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The Relaunch Of The L3B Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Returns 430 LB-FT

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 1500 Design
Image via Chevrolet

During the holidays – the week of December 20, to be exact – General Motors updated its dealer order guides for the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks to feature updated power numbers for the 2.7L L3B turbocharged four cylinder engine. Per the order guide, the L3B produces 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. For those keeping score at home, that’s an extra 10 lb-ft of torque for both trucks since they were revealed during Q4 2021. And for those drawing comparisons, that torque figure mirrors that of the mighty LS3 small block V8. You know, the engine that was found in the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro SS, and the C6 Corvette.

Original output of the 2.7L L3B turbo engine was 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft when it launched on the 2019 model year Silverado.

Production of the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2022 GMC Sierra 1500, as well as the newly introduced Silverado ZR2 and Sierra AT4X will be produced at their respective plants in either Fort Wayne, Indiana, or Silao, Mexico, depending on the cab configuration. Production of the stopgap 2022 Silverado LTD and 2022 Sierra Limited – which filled the space in the product cycle delayed by Covid – will end with the commencement of the refreshed trucks.

The 2022 model year also sees the return of the single cab, short bed configuration as the base truck.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Engine Engines L3B Duramax LM2 L84 L87 V8 Small Block Fuel Economy Horsepower Specs
Image via Chevrolet

2022 Chevrolet Silverado And GMC Sierra 1500: A Relaunch For The L3B Engine

“This is a re-release of the engine,” said Kevin Luchansky, Assistant Chief Engineer, L3B 2.7L Turbo Engines told MC&T in an interview back in October of 2021. “My take is this thing is a truck engine, it’s all about low end torque, and our low end torque speaks for itself.”

The improvements of the L3B engine start with a more rigid cylinder block casting, adding an extra kilogram of aluminum to the engine block in the form of additional ribbing. Meanwhile, the L3B crankshaft is stiffened 30 percent. The pistons now feature steel compressed rings, and are supported by cast-in-place ring carriers, which are supported by tri-metal rod bearings and forged steel bearing caps. The bottom end of the engine remains fully forged. Such techniques are normally found in diesel engine designs, which operate under far more pressure than a typical gasoline engine.

2022 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X MultiPro Tailgate
Image via GMC

These enhancements enabled 2022 Chevrolet Silverado and 2022 GMC Sierra engineers to reduce noise and tune the engine for greater torque production, particularly in the usable low-to-mid RPM range. This is expected to pay big dividends in real world towing performance.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 engineers also recalibrated the transmission shift scheduling on the eight-speed automatic transmission that’s paired with the 2.7L L3B Turbo (the 10-speed is available on the V8 and diesel engines out of the gate). This is said to return smoother shifting, along with quicker downshifts, for more refinement and power on demand.

Despite the extra oomph, the L3B turbo has a max tow rating of just 9,500 pounds in 2WD regular cab configuration. So if you’re in it for towing, consider the improvements made on the 3.0L LM2 Duramax diesel engine option, which you can read all about here.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Engines Duramax V8 Diesel LM2 L87 L84 L83
Image via Chevrolet

Why A 2.7L Four Cylinder Turbo Is Better Than A 2.7L Six Cylinder Turbo

“The truck is quieter, sounds much more refined, it’s faster, the shifts are quicker, the passability is like night and day. It’s whole order of magnitude more refined.”

“(Compared from 4 to 6) it comes down to how much time it takes to spool to torque. Because the L3B has four big cylinders, think if them like hammers hitting on the turbine wheel. Think of four big bangs versus six little bangs,” said Luchansky. “The turbo spools up way faster. We make more torque at 1500 RPM and we do it twice as fast. That’s why it’s a four cylinder.”

2.7-liters is about as big of a four cylinder engine as you can get before balancing issues start to happen, according to the GM engineer. If you look around the competitive landscape, there really isn’t a four-cylinder gas engine that’s bigger. Moreover, it’s incredibly power-dense. Especially with the updated 430 lb-ft torque figure; which comes in at 159.2 lb-ft per liter. There’s a Mercedes AMG turbo that’s more powerful, but it requires premium fuel.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT LTZ RST High Country ZR2 WT Custom Trail Boss
Image via Chevrolet

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.


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