High Performance Diesel Engines

Andrew Wilson
September 2018

The Big Cam IV engines are great to work with, especially the later 88 NT’s. The only problem these engines have is the low flow cooling system. They can easily overheat in demanding situations, particularly in the summer heat.

Peter Sharp, Vice President of Pittsburgh Power, has been working with the Big Cam Cummins for over 30 years. He highly recommends that you revert the low flow system back to the high flow system used on all Small Cam and Big Cam I, II, and III engines. We at Pittsburgh Power can convert the low flow cooling system back to full flow. If you have an early Big Cam IC this can be done with used parts off a Big Cam II or III and a new radiator or water pump.

If you have the new Big Cam IV or 88 NT, you will have to also buy a new front water manifold section and thermostat housing. If your radiator core is good and you know a competent radiator shop, they should be able to reuse your core and install new tanks and save you some money. We will ensure you have all the parts needed to convert your low flow engine to full flow.

Regardless of the horsepower output of the engine, the high-flow system that Cummins used through 1985 worked superbly. We never experienced high water temperature so long as the radiator, water pump, and radiator cap were functioning properly. Pittsburgh Power has the complete kit available.

Written by: Bruce Mallinson, Pittsburgh Power Inc., 3600 S Noah Dr., Saxonburg, PA. 16056. Phone 724-360-4080. Website: Pittsburghpower.com

Speaking of the Cummins Big Cam and vintage trucks… This week we had an owner-operator in the shop with his Kenworth W900. It was a long wheelbase, big sleeper version with a vintage paint scheme that would have been popular in the 1970’s. Glossy black with orange and maroon stripes stretch the length of the cab. We rarely see these paint schemes anymore. The owner-operator told me that him and his wife hand-picked the colors themselves because they wanted a new truck with a vintage look. Most of us in the shop agreed, it’s a timeless and classy look and we would like to see more of it!

Kenworth, in fact, still does offer three color paint from the factory through their Custom Truck Sales Department. There are dozens of different stripe combinations and hundreds of color choices. Popular schemes you may remember are Jetstream, Scottsdale, Fury, Comanche, and Seminole. In a day and age when many of the custom trucks choose a monochromatic paint scheme, these paint schemes really stand out. If you’re ordering a new truck, or repainting an old one, take some inspiration from the vintage trucks of the 1970’s.

Written by: Andrew Wilson, Pittsburgh Power Inc.