Cummins-Repowered Jeep Starts on First Try – And Then Drives Straight Into Pond

Cummins Jeep - Dirt Every Day
Cummins Jeep - Dirt Every Day

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Remember the Cummins ISV5.0-Powered “Mad Maxxis” Off-Road Runner? Fred Williams, host of Motor Trend’s “Dirt Every Day” series is at it again, this time using a 2.8L Cummins Turbo Diesel to repower his 1997 Jeep® Wrangler® – and then driving it 12 feet underwater.

Episode number 54 of “Dirt Every Day” – “Diesel Jeep Underwater” – made its debut on Motor Trend’s YouTube channel on August 30, 2016 and you can watch it on YouTube here, or by playing the embedded video above.

Dirty Every Day - Cummins Jeep WranglerCummins Exploring the  ‘Crate Engine’ Business

The project is part of Cummins’ growing presence to the enthusiast market as the company explores launching a ‘crate engine’ business where consumers would be able to buy 50-state legal Cummins engines for swapping into their older iconic vehicles.

The build took place at Advance Adapters Inc. in Paso Robles, Calif. After several test fits and lots of measuring, our friends at Advance Adapters made an engine-to-transmission adapter to work with a stock Jeep 5-speed NV3550 manual transmission as well as custom motor mounts for the frame. No firewall modifications were needed in order to fit the 2.8L into the Jeep engine’s factory position making the swap go very fast.

Wiring the project was made easy with the help of a slightly modified industrial QSF2.8 wiring harness from Cummins Power Products, waterproofing every connection with gobs of electrical grease, and modifying watertight ammunition cans from an Army surplus store to protect the control panel and ECM.

Bringing the Cummins-Powered Jeep to Life

On the second day of installation, the engine successfully fired and after finishing the rest of the install, it was time to shake it down out on the hillsides in order for the little Jeep to earn its Cummins badges.

The Jeep was built to drive under water first, so with no fans, charge air cooler, power steering, power brakes, or exhaust, we couldn’t do much driving on the road – so up and down the hills of a vineyard it went as if it were waiting for us to attach an implement and give it a job to do.

Now the time had come to attach the 16’ tall intake and exhaust snorkels and get the Jeep wet. With no shortage of Cummins power at the vineyard in the form of Ram trucks and B3.9 grape harvesters and pumps, the Cummins-powered Jeep was among legendary family and the 2.8L was ready to prove itself to its older siblings.

Into the water it went… Tune into the latest episode of “Dirt Every Day” to see what happened next.

Additional Resources

You can watch the “Dirt Every Day” episodes featuring the Mad Maxxis Off-RoadRunner on YouTube by clicking on the links below.

YouTube: Plymouth Road Runner Diesel Swap & 4×4 Conversion! – Dirt Every Day Ep. 43

YouTube: Mad Maxxis Off-Road Runner: 4×4 Muscle Car Desert Chase – Dirt Every Day Ep. 47

Be sure to follow more of Fred’s adventures on Instagram @4xFredWilliams and Facebook to see more Cummins power being put to the test.


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  • Boris Kort-Packard says:
    August 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm Reply

    Awesome! I have been curious about swapping the 2.8l diesel into something else, like an older Volvo station wagon…Hope this moves forward and that there’s an employee discount!

  • Sharon Breeling says:
    August 31, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Thank you for that. That was the best story. I would like to see more unusual uses for a Cummins Engine. it was entertaining and made me proud to be in the Cummins family.

  • Scott Manke says:
    September 2, 2016 at 10:47 am Reply

    Big fan of Fred and Dirt Everyday here. He has a couple of episodes where he has used and featured various Cummins engines. Episodes #30, #34, #43, #47 all feature Cummins products. I’m proud to be part of this team and excited about the potential Crate Engine business!

  • Kevin Allen says:
    September 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm Reply

    Looking forward to hearing more about the Crate Engine program. I hope that Cummins can make that happen!

  • Ed Green says:
    June 1, 2017 at 7:22 pm Reply

    I am wanting to put this in my tj but am curious as to how much the whole package cost to swap, is this affordable for the everyday jeep owner or just the spoiled few


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