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Young and curious guy - without a rig (yet?).

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  • Young and curious guy - without a rig (yet?).

    Hi all. I have just joined the forum.

    So a little intro... I'm a tech enthusiast who also has an interest in automotive and mechanical stuff (cars, trucks, both gas and diesel, but mostly diesel). I've seen probably HUNDREDS of videos on the Cummins engine (mostly the 5.9 6BT - my favorite), some swaps (4BT and 6BT), and the Ram trucks (old and new). It ended up with me also discovering the R2.8 and the Cummins Repower program some time ago. Cummins has a cool thing going on there... the fact that there's an official crate engine like this is VERY cool.

    I've recently started fantasizing a little about doing my own swap sometime in the future. I've seen that most people swap these engines into Jeeps, Land Cruisers and similar 4x4 and offroading platforms. I'm actually thinking something different... I kinda want to eventually try and swap the R2.8 into an SUV or light duty pickup truck - and something not too old. I've read already that because of emissions stuff, it looks like it's best to go no later than 1999... Sucks slightly, because I was thinking about doing a swap in an early or mid 2000s model (somewhat due to looks I guess). It's possible it could even end up being my daily driver and/or traveler vehicle.

    With all that being said though... I can't say this will happen soon. This may not happen for a WHILE. From what I've seen on YouTube, this requires some skill and know-how... and MONEY. I'm sure that my auto-mechanical skills aren't adequate enough to do a custom swap (I'd say I'm beginner level and in need of learning - I DO like working with my hands though), and both my budget and life situation don't even allow for this kind of project right now, at least not yet. So like I said, this is currently only an idea. I want to hear your guys' thoughts on that though (besides the budget and life situation).


    I just thought I'd join though because I am still interested and curious!

  • #2
    Welcome. Sounds like you're on the right track. At this point I actually think pre-99 is almost a positive if you pull everything apart and do the mending early on. If you have it apart it's a great time to run some new electrical, fix rust etc. For the price of newer vehicles and their limitations, I think it's never been a better time for a swap. The money part is harder, but you pay as you go rather than on credit.

    I drive a lot of the smaller trucks and SUVs and though they're fast and powerful, they SUCK down low, which makes me hate driving a lot of the smallish trucks and SUVs especially when towing. Most of the newer engines make peak torque WAY too high, so you either need the engine screaming all the time (and there goes any fuel economy) with big gearing or you need more displacement or forced induction and a transmission that's shifting A LOT and I've seen too many broken transmissions based on these OEM concepts. However, the R2.8 isn't fast compared to a lot of the modern gas engines out there, but a modest tune should make it tolerable, yet IMO the most important is the ability to maintain speed without shifting constantly and losing speed and really dropping the MPG.

    The other caveat is that it couples with a manual incredibly well if you still like manually shifting.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DieselJeep View Post
      Welcome. Sounds like you're on the right track. At this point I actually think pre-99 is almost a positive if you pull everything apart and do the mending early on. If you have it apart it's a great time to run some new electrical, fix rust etc. For the price of newer vehicles and their limitations, I think it's never been a better time for a swap. The money part is harder, but you pay as you go rather than on credit.

      I drive a lot of the smaller trucks and SUVs and though they're fast and powerful, they SUCK down low, which makes me hate driving a lot of the smallish trucks and SUVs especially when towing. Most of the newer engines make peak torque WAY too high, so you either need the engine screaming all the time (and there goes any fuel economy) with big gearing or you need more displacement or forced induction and a transmission that's shifting A LOT and I've seen too many broken transmissions based on these OEM concepts. However, the R2.8 isn't fast compared to a lot of the modern gas engines out there, but a modest tune should make it tolerable, yet IMO the most important is the ability to maintain speed without shifting constantly and losing speed and really dropping the MPG.

      The other caveat is that it couples with a manual incredibly well if you still like manually shifting.
      Whoops, I've been forgetting to reply.

      Darn, I wish I could go a little newer, because I seem to like the grill styles of some newer trucks/SUVs better. (I was looking for ideas on what vehicle to swap it into, and came up with "2001 GMC Sierra c3" as one of them.) Perhaps I haven't found the one I really like yet.

      Doing all the fixes on the vehicle... for sure. Pay as you go... true.

      Yeah, power output of this engine might be an issue, so I'll have to go light. Lol. I'm unlikely to tune it because of the warranty. Though, how much power can the engine handle before it gets dangerous?
      Last edited by CuriousDieselJohn; 06-16-2022, 05:29 PM. Reason: Another paragraph/sentences I wanted to add.

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      • #4
        If you can keep the VIN as a 1999 and earlier, you could put whatever body body/grill you'd like and have no issues of any kind with emissions legality (well until the rules get changed).

        I think ~200 HP is considered about the top while maintaining reliability with this engine. I'm thinking of going this route and swapping out my transmission, so I can handle the 400 ft lbs, just to really have my Jeep maxed out for fun. Honestly I'm just so used to the 6BT and mine is only the standard output version with ~250 hp or something and it's simply the best engine I've ever had in an automobile. It isn't fast, but it moves really well and tows incredibly and gets great MPG. Of course it's incredibly heavy, so it isn't gonna work for a lot of vehicles. The other reasoning behind tuning is that diesel engines are tuned for max efficiency or max reliability, rather emissions number 1 and then whatever the programmer is allowed to provide.

        From what I've seen with aftermarket tuning and proper gearing with the R2.8 it's not in the same league as the 6BT, but once your turbo is spooling, you have that torque that just keeps your vehicle maintaining speed, even when towing and with all of the drags that a normal 4x4 inherently has the vehicle just maintains speed. Only issue I've noticed with the R2.8 in a 4x4 that when you go to pass, you aren't lightening quick, rather you gently increase speed, which feels weird compared to V8s and 6BTs and heck even most V6s out there. However instead of the typical V6 or V8 having to shift for different terrain features, the R2.8 simply maintains speed with very little need for throttle and high RPMs.

        Of course the smaller and the lighter your rig, the more the HP can help you accelerate. Of course I'm still a bit nervous on all my diesel vehicles to hammer down on them all the way, because I'm just afraid something will break. I don't trust my old AX-15 to hold up and don't trust my rear end to hold up to my 6BT, plus it's got a small tune on it recently and found out my clutch was smoked, but my axle gears are showing a fair amount of wear now that my clutch will hold.

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