The Cummins diesel engine is synonymous with the term “heavy duty diesel”. They’ve been around for more than 100 years and they’re still going strong. Here is a brief history of the Cummins diesel engine.
Clessie Cummins the Visionary
Clessie Cummins only studied up to the eighth grade, but he had a knack for all things mechanical. was He saw his first diesel engine while working as a chauffeur for banker William Irwin. He got a license to build engines for the US market in 1918.
The First Cummins Diesel Engine
Cummins initially built his engines for farmers, eventually, branching out into cars and trucks.
In 1931, a Cummins diesel engine-equipped Marion truck drove from New York to L.A in 97 hours. He demonstrated the same with a bus, this time clocking in at 91 hours; faster than trains of the day.
The 1931 Indianapolis 500
A major milestone in the evolution of the Cummins diesel engine was the 1931 Indy 500. The car finished 13th.
Cummins Enterprises is Born
In 1955, Cummins created Cummins Enterprises. There, he created the Jake Brake exhaust. Clessie Cummins passed away in 1968, but his legacy continued on.
Partnership with Chrysler
In 1989 The 12v 5.9 Cummins was introduced to compete with the 7.3 Power Stroke from ford. With a mechanical fuel system and a Holset fixed geometry turbocharger, the power numbers came it at 160hp and 400ft-lbs of torque. Although those numbers are poultry in comparison to todays diesels, the 12v is capable of producing large hp and torque numbers relatively easily.
24 Valve Cummins Engines
In 1998 Dodge released the Cummins 24v 5.9 in their 2500 and 3500 trucks. The new version shared the same i6 design and some of the 12v’s interior components. The biggest changes for the 24v were the addition of an electronically controlled VP44 injection pump and of course 24 valve heads. More precise fuel delivery granted better drivability, reduced emissions, and a substantial increase in power output. The ’98.5-’99 made 215hp at 2,700 rpm and 420 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm with an auto trans, while the 2000-2002 made 235hp at 2,700 rpm 460lb-ft of torque. Equipped with the 5speed manual those numbers are slightly more. The 24v has a significant power increase compared to the 12v.
03-07 24 Valve Cummins Engines
The 2003 Cummins 5.9l was a different animal all together, although it shared the same 359 ci inline 6 configuration. A new Bosch electronically controlled common-rail fuel system, CP3 high-pressure fuel pump and solenoid-actuated injectors, the new engine was quieter, cleaner, and more powerful than its predecessors. In 2004.5 the need for tighter emissions controls warranted the addition of a catalytic convertor system, reprogramed ECM, turbo selection, piston design and injector spray angle had to be altered. The common-rail 5.9l Cummins is a beast of an engine making 305hp and 555lb-ft of torque for the 03-04 model years, and 325hp / 610lb-ft in the 05-07’s
The 6.7 Cummins
2007 was the introduction of the largest and most powerful of the Cummins. In order to achieve the massive displacement, Cylinder bore and piston stroke were both increased to 4.21 in and 4.88 in respectively. In addition to displacement increases the introduction of a new variable geometry turbocharger was utilized to lower turbo lag. A new high-pressure common-rail injection system, compacted graphite iron engine block and a new cst iron cylinder head with high-temp valves helped this beast to produce 350ho and 800lb-ft of torque in the early years.
The 1000 lb-ft Engine
In 2019, the Ram 3500 was introduced with a 6.7 L turbodiesel I-6. This monster finally delivered on the 1000 lb-ft of torque that was promised. It can tow 35,100 pounds.
2021 and the Future
In 2021, Cummins’ 6.7L Turbo Diesel engine delivered 420 hp and 1075 lb-ft of torque. Fitted in the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 Chrysler trucks, it’s still chugging on. Clessie Cummins’ legacy is still alive and well.
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