CONVERTING OLDER vehicles with Cummins 3.9L 4BT and 5.9L 6BT diesels has been popular for decades, because the engines are well-known for their simplicity, efficiency, availability, and reliability. But they are old and not really that well suited for fitting under the hoods of lighter pickups, such as the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger, or SUVs, such as Jeeps, Ford Bronco IIs, Toyota 4Runners, Land Rovers, and Range Rovers.
Enter Cummins Repower’s turnkey R2.8L turbodiesel engine. It’s ideal for retrofits into Jeeps, compact pickups, smaller SUVs, or any vehicles with less than a 4,000-pound curb weight. The hightech, electronically injected common-rail R2.8L I-4 weighs just 503 pounds and makes 161 hp at 3,600 rpm, with 267 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. (With tuning only, shops such as Bruiser Conversions are already seeing 225 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque from R2.8Ls they’ve put in Jeeps.)
That’s in comparison with the 3.9L 4BT, which tips the scales closer to 750 pounds while producing nearly identical torque and 50 percent less horsepower than the stock R2.8L. When it comes to conversions, the bulky 4BT is a pain to install, while the compact R2.8L is pretty much drop-in, plug-in, and turnkey.
The ready-to-run Tier 1 crate engine, which retails for $8,999, is a 50-statelegal, E.O.-certified package. It includes the ECM, throttle pedal and cable, CAN display, OBD II port, firewall bulkhead connector, dashboard-integration wiring harness, starter, vacuum pump, power-steering pump, alternator, eight-rib belt and pulleys, remote oil and fuel-filter systems, and universal bracket to mount air-conditioning equipment. All this diesel needs to run is fuel, 12 volts, the appropriate cooling system, and a suitable frame to call home.
As of this writing, the Cummins R2.8L crate offering is by far the biggest blip on the repower radar, with many customers waiting for a backlog to end. Just wait until Cummins makes the 5.0L V-8 that’s currently found in the Nissan Titan XDs a repower option. There’s serious chatter on the rumor mill about that possibility. If it’s true, we believe the diesel conversion market will really explode!
Cummins Repower is setting the conversion market on fire with the R2.8L CRD turbodiesel crate engine package that makes DIY turnkey swaps a piece of cake.