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Premium Member
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164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally!

This project has been dragging on (as they tend to do) for about six months, but the truck is pretty much finished.

As back-story, I got rear-ended about a year ago and the rear cross member (plus step bumper) was bent a little bit. The right corner of the crossmember was the only place on my whole truck (’91 ROW D90 200Tdi) with rust, so I was a mostly happy to have been hit!



The insurance company wanted to just replace the crossmember and last 18 inches of frame, but after a little (lot) of back and forth I convinced them to pay for a whole new chassis! Woo hoo.


Since the motor had to come out for the frame swap I’d save on some labor (if insurance was paying i’ll let someone else do the work) on dropping a new motor in versus putting the tired 200Tdi back in.

I bought a “used” (~50 hours on the clock) Cummins R2.8 entire drivetrain from a builder here in Colorado. Apparently he built a Cummins D90 for his client then the client changed his mind and wanted an LS3. So he sold me the R2.8, Tremec TR4050 5 speed, radiator, everything front to back at a decent price. RoadsideWerx (go Jordan!) put it plus the new galvanized chassis in.


Even though it was a complete drivetrain there was some issues…

With a Quickdraw bell housing and Axis Industries transfer case adapter the motor was a little far back and just barely cleared the bulkhead. It was rubbing ever so slightly and the engine wouldn’t sit square so I switched to the Axis bell housing parts which pushed the motor a little further forward and gave a cleaner install. Had to switch to the R380 tunnel, too.


I also added the Axis on-engine oil filter mount versus the standard (Well, standard until now, since Cummins just changed to a new integrated front cover with engine oil filter mount.) remote oil filter. It’s a little smaller filter but makes for a cleaner looking setup.

I’ve got the standard Cummins diesel oxidation catalyst unit mounted on the engine downpipe but it's really close to the driveline so will likely be replaced with a straight pipe once I get the emissions test done next week.


(Mostly done, original oil filter shown, and the expansion tank not in yet. The engine cover is
shown, but doesn't actually fit under the stock hood.)

First impressions:

This motor has some power! Headed up a long, mild hill, in 4th gear it was still pulling and accelerating. On a flat, straight section of highway I hit 80mph before I got scared and backed off.

It's not as quiet as I'd assumed (in a good way). She still sounds like a diesel truck but I don't smell like a truck driver as much when I get out!

The drive-by-wire throttle pedal is a little different, and paired with the low first gear (below) made it kind of exciting at first, it's pretty sensitive but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

I’m not sure about the Tremec TR-4050 transmission… Most of my driving is around town and first gear on the Tremec is very low (6.16) and jumps to 3.11 in second gear. I’ve only driven it a couple of hours but have taken to just starting out in second which is much smoother and usable. You can pretty much drive all day in town in second and third gear (1.71). Fourth and fifth can only be used on the highway, but make it quiet and smooth. While Tremec says “Excellent shift feel and performance” with “Crisp, precise shifts” It’s kind of hard to find third and if you lose too much speed when shifting you’ve got to drop back to second. Hopefully it grows on me…
 

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Mendicant
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8,495 Posts
In all honesty I hate my slick shift. It’s maybe the least essential thing I’ve ever done to a defender including checker plate on the sills.

On topic comment: nice find on a take-out. You saved $$ and a long wait!
 

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Premium Member
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164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This motor is growing on me!

I've got a 1.0 transfer case and have spent some time driving and experimenting. Thanks to the great advice from Kevin at Axis Industries I'm letting it rev a little higher before shifting and it's a monster!

I pretty much always start off in second and can spend all of my time in 2nd/3rd, 4th still has a lot of pull on the highway. I was easily passing people going 80mph UPHILL and comfortably cruising in 5th. I still sway around a need to remind myself that it's a Defender, but I'm really enjoying it.

I had it inspected by the Colorado state people and then passed the emissions inspection so I'm good to GO.

(now to get my backup camera working again #firstworldproblems)
 
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