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What's really wrong with a Cummins VT-903?

Posted By kblackav8or 6 Months Ago
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hayseed
Posted 6 Months Ago
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There was 6500 reasons they were popular down here..

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Geoff Weeks
Posted 6 Months Ago
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Hamish (5/18/2019)
Geoff, I think the 6.110 GM was a successful industrial, marine and tractor engine. I think P.I.E. had trialled 6.110s in GMCs in the 1950s but experienced problems with the drive to the centrifugal blower used on earlier 6.110s-later engines had Roots blowers. Also I would imagine the 6.110 had a significant weight penalty over an 8V71 for similar horsepower.

Yeah, the weight of a K with the power of an L10!. The Roots blower engines took care of the blower problem on speed shifts. 
 Detroit really didn't put much time or money into the 110 series. The Roots blower was the same used on the 6-71 but with different drive gears and turned 1/3rd faster. 
 Just sayin, if they had chose to put a bit more time and money into its development, it could have been a contender.
 It has a good rep in marine use, and was the power unit in a "Buddliner" rail car.
 I put a bid in on one once, but was out bid, I guess I didn't want it that bad.
Hamish
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The V903 was a very well regarded truck engine in New Zealand too-95% of them in Aussie ACCO 3070-A and B series Inters-the rest in a handful of W900S2 Kenworths. The small Cummins V engines were generally not a well regarded engine-V8185s-470 c.i.d. in Pommie Ford D series and Dodge K series, V504s in Ford D series, VT190s in ACCO 1950-C series Inters and V555s in ACCO 2150-A and B series Inters. Also a handful of small V6s-V6130-352 c.i.d. in Dodge K series. I think the small V engines were all built in a Cummins plant in Darlington, England-originally set up as a Chrysler-Cummins joint venture.
Hamish
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Geoff, I think the 6.110 GM was a successful industrial, marine and tractor engine. I think P.I.E. had trialled 6.110s in GMCs in the 1950s but experienced problems with the drive to the centrifugal blower used on earlier 6.110s-later engines had Roots blowers. Also I would imagine the 6.110 had a significant weight penalty over an 8V71 for similar horsepower.
Eddy Lucast
Posted 6 Months Ago
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The 903 also did well in the articulated farm tractors. I'm with Geoff its downfall was market conditions.

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Geoff Weeks
Posted 6 Months Ago
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If you ask the Aussi's they'll say no, it is a good truck engine. They have a fair to good rep outside of NA. Personally I prefer an inline 6 to a V any day. 
 I think it comes down to a few things, why they didn't take off in NA. One is promotion, Detroit chose the V-71 over the 6-110 to become their truck engine and it did well, had they chose the 6-110 it may not have become the orphan it was. Same holds true for the "Big AL", it had been around as the Buda 844 and was well developed but not well supported in the truck market. If Cummins went "all in" on the VT the story might have been different, but they would have been basically "competing against themselves" for the VT market share.
All V engines suffer from a few built in limitations, How long a stroke you can have and keep the pistons from interfering with the crank throw and each other. In industrial application this can be somewhat overcome by making the engine taller.
 Another problem is what you mentioned, Cummins already had the niche of that displacement and power well covered. The VT didn't really add anything, was wider, faster turning, and at least in NA trucks the length of the inline 6 was no problem. V engine crowd the engine bay, making service more difficult. 
 When you add in the faster speed (higher powerband) of the V, it makes repowering more expensive as a ratio change would be required as well as engine. All the other truck engines of the time had a 2100 rpm gov speed, so while a repower is not trivial it could keep the rest of the drivetrain.    
kblackav8or
Posted 6 Months Ago
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Seems like it is somewhat unloved largely.  I guess they vibrated enough that things could come loose on them and create problems.  My own theory is that once the Big Cam series came along in 77 it was seen as sort of redundant especially since it was an underperforming V8 against the 8V92 and 3408's of the world.  I don't think Cummins really invested in fully developing it for automotive/truck use.  Of course since then the marine versions seem to be fairly well respected and the military used a ton of them in other machines and they were much further developed and at the end were producing near double the original horsepower.  I may look into one if the 8V92 doesn't work out.  I don't have any leads or anything but when they do show up they usually aren't all that expensive.  They do sound pretty good and it would seem with a more modern turbo and careful pump work from someone who knows what they are doing and adding an air to air or something might push power into the 400's.  I don't think you can expect them to make the same power at the lower rpm ranges given I believe their stroke shorter then a 855.  So is there a fatal flaw with them? 


1959 Kenworth CC-925 60's tribute truck, 1980 Freightliner FLC 12064



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