Cummins Repower Rocky Mountain Media Trip: Day One Blog

The Cummins Repower team left Columbus, IN at 3:30am to catch the first flight west to see our newly repowered SUV’s for the first time.  We knew that once we landed in our respective airports in New Mexico and Colorado that we would have about an hour to set up our computers, make sure the calibrations are up to date and set up the data loggers before it was time to swing back around to pick up our media guests.  The day would be long but well worth it.

Touching down about the same time at each airport, we were each greeted with the great sight of two very clean SUV’s. Although looking very different from each other, they shared a very familiar sound under the hood. 

In Colorado, it was the Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80 with Chandra Proffitt at the wheel.  After a quick calibration check and setting up the data logger, we looped back around and picked up our guest, Bryon Bass, from Overland Journal.  At the time we picked up Bryon, I had less than a mile behind the wheel. Nevertheless, it was time to hit the road to meet up with the red HZJ79 series Land Cruiser that was getting fresh tires at Proffitt Resurrection Land Cruisers about 45 minutes away. 

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My first impressions were very good.  With a vehicle tipping the scales at nearly 6,000 lbs (we will confirm once we find a scale) plus four adults and gear, we were comfortably cruising at 75mph (until I learned that the speedometer was wrong and quickly backed down a bit!).  Chandra told me how much they had enjoyed shaking this one down and that they too were impressed by the R2.8’s ability to effortlessly handle the truck. On their first tank of fuel, it returned over 23mpg - a tank of fuel for where they live consists of a lot of snow, 4wd, altitude (9,500 ft), and grade climbing. 

We arrived at the Proffitt’s shop just in time to see the 79 series pulling out with its new wheels and tires.  You may remember this truck from our SEMA booth this year. With a quick refresh of the calibration, it was ready to go with the latest and greatest tune from Cummins.

Proffitt's shop
Receiving a quick tour of the Proffitt's shop.

Before we left, we did a quick tour of the shop.  It is never easy to do a short tour of such an amazing place that brings these iconic rigs back to life.  Outside was a parking lot of an eclectic group of Land Cruisers patiently awaiting their turn to go inside for anything from a basic refresh to a complete refurbishment.  We could have spent an entire day looking around that lot; Jeramiah Proffitt knows the story behind each vehicle.  Inside the shop, it was a similar story – more amazing vehicles and a very talented crew.  We learned which vehicles were going to be receiving the R2.8 and which were staying with a stock engine. Proffitt Resurrection Land Cruisers is among the first of our official “Builder” customers; they are able to directly purchase R2.8’s from Cummins to install in a vehicle rather than an end-user needing to purchase and ship the engine to them.  You’ll hear more soon on the builder channel.

Leaving the shop, we had to head south to meet the crew that was heading north from Albuquerque, NM.  The scenic drive through Ouray and Silverton was breathtaking.  We drove up and over 11,000 ft in our two heavy R2.8 vehicles and daylight was burning fast; there wasn’t much time for site seeing.  We pulled into Durango within 1 minute of the New Mexico team. We hit the trails quickly before we lost all daylight. We trekked into the San Jaun National Forest and tested the vehicles through plenty of snow and mud. Finally, we turned back for a well-deserved and much-needed dinner. 

After our first day of driving these heavy autos, we were very impressed with the integration work of the modern 6-speed GM GL80 (Discovery) and 6L90 (Land Cruiser) with the R2.8. Currently, the R2.8 is targeted for manual transmission applications.  The shifting was on point as we rolled through the mountains. These builds are much more refined and less exhausting to drive long distances than some of our previous test vehicles.  At times, it was easy to forget that you’re testing a new driveline with only a few hundred miles on it. 

More to come on each vehicle later today, but it’s time to do some cold start testing and get on the road!

R2.8 Repowered vehicles

R2.8 Repowered vehicles

Steve Sanders

Steve Sanders is the Program Leader for Cummins Repower R2.8 Crate Engines.  Steve joined Cummins in 2009 in Cummins Emission Solutions. He has a background in industrial design and fabrication, studied business management in school, and has a passion for anything with wheels that he can drive.

Top RV Maintenance Tips from Cummins for Travel Season

rv driving on open desert road

Spring’s longer daylight hours and warmer weather call RV owners out to the open road. But before you succumb to the urge to start up the diesel engine and roll out on the highway, proper spring RV maintenance will ensure a smoother ride all season long.

“Walk around the coach just like you would your house in the spring,” Chris Crowel, Cummins RV Market Leader, says. “The best way to see if your home needs maintenance is to get out and look at it. Do the same type of inspection of your coach to see how it faired through the winter weather.”

Here are 5 tips to prepare your RV for travel season:

1. Get out and inspect everything.

Look for any broken seals or cracks on the exterior of the coach that need to be repaired. Lift the engine cover, open up the basement and inspect every compartment. Keep an eye out for:

  • Insect and bug nests that may disrupt air flow
  • Plugged crankcase breather tube from ice or debris
  • Cracks or bent blades on cooling fan
  • Check the condition of your belts and hoses

2. Top off coolant.

At a cool temperature, top off with coolant that meets Cummins Engineering Standard: CES14603 for optimal performance. Note: never open a hot coolant reservoir – since the main role of coolant is to absorb heat from the engine, it can get very hot.  Periodically check coolant levels and concentration to ensure your RV engine is appropriately protected by the coolant – preventing corrosion, aeration, scaling, and other issues that can cause harm to your engine.  Consult your Owner’s Manual for additional details.

3 - Proper oil level on dipstick.

If you did not change your oil before the winter, we recommend draining and changing your oil fluid before you hit the road or a long trip. For a Cummins engine, we recommend a CJ-4 (CES20081) oil such as Valvoline Premium Blue.  Oil is used to lubricate, cool components,  cleans the system, inhibit corrosion, and improve sealing.  When in storage, oil can pick up moisture from condensation and additive packages in the oil can drop out.  Both miles and time cause oil to deteriorate over time.

4 - Drain water out of the fuel water separator.

Most coaches have a Water in Fuel (WIF) sensor and lamp indicator to detect the presence of water in the fuel. Water can result in inadequate lubrication of fuel system components like pumps and injectors which could result in expensive repairs.  With the engine off, drain the fuel-water separator to ensure the diesel fuel is free of water.

5 - Follow engine maintenance recommendations.

Ideally, diesel engine maintenance and oil changes occurs prior to long-term winter storage. However, if that did not take place in the fall, spring marks the time to ensure proper engine maintenance. Even if your coach has not traveled hit the mileage noted in the operating manual, we still recommend the following maintenance intervals for engine:

  • Engines 450 HP and below (ISB6.7 and ISL9) - once per year
  • Engines 500 HP and above (ISX12 and ISX15) - every 6 months.

Additional Resources

For more maintenance information before you hit the road this spring, refer to your Cummins Owner’s Manual or go to https://quickserve.cummins.com.

For customers that prefer expert maintenance done by Cummins professionals, stop by one of our 45 Coach Care facilities or 150 other distributor locations.  Be sure to ask about the Cummins Power Club which offers valuable information and discounts on parts and service for motorhome customers (www.cumminspowerclub.com).

Michael Nagel

Michael Nagel is Digital Brand Reputation Manager for Cummins Inc. He has more than 10 years of digital communications and traditional public relations experience, with a focus on social media marketing. Prior to joining Cummins, Michael was a legal marketer for the largest law firm in the state of Indiana. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Michael earned his B.A. at the Indiana University School of Journalism - Indianapolis. He currently resides in Indianapolis.

Cummins Repower Blog: Easter Jeep Safari Moab Day 2

Day two out in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari led us to Kane’s Creek trail with Ian Johnson from Digital Lug. Ian graciously let our misfit band of R2.8 powered vehicles crash his planned ride and even let us lead the way! On the ride we had Fred Williams (of Dirt Every Day) in Tubesock, Christian Hazel and Verne Simons (of 4-Wheel and Off-Road Magazine) in the UACJ6, Dirthead Dave Chappelle in Diesel Power Products Stretched off-road 8-speed JK, and Bruiser Conversion’s 4-door, 4-wheel steering off-road JK.  The Cummins Black TJ and Landrover Discovery picked up the rear of the group.

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Kane’s Creek is a scenic trail that winds along the riverbed, riddled with river crossings and the occasional rock obstacle. The R2.8 powered vehicles drove flawlessly through anything put in front of them, from water to sand to rock. A ride like this really lets us see how our customers use their vehicles and why they made the build choices that they did. Axis’s seamless integration of the ZF 8-speed into the Diesel Power Products vehicle meant that the transmission could always choose an optimal gear to efficiently and effectively use the power and torque of the R2.8. Bruiser’s JK was equally well integrated, turning diesel power, fuel economy, and reliability into a fun and capable rig for any trail. 

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The end of the trail is a technical climb up out of the Canyon with a series of shear rock faces and complicated lines. The UACJ6 and JK’s of the group with bigger tires had no problem using that turbo diesel torque to crawl up. Even the Cummins Jeep TJ made it up without incident, slowly climbing its way to the top.

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The Landrover once again proved that this is Easter JEEP Safari, and clipped a rock on one of the last obstacles at the top of the canyon climb. This allowed us to implement our second bush fix of the trip – cover it with stickers. 

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The night ended at the Daystar party up at Sunset Grill, which I’m sure has a million dollar view as the sun goes down over the western horizon. Unfortunately we were there after dark, but it still awarded us a beautiful view of the lights down in the city. Day 2 was in the books and we’re gearing up for Day 3!
 

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Repower Blog: Easter Jeep Safari Moab Day 1

Tuesday was our first day out on the trails in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari 2018. Bright and early, the Cummins Repower team met up with some friends/fellow Cummins employees in their personal Jeeps and headed towards the Top of the World. A 30 mile drive out to the trail head allowed us to take in some awesome scenery winding along the Colorado River, and off in the distance we could see our final destination.
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Once at the trail head, we aired down the tires, did our last final checks, and headed up onto the rocks.
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With our smaller tires and lower ground clearance than most of the jeeps out at Moab this time of year, we had to take the trail slow and easy. The engines ran awesome, nice and cool thanks to a side-of-the-trail fan wiring repair by our Customer Care engineer Jeremy (look at that customer service!). Jeremy and his team are dedicated to the Cummins Repower program and are who you will be routed to if you reach out to 1-800-Cummins for any R2.8 technical questions. 
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All was well until our Technical Lead Brittany (a Moab newbie) ran her Landrover Discovery straight into a rock while trying to climb it, snapping her drag link in two.
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Luckily for her, a nice group of gentlemen from JCR Offroad (Kalamazoo, MI) had an on-board welder and stopped to help make the repair. A couple minutes and two 12V batteries later, our drag link was back in one piece. The disco was left to rest just shy of the peak while the rest of the group continued on to reach the top of the world.

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If you haven’t gone up to the Top of the World yet, it’s well worth the trip. The pictures don’t do it justice for how nerve wracking it is to pull a jeep out onto the cliff, but the 360° views at the top are extraordinary. 

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A quick lunch break and then we were headed back down to rescue the Disco and make our way back into town. All-in-all a successful trip that helps to highlight how capable these diesel engines are off-road. We’re looking forward to Wednesday on Kane’s Creek with the rest of the R2.8 crew.

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Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Repower Rocky Mountain Media Trip: Day Four Blog

The last morning of our trip brought perhaps the coldest starting temperatures; the engines had been cold soaking for about ten hours. We hooked up our laptops to log – with one cycle of the grid heater, we were up and running! As we continued east across the Plains, the blowing snow from the previous day has cleared and we were able to witness a magnificent sunrise.

With a highway speed limit of 75 mph, this wide open area offers a different challenge for a big SUV. It’s almost guaranteed that there will be a strong head/cross wind.  The two trucks are within a few hundred pounds of each other with different off-road optimized axle gearing, tire size, and tread.  The off-road front bumpers, roof rack, and accessories on the Land Rover create a less than ideal aero-dynamic package.

Despite all of these challenges, the blowing wind proved to be a non-issue for the R2.8.  We were able to maintain speed in 6th gear with the occasional drop to 5th gear on the grades to maintain exact road speed. Throughout the entire trip, this segment recorded the worst fuel economy in the mid to high teens.  We are confident, though, that we still doubled the fuel economy of what the original engines would have yielded in the same conditions. 

During the trip, Cummins enthusiast, Don, reached out to us via the @Cummins Instagram account offering to meet us on our way east as we drove through Missouri.  Not only was he an enthusiast, but he is also the owner and daily driver of a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that he repowered a decade ago with a B3.9 Cummins (4bt).  Don isn’t a stranger to the benefits of diesel as he is the Director of Sustainability at the National Biodiesel Board. 

We pulled into an icy parking lot off of I-70 where we saw a beautiful Grand Wagoneer with a very familiar sound.  After our introductions, Don led us to a nearby public nature preserve called “Big Muddy” which leads back to the Missouri River.  The three Cummins-powered heavy-weight SUV’s drove across the frozen mud to a clearing where we were within feet of the fast moving river.  In the river were giant chunks of snow-topped ice just to remind us of how cold it really was.  Don began to explain to us what he does for a living and how his jobs have always required a lot of driving and usually 4wd.  He said that his family enjoyed driving to scenic Colorado for vacations but at 10mpg, they couldn’t afford gas for all of the travels. That’s why he repowered his Jeep with a harvested B3.9 Cummins and “doubled the fuel economy.”  He’s been daily driving it since, as evident by the car seats in the back. 

When we asked what he thought of the R2.8 after our brief trail ride, Don said “The 3.9 is wonderful for torque, power, and fuel economy, but I’m ready to come into this century with clean emissions.”

After admiring each other’s rigs, we shook hands and headed back toward the highway.  Don joined us for 20 miles of highway cruising in his Jeep. After driving a Jeep repowered with the 4bt for ten years, we truly value an endorsement of the R2.8. We look forward to seeing Don again in the Spring!

We had one more fuel stop between us and home; thankfully the last leg was uneventful.  More highway driving, passing time talking on the radios between vehicles (including Cummins trivia), and mixed emotion as always when a great trip like this is winding to a close.  We are all ready to be home but we also know that it will be some time before we see those views again. 

On this trip we saw the openness of the Southwest, the snowy Rocky Mountains, old mining towns, high altitude passes, scenic plateaus, the vast Great Plains, and finally back to our home in the mid-lands and we did it all at with high-mileage vehicles repowered with fresh, fuel efficient Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel powertrains.  It may not be for everyone, but it is extremely gratifying to drive nearly 2,000 miles in a recycled vehicle with such unique character knowing you will not see another like it for the duration of the trip. 

Thank you for reading our blog and please reach out to us if you have any questions about Cummins Repower, the R2.8 Turbo Diesel, or if you’re interested in joining with your Cummins Repowered rig on another trip like this!

Gratefully,

The Cummins Repower Team

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Steve Sanders

Steve Sanders is the Program Leader for Cummins Repower R2.8 Crate Engines.  Steve joined Cummins in 2009 in Cummins Emission Solutions. He has a background in industrial design and fabrication, studied business management in school, and has a passion for anything with wheels that he can drive.

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