Cummins Repower Rocky Mountain Media Trip: Day Two Blog

Coffee, Diesel, Go.

It was an early, overcast morning in Durango. It was time for cold start data logging, fueling up, and making our plan for the day over coffee and breakfast burritos.  Due to recent weather conditions, our planned route through the Colorado Back Country Discovery had to be adjusted. Because the Proffitt’s and Mark Terrien are natives to the area, they were able to offer many options for alternative routes. We all agreed to head back north to climb over Red Mountain Pass and hit some trails. 

With our friends from Overland International and Alloy + Grit behind the wheels of the Land Cruiser and Land Rover, it was time to climb. Our media guests observed that there was no need to have the pedal to the floor winding through the 6.6% grades.  Holding speed or accelerating wasn’t an issue even with our altitude of 10,000 feet and engine temperature gauge reading 190 degrees F.  At this point, the builders mentioned some of the features they were working to program into the 6-speed GM transmissions including tap shifting, sport mode, and other hill climbing overdrive lockouts. 

We pulled off to shoot a photo next to an old Snow Cat and little did we know that underneath the fresh snow was a nice sheet of ice.  While turning around the 80 Series for a photo, we got stuck.  With the quick help and guidance of our experienced guests, some handy overlanding recovery gear, and the wheel work of Chandra Proffitt, the truck freed itself under its own power.  While most would wipe their brow and get back on the road, but we took the opportunity to test the Disco 1 through the same patch.  Having a bit more speed, a mud-terrain tire tread, and the knowledge of ‘how not to do it,’ it chugged through the deep snow without issue.  Back on the road!

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The switchbacks were absolutely breathtaking and we were fortunate to have the perfect amount of snow to make it scenic, but passible.  Remnants of old mining towns are evident all the way to Ouray.  When we’re in the small towns, many people stop and pay close attention as we roll through.  We pulled over to check out a few more scenic views and observed a few heavy duty class-8 Cummins-powered trucks powering through the switchbacks. This is what sets the R2.8 apart from the others – it has siblings in much bigger applications that we pass wherever we drive.  Countless Ram trucks, 15 Liter-powered big rigs, snow groomers and lots of green gen sets near pump stations help us to tell the 99-year old Cummins story to our guests.

We did a quick stop in Silverton, another old mining town to snap a few pics.  The town’s turn of the century buildings were painted with vibrant colors and reminded us of the industry that once thrived in this area and the risks that people took to earn a living.  Thinking about how hard these winters must have been 100 years ago made me very grateful for the way that I earn my living today.  The spirit of exploration, innovation, and the desire for something better is what these small towns were built upon and that is very fitting for the driving force behind the R2.8 and what we are demonstrating on this trip.

With private access to a wonderful trail leading to a beautiful plateau near Gunnison, we ventured off the road once more onto fresh snow to push these rigs up to more scenic heights.  Fresh hoof prints from a large herd of elk made for a washboard-like experience in several parts of this trail, but the view was worth the bumps.

It was time to get back on the road as we still had nearly four hours of driving to Silverthorne and we were burning daylight.  By this time, the weather reports were getting worse for Saturday and more route decisions needed to be made.  Our friends from Proffitt Cruisers were relatively close to home, so they escorted us to the top of Monarch Pass (11,312 above sea level) at nightfall and then turned around to head home.  With Chandra behind the wheel of the HZJ79, she muscled up in 5th gear the entire climb, never being passed by another vehicle and never breaking 200 degrees.  It was a fitting sign-off.

The rest of us continued driving through Leadville onward to our final stop for the night in Silverthorne.  We arrived with fuel to spare, but it was time to top off the tanks to see how we did.  The on and off road driving all day from Durango to Silverthorne totaled 337.1 miles, nearly 21,000 feet of total climbing peaking at 11,375 feet and just under 11 hours of engine running time.  It was time to pump them all to one click to learn how well the R2.8 did with these heavy rigs, oversized tires, and on winter fuel:

1st place:  ’85 Toyota pickup on 35” mud terrains – 22.17mpg

2nd place: Land Rover Discovery on 32” mud terrains – 20.3mpg

3rd place (by a hair): Land Cruiser FZJ80 on 32” all terrains – 20.1mpg

Tomorrow morning will bring more coffee, snow clearing, and a new plan.  Weather permitting, we plan to go over Loveland Pass. We have a long way until home and with the forecast, the real adventure and test may still be ahead of us!

 

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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.

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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