Thread: Cummins Diesel?

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    Default Cummins Diesel?

    I am sure this was talked about before on this site, but, up until now I had no interest in the matter. Now our small company is looking into purchasing an engine that must last us 20 years or so. So many engines are now equipped with Cummins diesels. Some members of my company whose opinion I expect and are diesel mechanics say that Cummins diesels require up to 10 minutes of warmup before hitting the road. They feel we will have trouble with Cummins engined apparatus.

    Does anyone have any experiences or observations they can share with us?

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    It's my understanding that all diesels ideally need to warm up to operating temperatures prior to being driven, especially the way we drive and operate them in the fire service. As such, a Cummins is no different in that regards as any other diesel.

    We've got Cummins in most of the trucks at my FT department and a new truck with a Cummins in it with my vollie. Haven't seen any problems with them out of the norm at work, which was part of the reason we went to them in our vollie truck (plus our diesel mechanic insisted on a Cummins).

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    Quote Originally Posted by bullet14 View Post
    I am sure this was talked about before on this site, but, up until now I had no interest in the matter. Now our small company is looking into purchasing an engine that must last us 20 years or so. So many engines are now equipped with Cummins diesels. Some members of my company whose opinion I expect and are diesel mechanics say that Cummins diesels require up to 10 minutes of warmup before hitting the road. They feel we will have trouble with Cummins engined apparatus.

    Does anyone have any experiences or observations they can share with us?
    Is this the first diesel you will have in your front line apparatus? I would not think that the diesel is a huge issue. Every large piece of apparatus has them. They will not go up to full rated power until they are up to normal operating temperature but that is the emissions. If that is an issue then you need to spec more power so that even when cold it has enough.

    I would ask the people making you concerned what their specific issue is. Then once you know what it is, does it make sense?

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    Are your trucks not plugged in to shore power? As in block heaters. Any engine should be at normal operating temp before asking for full power. If the truck doesn't have a high call volume, put the block heater on a timer so that it comes on for a half hour and then goes off for a half hour.
    There's nothing wrong with a Cummins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bullet14 View Post
    I am sure this was talked about before on this site, but, up until now I had no interest in the matter. Now our small company is looking into purchasing an engine that must last us 20 years or so. So many engines are now equipped with Cummins diesels. Some members of my company whose opinion I expect and are diesel mechanics say that Cummins diesels require up to 10 minutes of warmup before hitting the road. They feel we will have trouble with Cummins engined apparatus.

    Does anyone have any experiences or observations they can share with us?
    My department has a small Cummins in a 1991 E-one. When it is cold here in the Northeast it will not get out of its own way until it is warmed up. The rest of our apparatus have Detroit's in them and they great right out of the hole. If you have cold conditions in the winter and you are getting a Cummins make sure it is one with a bigger horse power rating. The Cummins with the larger horse power rating seem to have much less problems.

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    I would agree with VanisleEVT that if you are in the colder part of the country and don't have a warmed enclosed bay area, and even if you do, that a oil pan heater and /or block heater would be a must to maintain temperatures of the engine fluids.

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    I have to agree with Chief1FF, I've recently had the opportunity to drive similar trucks with 500+ hp Detroit 60, Cummins and twin-turbo Cats. The Detroit has the best out-of-the-hole performance, boost comes on strong and quick, which is a good thing when trying to get clear of busy intersections, cross streets or just pull out into traffic. Cummins seems to have more turbo lag but runs really well once it's rolling. Either way you get used to the performance of the vehicle and it's usually not a problem. I can't speak about cold performance of the Cummins... it ain't that cold here.

    Another thing to think about:

    Some manufacturers build lots of trucks with all three brands of powerplants and if that's the case with the manuf that your buying from it doesn't really matter, it's your choice... but others don't. So it's a good idea to check with the manufacturer and see if they build a disproportionate number of vehicles with a paticular brand of engine. When we bought some Quantum engines a couple years ago the question about engine manuf. came up at the pre-con and the Pierce engineer said they were doing about 90% Detroit power. He said most of the engineering, electronics, software and updates were done for, or to interface with, the Detroit/Allison electronics. For that reason we went with Detroit. They will build you whatever you want, but having something out of the ordinary for the manufacturer can be a draw back when you need service from them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiecePilot View Post
    I have to agree with Chief1FF, I've recently had the opportunity to drive similar trucks with 500+ hp Detroit 60, Cummins and twin-turbo Cats. The Detroit has the best out-of-the-hole performance, boost comes on strong and quick, which is a good thing when trying to get clear of busy intersections, cross streets or just pull out into traffic. Cummins seems to have more turbo lag but runs really well once it's rolling. Either way you get used to the performance of the vehicle and it's usually not a problem. I can't speak about cold performance of the Cummins... it ain't that cold here.

    Another thing to think about:

    Some manufacturers build lots of trucks with all three brands of powerplants and if that's the case with the manuf that your buying from it doesn't really matter, it's your choice... but others don't. So it's a good idea to check with the manufacturer and see if they build a disproportionate number of vehicles with a paticular brand of engine. When we bought some Quantum engines a couple years ago the question about engine manuf. came up at the pre-con and the Pierce engineer said they were doing about 90% Detroit power. He said most of the engineering, electronics, software and updates were done for, or to interface with, the Detroit/Allison electronics. For that reason we went with Detroit. They will build you whatever you want, but having something out of the ordinary for the manufacturer can be a draw back when you need service from them.

    Good advice PiecePilot.... now add to the mix the available local service you can get on the choice you think you want. Now rethink it, does it still make sense? Builder A uses Detroits and you don't have a Detroit Service Ctr for 150 miles and the Cummins is across town.... can you live with that? Or is Builder B who uses mostly Cummins with equivalent end product the better choice? You need to be able to make that choice for yourself. None of us will have to live with it for 20 years, you will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bullet14 View Post
    I am sure this was talked about before on this site, but, up until now I had no interest in the matter. Now our small company is looking into purchasing an engine that must last us 20 years or so. So many engines are now equipped with Cummins diesels. Some members of my company whose opinion I expect and are diesel mechanics say that Cummins diesels require up to 10 minutes of warmup before hitting the road. They feel we will have trouble with Cummins engined apparatus.

    Does anyone have any experiences or observations they can share with us?
    Dont know about the warm up, but we had "notice the HAD part" a Cummings in a 1998 FL70 Engine that we couldnt keep out of the shop for various oil leaks and power problems the rest of ours are detroit and we have had no problems at all with them.

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    Default block heaters

    aren't there also problems associated with leaving block heaters plugged in all the time (even if they are on timers) Ie . coolant turning to acid and causing corrosion problems?

    Is the re-circulating block heater the answer to this problem? Or are coolant changes required more frequently?

    Is an oil pan heater as effective as a block heater?

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    Of the units that we have had that had block heaters installed, mostly Ford ambulances with the 7.3, there was never an issue with the coolant causing problems if the ph balance is maintained. As far as an advantage of block heater over oil pan heater it depends on the system set up ie: some things may be activated by either the oil or the coolant at operating temperature. Given heat transfer either one should suffice unless you are living in Alaska conditions then you would want both. Know your area conditions. the sensors that may be involved and adjust accordingly to the need to have such items.

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    Is a block heater needed if the truck is stored in heated bays that do not drop 65 F?

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    If your bays keep things at that temp you should be just fine. Of course that is not the operating temp of the engine or trans but will certainly make things much easier for start up and run. We don't get freezing temps too often here and even then not for sustained periods except on rare occasions. Our reserves that are parked outside are then pulled inside to preclude possible freeze up. In my mind any temp above freezing prevents problems with the pump system and for easier start up and the further up the temp range from freezing the better as far as startup of the engine goes. The only reason for a block or oil pan heater beyond that point would be if their is a chance that the bay heaters give out and you are in a real cold environment. A back up plan is always a good thing to have.

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    We've run Cummins exclusively since the early nineties.They are kept in bays heated to 50F.Fire and floorboard,no problems.If you leave them outside below 30-40F,you better plug them in or you won't be a happy camper.We DO NOT use the mini mouse versions,all of ours are L10(old)or ISM in the newer ones.Cummins Northeast takes care of any major service issues outside of PM.So far that's amounted to one reprogramming and one EGR tube. Our next rig will be Cummins as will the one after that.Don't worry about the "warm to operating temperature before using",it's an old tale and not applicable to Fire service and the modern diesel engine. Nice? Yes. Feasible? No! Look at your service facilities and pick the powerplant that fits your needs. T.C.

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    If you read your opperator's manuals you'll see every brand of engine requires a "proper" warm up. The reason is simple, the combustion chamber of a diesel runs over 1000F, if the outside of the block, just 1 inch away, is 65F when the engine is "cold" there is a huge potential for cracking large parts when you stand it. That said, I've never seen a fire service engine crack, so they must be building them right. Maybe this was the problem "back in the day,"... Rescue101, you remember those days don't you?

    Block heaters vs oil heaters: Block heaters make your engine start and run better cold, oil heaters make them last longer and help starting a little. Don't really need either if you bay is heated. Most engines today come with some sort of cold start feature, such as Cummin's intake Grid Heater, and some other "smart" tricks to get the engine to fire cold.

    BTW, never use ether on engines equiped with intake heater devices... BOOM

    Cummins vs. DD vs. Cat: Have not seen a Cat fire service engine newer than a 3208, so no experience there. There is no doubt in my mind, if you can afford the Detriot, get it. Cummins is OK, but for reasons too lengthy to get into I'd much rather have a DD. Unfortunately not all trucks come with the choice of all three engines, the DD is a huge engine and won't fit in some models.
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    304,see above. The last DD fit for fire service use was an 8V92TT.Nah,the 60's are OK but we got Cummins and we're going to stay Cummins.Big Cats are nice,but if you break one I hope you got money(lots)in the bank.3208? I've got one but I wouldn't consider it a Fire service engine although many were used for the purpose.They tell me the islanders(fisherman)are squeakin almost 550HP out of 'em,I wouldn't want to be around when one of those got "loose".All the engine builders are playing the same game,let's see how many HP we can get out of mini mouse.I DO NOT like Engines under 11 liter for most Fire service applications nor would I spec a smaller one for the above reasons.When you take a platform,let's say an 8.3 cummins(early 190 hp)and jack it up to almost double two questions come to mind: How did that happen(what changed)and do you suppose that change INCREASED reliability? I'd prefer a detuned big block myself. We've had good luck with the Cummaparts and Cummins Northeast has been very attentive to the few service needs that we've had. My best advise:If you find a platform that works well for your needs stick with it.Easier to stock parts and service equipment. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    304,see above. The last DD fit for fire service use was an 8V92TT. T.C.
    Used to pick truckloads of those things up at the DD Mod Center in Romulus, Mich., take them to Johnson & Towers in Mt. Laurel, N.J. J & T would squeeze astronomical amounts of power out of those them for fishing boat use. Like 450+ out of 6-71 in lines. Also for boat people who didn't care what they cost or how many (few) hours they would last, as long as they could go fast.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    As generator tech I can tell you that any diesel will start better if warmed up. In most states a backup genset must be on line in less than a minute and with a nursing home or hospital 10 seconds is our limit. This is no problem if the unit has a block heater and properly taken care of. The heater will not harm the coolant unless the thermostat sticks and cooks it. Some engines are harder to start if cold and some are not. Not sure about the new detroits but the old ones would not start if cold,same thing with cummins and alot of other engines. In a heated bay I would not think you would need a heater. I guess you should buy the engine that best meets your needs and conditions in your part of the country. Also backup gensets can be required to go from no load to full load in seconds,so it can be done.

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    Smile Cat 3208

    To Rescue101's comment about 3208's. I had a friend who used to Tractor Pull with a 3208. Instead of 250 hp for a turbo'd unit, he had four turbochargers and was makeing over a 1,000 hp. Of course you only ran it for a few minutes per run.

    The boat version of the 3208 was sold as 350 hp vs. 250 hp for the automotive version. With the boat version you had the big water exhaust cooling jackets and you had a very smooth horsepower draw from a propeller verses someone popping the clutch with an automotive version.

    The 3208 was a 100,000 mile engine which was fine for fire trucks twenty years ago before EMS when 60,000 miles was typical in 20 years. Now some departments run 25,000 mile or more a year due to EMS and a 3208 would not hold up.

    Just my thoughts on what was a pretty good fire truck engine in its day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bullet14 View Post
    I am sure this was talked about before on this site, but, up until now I had no interest in the matter. Now our small company is looking into purchasing an engine that must last us 20 years or so. So many engines are now equipped with Cummins diesels. Some members of my company whose opinion I expect and are diesel mechanics say that Cummins diesels require up to 10 minutes of warmup before hitting the road. They feel we will have trouble with Cummins engined apparatus.

    Does anyone have any experiences or observations they can share with us?
    Our 2005 pumper has a Cummins 400HP engine, it has more than needed power to pull 750 gallons of water. I do not know if it will outlast our 300 HP Mack !

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    Question

    We're spec'ing out a new Quint- with Detroit, Cummins and Cat all available options. In reading this Detroit seems to be the better option. Will this hold true through the new 2007 EPA requirements or are there any new associated problems?

    Thanks.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
    Senior Firefighter /EMT-A, A Shift
    HESD / OFD
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    Eno,Where are you gleaning that from these limited conversations?What are you running now? Where's the nearest service? For us,service on any of the three is 45 miles away.We run exclusively Cummins,we've had good luck with them,it allows the dept shops mechanics to be familiar with the units,common parts and filters and common service manuals.Detroit 60? We don't run any but a good engine with a good reliability record.As far as hauling you down the road,considering spec for spec I don't think you'll see any major league differences in ability.Be VERY cognizant of the spec writer.The new programs work very well matching components to performance curves.Know what YOU want your vehicle to do.You can't go wrong with any of the three but buy enough power up front,it will save you money in the future. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eno821302 View Post
    We're spec'ing out a new Quint- with Detroit, Cummins and Cat all available options. In reading this Detroit seems to be the better option. Will this hold true through the new 2007 EPA requirements or are there any new associated problems?

    Thanks.
    Eno,

    I don't think that anybody knows for sure how the new engines that meet the 2007 requirements are going to pan out. I think it will be wait and see, approach as to how they work. I know my department is waiting until the 2008 year before we purchase a new Engine. As for horse power I tend to favor the bigger engines. I.E. 450+ HP.

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    Eh Rescue101... I didn't mean to sound like I was coming to any solid conclusions- just sounded like there was a lot of "cummins is good but but but" and Detroit always seemed to come without criticism. One of my guys here is an experienced heavy duty mechanic and I asked him about it before I posted here and he seemed to lean towards Detroit as well- I guess I sort of factored that into my comments. Between here and the forums, while Cummins comes off as being good, it just sounds like Detroit is better. I guess we'll see what happens with the new engines. I know some manufacturers have some 2006 and a halfs available to go in 2007 rigs- anyone involved in apparatus purchases going for those engines over the new 2007s?

    I thank you both for your contributions!
    Ian "Eno" McLeod
    Senior Firefighter /EMT-A, A Shift
    HESD / OFD
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    Eno,Did I mention we like Cummins?We keep 'em at least twenty years and we DO NOT treat them with kid gloves.I know what Cummins changed to meet the 07 spec and it's not greatly changed fron it's proven platforms.Around these parts,it's heavy on Cats and Cummins not so many Detroits.For you,look toward service and whose product are you using now.I would have NO qualms steering you toward Cummins,we have had no reliability issues(outside of software,1 instance)Good power,no downtime.Hope it helps,T.C.

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