When Jeremy Schmidt started having issues with his 2nd 6.0L Power Stroke at around 200,000 miles, he contemplated doing a Cummins swap. Ultimately, he decided to stick with the Power Stroke for another round. When he hit 320,000 and started having issues again, he knew it was time for a change. Schmidt uses his truck for work every day and keeping it running and producing money is vital. So, when he was told the engine would need to be pulled and mostly disassembled to be fixed, he pulled the trigger and decided to stuff in a 04′ 5.9 Cummins.
“The truck as a platform is perfect for what I want it to do. It was actually cheaper to do the swap than to go out and purchase a 40, 50, or 60 thousand dollar vehicle. That was a big decision to do the swap. I also, had to stay in business. What can I do to make my business more viable, is why I did the swap,” said Schmidt.
With the problems with the 6L Power Strokes, many people look for an alternative. Most opt to use a Cummins engine as they are extremely reliable, fairly common, already street legal (in many states it is illegal to use an agriculture engine in a street vehicle) and there are quite a few companies dedicated to producing parts and supporting people who making the swap.
Schmidt decided to do the swap himself and documented as much of the process as he could. If you frequent Cumminsforum.com, you may have already seen his thread. As of the time we published this article, the thread is 32 pages with over 376 posts. In addition to the initial build, he, also, has documented the experiences he has had after living with the swap for 2 years now, as well as the continued upgrades he has made.
“It was my intention to get to make everything appear and work as fluid as factory. It’s an ongoing project, I like to try and improve things,” said Schmidt. “Actually putting the engine into the truck was easy. You can buy motor mounts and power steering pump bracket to reuse the Ford stuff, but other than that, it is basically like Ford wanted the motor to be in the truck. The wiring part is a frustrating part,” Schmidt continued.
Schmidt started out with a pretty impressive list of parts. He was shooting for a useable 550 horsepower setup. So, the truck features some pretty impressive upgrades like compounds from BD Diesel Performance, valve springs and pushrods from Hamilton Cams, Destroked adapter and flex plate and many more.
For many of us who have looked into doing this swap, Schmidt, also, has documented the transmission issues that he had in trying to keep the 5R110. While this is an incredible transmission, the way it works is quite complicated and tuning the stand alone controller is a challenge. “It (the 5R110) had a problem with the line pressure being too high. What ended up happening was that is grabbed the snout of the torque converter and chewed it up. It stalled the engine when I was coming off the off ramp. I decided to just simplify everything and went with the NV5600,” says Schmidt. The NV5600 is the 6 speed manual transmission behind 5.9 Cummins engines from the factory. “The ultimate goal is to go with an Allison 6 speed. I think with the Allison and the 4.10 gear in the back would be the ultimate way to go,” continued Schmidt.
Schmidt now has over 100,000 miles on the conversion and outside of doing regular maintenance and upgrading this and that, he hasn’t had to touch the engine at all.
We asked Schmidt… What would you tell people that are on the fence?
“It is 100% worth it if you have the time and money and the will to actually complete this project. It is worth it in the sense that you will have a vehicle that is like nobody else’s. Even though there are hundreds of other Ford Cummins conversions out there, each one of them is unique in their own aspect. I would go for it. You know I would do it. If I was on the line, pulling out a 7.3 or 6.0 and had an option to put anything from 12 valve on up to a 6.7. I would do as much research as you can, read the forums, talk to people, ask questions, ask questions, ask questions and you are the ultimate decider on what happens to your truck,” said Schmidt.
One thing that did come up during our conversation is that even though Schmidt did the majority of the conversion himself, he owes a big thanks to his friends. He was quick to point out the things that they did, like building a custom fan shroud that played a big role in the final look and feel. If you have any questions or want to know more info, hit up the forums and start asking questions. As we mentioned earlier, you can see Schmidt’s thread on Cumminsforum.com.