My Cummins 6BT Story

Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
121
Figured I'd update the thread after a long hiatus :)

Did some wheeling at the local park, Kansas Rocks, the last couple weekends in a row.

Need to do some shakedowns before a real adventure to my paradise in Colorado...

First outing was with CJMOON. His setup and mine seemed to perform pretty similar. No dented sheet metal and no drama at the end of the day despite some good all locked slip and slide'n, bouncing up rock walls with our toddlers in the back seat. A good day!

Fast forward to this weekend, CJMOON was outta town so I hit up my buds with their Jeep Cherokee Rigs. They're both locked front and rear with little 31" tires, but cut fenders and tip the scales at a whopping 3,000lbs each. They wiggle like mad, are a foot narrower, and sheet metal is considered annoying to them! My theoretical saving grace was that they both had their little kids with them and I figured that would keep them grounded.... um ya... not so much. First trail with one of the jeeps in the lead was a black... Blacks don't work too good for the 80 platform at KS rocks! They're TIGHT trails among other issues that are not too agreeable for the 80...

Thanks to my willingness to shrug off bad decisions and give just about anything a try, I finally got to destroy my OE running board and leave a lasting impression on the driver's side door and front fender. No worries though! Been eye-balling the white knuckle sliders (I don't have time to make my own), and the whole reason I painted it white was to help hide the trail scars and make it easy to fix every year :D

The hi-lift came in handy to get the right running board out of the rear tire. Those things are handy as shirt pockets!

Still up in the air for a front bumper... Really leaning toward the slee, but don't like the large gap between the bumper and the flares... I know-- silly, but I like to strike a balance between function and form ;) Could add some sheetmetal weldments to bridge the gap I guess. Hrmmm....

No good wheeling pics, but a couple of the newly added character!

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You must really like fixing things, between buying a project truck to begin with and now beating the crap out of a clean truck...are you going to start whining about the guy that drove your rig into a tree?

You bought a project truck at a $15k discount, added $15k worth of accessories, stop whining and start living.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
I think you misread my post. Or maybe I miswrote it. I'm the guy who drove it into a tree and I wasn't whining about my mistake. s***e happens on the trail and I'm perfectly comfortable with that. Plenty of smilies in my post to illustrate my enjoyment of this rig and my experiences---I thought.

Thanks for reminding me of the dollars I spent on it. As with all toys I don't keep a spreadsheet on dollars spent nor do I plan to. Also hope that when I die my wife won't sell them for what I told her I spent on them! Lol

Phil
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Thought I would update...

0-60:

Cjmoon timed the 0-60 and she came in just under 11.5 seconds. From the 0-60 thread, I guess that's respectable :) Still no intercooler. Don't want one, as I like the simplicity. I run about 40PSI boost at full song. 3800RPM redline. Mild cam. Stiffer valve springs. Made the exhaust from 3" mandrel bends and dumps under pass side rear door. No loud at all with a small muffler, and lots of turbo noise. Short run so simple and won't get ripped off from below. The exhaust is a real head turner :)

Recovery:

Went with the 10,000lb Warn Zeon Platinum. Pretty cool winch with the remote, etc.. Added the factor 55 jewel for grinsand functionality.

Steel:

Bumpers and sliders are finally all replaced/installed as the factory ones all died a death or two. No surprise there. Slee rear, Slee Sliders, ARB Front.

MPG:

15ish city.... 18-20mpg highway at 80... In the winter, I idle a lot to get it warm for the kid (and me), so mpg is way down to 11-12... Still haven't seen anything as low as 10 and I idle a LOT and drive with a heavy foot.

Happy New Year,

Phil

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Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Nice, what cam shaft did you go with?
It's the Hammilton 178-208 found here: 1989-1998 12 valve Cummins

Used their springs and lifters as well....

Not sure how much the the cam helped or not. It has plenty of power all over the place now and did before. Easy to pass and be up to 70+ mph on the on-ramp to the highway. Cruising at 80 is truly effortless and about 8-12 psi boost depending on highway grade...

I have yet to hook up the intake heater. It starts without assist to about 10F. We had some -5F temps the other day. Needed a small shot of ether on those days. I'm sure the intake heater would have done as well...

-Phil
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
For giggles, installed these plug n play LED bulbs.... 45 bucks a pair... probably too good to be true.... but if they last more than 5 minutes, could be worth it... Compare the before/after... Looks great during the day. lol.

The LEDs have little fans built into the heatsink. I'm sure those fans will get along wonderfully with mud, water, and dust... they are somewhat protected back there, so we'll see...

Total install time, under 5 minutes :)

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Seth_O

 
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Apr 6, 2007
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Under the hood
You're a ways (and I assume a lot of miles) into this now - what're your overall impressions? A 6bt has always been on my list, but its perpetually an 'out in time' mod as its so expensive, and I live in CA.
 

scottryana

 
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2004
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Location
Salt Lake City, UT
I have been running similar LED's with the fans and I thought the same thing. But mine have been going strong for over 2 years.





For giggles, installed these plug n play LED bulbs.... 45 bucks a pair... probably too good to be true.... but if they last more than 5 minutes, could be worth it... Compare the before/after... Looks great during the day. lol.

The LEDs have little fans built into the heatsink. I'm sure those fans will get along wonderfully with mud, water, and dust... they are somewhat protected back there, so we'll see...

Total install time, under 5 minutes :)

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Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
You're a ways (and I assume a lot of miles) into this now - what're your overall impressions? A 6bt has always been on my list, but its perpetually an 'out in time' mod as its so expensive, and I live in CA.
I love it. Went through some growing pains which could be largely be appropriated to a stupid tax... The way it moves out is great. It's a second faster to 60 than a friends 6.0L Powerstroke and it has been great off-road. I think the tall axle gears are a must. The TC and ridiculous high torque takes masks the downsides of a high gears on the trail go away, in my view. It's great on the highway at 80mph and always gets acceptable fuel economy even by today's standards for such a heavy machine. It's very easy to work on, given how simple the older VE pump setup is. If I had to do it all over again, I would still chose the VE pump 6BT and I would still not intercool it. To this day, I'm keeping an eye out for a failed 6/6.4 L powerstroke to do a cummins swap into. It's just a fun motor.

-Phil
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Finally got around to replacing the front window motors. Read and tried a lot of the real easy fixes right down to cleaning the contacts in the window switch. No love. If under about 40 degrees, those windows were all but useless.

Went to RockAuto for new dorman motors. Just got the motors and nothing else. Cheap.

Found that the pigtails the motors came with were not compatible. However, rather than cutting and splicing, simply removing the spades from the OE plug and swapping the plug over to the dorman was a 2 minute operation and kept the replacement splice/hack free. Someone had swapped a motor in my drivers side door before using the splice/hack strategy. Not sure why someone would not just swap the spade pins???? Anyway... I failed to get a pic of the pin swapping, but it's pretty darn easy.

Did the driver's side first. I made it harder by removing the window. I'm sure it's well documented, but I found it easiest to just lower the window to about 3" from full down, remove the 2 M6 (10mm head) bolts holding the window to the regulator track. Pull the window to the top of the track and tape it up so it's out of the way. Use a lot of tape as it's heavy and wants to fall pretty bad. lol

Pull the rotted out old speakers for more access and then pull the regulator out out of the big door opening. Easy. Apply some good grease to regulator tracks and put it all back together.

Replace the rotted out speaker with some $39 sony walmart specials and enjoy some proper working windows with a crackle free radio sound!

On the speakers, they were a bit too deep and contacted the window tracks. I just spaced out a tad and installed. I'm sure there are "correct" replacement speakers, but these actually work great, sound great to my ears, and were priced right at midnight when I took on the project :)

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Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Finally got around to replacing the high pressure side power steering contraption that Duzer left. Was on the "next time" list for some years now...

This thing is nuts... They cobbled together 2 hoses adding up to about 4 feet and did a bunch of loops with it.

I replaced with a simple 17" run of -6 BMRS 2,000 PSI hose, a 90, a straight, and a couple adapter fittings. Simplest and cleanest installation ever. Why Duzer wouldn't have done it this way from the onset amazes me.

The toyota box is a M16x1.5 inverted flare to AN-6 on the high pressure side. Easy to get at summit racing (jegs, etc). Shows up easily if you search for Borgenson power steering fitting.

The return side is a M17x1.5 inverted flare to AN-6. I found that new on ebay, but was certainly a less widely available part than the very common M16 on the high pressure side of the pump.

-Phil
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Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Oh ya @cjmoon is trying to get me to install a larger turbo because "why not"... Already plenty peppy with the 11 sec 0-60 and doesn't think twice about cruising 90 up hill in a head wind... but I guess bigger is better :)
 
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Jun 12, 2011
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Location
Kansas
Going to tag @shoresoccer13 in this, look at post #113 . Wish I would have known this info a month ago when I was trying to make custom connections for my hydraulic winch. I ended up cutting the factory hard lines and having 6jic fittings brazed to them. @turbophil , I don't suppose you know what fitting the Toyota PS pump uses ? I know you are running cummins pump now. Also, nice work on your rig. I would really like to see this in person some time.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
I don't know the toyota pump fitting, sorry.

Not sure there is anything to fantastic about this truck, but happy to show it to you, @half k cruiser . It's my daily, so cruising around all the time...

Next on the list is to swap out the 33s for 35s. Keep meaning to order those... not sure WTH I was thinking putting 33s on it... Early onset senility I suppose...

Of note regarding castor, can't remember if I mentioned this prior, I removed the castor correcting drop joints for the front control arms and replaced with castor plates from Slee. I'm making it my objective to put Christos family through college it seems... Nevertheless, the good news is that the dropped joint/pivot brackets are no longer there to get hung up on rocks--- which they did a lot. Bad news is that my connecting link does have incidental contact with the control arms now. Doesn't seem to be a real easy fix for that... Little clunky on the trail... Also worth noting, the street characteristics were far better with the drop joints. So anyone doing light trail duty or doesn't deal with "big" rocks, the dropped joints really made for a nice road feel.

-Phil
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
A previous mechanic's lack of fastener knowledge finally caught up w/ me. To be fair, I knew I needed to replace this garbage, but too lazy to knock it out.

The axles were held in with button head stainless steel bolts. Hilarious anyone thought this was a good idea. Lack of any ability to clamp with such a chincy bolt finally killed the gasket and oil POURED out. Replaced with ARP 10mm head bolts. Need the small wrench size to deal with the wheels. Not a huge deal, but anyone wanting to run TRD wheels and 1" spacers need to know that you need a 10mm head. the 12mm head will hit the wheel lip in the bore....

-Phil

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Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Oh ya. Recently switched to 35" KM2 Mud Terrains. After wheeling with my bud on 35" BFG ATs and otherwise essentially identical rig, the MTs are infinitely more grippy on trails. No comparison even with just a little bit of mud on the rocky trails. The ATs packed up straight away and went to grease mode. The MT's cleaned out nicely and my excursions up the rocky ledges we shouldn't have been doing much less dramatic compared to his. That said, I bent a lot more metal than he did thanks to the massive sheet metal ARB and slee bumpers I have, where he has tube parts that tuck nicely out of the way. lol. chicks dig scars right? @cjmoon

I cannot hear the road howl at all with the windows up and the diesel "White noise"... however, with the windows down, the MTs SING where the ATs where perfectly quiet.

Pick your poison.

-Phil
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
159
Everyone likes a video and as always, they don't do the obstacle justice. The Slab is better than 60 degrees and is part of the rock garden reserved for hoppers and the sort. In the spirit of the best times are made from bad ideas, I decided to take a shot at one of the easier paths to exist the garden.

Of note, the fake bead locker rings on the TRD wheels has been reduced to rubble after this last trip. We're hitting the trails a fair bit and the rocks are taking their tole to put it mildly. On the positive side, if I cared a bunch, I can buy the rings separate from the wheels... In the meantime, the bends and gouges are what the kid uses to prove we actually use the rig for trails when telling his stories (dad too) :)

It's been a year or so on the trail with the ARB and slee bumpers. The Slee rear bumper drags on E-ver-ree-thing. Shocker, I know. lol. It's designed to slide off rocks and it does that. One gets used to the crashing noise.

BAM!!!!

Passenger: "what was that?!?!?!?!"
Me: "99% chance just the rear bumper. We'll look for any other damage at camp."
The kid: "Ya, it always does that"

The thing is taking a beating to be sure.

Tires here at 35" KM2. I need more lift. Thinking 1" body and 1" spring spacers would buy a lot of freedom. Perhaps the easiest thing on the 1" lift is to just turn down some delrin...hrrrmmmmm....



-Phil
 
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