06 E-350 with 6.7 Cummins + Allison

b. rock

Active member
Wanted to start a thread for the beginning of what I hope is a pretty fantastic project, starting from an interesting base. I know the wife and I are both pretty stoked.

The backstory is that I started my search for an E-350 about a year ago. Doing my due diligence on the drivetrain options, I landed on a V10 van. I had originally wanted turbo diesel but the 7.3s are aging (and $$) and I wasn't a fan of having a 4 speed trans again, and the 6.0s are well...6.0s. Bought a cherry 2005 V10 van with a Camburg kit on it out of SoCal, loved it, wasn't planning on upgrading, and had purchased a radius arm coil spring conversion kit to do over the next winter.

Fast forward 7 months and a local auto enthusiast group member chimed in on a FB page stating that they had a weird 4x4 van they wanted to sell that had a Cummins swap so I decided to go check it out. Turns out it was a youth group that inherited this van from a guy who built it out for use on his ranch, went bankrupt, and then donated everything including his land to this group. They didn't use it, knew almost nothing about it, and just wanted it gone.

The first thing they showed me were receipts for over $45k from Destroked, a local shop specializing in Cummins swaps. In 2013 it got a 0 mile 6.7 Cummins engine + built up 6 speed Allison transmission, EGR and DPF removed, and Borg Warner turbo to replace the factory Holset. It uses a factory 6.0 intercooler. They are using a 2008 wiring harness to run the engine to sidestep the need for CAN bus. The trans is largely standalone, getting only a TPS and speed input.

The 4x4 appears to originally be from Advanced, but someone has massaged it with some Alcan springs and unknown yellow shocks. It's running the NV271 transfer case at least. Front is a high pinion 60 from the looks of it and the rear is a semi-floater.

The interior is a little spartan and rough from starting life as a school bus/shuttle, then acting as a snow cat (the PO that did the conversion used it on his ranch with Mattracks attached), then to a group of folks that aren't exactly mechanically inclined. The chassis has 96k on it. The youth group has put 6k miles on it in the 5.5 years they have owned it. The PO only put about 4k on it after the conversion in the year before he went bankrupt. So the engine/trans have about 10k miles on them at this point.

My plans are to sort out the interior starting with the dash, swap the front end to coil spring, get rid of the 20" rims to run some actual rubber, and then slowly build out a minimalist camper interior with a focus on mtb'ing, backcountry skiing, and some overland style trips. At some point we'll also either be pulling dirt bikes, a side by side, or a crawler, but that part of the budget comes after we finish building out our basement.

Current known issues are that the 4-5 shift needs a recalibration (appt set with Destroked to address), the intake air heater doesn't have an indicator light on the dash, the a/c is inop (but was confirmed working after the swap), the battery is mounted inside of the cab by the passenger rear door and needs relocated, there's a pinhole leak in a coolant hose running to the rear heater, and there is some light surface rust that I'll wire wheel when I do the front axle work. It's also not 100% clear to me if the rear blower assembly a/c lines running to it our not so I need to dive further into that. It's not the usual rear unit as this was built out as a shuttle.

Initial pic attached. More to come this weekend as we are moving into our house + garage (finally). The room in the engine bay is awesome, more than any of the V shaped motors. Also, driving a van with 370hp/800lb-ft is rather intoxicating, and that's just the factory tune.
 

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Len.Barron

Observer
getting the dash and body systems to work right will be a handful but a cool project/challenge, might even be worth looking at a ram pickup dash/wire harness swap..
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
@mgmetalworks has done a Cummings swap. His thread has a lot of details on how he got everything to work. It’s worth a read... he may also have answers to questions not posted.
 

b. rock

Active member
Yes, I reached out to him prior to buying it. There wasn't anyone else I could think of that had the swap to check in with. With as much $$ it takes to 'bulletproof' a 6.0 I'm actually surprised there aren't more of these swaps kicking around. If you kept the 5r110 and got a good deal on a used engine that didn't need refurbishing, I'd think it'd be within striking distance of a full bulletproof procedure.

I should clarify - everything electric on the dash works great (gauges), it just needs some kind of indicator when it's firing the intake air heater. It's originally a V10 van so there's no factory glow plug indicator. The dash is physically a bit rough from use as a shuttle but replacement pieces are easy enough to find.
 

Len.Barron

Observer
I should clarify - everything electric on the dash works great (gauges), it just needs some kind of indicator when it's firing the intake air heater. It's originally a V10 van so there's no factory glow plug indicator. The dash is physically a bit rough from use as a shuttle but replacement pieces are easy enough to find.
That's a huge hurdle already cleared then...someone must have put in some serious effort to get the cummins ecm to talk to the ford dash/body systems..
 

mgmetalworks

Explorer
That's a huge hurdle already cleared then...someone must have put in some serious effort to get the cummins ecm to talk to the ford dash/body systems..
Not really... That year of van and the '08 ECM aren't CAN bus. It's all a matter of putting Ford sensors on the engine.

The intake air heater is a single connection (a stud located just below the intake horn). You can run a small wire off of that to power a light or relay. That would be the simplest tie-in I know of.

One thing to remember is that the Cummins isn't like the Powerstrokes. I don't even have the intake air heater any more and the engine starts up easily in below freezing temps....even after sitting for a while. I haven't hooked up my block heater cord yet but for days/nights it gets really cold (around here, about the coldest we'll see is mid-20s occasionally), I'll just plug in.
 

b. rock

Active member
Not really... That year of van and the '08 ECM aren't CAN bus. It's all a matter of putting Ford sensors on the engine.

The intake air heater is a single connection (a stud located just below the intake horn). You can run a small wire off of that to power a light or relay. That would be the simplest tie-in I know of.

One thing to remember is that the Cummins isn't like the Powerstrokes. I don't even have the intake air heater any more and the engine starts up easily in below freezing temps....even after sitting for a while. I haven't hooked up my block heater cord yet but for days/nights it gets really cold (around here, about the coldest we'll see is mid-20s occasionally), I'll just plug in.
Oh sweet, that'd be easy enough to tap into then.

Also good to know on the Cummins. I've driven a few PSD's for work in delivery trucks, and previously owned a 1.9 VW TDI (but with a glow plug relay from 1982), so I'm wholly used to turning the key and waiting 20-60 seconds before starting the engine. Just a habit I suppose.
 

b. rock

Active member
Yes. Brand new built trans, and I think there were 9 miles on the engine. I have the receipts kicking around in the folder that came with it.
 

b. rock

Active member
At the moment, moving and getting settled is taking vastly more time/effort than anticipated. I haven't done anything to it just yet other than the visit with Destroked to plug into the trans. I did get a chance to drive it in the snow when we used it to fetch a snowblower - living at 8500' up a dirt road, it was great to be able to engage 4x4 and be able to get home in some slick conditions.
 

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