Is the 2.8L Duramax the same as the Jeep Liberty CRD 2.8L?
We get asked this question all the time here at IDParts, and we’ve noticed there is a lot of confusion about the actual source of the Colorado/Canyon 2.8L Duramax engine. It isn’t a “real” Duramax or even a “GM” engine, and it isn’t technically a “VM Motori” engine either. It is actually the result of a strange bit of history involving buyouts, competitors and engineering patents. Here is the real story…
Jeep 2.8L CRD – R428
The US spec Jeep Liberty CRD used the R428 engine from VM. Essentially, this was a bored out version of the R425, which was a 2.5L and was widely used in Europe. In the US Liberty configuration, the R428 made 150 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and this was largely in line with European configurations as well.
In 2010, VM released an updated 2.8L engine and gave it the model number A428. Based on the same design as the R428 but with some upgrades, including piezoelectric fuel injectors working at 1800 bar and larger diameter head bolts. These improvements bumped the power output to 197 horsepower while allowing the engine to meet the more stringent Euro 5 standard.
General Motors & VM Motori
At this point, if you’re thinking that the 2.8L Duramax is made in Thailand at a new GM plant, you are correct. What you might not know, however, is that GM used to own a significant portion of VM Motori. GM had used VM Motori engines in many of their European models and in 2007 had purchased a 50% stake in the company from Penske Automotive, so the A428 engine that came out in 2010 was more of a “joint venture” between both GM and VM Motori..
However, in 2011, Fiat Motors acquired the remaining 50% in VM Motori that Penske had held on to. This made for an awkward situation – VM Motori was owned 50/50 by two of the largest automobile companies in the world, GM and Fiat, and the two were fierce competitors. This situation was finally resolved in 2013 when Fiat bought out the remaining 50% stake from GM.
The 2.8L LWM
Part of the buyout agreement between GM and Fiat was that GM would share manufacturing rights on the jointly developed engines, including the A428 engine. VM Motori was making the A428 for European applications, while GM had the designs and license to build this engine but no facility to build it. This directly lead to GM building an all-new, $200 million plant construction in Royong, Thailand in 2011.
GM always had plans to re-enter the diesel market with the plans for the A428 2.8L engine, but choosing the right platform was the biggest question. The successful reintroduction of the Colorado/Canyon proved there was a market for a premium midsize pickup truck, although it took a few years to configure the A428 to pass US EPA emissions requirements. Today, GM manufactures the A428 design in their Thailand plant.
Unfortunately, adapting the A428 to US emissions regulations ended up cutting the power output pretty significantly from 197 horsepower that the A428 makes down to 181 horsepower that the LWM is rated for in the Colorado. However, as you can see in the image above, the engine design is pretty much identical. You can see the air flap and EGR cooler, crankshaft and balance shaft are all in the exact same locations. Don’t be distracted by the VM engine missing the alternator and A/C compressor, the brackets are there in the same locations. We’ll be excited to find out how much, if any, the internal engine components have changed. Accessories and such will likely be different from car to car, and the emissions system equipment may slightly vary too.