how good are older cummins big cam engines?

Discussion in 'Trucks [ Eighteen Wheelers ]' started by bosshogg, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. bosshogg

    bosshogg Bobtail Member

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    detroit michigan
    Im looking at a 85 359 pete with a big cam cummins engine,just wondering how good these engines are and how well it will hold up. I run flatbed running mostly steel. I don't run very far out.only usually run about 2200-2500 miles a week
     
  2. blackw900

    blackw900 <strong>The Grandfather of Flatbed</strong>

    Messages:
    5,819
    Thanks Received:
    7,567
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    A.W.O.L
    They were pretty good engines in their day and will probably be ok for what you're doing with it.
    It will get pretty bad fuel mileage by todays standards.
     
  3. bosshogg

    bosshogg Bobtail Member

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    detroit michigan
    Like how bad. Do u think?
     
  4. SmokinCAT

    SmokinCAT Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,031
    Thanks Received:
    350
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2010
    Location:
    Hillsboro, OH./ Adrian, MI
    Mine will get around 6mpg most of the time, not bad for a 30+ year old engine, not sure what qualifies as bad mileage these days. Really just depends on how well the engine is tuned.

    Look into how recently the bottom end last had work done, if there is one bad thing about them it's that they will spin main bearings due to the design of the main cap. If they haven't been checked in the last 250K I would plan on having a little work done to it.

    Big cams were second in production numbers to only the mechanical 3406 in the day, parts are cheap and easy to come by.

    Hope that helps.
     
    bosshogg Thanks this.
  5. king Q

    king Q Road Train Member

    Messages:
    2,614
    Thanks Received:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    Johannesburg sa
    Just what they said , reliable.Decent performance relative to their age but they have been known to spin the mains especially if you idle a lot.
     
  6. bosshogg

    bosshogg Bobtail Member

    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    detroit michigan
    Thanks alot, if I can't verify how long ago or if ever on the main and rods how ,much are parts and how tuff are they to replace?
     
  7. king Q

    king Q Road Train Member

    Messages:
    2,614
    Thanks Received:
    1,969
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Location:
    Johannesburg sa
    Parts are relatively cheap due to the long run of production and should be easy to obtain.I never worked on one but I have heard that there are a lot of private shops that have old timers that can work on them blind folded.
     
  8. Dexterr

    Dexterr Light Load Member

    Messages:
    172
    Thanks Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Lafourche parish
    I have a PETERBILT 359 with a big cam 475 it's has twin turbo,all I see is info on the bc 400
     
  9. CarlLegend

    CarlLegend Light Load Member

    Messages:
    140
    Thanks Received:
    41
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Very very good engine. We still run them and go rite up into west africa with them.
    If there is a problem, normally fix them next to the road.

    Parts are cheap and they easy to work on. Cam timing is important.
    I'd say they about 20% heavier on fuel than todays motors.
    I actualy prefer them because if they go on you it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg but to drive its just not nearly as nice.
     
  10. turnanburn

    turnanburn Medium Load Member

    Messages:
    618
    Thanks Received:
    255
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    central Vermont
    The military used the big cam 400 for a while in numerous trucks. Lots of parts come out of surplus. You can also get surplus/rebuilt/sometimes new in a can engines from time to time. Here's a link to current listings in the ENGINE category. It changes all the time. 2 years ago I was able to buy a brand new engine in a metal can for 2k.

    http://www.govliquidation.com/aucti...ines&No=180&Ntx=mode+matchall&Ntk=P_Lot_Title