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Swap A Cummins Into Anything

Your Complete Cummins Repower Resource

Text By Jason Thompson, Photography by Diesel Power Archives, Dreamer Studios

Cummins makes its automotive diesel engines for no one particular vehicle. Instead, these engines work great in all types of applications. We've compiled this article as a resource for helping you complete the swap of your dreams. Don't think you have the skills to repower your vehicle? No problem. Thanks to the rapidly expanding diesel conversion industry, there are a number of companies here to help you with custom parts and experienced service. Diesel Conversion Specialists even offers manuals on the subject. Another business, P-Ayr, makes lightweight replica 5.9L engines out of plastic for mocking up swaps. So now you have no excuse.

Why a Cummins Engine Swap?
With the mainstream SUV flood slowly receding (due to high gasoline prices), there are many cheap four-wheel drives on the market that have been nearly abandoned. With the right engine, these rigs can have a second life. There are also many people looking to repower their current diesel trucks because the stock engines let them down. Today, you have the option to put a Cummins in your later-model truck and have everything function like, or better than, stock. Maybe you want to make your hot rod more practical with an efficient diesel. The list of reasons to want diesel power is growing, and enthusiasts' reasons for making the switch are as varied as the vehicles they drive.

Cummins Engine Profiles
'89 to '93

  • Type: 5.9L (12-valve) I-6 with a Bosch VE injection pump
  • Weight: 975 pounds
  • Pros and cons: This swap is simple since the engine is mechanically controlled. Power output is 160 hp (stock) to 650 hp (highly modified). These engines don't have sophisticated fuel and timing controls, which tends to mean they are easier to swap. It also means they sacrifice drivability as you modify them for more power.
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: Free to $2,000

'94 to '98

  • Type: 5.9L (12-valve) I-6 with a Bosch P7100 injection pump
  • Weight: 975 pounds
  • Pros and cons: The injection pump is mechanical but more desirable than the older VE pump. This engine has great performance potential and legendary durability. You'll get 160 hp (stock) to 800 hp (highly modified). This engine is the best bang for the buck when swapping a Cummins into just about anything.
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: $1,000 to $5,000

'98 1/2 to '02

  • Type: 5.9L (24-valve) I-6 with a Bosch VP44 injection pump
  • Weight: 1,150 pounds
  • Pros and cons: The VP44 injection pump is electronically controlled, but this engine is not as difficult to swap into other vehicles as the later common-rail engines. There is not as much performance potential with a VP44 injection pump as compared to the P7100 or common-rail-injected engines. These 24-valves have 215 hp (stock) and can make 800 hp (highly modified).
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: $1,000 to $5,000

'03 to '07

  • Type: 5.9L (24-valve) I-6 with Bosch common-rail injection
  • Weight: 1,150 pounds
  • Pros and cons: These engines have great performance potential and durability. They are the most involved swaps because of the electronics, but we know of many first-timers who have completed the swap. These engines make at least 250 hp (stock) and can produce more than 1,100 hp (highly modified).
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: $2,000 to $10,000

'07 1/2 to '10

  • Type: 6.7L (24-valve) I-6 with Bosch common-rail injection
  • Weight: 1,150 pounds
  • Pros and cons: With more displacement, a super-strong bottom end, and a 24-valve head, these engines have the most performance potential. The VGT turbo offers more control of the air when trying to match the fuel curve. The engine's external dimensions are the same as the 5.9L. So anywhere a 5.9L fits, a 6.7L should go, too. But with new technology also comes complexity. The 6.7L's EGR system and electronic controls make some people long for the simple, mechanically controlled engines.
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: $3,000 to $12,000

'83 to '98

  • Type: 3.9L (8-valve) I-4 (4BT)
  • Weight: 760 pounds
  • Pro and cons: This engine is compact and able to produce good torque at a low rpm. Parts are readily available, and donor engines are plentiful at the moment. They are available with mechanical injection systems (both a rotary and inline pump system were offered), like the 5.9L. You'll get 105 to 130 hp and 265 to 300 lb-ft (stock), and nearly 700 hp when highly modified. This is a simple engine to swap into just about any vehicle, but it tends to run rougher than its six-cylinder, 5.9L big brother.
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: Free to $6,000

'98 to '10

  • Type: 3.9L (16-valve) I-4 (4BTA)
  • Weight: 773 pounds
  • Pros and cons: This is the newer version of the four-cylinder 4BT diesel ready to go into numerous rigs. This engine makes 170 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Swapping it in requires more initial effort in wiring and programming compared to mechanically injected diesels.
  • Price we'd pay for an engine: $3,000 to $12,000

Custom Engine Mounts
Since its first Cummins conversion in 1997, Avalanche Engineering has developed a full line of Cummins conversion engine crossmembers that make installing any Cummins engine a bolt-in procedure. All kits are CNC-cut from mild steel plate and jigwelded for a precise fit. The mounts are fully adjustable-both up and down and fore and aft-allowing for a custom fit.

Applications Include:

  • '67 to '72 four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC pickups, Blazers, and Suburbans (I-6)
  • '73 to '87 four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC pickups, Blazers, and Suburbans (I-6)
  • '88 to '91 four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC Crew Cab pickups, Blazers, and Suburbans (I-6)
  • '91 to '97 Toyota FJ/FZJ 80 Land Cruiser (I-4)
  • (I-6) Cummins Universal
  • (I-4) Cummins Universal
  • '88 to '00 four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC IFS pickups and SUVs (coming soon)
  • '67 to '87 two-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC pickups, Blazers, and Suburbans (coming soon)

Diesel Conversion Specialists
Diesel Conversion Specialists offers motor mounts to repower Ford and some Chevy pickups with a Cummins engine. Its mounts feature insulators and pre-drilled mounting holes, which place the engine right where it needs to be to run an engine-driven fan. Diesel Conversion Specialists also offers billet-aluminum transmission adapters to bolt Cummins engines to Ford and Chevy transmissions with your choice of starter. For adapting automatics, its custom, steel flexplate uses the stock torque converter dimensions, making a custom-dimensioned torque converter unnecessary. Diesel Conversion Specialists offers wiring and tuning support for its customers using automatic transmission controllers. It sells installation manuals, specific wiring instructions, and even gauge adapters.

Performance Automotive and Transmission Center
2134-A East Texas Street
Bossier City
Screamin Seeman Off Road
18476 Eiler Ave
MN  55021
719 Delaware
KS  66048
4BT Swaps
4860 Van Gordon St. Unit A
Wheat Ridge
CO  80033
Avalanche Engineering
40039 Hwy 160
CO  81122
Painless Performance
2501 Ludelle Street
Fort Worth
TX  76105
Prindle Manufacturing and Performance
101 Cerise Road
MT  59101
Diesel Conversion Specialists
220 Lost Creek Dr
MT  59901
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By Jason Thompson
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