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!
The Cummins Repower Team