The fuel filter on your 2001-2011 Duramax Diesel is the 2nd most important item to regularly service, only behind the engine oil filter in my opinion. The fuel system used on the Duramax Diesels is fairly complex, using a high pressure diesel fuel injection system that works very well but is expensive to repair. Most fuel related break downs and other problems are at least partially caused by dirt, rust and water in the fuel system. Yes, the fuel filter for your Duramax isn’t cheap but compared to the cost to replace injectors and other fuel system components I’d say it’s a good investment to change the filter often.
On my 2005 LLY Duramax I changed the fuel filter every other oil change, but then again I only put on 10,000 miles per year. If you use your truck a lot, and burn several thousand gallons of fuel annually you probably don’t need to service the fuel filter as often. I do strongly recommend not exceeding 25,000 miles between fuel filter replacements. I have friends that were left stranded more than once because of problems caused by dirty fuel.
What’s the best fuel filter for my Duramax?
All Duramax powered pickups that I’m aware of used the same fuel filter regardless of engine (LB7, LLY, LBZ, LMM). The factory replacement on the early Duramax trucks was the AC Delco TP1298, which was updated a few times to the current TP3012. It’s widely excepted that Racor was the manufacturer of these filters for AC Delco, GM and likely a few other filter manufacturers.
My opinion is the Racor PFF50216 is the best Duramax diesel fuel filter to use. Racor, now a division of Parker, has a lot of experience with diesel fuel filtration in the marine and heavy equipment industries. The Duramax is hardly subjected to the same environmental contamination as a fishing boat or heavy equipment in a mine so I’d think their filter would be more than adequate for use in a pickup truck.
Other recommended fuel filters
If you don’t have a Racor filter distributor nearby, or need a fuel filter in a pinch there’s nothing wrong with any of these other recommended replacement fuel filters. The main thing is to change your fuel filter often to prevent problems.
AC Delco TP3012
Wix 33960XE (high efficiency version of Wix 33960)
Napa 3960XE (high efficiency version of Napa 3960)
*always consult your manufacturers owners manual for proper filter application and service intervals