The Nasty Aftermath of a Cummins Diesel That Sucked 10 Pounds of Dirt Through Its Intake

Give credit where it's due—this is one tough bird.

When you’ve got old, decrepit machinery just lying around, it’s hard not to get curious. We’ve seen it plenty of times, like when that guy purposely blew apart his Detroit Diesel-powered semi with copious amounts of ether. Luckily for us, he’s back with another clip that shows him and his crew of buds force-feeding buckets of dirt to an ailing Cummins diesel. As it turns out, it takes a huge amount of earth to kill one of those, but the job gets done—eventually. 

The teardown might be the best part, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you get overly concerned about ruining a perfectly good truck, just take a look at it. The International S2200 has seen a lifetime of abuse that includes a few successful wheelie attempts, although it did need help from a pretty hefty log. Essentially, it was time to retire the used-up 14.0-liter and maybe even replace it with a rebuilt engine. As it turns out, the guy behind the KT3406E YouTube channel is a stellar mechanic, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

KT3406E via YouTube

Everything starts with a pair of five-gallon buckets, each filled with sifted dirt so as to give the Cummins a fighting chance. Rocks and twigs would be a recipe for immediate disaster whereas good, clean soil like this delays things a bit. He thinks ahead by moving far away from the truck and running a long hose to its intake, that way he’s safe in case things go wrong in a hurry.

It takes some thwarting for the Cummins to inhale much dirt at first, though it didn’t take long for them to get the hang of it. Soon, it was huffing and puffing big clouds of dust that, understandably, resulted in some oil blowby, too. It suffocated the engine not once or twice, but three times before it flat-out would not run anymore. By the end, they were spraying ether into the hose as well to keep it going while the engine suffered massive damage in the process.

They started with 92 pounds of dirt and ended up using 10 pounds in total, which is more than enough to spell danger for any internal combustion engine. It couldn’t even be cranked by hand with a four-foot bar, showing something was definitely broken in a major way. That’s where the teardown comes in, which is part of what makes this guy’s channel so neat. Sure, breaking things purely for the sake of breaking them is silly, but he at least feeds our curiosity by giving it a closer look.

KT3406E via YouTube

Rather than working around the cab, they simply yanked it off the frame with a JCB loader to save time. They took the same approach to remove the engine, which went about as well as you’d expect without properly unfastening the motor mounts.

The intake ports are nice and shiny, almost like they’d been sandblasted on purpose. I guess they kind of were, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, the cylinders are similarly polished, which isn’t what you want when they came crosshatched from the factory. The scuffing is bad enough that it’s rough to the touch, but the worst is yet to come.

At least one bearing was spun thanks to the stunt, and a rod was more or less welded to the crankshaft in the process. The pistons are scuffed, the rings are toast, and there’s burnt up dirt in all kinds of places that are supposed to be completely clean. 

You got what you came for, even if there was no spectacular fireball to send it off.

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