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bigcam 3 400?


May 26, 2020
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1980 international 4300 with a bc3 400 13sp single axle 250k miles for 3600 bucks

buy? pass? decent shape
I have a very similar tractor with a small cam 400 13 speed dual rear axle. It’s old, loud and slow with 5.65 gears. But I love driving it.
Those old Big Cam Cummins engines are damn near indestructible. For a testament to that, all of the original M915s from 1979 had the Big Cam 2 NTC 400s in them. After decommissioning, they pulled the engines and rears, ran compression tests, and then put them in the M915A4 models with an additional bracket for a TPS to control the Allison in the newer ones.

I was assigned an original one in 2000 with about 1.4 million military miles on it. It went to Iraq in 2003 after I left the unit, and allegedly stayed in theater running the MSRs until the uparmored tractors were fielded.
its 425hp, is that slow?
i thought theyre hot rod engine

Can't use the HP rating for a calculation of speed. His example above has a really short rear, so its slow due to gearing limitations. The trucks I referred to above ran out of gear at 72 mph, and could pull a mountain pass in 14th or 15th (16 speed CAT 7155 trans) at 55 or 60 when fully loaded.
I got that, but i meant is it a good pulling engine? sorry for wrongly phrased question
Being a 1980, it either has been repowered, or its a BC2, not 3. The 3 came out in 1983, the 2 in 1979. Check the turbo... if its a T46, its a 2, if its a Holset HT3B, its a 3.
only 1150lb? isnt that low by todays stansards?

sorry for stupid phrased questions, multi tasking
only 1150lb? isnt that low by todays stansards?

sorry for stupid phrased questions, multi tasking

By today's standards, sure... but its also not trying to push past the emissions systems, either.

Here's a review that placed the 855 Big Cams at #2 on the best diesel engine of all-time listing

2. Cummins 855 Big Cam
Why We Love It: How could you not immediately fall in love with this engine from the name alone? Kind of rolls off the tongue eh?! The Cummins 855 Big Cam was the last real mechanical variable timing engine mass produced by Cummins in the 1976. The Big Cam replaced the small cam 855 and was the first engine by Cummins to meet the Clean Air Act and noise regulations of that time. There were four generations of the Cummins Big Cam 855 engines, last produced in 1985 and was replaced by the N14. We love the 855 Big Cam because of the raw horsepower it puts out as well as its reliability. You can easily run a Cummins 855 Big Cam 700,000 miles before an overhaul. The Cummins 855 Big Cam was the first engine by Cummins to utilize demand-flow cooling which only cools the engine when the engine demands it. This system then uses the saved horsepower at the crankshaft for more horsepower into the project at hand. The Big Cam II significantly upgraded performance by introducing pulse manifolds into the engines; these were a big selling feature in these engines at the time. Overall horsepower was the main reason this engine was a big seller over the small cam models. The Cummins 855 Big Cam had one of the largest camshaft diameters on the market at the time and features top-stop injectors. Talk to any old school truck drivers in the 1970s and they will tell you tales when the Cummins 855 series were the king of the road. Hard not to leave these engines off the best diesel engine of all time list. There were some drawbacks with the 855 specifically when trying to start the engine in colder climates. The 855 uses a lower pressure fuel injection system at 2,200 psi to power the injectors and varying timing specs, oil/water pump and valve spring pressures. That being said a glow plug or a shot of ether should do the trick to fix this simple issue because overall this is a great engine.

The Specs:
• Engine Type: Four Stroke, Six Cylinder, Inline
• Displacement: 856 ci (14 L)Best Diesel Engine - Cummins 855 Big Cam Picture
• Bore and Stroke: 5.50×5.98 in
• Fuel Delivery: Unit fuel injection
• Aspiration: Turbocharged
• Compression Ratio: 10:1
• Governed Speed: 1,800 rpm
• Maximum Power: Up to 605 hp
• Maximum Torque: Up to 1,118 lb-ft

Worst Cummins Engine: Cummins ISX

Why We Hate It: The Cummins ISX was originally released in 2001 which replaced the longstanding N14 engine of the late 80s and 90s. It was supposed to be the Caddalic and the best diesel engine every designed at Cummins. However that didn’t pan out exactly. The ISX was engineered with a dual overhead cam design; one cam accessed the valve train and the other took care of the actuating injectors. In 2002 the ISXCM870 integrated the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) which takes the exhaust gas and recirculates it back into the intake of the engine. What this does is lower the combustion chamber temperatures limiting the formation of NOx. A neat concept but there were many issues with this system that caused many engine failures. The main point of failure is the dual overhead cam design which overly complicated things and caused many snowball effect types of issues in the engine. Lastly, the early versions of the ISX had a whole host of issues with the ECM which caused a sour taste in many Cummins owners mouths. In 2010 Cummins re-designed the ISX with a single overhead design to simplify things but the damage was done. This was supposed to be Cummins entrance into the electronic world however it was much too complicated for its own good. It is rightfully so belongs off the best diesel engine list; disappointing indeed.
You're gonna have issues registering that in Ca because of the emissions bullshit.

You're also lucky its out there and not closer to me because Id be owning it. Stretch that frame add another axle and a sleeper and watch me roll.
You're gonna have issues registering that in Ca because of the emissions bullshit.

You're also lucky its out there and not closer to me because Id be owning it. Stretch that frame add another axle and a sleeper and watch me roll.

registered as historical....
i had one in a dump truck, i swear it was just as fast loaded down with a trailer in tow as it was empty. i wish i had kept it.
I drove 2 hours to look at it. At this time his bottom price is 3600, my top budget for something i dont need is 3k.

Engine runs good. No real rust anywhere. Front tires are good but starting to dry rot. Needs rears. Single axle. Body is acceptable. No power steering. Totally forgot to check for blow by. Mileage and engine mileage unknown, but its a 1984 engine with a reman sticker.

Im not crazy about it, would cost me some money to stretch it and put tandems on it with tires because I wouldnt keep it a single. Engine does sound good though. I dont think he will get 3600 for it right now where he is at, so I will keep sitting on it and see if he changes his mind in a couple weeks.

But he had a bunch of trucks registered as historical, so that was something cool I learned.

Thanks for the info on the engine. I do end up buying a lot of stuff so I am not just tire kicking. Manual.
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