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Dodge Cummins Years to Avoid: Check Before Buying

Trucks and heavy-duty cars need sturdy, durable, and reliable engines to power them. Cummins Engine has been that sturdy and reliable engine for Dodge Ram Heavy Duty trucks.

Since 1989, Dodge Cummins has produced years of trucks with unique specifications and features. However, as good as this partnership is, there are Dodge Cummins years to avoid.

These trucks are low quality, less durable, and have recorded the lowest sales over the years.

It is crucial to know the specifications of each of the Dodge Cummins to know the Dodge Cummins year to avoid. The Dodge Cummins years are grouped into generations.

There are five generations of Cummins engines, with each generation having its unique specifications.

In this article, we will explore each of the Cummins engine motors; their features, disadvantages, and advantages.

Dodge Cummins Years to Avoid: Dodge Cummins Generations and Models

1st Generation: also known as the 6BT Cummins, 12V or 12 Valve Cummins (1989-1994)

Trucks in this generation were pioneering engines that ushered in the Holset fixed geometry turbocharger, direct fuel injection with improved throttle response.

They offered more torque power than existing brands and were well received.

Specifications & Features

  • A distinct feature of this gen is the 5.9L 12-valve Cummins engine and a Bosch VE rotary injection pump.
  • They have a horsepower of 160 that was impressive at the time of launch, 400 pounds to feet of torque
  • Fixed geometry turbocharger for easy drivability and towing capacity
  • Intercooler which enhanced the combustion process, making the engine more efficient
  • Inline-6 cylinder engine design that takes up less place than modern engines
  • Cast iron block with a cylinder head of 6-head cast iron bolts per cylinder.
  • Simple engines with less complexity than modern engines
  • Direct fuel injection with made fuel burning more efficient
  • They run on diesel with as low as 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of curb weight, making them lighter than newer years.
  • They have two battery models. One 1025CCA for older models and dual 750 CCA for newer models
  • Gear-Driven Components
  • Large Crankshaft & Forged Steel Connecting Rods
  • There are three transmissions available on the first generation Cummins; one manual and two automatic transmissions. The manual transmission is a Getrag 360 5-Speed Manual Transmission with Overdrive. The automatic transmissions are the A727 Torqueflite 3-Speed and the 4-speed A518, or 46RH with overdrive.

These trucks were made mainly for agricultural processes and for carrying heavy equipment. The first-generation Dodge Cummins are cheap with a price range of $1,500 to $10,000.

This price is dependent on the sophistication and durability of the lift pump and transmission. 6BT Cummins engines are popular for their reliability and simplicity.

They are also easy to manage and fix when they have issues.

2nd Generation: also known as the 12 Valve Cummins (1994 to 1998)

The first-generation Cummins was a huge success, so second-generation engines had so much pressure to beat the previously set record.

The trucks became slightly more complicated but still maintained the durability and efficiency of the first generation.

Specifications & Features

  • Even though they maintained injection pumps from the previous generation, they have larger Bosch P7100 mechanical injectors with pistons that further increase the efficiency of burning fuel (diesel). The P-Pump injector is a unique feature of this generation.
  • Even though horsepower and torque numbers depend on the transmission configuration, the numbers are higher for this generation with 175 horsepower and 420 pounds to feet torque.
  • Governed speed for this 12 valve Cummins is limited to 2,700 RPMs
  • A bigger HX35W or HX35 wastegate turbocharger is used for induction to hold up pressure of up to 40 psi and boost stock levels.
  • The intercooler is bigger and increases the efficiency of the combustion process and engine.
  • This generation also uses the Inline-6 cylinder engine design
  • Overhead valve engine (OHV) with two valves per cylinder
  • Deep skirt cast-iron block with a cylinder head of 6-head bolts cast iron per cylinder.
  • Less simple engines with more complexity
  • They also run on diesel with 1150 pounds of dry weight
  • It has an engine oil capacity of 11.4 liters with a filter.
  • There are two transmissions available on the second-generation Cummins; one manual and the other automatic. The manual transmission is an NV 4500 5-Speed Manual Transmission. The automatic transmission is a 47RH 4-Speed Automatic.

The second-generation Dodge Cummins are equally affordable with a price range of $3,850 to $19,030.

This price is dependent on the sophistication and durability of the lift pump and transmission. 12 valve Cummins is more sophisticated but durable, easy to maintain, and fix when issues arise.

3rd Generation (1998-2003): Also known as the 24 valve Cummins

Trucks of this generation are a revision of the second generation. They maintain the same look and style but have upgraded features and specifications.

Specifications & Features

  • The electric rotatory injection pump replaced the P-Pump mechanical injectors with pistons. This new pump controls fuel injection timing and the fuel flow for each timing. There have been complaints with this injection pump so mechanical injectors can replace these new electric ones.
  • Because of the 24 Valve, the engines in this generation are better coolant with a 53-engine block. However, these blocks are thinner and crack easily, resulting in a coolant leak.
  • The horsepower of this generation increased by 10 with as high as 245 horsepower and 505 pounds per foot for the torque numbers.
  • Governed speed for the 24 valves Cummins remains 2,700 RPMs
  • The turbocharger used is the same as the second generation with HX35W or HX35 wastegate turbocharger.
  • The intercooler is bigger and increases the efficiency of the combustion process and engine.
  • Inline-6 cylinder engine design is also used
  • Overhead valve engine (OHV) with four valves per cylinder
  • Deep skirt cast-iron block with a cylinder head of 6-head bolts cast iron per cylinder.
  • They also run on diesel with 1150 pounds of dry weight
  • It has an engine oil capacity of 11.4 liters with a filter.
  • There are two transmissions available on the third-generation Cummins, one manual and the other automatic. The manual transmission is an NV 5,600 6-Speed Manual Transmission. The automatic transmission is a 47RH 4-Speed Automatic.

The third-generation Dodge Cummins is within the price limit of the second generation with a price range of $3,850 to $19,030.

There are several issues with the 24 valves Cummins that make them less durable than the previous generation.

4th Generation (2003 to 2008): Also known as 5.9L Cummins

Cummins engine improved on the specifications of the third generation, both in the body and engine capacity.

Cleaner styles replace rugged-looking trucks and the engines became more sophisticated and even more powerful.

Specifications & Features

  • CP3 fuel injection pump replaced the electric rotatory pump. The CP3 injector provides pressure before delivering the fuel. This injector is more durable and reliable than the electric injectors but still falls short of the mechanical injectors.
  • The pressure CP3 provides before delivering fuel makes the engine more efficient than the previous generation.
  • There are two turbochargers used in this generation. Holset HE341CW combines features of a fixed geometry design and wastegate design (controlled mechanically) (introduced in 2003). The second turbocharger, HE351CW, also had a fixed geometry turbocharger but, its wastegate is controlled electronically. The electrical difference in the second turbocharger makes for lower emissions and a performance boost. In the later years of this generation, another turbocharger was introduced, the HE351VE. This new turbocharger reduced emissions from the trucks and improved durability.
  • The fourth-generation features cast-iron engines in the earlier years. Siamese cylinder bores were included in the later years to improve block design.
  • The horsepower of this generation varies by the year of production. The least horsepower is 305, it increases to 350 in the later years.
  • Torque power ranges from 555 to 610 for earlier fourth-gen and 610 to 650 for later years.
  • They use diesel with 1150 pounds of dry weight
  • Governed speed for this 5.9L and 6.7L valve Cummins is between 3,000 and 3,500 RPMs
  • The intercooler is bigger with 30.9 and 32.7 qt capacity.
  • Inline 6 cylinder engine design is used in this generation
  • Overhead valve engine (OHV) with four valves per cylinder, making it 24 valves in total.
  • Less simple engines with more complexity
  • It has an engine oil capacity of 11.4 liters with a filter.
  • There are three transmissions available for earlier years of this generation and two transmissions for later years. The manual transmissions are 5-Speed NV4500 and 6-Speed NV5600. The automatic transmission is the 4-Speed 48RE with Overdrive. For later years, the transmissions include- the automatic 6-Speed 68RFE and the manual 6-Speed G56.

The fourth-generation Dodge Cummins is on the high price side with an average price of $32,952. 5.9L and 6.7L valve Cummins are even more sophisticated and are more difficult to fix when issues arise.

5th Generation (2008 to present):

This generation is divided into the early fifth generation from 2008 to 2018 and the later fifth generation from 2018-date. They are known for their high horsepower and sleek design.

Specifications & Features

  • Fuel injector:

5A: The CP3 fuel injection pump is replaced by the Bosch CP3. This fuel injector also has a high-pressure system with 29,000 PSI

5B: The Bosch CP3 is upgraded to a Bosch CP4.2, also with high pressure of 29,000 PSI.

  • Turbochargers:

5A: The Holset HE351VE of the later 4th generation was maintained in this gen, with a variable geometry turbocharger.

5B: The Holset HE351VE with variable geometry turbocharger was upgraded with new heavy-duty bearings and compressors.

  • Cylinder head and Block:

5A: These years maintain cast iron material for the cylinder head and engine block

5B: while the cylinder head remains cast iron, compacted graphite iron replaces cast iron for the engine block.

  • Horsepower and Torque: The horsepower of this generation is the main improvement of this generation. It varies by the year but remains the most powerful engine of all.

5A: Horsepower ranges from 350 to 385 while the torque numbers are between 2,800 to 3,013 RPM

5B: Horsepower ranges from 370 to 400 while the torque numbers are between 850 to 1,000 RPM

  • Governed speed is maintained at 3,000 RPMs
  • Inline 6 cylinder engine design is used in this generation too
  • Overhead valve engine (OHV) with 4 valves per cylinder, making it 24 valves in total.
  • Fuel: This generation of engines uses compatible diesel. Gen 5A uses B5 and B20 compatible while gen 5B uses biodiesel compatible with low sulfur.
  • There are three transmissions available for gen 5A and two transmissions for gen 5B. The transmissions for 5A are; Automatic 6-Speed 68RFE, Manual 6-Speed G56, and Automatic 6-Speed Aisin. The transmissions for 5B are Automatic 6-Speed 68RFE and Automatic 6-speed AS69RC Aisin.

Dodge Cummins Years to Avoid: the Main Question

Since the first generation, Dodge Cummins has made one of the best trucks and engines for heavy-duty trucks. Hence, there are no years or generations to avoid.

However, the third generation has recorded the highest number of negative reviews and the least number of sales. They have 24 valves with an electric rotatory injection pump.

These years have a horsepower of 245 and torque of 505 pounds per foot. They also have governed speed of 2,700 RPMs with an overhead valve engine (OHV) with 4 valves per cylinder.

The electric rotatory injection pump is the most unreliable injector, it breaks easily and needs to be fixed multiple times in a short time.

Also, the coolant of these years has thinner walls that leak easily. With as high as $19,030, the third-generation Dodge Cummins is very expensive for the specifications.

As a resolution, unreliable parts of the engine can be replaced with more reliable ones.

The electric rotatory injection is replaced with mechanical injectors and the walls of the coolant can be reinforced.

Which Dodge Cummins to Buy: Pick the Right One

The earlier years (first generation especially) are reliable and simple but old and unsophisticated.

However, the horsepower and torque numbers of the newer generation (4th and 5th generation) overshadow the simplicity and reliability of older versions.

To improve the reliability of newer years, it is important to buy the revised versions. The revised versions have been recalled and serious issues have been fixed or replaced.

Verdict

Dodge Cummins engines have revolutionized truck engines from 1989 to the present. These trucks have gone through changes in the engine, functioning, power, and design.

The efficiency has consistently improved over the years.

It is however important to have a goal (or goals) when buying a Dodge Cummins to narrow your choice. Reviews, especially videos are also helpful in choosing the year to buy

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