500 lbs (like all half-ton trucks) and that could be limiting for longer trips and taking more "stuff"
  • Have to use the WD hitch (like all half-ton trucks).  I find the Anderson WD hitch to be a hassle - but one that I can live with to be safe and legal.
  • Squat from trailer tounge weight was not bad but a little more than I liked.  I added Roadmaster Active Suspension (RAS) and this reduced squat by about an inch without any noticible effect on ride quality.
  • Have to mess with adding DEF fluid.  When towing, it uses a lot of DEF and the guage is not very accurate.  Best to top off before leaving and/or put an extra 2.5g of DEF in the bed to minimize anxiety about it.
  • Maintenance may be a little more expensive.  I only trust the dealer to do the work as independent shops may not be familiar with the 3.0L Duramax. Oil changes cost $120 every 6K to 7K miles.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my decision to buy the truck as my TV and as my daily-driver.  I would buy this truck again and defintely get the 3.0 diesel over the 5.3 or 6.2 gas engines.  If I were more of a full-timer in towing, I would consider spending the extra for a 3/4-ton.  This would be primarily so that I had more payload and to avoid the WD hitch.

Hope this may be helpful for anyone considering the GM half-ton diesel truck.






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2020 Elite II #627, 2021 Silverado 1500 3.0L Duramax, Colorado

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I agree with you comments.

 Have the 3.0L Diesel in my 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, CarbonPro.  The motor has plenty of power.  I think the 3.0L Diesel would handle 3/4 ton.  I am very happy with my truck.

19,500 miles

4600 miles towing LEII   15 mpg w/heavy foot

The GM TPMS is a plus.



IMG_9885 Medium.jpeg

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2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull # 867,    Shiloh, IL

2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0L Diesel, CarbonPro




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Nice review.

It’s always neat to read reviews on any diesel power plants. I am very pleased with the power and comfort level of our SD 1 ton diesel. 
No concerns about cargo capacity, or a WDH were complete game changers for us. 
We have a low mileage family owned hand me down 2004 Ford Ranger as our daily driver. So the SD is really just for extended travel and towing.

I will put a plug in for Open Roads Fleet Card which we use regularly when traveling to purchase our diesel fuel. It can add up in savings on fill ups for sure. We like the user friendly app as well! https://myopenroads.com




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2020 OLEII - Hull #634 aka-  “XPLOR”

2021 F350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat Ultimate Tremor 

North Carolina 🇺🇸



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I continue to be happy with my 2020 AT4 1500 with the 3.0.  I have about 50k miles on it now.  I use it as my daily driver in San Francisco with lots of stop and go. City driving only gives me about 15 mpg. I'm actually on a cross country drive now without the trailer. I set the cruise control at 80 mph on I-80 and am getting 24 mph. I've pulled the Ollie for about 4,000 miles and never had a problem, also getting about 15-17 mpg when towing, depending on speed. Plenty of power, super smooth, and I don't use a WDH. Overall, it's great. But, there are a few little things that bug me such as: gotta put DEF in, the motor oil is more expensive than oil for gas engines, it does burn a bit of motor oil which GM says is normal (all engines burn some oil?), diesel in the last couple years has been more expensive. Ditto on the rear camera (GM OEM) mounted on the rear of the Ollie and the trailer TPMS (also GM OEM) that are integrated into the truck's software. 

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2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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I thought some might like reading this




My readings tell me it is a good engine/transmission combo in a good truck.  The stringent emission regulations stress the heck out of a diesel. 

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Jeff & Cindy - NE Arkansas - 2023 Legacy Elite II - Twin Bed - Hull #1423

TV - 2015 Silverado 2500 Duramax 4x4

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