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Will Cummins hit 1,000?

by David Zatz on

The Cummins diesel engine used in Ram pickups has often boasted the biggest power ratings in its class — sometimes by huge margins. Today, it tops out at 385 horsepower and 900 pound-feet — a bit less than Ford’s 440/925 and Chevrolet’s 445/910.

Fortunately, the Cummins also has the best fuel efficiency — in the latest challenge, easily beating Ford, Nissan, and Chevrolet while towing a 10,000 pound trailer (and coming within a tenth of a mile per gallon while unloaded.)

Ram still boasts the most sophisticated suspension in the class, at least with the Ram 2500, and Cummins still holds a great deal of cachet for the company’s integrity and quality. Still, rumors are already floating around that the Ram “DJ,” which is still two or three years out, will boast more power — possibly being the first consumer-drivable pickup to pass the magical thousand-pound-foot mark.

The current Cummins diesel is a 6.7 liter inline six-cylinder, unlike the Silverado and Ford V8s.  Cummins sells a version of it for medium-duty trucks — the Ram 3500, Silverado 3500, and Ford F-350 are all technically light-duty — with just 200 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque, tuned for economy and longevity.

Cummins does sell a six cylinder with 1,450-1,750 pound feet of torque already, but it’s for heavy duty trucks and weighs 3,000 pounds — nearly triple the weight of the engine in Rams.

The B-series engines have been revised numerous times, but Cummins makes other series. The L9 engine, certified for 2017 EPA standards, goes to 380 horsepower and 1,250 pound-feet of torque; but it weighs 1,700 pounds, and is likely too large and expensive.

Most likely, Cummins is working on a minor leapfrog over Ford, but there’s a chance they’re planning to be the first to a thousand pound-feet — even if it means not quite making the same horsepower numbers.

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