500+ HP Compound Turbo 4BT Cummins Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

500+ HP Compound Turbo 4BT Cummins Engine

Known for automotive projects that push the limits of what's possible, Hauk Designs recently teamed up with some of the best diesel shops in the business to turn a stock 105-hp 4BT Cummins engine into a 500+ horsepower, compound turbo, off-road, rock crawling beast. See what went into the build.

Diesel of the Week is presented by

The folks at Hauk Designs are never resting on their laurels. It’s always full steam ahead and on to the next cool project. We recently shared a post after we saw the Hauk Designs’ Beer Tanker earlier in the year at the 2021 Ultimate Callout Challenge. Now, the shop has teamed up with some of the best shops in the diesel landscape to turn a stock 105-hp 4BT Cummins diesel engine into a 500+ horsepower powerplant.

Why the desire for another 395 horsepower? The diesel engine would be for Kenny’s latest build, a Jeep that’s street-legal, but capable of taking to the rocks in true off-road-Jeep fashion.

The 3.9L 4BT Cummins is a diesel turbocharged engine that utilizes an inline 4-cylinder design. The acronym, 4BT, means four-cylinder, “B” series turbocharged. As such, the engine is often used to power urban delivery trucks. While a stock version is neither powerful nor fast, it is reliable, which is perfect for vehicles used in demanding city driving day after day.

Its relatively small size means it’s perfect for jamming into a vehicle that didn’t come from the factory with a diesel engine installed, making it a favorite for vehicle builders. And it comes with the low-end grunt of a diesel engine that everyone loves.

Kenny Hauk summoned a team of experts to help him awaken the beast within the Cummins 4BT and hit the 500-hp mark. The team included Utah-based Industrial InjectionApex Turbo and Mountain Machine, both based in Michigan, as well as AMSOIL.

Apex Turbo contributed a pair of turbos for a compound setup that would allow the team to jam more air into the cylinders. More air means more fuel, and more fuel means more power. 

Industrial Injection helped boost power and performance with a cylinder head that has been fully CNC ported, hand blended, fire ringed, and features ARP bolts and a fire ring head gasket.

The bottom end is supported by an Industrial Injection girdle with ARP bolts. A 12mm 4BT P-7100 pump is pushing 500cc at 4,000 rpm, feeding 6x.018 R4 injectors. The Performance CNC-ported and hand-blended, higher-flowing cylinder head is running custom spec, oversized, nitrided valves and Industrial Injection 150-lb. HD valve springs. To cap it off, a Stage 2 race cam is being utilized and a 4BT Gorilla girdle kit strengthens the bottom end.

Mountain Machine skillfully and masterfully assembled the Cummins. Not only did they assemble it, they added custom billet parts and the sweet flair of a clear front cover with integrated lighting so you can see the geartrain spin and the AMSOIL flowing through the top-notch Industrial Injection internals. The icing on the cake was a custom valve cover to complete the look.

AMSOIL’s role was to ensure proper engine break-in on the dyno. New cylinder liners, bearings, cam lobes and other engine parts have microscopic peaks on them called asperities. During break in, the goal is to allow a controlled amount of wear to parts to wear down these peaks and help components mate together. This ensures, for example, that the piston rings seat properly against the liners, which increases compression for maximum power. 

A good break-in oil also protects and seasons the cam lobes, so they don’t wear down and negatively affect valve timing, reducing power. Simply put, break-in is vital to building an engine that makes maximum power.

The crew tested the engine at Maybee, MI-based Salenbien Performance, which is owned by Apex Turbo owner Ryan Salenbien. The engine hit 505 horsepower and 810 ft.-lbs. of torque when testing ended due to a broken balancer, but many in the group think there’s more power to be found.

Even if 505 hp is the ceiling, it’s quite an engineering achievement to coax nearly 400 additional hp out of a Cummins 4BT. All said and done, this junkyard diesel JK project is now a Cummins-powered rock crawling beast, and another feather in the cap of Hauk Designs. See more photos below!

Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

415 cid Billet Cummins Engine in a Pro275 Cadillac

Ring Racing owner Jared Ring revealed a metamorphosis to this 2016 Cadillac ATS-V last week. The Cadillac is now equipped with radial tires and a 415 cid Cummins engine built by Freedom Racing Engines, and the combo just competed at Lights Out 15.

Cummins-powered Cadillac ATS-V Pro275 drag car

It was hard to ignore the big news coming from Ring Racing last week leading up to Lights Out 15. What can only be described as another major leap forward for the diesel racing world, Ring Racing owner Jared Ring revealed a metamorphosis of sorts to an already incredible 2016 Cadillac ATS-V, previously owned by Larry Larson of Street Outlaws No Prep Kings. The well-known Cadillac is now equipped with radial tires and a 415 cid Cummins engine built by Freedom Racing Engines.

Turbocharged 5.9L Common Rail Cummins Engine in a 1947 Ford

After sitting in his father-in-law’s backyard for a number of years, this 1947 Ford was gifted to Chase Wells’ wife. Chase owns 1 Way Diesel Performance and knew someday he’d bring the truck back to life. He did so using a 5.9L common rail Cummins engine on a special episode of Texas Metal’s Loud and Lifted. Check out the result.

1,000-HP Capable 6.7L Powerstroke Engine

Nick Stoner, a customer of Kill Devil Diesel, recently got his fully built 6.7L Powerstroke engine – a build Nick wanted to be capable of 1,000 horsepower. However, Nick is no longer building the truck the engine was going into, so this badass diesel engine is for sale. Check it out.

6.7L Powerstroke engine
Turbocharged 6.7L Second Gen Cummins Engine

Thanks to attending a truck pull event at an early age, Sean Purdy can’t shake his passion for diesel trucks and engines. He recently completed a fresh build on his 1999 Ram 2500 with a turbocharged 6.7L Cummins second gen-swapped engine.

6.7L Cummins engine
Turbocharged 5.9L Cummins Engine

As an industrial millwright, Devan Leeds has a lot of knowledge and skills with his hands. He’s also a thrill seeker when it comes to high-speed vehicles. Case in point, his ’03 Ram 2500, which features a rowdy, turbocharged 5.9L Cummins engine under the hood. Check it out!

Leeds Fabrication 5.9L Cummins

Other Posts

Wagler’s New Billet Duramax for Drag-and-Drive

Jeremy Wagler and his team at Wagler Competition Products have become well-known for their diesel work, and specifically the shop’s enhancements for Duramax engines. Well, Jeremy and his team have taken another step forward by introducing an all-billet Duramax geared for drag-and-drive competition. We caught up with Jeremy at PRI 2023 to get the full

Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator

Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator is engineered to remove stiction, the sludge and varnish created from burnt oil, while also lubricating.

AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-16 100% Synthetic Motor Oil 

AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-16 100% Synthetic Motor Oil provides next-level engine protection primarily for those with Toyota and Honda applications calling for a 0W-16 viscosity.

Scheid Diesel-Built Triple-Turbo Billet 6.4L Cummins Super Stock Engine

During our visit to Scheid Diesel we had our mouths wide open in amazement for most of the time, but this Super Stock pulling engine really made our jaws drop! Scheid’s Joe Gasper walked us through the details of this billet triple-turbo 6.4L Cummins build, and it’s our latest Diesel of the Week brought to