This morning, a viewer named Grant reached out with an important question. Grant wants to know whether he should replace his current truck, or fix it up.
What To Do?
Of course there are countless advantages to buying a new truck. New vehicles tend to be more comfortable, more reliable, and more capable than their older counterparts. However, like Grant, we appreciate the era of simple, workhorse trucks like the second gen Ram.
Since I daily drive a 1994 Cummins Ram, I recommended a 5.9 diesel swap. Though the 8-liter V10 did make more horsepower and torque, the 5.9 Cummins is one of the toughest engines you can find on a budget. If horsepower is what you’re after, the old Cummins can be tuned well above its factory output as well.
5.9 Cummins Issues
There are a few things to look out for though. Some 1999-2001 Cummins trucks use what is known as a “53” block. The 53 block had thinner water jacket walls. 53 engine blocks are prone to cracking, and should be avoided if possible.
The Killer Dowel Pin is another notable issue with older Cummins engines. A dowel pin in the front end can back out over time and cause serious damage. A small metal tab placed behind the timing cover is all that’s necessary to avoid KDP.
Swapping The Engine
Besides those two issues, 5.9 Cummins engines have proved their worthiness through decades of abuse. Owners have documented every quirk there is to know and parts are plentiful. However, there are a number of ways to go about an engine swap.
The easiest way to be sure you have most the parts you will need is to buy a parts truck. The parts truck can even serve as a template for mounting the new components on another vehicle. Though the swap will still pose its fair share of headaches. Ideally, Grant will be able to find a solid running truck with a rusted body and a good drivetrain.
All said and done, swapping engines will be far more effort than buying something new but it will be less expensive. There are hundreds of ways to go about the swap, but a solid Cummins parts truck shouldn’t cost more than $5,000. That way Grant can stick with the truck he loves, and save it from the scrapyard.
To learn more about 5.9 Cummins trucks, check out the video linked below.