Cummins Now Taking Orders for their R2.8 Turbo Diesel Crate Motor

Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of creative attempts to convert various vehicles with diesel engines. From Jeep Wranglers fitted with VW power plants to trucks rolling on marine diesels designed to power electrical generators, we’ve seen it all. The most promising was announced last year with the introduction of the Cummins R2.8 turbo-diesel crate engine.

Available now for purchase with deliveries scheduled for mid-October, the starting price of $8,999 will make these a popular buy for enthusiasts with ambitious build projects. Only 500 R2.8 engines will ship within the remainder of the 2017 calendar year, all of them built in the Cummins factory in Columbus, Indiana. The anticipated lead-up and relatively low asking price will likely make short work of that initial inventory, so if you’re interested in buying one for your own project, you might want to act quickly.

As a true crate engine, the R2.8 TD is not a plug-and-play solution with direct bolt-in compatibility to specific vehicles. Buyers will need to carefully evaluate their intended application and make their own accommodations for cooling, transmission pairing, air intake plumbing, wiring, engine mounting, and fitment with ancillary components like air conditioning. The Cummins website and customer service team can help make necessary calculations for gearing and other issues of compatibility.

The rest of the kit is quite comprehensive and includes a front-end accessory drive for an alternator, power steering pun, fan hub, and other assemblies. Also included is a universal vehicle wiring harness to integrate into various dash controls, as well as engine essentials like a starter, flywheel, mass air flow sensor, remote oil filter, and throttle pedal.

By the numbers, the new 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbo diesel produces 161 horsepower with 267 pound-feet of torque at 1500-3000 rpm with the fuel delivered by a Bosch Electric system. The engine weight is 503 pounds and quite compact with dimensions of 28.3 x 25 x 25.1 inches. There will undoubtedly be questions regarding fuel efficiency performance, but that is too influenced by the host vehicle to offer any reliable mpg scores.

It will be interesting to see where these first 500 engines end up. Although Jeep plans to release their own diesel- burning Wrangler with the coming 2018 model year, there are tens of thousands of existing Wranglers on the road just begging for a retrofit. It appears after a very long wait, those with an inclination to ditch petrol have another chance to do so.

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.