Detroit Diesel Series 60 Engine Spotlight


Series 60 Engine Spotlight | Highway & Heavy Parts

The History of Detroit Diesel

Detroit Diesel was once associated with General Motors, during which time it was called the General Motors Diesel Division. For several years, GM had cornered the diesel engine market. Detroit Diesel developed its engines in the industrial, marine, and railroad markets. The variety of the markets it was produced in allowed Detroit Diesel to stay successful, even when the railroad market tanked in the late 1940’s. That success dwindled in the ‘80’s when GM made some questionable choices with their budgets and Detroit Diesel ended up with some quality control issues (any of this sound familiar?). In 1988, Roger Penske invested in Detroit Diesel and that investment, along with the development of the Series 60 engine, are what helped the company rebound in the 1990’s. New emissions standards in the late ’90’s meant the company maintained a lot of debt, and Detroit Diesel was sold in 2000 to DaimlerChrysler AG.

Detroit Diesel is commonly known for making engines in series. Before they began making the DD platform engines, all the engines they made were “Series” engines. The series were designed so that the majority of the parts would be interchangeable, and changes in power were made within a series by adding cylinders, rather than changing many parts. The first engine they produced was the Series 71 in 1938. By far, the most common “Series” engine is the Series 60, which is the engine this blog is spotlighting.

Today, Detroit Diesel has re-branded to simply “Detroit” as a way of indicating that they have expanded their product offerings to include parts outside of the engine. But most of us have been dropping the “Diesel” at the end when talking about them anyway, so it’s more of a concept change than a name change.

Detroit Diesel engines use an electronic control system referred to as DDEC. DDEC, as you can probably guess, stands for Detroit Diesel Electronic Control. DDEC was an incredibly innovative development for its time. The DDECs were changed to keep up with power and efficiency requirements. The DDEC I, which didn’t last very long, consisted of an ECM in the cab of the vehicle, and an EDM on the engine. The DDEC II, was a single component on the engine, and was incredibly popular in its time for its fuel efficiency and cruise control capability. The DDEC III was an improvement in adaptability, as it was made to be used for many different applications. The DDEC IV increased horsepower and torque. Then came the DDEC V with another power increase. The DDEC VI was developed to meet new emissions standards.

Want to know more about the development of these components? Check out our blog on the development of the DDEC.


Does your Detroit engine need new components? Our ASE Certified Technicians are here to help you get the right parts for your engine!

Give Us A Call!



Detroit Diesel Series 60

The first Series 60 engine was made in 1987, the year before Detroit Diesel Corporation was officially born. The Series 60 was designed to be a more fuel efficient option for the heavy-duty market. Given the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles in the 1980’s, the Series 60 quickly became a popular engine. Many city bus systems are still powered by Series 60 engines. The production of the Series 60 engine came to an end in 2011, when it was replaced by the DD15.

There are three versions of the Series 60 engine: the 11.1L, 12.7L, and 14.0L. The 11.1L was the smallest and, while it was still being produced, was common in buses because of its fuel efficiency and electronic control. Detroit Diesel quit producing it in 1998, and the favorite engine became the 12.7L. While both engines were favored by buses and coaches, they were also used in other applications. The 12.7L was produced for many years, finally being discontinued in 2007. The 14.0L was the most different of the three sizes. It came about in 2001 when Detroit Diesel increased the size of the crankshaft. Unlike its smaller versions, the 14.0L was not incredibly common in buses because its increased horsepower lead to more fuel consumption. It was, however, the favored platform in Freightliner trucks. The 14.0L lasted until 2011, when the Series 60 was discontinued.

The Series 60 is an on-highway engine that is commonly found in Freightliner vehicles.


Series 60 Engine Timeline | Highway & Heavy Parts


Common Series 60 Failures

Series 60s have been known to not do well with cold starts. Often they will lose their prime and not start. They should start right up if you use starting fluid and, once running, will run like normal. One solution to this could be changing the SRS and TRS sensors. Keep in mind that the SRS and TRS sensors should be replaced together.

In the pre-2002 Series 60 engines, there was an issue where the wrist pins were defective and caused the piston crowns and skirts to separate. This seemed to happen randomly on engines with low miles, and was by no means common. But even though it was not common, it was a huge issue. Often when the piston would separate, the connecting rod would also disconnect. Usually the piston and/or connecting rod would then proceed to blow a hole through the block.

Another thing to watch out for is to always maintain the cooling system. If not properly kept up, this can lead to major problems.


Aftermarket Improvements to the Series 60

As with every major engine that is old enough, the Series 60 began to be an engine that aftermarket companies developed parts for. Once aftermarket manufacturers were able to develop parts, they started coming up with tweaks and adjustments to the original design. Don’t worry - all parts are built to precise specifications so that they’ll fit perfectly in your engine. But when working with an old design, why not update it to function just a bit better?

Maybe you’ve heard of Top Liner Cooling, or TLC. Essentially, there are some holes in the block and a groove in the cylinder liner that allows for extra coolant flow. If you want to read more about it, you can do so here. That groove has been redesigned by various aftermarket companies to optimize its cooling capabilities while also maintaining the cylinder liner flange integrity.

Another innovation by aftermarket companies to improve parts for the Series 60 engines, is a longer skirt profile on pistons for the newer 14L engines. This longer skirt profile reduces wear and scuffing, while at the same time increasing the piston’s durability. These pistons are also one-piece forged pistons.

The piston ring set in the kits Highway & Heavy Parts offers for later 14L engines contains an improved rectangular design on the compression ring. The updated ring has a reverse torsion taper type ring face with a hard chrome layer and revised working ring gap.


Detroit Diesel Series 60 Engine Specifications


  • Number of Cylinders: 6
  • Inline Air System: Turbocharged Air-to-Air Charge Cooling
  • Control: DDEC®
  • Specifications: 12.7L, 14.0L
  • Bore and Stroke: 5.12 in x 6.30 in, 5.24 in x 6.62 in (130 mm x 160 mm) (133 mm x 168 mm)
  • Displacement: 778 cu in (12.7 liters), 858 cu in (14.0 liters)
  • Compression Ratio: 17.25:1, 16.75:1
  • Dimensions (approx.):
  • Length 57 in (1448 mm), 57 in (1448 mm)
  • Width 34 in (864 mm), 34 in (914 mm)
  • Height 50 in (1273 mm), 50 in (1273 mm)
  • Weight (dry): 2640 lbs (1199 kg), 2640 lbs (1199 kg)


Engine Model And Serial Number: The engine serial number and model number are etched in the cylinder block on the left side. It's below the intake manifold.


Series 60 Serial Numbers and Casting Numbers


Series 60 Serial Numbers and Casting Numbers | Highway & Heavy Parts

Or view the PDF here.


Featured Products for the Series 60

It's important to remember that when you buy products from HHP, we always require a part number or engine serial number, depending on the product you wish to purchase. This is to ensure that you're getting the right parts for your engine. The products below may not be the right product for your specific engine. If you have questions about the components, give us a call!


23532562Q | Detroit Diesel Series 60 12.7L Rebuild Kit

This is the most popular rebuild kit we sell for the Series 60 12.7L. It is a premium rebuild kit, as it includes the head bolt kit, which usually needs to be bought separately and is required every time you take the cylinder head off. The pistons have a longer skirt profile that reduces wear and scuffing. The oil pan seal is also included, providing easier access to the lower end of the engine.


23525566 | Detroit Diesel Series 60 11.1/12.7 Cylinder Head with Valves, Remanufactured

This remanufactured cylinder head fits both the 11.1L and 12.7L engines. During the remanufacturing process, every head is torn down before being thermally cleaned and checked for any defects. This attention to detail ensures that we only sell the highest quality of remanufactured heads possible. In addition, the head is reassembled to a like-new condition that’s ready to bolt onto your engine. The bonus? It’s remanufactured in the USA, because it’d be a sin for a Detroit to be remanned anywhere else.


IFS60-5 | Detroit Diesel Series 60 14L Re-Ring Rebuild Kit

Re-ring rebuild kits are a great alternative to the usual inframe or out of frame rebuild kit, if you have pistons that are in great condition. They have all the typical components of an inframe kit except the pistons. This includes the cylinder liners with a patented Top Liner Cooling (TLC) design. The TLC liner decreases heat retention, which ultimately leads to less wear.


23536348M | Detroit Diesel Series 60 14L Turbocharger, New

This turbo has a wastegate, decreasing the lag time before the turbo creates boost and starts to spool. It’s built in an ISO 9001:2008 certified facility for excellent quality control and consistency. In addition to the turbo itself, it comes with a mounting gasket and an oil drain gasket, so you have everything you need for the replacement.


414703003R | Detroit Diesel Series 60 14L Fuel Injector, Remanufactured

In this day and age, it’s pretty rare to find a brand new fuel injector for a heavy duty diesel engine. That’s because they can be remanufactured so well. This means the average customer pays less for just as good of quality. This particular remanufactured injector has the essentials completely replaced, with a brand new tip and solenoid on every injector. You’ll get the proper fuel delivery for maximum performance.

Highway and Heavy Parts is fully committed to the success of our customers. If you have any other questions about the Series 60, or parts for your Detroit engine, please give our ASE Certified Technicians a call at 844-304-7688. Or, you can request a quote online.


Originally Posted June 27, 2017; Edited September 29, 2020