What Is The Most Reliable Truck Engine Ever? (Latest News 2022)

They always go wrong, and fixing them is half the fun. The tires, wheels, suspension, glass, lights, electronics, water damage, etc.

Hopefully, engines aren’t one of them. With limited knowledge and tools, they can be difficult to troubleshoot. Most people learn by doing. Why don’t we do a rundown of the most reliable truck engines ever?

A truck with solid bones can save you a lot of time and money. Usually, a good frame has a straight and meaty frame, a beefy motor, and a reliable tranny. If you can get those three things, you’re already 3/4 of the way there.

  • GM’s best-known small block V8, the Chevy 350 is considered one of the best truck engines of the 20th century
  • Toyota’s 3.5L engine is the most reliable truck engine ever. It scored the highest on this list.
  • The older and more used an engine is, the less reliable it will be
  • It replaced the most popular engine of all time, the small block Chevy V6

How Did We Score A Reliable Truck Engine?

For the purpose of this post, I considered the longevity of a motor line. The best truck engine will last generations. Many sizes and add-ons exist, but most of the blocks and a lot of the parts are interchangeable, so the series of engines remains a single entity.

There are multiple sub-models for some engines. As long as they fall into the same family, the engine gets credit since it demonstrates the use of the same technology in various models, and it is similar enough not to justify a model change. Since it isn’t called “Most Reliable Truck Engine and Submodel Engine”.

There are many engines to choose from and a lot of information on the internet. In the interest of sanity, I did not include 4 cylinder engines in my search (hate me all you want, but they didn’t warrant a second thought except for writing this excerpt).

In order to make this list more agreeable and less “F%$* Ford or Chevy” B.S.,

this list has been weighed from the following factors:

  • Production years (0.25 point per decade)
  • The recall rate for a manufacturer (recall history data for specific engines is extremely difficult to obtain)
  • Total number of engines sold (0.5 points per million units sold)
  • Antiquity. The older and more used an engine is, the less reliable it will be. Engine restoration can mitigate some of this. For every decade old, 0.1 points are deducted. This shows that an engine that won a reliability award in 2018 shouldn’t be weighed the same as one that is 50 years old.

Overall score = 1 ÷ 2 + 3 – 4

Recall rate is calculated based on the rank of each brand listed (# of cars recalled x # of manufactured vehicles):

  • GM: 0.65 (3 points)
  • Toyota: 0.80 (2 points)
  • Ford: 0.93 (1 point)
  • Chrysler: 1.0 (0 points)

Here is the following top 10 list of the most reliable pickup truck engines ever:

Cummins B Diesel

  • Models: Dodge Ram
  • Production Years: 1984 – Present (36 years)
  • Recall Rate: 1.0 (Chrysler)
  • Units Produced: 5,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.36

OVERALL SCORE: 3.6 x 0.25 ÷ 1.0 + 2.5 – 0.36 = 3.04

Cast iron block, inline 4/6, torque 400-1000 ft-lbs, and weighing 1,100 lbs dry, this beast is a heavy one. Despite being the only diesel on this list, it has the highest torque.

From the factory, the engines weren’t red. They do, however, match the iconic Ram (not firetruck) red.

Rams had a hay day in the ’90s. Cummins engines are often credited for the early sales rise and the peak of 3 years. In addition to being able to handle more, it also had a tougher tranny.

A sharp rise in sales of the truck coincided with the introduction of this engine. As a storm chaser, Ram also starred in the blockbuster movie “Twister” (not available on Netflix in 2020).

What’s the significance?

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Ford EcoBoost V6

  • Models: Ford F-Series, Land Rover Discovery, Ford Explorer, Everest, Ranger, & (2021 woo!) Bronco
  • Production Years: 2009 – Present (11 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.93 (Ford)
  • Units Produced: 6,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.11

OVERALL SCORE: 3.19

Lima Ford Engine Plant in Ohio makes a V6 that outperforms V8s in horsepower, torque, and MPG. The engines are turbocharged.

Putting on sox, the 2.7L has 325 horsepower. It has 400 horsepower and 400 ft/lbs of torque. The engines are designed to deliver the power of engines twice their size while remaining fuel-efficient. Direct injection allows them to run on regular gasoline, saving you money on MPG and octane.

It’s won the JD Quality Award for the best quality for the first 90 days for the past 30 years. That’s quite a feat. The F-series has been around for a long time.

Toyota UR 5.7L V8

  • Models: Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, Land Cruiser
  • Production Years: 2007 – Present (14 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.8 (Toyota)
  • Units Produced: 4,500,000
  • Antiquity: 0.14

OVERALL SCORE: 2.55 + 1 = 3.55

Due to Toyota’s dominance in awards in the last 20 years, I added a point to all Toyotas. Even though they haven’t sold nearly as many vehicles has Ford or GM, given the fact that they are so reliable in every way, they deserve an extra point.

V8 with 32 valves, quad camshafts, aluminum block, variable valve timing. When you are comparing decades of history, there isn’t a level playing field. However…

In the last decade, no other truck has been voted the most reliable truck more than twice except for the Tundra, which has done it eight times. 8 times. Could this be the most reliable pickup truck?

Eight times. Really.

The truck doesn’t have the runway of the other trucks on this list and the overall score is quite low. In the short term, a Tundra is one of the most reliable trucks (engine included).

GM Vortec 4.8L V6

  • Models: Chevrolet Silverado, S-10, Suburban
  • Production Years: 1996 – Present (24 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.65 (GM)
  • Units Produced: 6,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.24

OVERALL SCORE: 3.68

Iron block, aluminum headers, and a pushrod valve train. The naturally aspirated 4.8L engine produced 280 horsepower and 295 ft/lbs of torque.

The Vortec replaced the all-time best-selling engine of all time, the small block Chevy V6. This makes sense. It’s been fitted to a variety of GM vehicles. Under the hood of the Silverado and Sierra 1500 lines is this bad boy.

There are two plants that make this 4.8L V6 engine, one in St. Catharines, Ontario, and another in Romulus, Michigan. It is used in the 1500 truck lines and the S-10 and equivalents. JD’s reliability ratings consistently rank the 1500 and suburban as the best light-duty pickups and full-size SUVs on the market.

Chevrolet Small Block 350

  • Models: Chevrolet Blazer, Suburban, Silverado 1500 Series
  • Production Years: 1954 – 2003 (50 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.65 (GM)
  • Units Produced: 100,000,000 (<5% of total)
  • Antiquity: 0.66

OVERALL SCORE: 3.76

As GM’s best-known small block V8, the Chevy 350 engine is one of the best truck engines of the 20th century.

In addition to its durability, quiet operation, and performance, the 350 has earned a reputation for reliability and usability in a variety of applications, including boats.

Over 100 million engines have been sold, making it a very popular choice among restorers. For builders and restorers alike, it is sold in a crate version. It fits in a lot of autos, and parts are easy to find.

GM used it in the majority of its trucks for decades, but truck applications are minimal in comparison. Only 5% of a number that large is worth noting.

Pentastar V6

  • Models: Dodge Durango, Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL
  • Production Years: 2010 – Present (10 years)
  • Recall Rate: 1.0 (Chrysler)
  • Units Produced: 8,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.10

OVERALL SCORE: 4.15

The engine is a DOHC 24 valve 60 degree V6 with an aluminum block. The testing is rigorous.

More than 45,000 hours of computer analysis were put into optimizing the design…12 million customer equivalent miles were logged on the dynos…”

Cleaning is no different; they use an 80 horsepower motor with a 2,500 psi pump the size of a small diesel engine. They come out clean.

Chrysler and the company have been plagued with reliability problems. In Wards Auto’s 2019 Best Engine list, the 3.6L E-Torque V6 is found in the Ram 1500.

RAM has won many awards for reliability and truck of the year since the launch of the Pentastar series. RAM has reliability issues, but these are not originating from the engine bay.

AMC 4.0 Inline 6

  • Models: Jeep
  • Production Years: 1952 – 2006 (54 years)
  • Recall rate: 1.0 (Chrysler)
  • Units Produced: 7,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.68

OVERALL SCORE: 4.17

The 4.0-liter version was produced on the Greenlee Block Line in 1986, but was reworked and redesigned throughout the 1990s and into the mid-2000s.

Jeep has a rich history. Unfortunately, it is not a history of reliability. TLC is usually required. Most of these problems are caused by issues with the electronics, brakes, or suspension.

The quality of engines is often overlooked. Their simplicity may be their greatest strength. Repairs are quick and easy, typically requiring only a hammer, crescent wrench, and a six pack.

A straight 6 engine design was the most common 6 cylinder design in the 1900s because of its reliability and efficiency. On this list, most engines have a V shape, but the inline six is the most common among all automobiles.

Ford 5.0L V-8 (Windsor 302)

  • Models: F-Series, Explorer
  • Production Years: 1969 – 1996 (26 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.93 (Ford)
  • Units Produced: 8,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.51

OVERALL SCORE: 4.19

Many people have loved this long-lived engine. The engine was simple and relatively easy to fix. Aftermarket parts were readily available.

Many factory-stock vehicles are still seen driving on roads today, showing how tried and true these powerhouses can be.

It is also referred to as the “5 point 0”, the “5-0”, or the “5 liter”. This engine has been used in more cars than a CVS receipt. Ford made sure the production GT-40 was as close to the race car as possible to win Le Mans in the GT. Due to engine size limits, the 302 was created to fit in racing and production cars.

After 1978, it was produced in Cleveland, Ohio. Its 16 valve iron pushrod design is iconic. Little changed after the early 1970s. Carburetors were followed by fuel injection, then by EFI.

Boss, Trans-Am, GT-40, and 5.0 H.O. are just a few of the versions that have gotten as much HP out of this engine as possible.

This engine’s history shows its durability and ingenuity. There are few engines with such a distinguished history.

Ford Vulcan 3.0L V6

  • Models: Ford Ranger,
  • Production Years: 1986 – 2008 (12 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.93 (Ford)
  • Units Produced: 10,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.34

OVERALL SCORE: 4.99

It was a bulletproof 3.0L EFI trooper that always chugged along in the second generation Rangers. The vehicle line didn’t survive as the Tacoma swallowed it whole, but it still sold just under 8 million units between 1986 and 2008.

Nissan and Co. used it for other purposes. They still seem to be doing well today. The Ranger is a great 4*4 package for a budget.

You can usually find them for under $2k, and there are plenty of aftermarket parts available. The Ranger is fairly common in the hills. At times, you may see them broken down, but it wouldn’t be their fault.

Because of this, the engine remained mostly unchanged for 12 years because engineers thought they couldn’t find ways to improve it.

Ford Modular 4.6L

  • Models: Ford F-Series, Explorer, Expedition
  • Production Years: 1991 – Present (29 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.93 (Ford)
  • Units Produced: 9,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.29

OVERALL SCORE: 5.00

The latest generation of Ford F-150s feature one of the highest-rated truck engines. They have iron blocks with aluminum cylinders and headers.

It was an early claim by manufacturers to schedule maintenance after 100,000 miles. It was designed to be a diverse engine with a variety of options and sizes.

All engines share the same 100mm bore spacing, whether they are SOHC, DOHC, or 2-4 valve engines. The engine became the V8 architecture of choice.

One of the longest-running models by any manufacturer. Offers the best product, and it does. It is a descendant of the Ford Windsor V8 (which is a bit higher on this list). It also contains many vehicles with a short, but just as distinguished history as its predecessor.

Ford’s F-150 is a truck of trucks. It has won more truck awards than any other truck in history. The company’s overall rating is consistently at the top of J.D. Energy. For some, this is not only the best truck engine, it is the only one available.

Honorable Mentions

Before we get to the highest-rated and therefore best truck engine, let’s look at some that didn’t make the cut but are still great choices. I may have omitted some, but I don’t regret it.

Do I not care? I guess you could always scroll down and spoil the surprise. That would never happen to me. Never…

Great if you have had a great experience with a normal POS system! I’m thrilled for you. Overall, the engine’s reliability must be in line with what the majority experiences, not an isolated incident.

Anyone can get an orange or a lemon. If you do, make lemonade, i.e. trade it in and put a truck on this list!

Chrysler LA (Magnum) 318 V8

  • Models: Dodge Ram, Durango, Dakota
  • Production Years: 1981 – 2003 (23 years)
  • Recall Rate: 1.0 (Chrysler)
  • Units Produced: 2,500,000
  • Antiquity: 0.39

OVERALL SCORE: 1.44

..One of the best Ram trucks from the 1990s, as well as ever…the ’98 Dodge Ram 2500 is a great example of what a pickup truck should be…the ’95 Dodge Ram 2500 still holds up well today.

OHV 90° V-configured and carbureted. Like the A 318, its bore and stroke were 3.91 inches x 3.31 inches. For most of its production, it used hydraulic lifters and a two-barrel carburetor. In 1985, the 318 received roller lifters and a fast-burn cylinder head.

’88 throttle-body electronic fuel injection. LA engines are pushrod gasoline engines. Combustion chambers in the Hemi are hemispherical, rather than wedge-shaped.

Nissan VQ40 3.5L V6

  • Models: Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder
  • Production Years: 2005 – Present (15 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.71 (Nissan)
  • Units Produced: 1,600,000
  • Antiquity: 0.15

OVERALL SCORE: 1.18

It doesn’t have many reviews. It’s in a lot of Nissans. The engine is a V6. It consumes a lot of oil. The engine sips oil. For 14 years straight from 1995 to 2008, the Nissan V6 made Wards’ list of the 10 best engines. Because of its inconsistent reliability, we did not include it on our list of the most reliable truck engines.

However, it doesn’t have the runway, awards, or dominance of Toyota. The most reliable truck engine ever might be on some people’s lists. On this list, we couldn’t put it in the same category as most of the other engines.

I’m not sorry.

The most reliable pickup truck engine ever is…

Toyota GR 3.5L V6

  • Models: Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner, Land Cruiser, Highlander
  • Production Years: 2002 – Present (18 years)
  • Recall Rate: 0.8 (Toyota)
  • Units Produced: 9,000,000
  • Antiquity: 0.18

OVERALL SCORE: 4.88 + 1 = 5.88

Compared to other trucks on this list, the Tacoma’s run is as long or longer. It was launched in 1995 and quickly became a top-rated mid-size pickup.

We are currently working on the GR engine series. With a 60° die-cast aluminum block and aluminum DOHC 24 valve cylinder heads. Toyota uses this engine in a wide range of model lines. The Toyota V6 has 278 horsepower and 265 ft-lbs of torque.

It has been a dependable winner from J.D. Power for decades, ranking highest within the first year of ownership of a 3-year-old vehicle. A Tacoma has one of the highest resale values in its class. Maintenance costs are low.

Toyota’s 3.5L engine is the most reliable truck engine ever! The most reliable truck engine on the market gets the highest score. Always!

Conclusion of Most Reliable Truck Engine Ever

What did you think of the list? Did I make a serious mistake? Let me know in the comments (but first breathe in and out and count to 10) if your best truck engine is different from what we listed.

Please let me know if you have a comprehensive data report on an engine(s) where I was clearly wrong. I don’t enjoy the hate, but I enjoy learning where I am wrong so I won’t have to talk about the subject again.

Video of Most Reliable Truck Engine Ever

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References:

https://www.autolist.com/

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https://www.carvana.com/

https://www.craigslist.org/

https://www.ebay.com/b/Cars-Trucks/

https://www.edmunds.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/

https://www.gumtree.com/cars

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