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The Evolution of the Cummins Diesel Engine

The Evolution of the Cummins Diesel Engine

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 the mid-1980s, Cummins Enterprise partnered with Chrysler to offer their first diesel engines ever. Cummins Enterprises delivered the Cummins B-series 6-cylinder engine. It ended up breathing new life into Chrysler’s truck division.

In 1983, the Cummins engine requested that the 5.9L B-series engine could be fitted into a demo vehicle. The engine was longer and heavier than the 360 cubic inch V-8 the Ram trucks used. Hence, it was hard to fit in.

In the end, the torque offered by Cummins’ new engine (650 lb-ft) far outstripped the old V-8’s figures. It enabled the Chrysler Rams to carry heavier payloads than its competition. This was a major milestone in the history of the Cummins Diesel Engine.

12 vs 24 Valve Cummins Engines

The 5.9 L B-series Cummin’s engines are of 2 varieties; 12 and 24-valve. The former has a fully mechanical fuel system with zero electronics. This makes it very reliable and robust.

The latter’s electronically controlled fueling system reduces emissions with more precise air/fuel ratios. Several Cummins owners prefer the 12-valve version for its reliability over the emissions reduction of the 24.

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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