How to swap a Cummins into a Ford Super Duty
We all know that, in general, diesel engines are far more powerful and reliable than their gas-burning counterparts. To do a tough job that requires power and reliability, most people rely on a diesel engine. But what happens when that very same diesel engine that you grow to rely on lets you down not just once, but over and over again? In the case of the much-maligned Ford 6.0L Power Stroke, many owners have faced that very question—what to do?
A few years ago, the owners of Jacob’s Towing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, were facing that situation with their 2005 Ford F-550 rollback tow truck. After several dealer service visits for various 6.0L engine-related problems, the tow truck, with a little over 100,000 miles on the odometer, finally had a catastrophic failure. Then they took the rig to the crew at Beans Diesel Performance in nearby Woodbury, Tenn., that diagnosed the problem as a failed lifter that damaged the cam and oil pump. The engine would require a complete rebuild, but is it a wise business decision to rebuild an engine you’ve already had several problems with? For Jacob’s the answer was no, they needed a more reliable diesel powerplant and wanted more power at the same time. The solution was to remove the 6.0L Ford V8 and swap it out for a 5.9L Cummins I6.
We followed along as the experts at Beans Diesel Performance removed the inoperative 6.0L from the big F-550 and replaced it with a 60,000-mile, 5.9L Cummins from a donor 2006 Dodge Ram. While the team at Beans no longer performs diesel swaps in-house, they are still a wealth of information on Cummins swaps and carry the components needed to replace an ailing Power Stroke with a reliable Cummins to complete your own Fummins project. The chassis-cab F-550 is the same basic truck as any other F-250/F-350 from the cab forward, so this swap is similar to what you’d see on your truck. The team at Beans chose to lift the cab off the chassis to make it easier for our photography and allow them to get the old engine out and position the new one easier. While it is not necessary to lift the cab, it sure can make things easier if you have access to a lift or hoist to safely lift and lower it.
Due to space limitations, we won’t be able to show each and every step of the intricate swap process, but we will cover the basics and the major steps involved in converting your Ford to a Fummins. We’ll cover the removal and much of the preparations that go into making the conversion a success and the process of getting the Cummins into the Ford chassis and making it work.
To keep this article from taking up the entire magazine we simplified the engine and transmission wiring details to a few photos since it takes experienced electrical engineers to interface the factory harnesses and computers without letting the magic smoke out of the boxes. If you are an electrical engineer and you plan to tackle this aspect of the swap yourself, you know what you are getting yourself into. If you aren’t, save yourself the heartache and aggravation and take the truck to someone experienced in this type of work to have the systems wired and integrated or purchase a modified harness from a diesel swap specialists.
Of course, swapping one diesel engine for another from a totally different manufacturer is no minor undertaking and therefore should not be attempted by inexperienced or unqualified home mechanics. Yes, it is very possible for a DIYER to perform a swap of this nature—we’ve seen successful home transplants—but if you don’t have the skills and the equipment necessary have a pro do it for you. You’ll be happy you did. Also, for those of you who choose to tackle a project like this yourself, remember to practice safe shop techniques. Follow along to see what makes a Fummins tick. UDBG
This unassuming Ford is going to get an injection of Cummins power.
14 and 15Paul Pearson removes the motor mount bolts on each side of the engine and then removes the long bolts securing the transmission to the engine. At this point they also remove the transmission inspection cover and remove the torque converter bolts securing it to the flexplate.
07 and 08Additionally, the power steering pump needs to be removed from the engine along with the other hoses and lines mentioned above. Jack Grubb also removed both batteries and the battery cables from the truck, as well as the fan shroud from the radiator.
13With the cab out of the way it is easy for the team to remove the large fan-clutch assembly from the front of the 6.0L engine.
12 After verifying that all is clear, the team continues to lift the cab up and off the chassis.
11The BDP crew uses a two-post lift to raise the cab off the chassis while paying very close attention to the engine bay to make sure that none of the hoses, lines, cables or harnesses are snagged while separating the body from the chassis. It is also a good idea to keep a close eye on the process to make sure that nothing was left connected that needs to be disconnected.
10Jonathan Jones uses a long extension with a ratchet and socket to reach the bolts securing the core support to the chassis on each side of the radiator.
09BEFORE lifting the cab from the chassis, the BDP team removes the body mounting bolts by lifting the carpet at the corners and removing the front covers to access the bolts.