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Junkyard Cummins Triple Turbo System

Building a two-stage, three-turbo system for less than $500

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Diesels like boost, and unfortunately, pushing absurd amounts of air isn’t usually too healthy for the turbochargers that have to produce the pressure. In most factory applications, about 20 psi is all one will see as far as boost pressure goes. Diesel enthusiasts can (carefully) push the factory hardware to 30 psi or more, but at these levels the turbo will eventually fail.

However, as fueling increases and power climbs, boost pressures will need to be in the 50-, 75-, or even 100-psi range, and the stock turbocharger just won’t survive. But there is a solution—and it can even be found in junkyards.

In compounding, a larger turbocharger blows air into a smaller one, which pressurizes the air twice before it enters the engine, allowing for much higher boost pressures and much greater power production. One of the coolest examples of this type of system using some junkyard ingenuity is found on Harvey Grant’s ’51 Chevy rat rod. The turbo system uses three 50mm Holset HC1 turbos found on ’89 to ’93 Dodges to compound boost (two into one) into a 5.9L Cummins 12-valve with a VE injection pump. While horsepower is yet to be determined, the system is theoretically capable of 600 to 700 hp at the wheels, and about 75 psi of boost pressure. Since it’s a rat rod, the whole assembly was built as cheaply as possible, using leftover parts and pieces from other projects, which means the total cash outlay for the system was only about $400! Keep in mind, however, that there’s also about 30 hours of labor in the project, not to mention a good amount of welding ability to start out with.

“Although not yet finished, the ’51 Chevy has already garnered a lot of attention at local shows. Built starting with a rusted-out cab, half a Dodge frame, and a seized-up 5.9L Cummins engine, the fact that the rat is running now for just a few grand is impressive, to say the least.”

Junkyard Turbo Tips
If you’re planning on MIG-welding your piping, make sure no loose slag is leftover to rattle around in the intake or exhaust tracts.

Any 2- to 2.4-inch-inducer turbo should work well in a triple setup, with ’89 to ’02 Dodge Rams being a good source of turbo options (HC1, WHC1, HX35, and HY35 turbos). In theory, these turbos should work with the factory turbocharger in Duramax and Power Stroke engines as well.

Spend a lot of time mocking up the turbos before you start going nuts with a welder. Triples take up a lot of space, and it’s better to think first and cut once. Also, make sure the turbos are mounted above the top of the oil pan, so the oil will drain correctly.

SOURCES
J&H Performance
875 Twin View Blvd
Redding
CA  96003
530-245-0176
www.jandhperformance.com
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71 comments
Art Buglione
Art Buglione

I'm not so sure this is the best way to triple turbo an engine. And, after all that compression that inlet air will be hot, hot, hot. A very large inter-cooler is better to cool and get the air density up. On the stock thing, Ford bought Cummins stock because they were in "cya" mode in case IH couldn't come up with a better V8 LDT diesel for upcoming emissions rules; owning stock would put them in line ahead of Dodge. IH did come up with new diesels, so Ford did not have to use the back-up plan.

Rodney Mollette
Rodney Mollette

Lol, if ford owned Cummins we would have never known the 6.0

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

I grit my teeth when people say it.. Even after I politely correct them by stressing the INS at the end, the idiots often still don't get it right.

Tim Bollig
Tim Bollig

stock high pressure turbo..... buhbye head gasket...... exhaust pressure through the roof

Larson Homer
Larson Homer

Most people want a camero or lambo...this is what I want

William Thomas
William Thomas

Well, I see two Holset H1C turbos, they came on the 89 - 93 dodge cummins, you can get them for 100 bucks, I have one of those and an H1C Marine turbo for my 1991, the marine has the same exhaust housing just a bigger compressor housing.

Trevon Welch
Trevon Welch

Who is going for the new truck at Diesel Power Gear?

Suvi Monica Viiru
Suvi Monica Viiru

What does it matter who owns cummins, its working and looks pretty nice in this body...´but i wonder that budget 500, never in finland.

Yancy Fry
Yancy Fry

I want that orange ram charger!

Tom Potkanowicz
Tom Potkanowicz

Diesel power magazine: Can we make a rule that if someone makes a comment and says CUMMINGS that you guys will block them?!?

Karl Barnesjr
Karl Barnesjr

Will someone tell these guys Ford does not own Cummins, Cummins own Cummins, at one time they had a 10% share, Ford let that go a very long time ago.

Brian Hahne
Brian Hahne

Chris McCart. This is how you build a rat rod!!

Chris Jensen
Chris Jensen

Josh Oh Yea Jensen, look what came across my news feed, kind of weird timing after the asphalt shaking pantie dropping hot rod that you posted the other night.

Joel Case Sr.
Joel Case Sr.

And that ramchargers badass too I've been lookn for a 2wd one

Joel Case Sr.
Joel Case Sr.

Its not a car its a truck and now its badass

Jeff Tyler
Jeff Tyler

I want to do this to my 92 first gen Cummins i swapped in to my 79 ford f-350

David Everhart
David Everhart

I love the Ramcharger beside it! Let's build a 3/4 ton Cummins powered RC!

Triston Thompson
Triston Thompson

Lmao I would LOVE to see some ricer kid run his mouth if I had three turbos. We'd make that race famous on igotacummins. hahaha

Axtell Gauvain
Axtell Gauvain

No more like turning a old junk car into a badass rat rod!!! William Farrar your just a hater lol

Axtell Gauvain
Axtell Gauvain

I will be coming over in my Cummins and be doing some Cummings on your gfs face

Jim Kratzer
Jim Kratzer

Okay, I think we've biotch slapped him enough he's hiding under the covers with his latest issue of Diesel Power and sucking his thumb

Justin Cadle
Justin Cadle

Well you can't say that ford has nothing to do with cummins, they still use cummins in their medium/heavy duty trucks, and they have for years. Did ford ever own cummins, no. Did ford own stock in cummins? Yes, and they still do. Ford motor company has their hands in a little bit of everything. From general electric, to Mercedes Benz, ford has been or still is a part. Love it or hate, it ain't going to change!

Brent Odenweller
Brent Odenweller

And who wouldnt want to own stocks in cummins...best motor out there..of course i would buy stock in cummins(spelled right lol)..haha

Andrew Chairez
Andrew Chairez

Hate to say it but there is no such thing as a "Cummings"

Brent Odenweller
Brent Odenweller

Ford makes cummins...rotflmfao....NOPE....never have and never will...

Jim Kratzer
Jim Kratzer

There's over 155,000,000 shares of cummins stock and ford isn't even in the top 5 of the holders list

Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

First of all, it's CUMMINS, not, "cummings". Secondly, Ford has nothing to do with Cummins engines. Everything Ford builds is utter crap, and Cummins are not crap.