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2011 Duramax


Aug 17, 2015
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About 30 months ago I was looking for a used diesel 2500HD or 3500. I found a 2011 2500HD that was extremely well maintained with about 35000 miles on it. I got a good deal on it. BUT - I WISH I had done some research on 2011s first.

The truck was great for a few months. Then it started to develop a noise on acceleration. I kept reading about an egr cooling hose that was out of place. Got tired of the noise plus it had a check engine light on by that time, so I took it to a great Chevy dealership in Eagle River, WI. They gave me a loaner. Got a call later and the first thing the service manager asked was how I liked the loaner. I asked why. She said "we're going to have your truck for a while" - at least a week. It had multiple codes, including one for the turbo and one for the exhaust fluid system. The bearings were gone in the turbo (yes - I regularly change the oil). They replaced the turbo & exhaust fluid tank. While they had it they found the front pump seal was leaking on the transmission. They said they did over 10K in service work while they had it. It has been fine for about a year but now I have another engine light. #8 glow plug is bad. And - the other day I got a message that the exhaust fluid quality was poor. NO - I use good exhaust fluid and I have never forgotten to put the cap back on. GM did extend the warranty on the DEF systems to 125,000. Of course before I got it to the dealership - the light went off.

I had 2004 Duramax - zero problems. I had a 2008 Duramax - zero problems. In reading other forums I see tons of complaints about the 2011s. I have about 75,000 on mine now. My question is: who else has had 2011s, did you have problems, and if you did - did you ever get it to be a good reliable truck again? It just seems like about every time I get to a point where I feel its a good truck again - something else comes up. I have been considering going illegal and removing all the emissions crap, running 5" exhaust, and going with the EFI live system. If I keep my foot out of it - it will get better mileage anyway. Thoughts and comments?
The glow plug is no big deal. I have a couple of customers with 2011's. The one had a issue with the DEF tank and it was covered. The other hasn't had really any problems. It has over 100,000 miles.
So just a little update: The "Poor Quality DEF" light, since the truck got all the service work, has come on for a few days and then shut off with no service work done. That was up until about a week ago. It came on again and has not shut off this time. Yesterday, a warning on the dash came up that said that on the next restart, the truck would only do 55MPH. The check engine light came on as well but I reset that with a cheap code reader I bought. But the poor quality DEF light has stayed on and is now flashing. I called the dealer that did all the work previously and they said as long as it is the DEF system - it was covered and I could get a loaner. I said so I can get a loaner - right? She said they would first have to check it out and if they determined the problem was the DEF system - I could get a loaner. What a pain the the arse. I can't wait to be able to afford to trade it (good luck with that - dealers don't want 2011 Duramaxes and just wholesale them if the take one in) - or - I will do the egr and DPF delete. There is a beautiful 2013 dually in town with super low miles. But - did they get the DEF bugs out by 2013? That is the question. I'd love a new Dodge, but they are WAY out of my price range right now. :rage:
Good luck, that doesn't sound fun. I love the convenience of the electronics in today's vehicles, but hate the hassle of when they go bad.
Ya - I am pretty disgusted right now. It just shows to go ya (ha ha) - do research on anything you're buying - especially used. Had I done any research on 2011 Duramaxes, I would not have bought the damn thing. In the last year, I thought the problems were a thing of the past, but it sure fooled me. Next Monday, I am taking it back to the Chevy dealer that did all the previous warranty work. I have my fingers crossed that they admit that it is the DEF system.

On another subject, back when I needed the first service work, the dealer in my own town refused to work on it. The service manager said "Oh - you have to take it back to the dealer you bought it from". I said "it's GM certified used - any GM dealership can work on it". He continued to tell me that they could not. I said "Fine - Parson's Chevy up in Eagle River will work on it and if I ever buy a new Chevy - it's coming from them". Parson's is a 40 mile drive for me, but it's worth it.

I don't care what you drive, there will be stories of owners of that brand that had great luck and those that had nothing but problems. The 2011 Duramaxes, first year for the DEF, are definitely lemons.
Update: The dealer found yesterday that the NOx sensors are bad. They ordered them, got them this morning, installed them, and now a code came up for fuel injectors. Another part that GM has extended the warranty on. They are supposed to have them tomorrow but their diesel mechanic doesn't work Saturdays. So - I won't get it back until next week.

I guess third time is a charm -or in this case - a curse. This is my third Duramax. The first two never had an issue!

Is anyone on this board familiar with this DEF issue on the 2011 Duramax? Did it really get straightened out in 2012?

Right now I wish I could get my 2004 back. It had no particulate filter and no DEF system. I had an edge juice with attitude on it and it was the fastest of the 3 Duramaxes I have owned.