Turbocharged 5.9L VP44 Cummins Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Turbocharged 5.9L VP44 Cummins Engine

A few years ago, Jordan Blackard stumbled upon a 2nd Gen 2001 Ram 2500 that was being sold by Chase Fleece of Fleece Performance. After a few years of casual driving and fixing it up, he decided in 2022 to get working on a race build featuring a 5.9L VP44 Cummins engine. Check it out!

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There’s something to say about separating your hobbies from your career. It’s good for a lot of people, but others might get burnt out dealing with the stresses of a career that might surround a particular passion. Jordan Blackard is one of those guys who decided to keep diesel trucks as a side passion rather than a career, and he’s better for it.

Blackard grew up with a diesel mechanic father and went to college to be a diesel technician, but after a year in the field, he decided it wasn’t for him.

“I grew up around it and love it to death, but I just hated every second of it when I was doing it daily,” Blackard says. “I’m not sure why, but it’s always just been better for me as a hobby, and now that I make alright money in a new career, I can indulge these hobbies now.”

Jordan is a plumbing material salesman by day, and an up-and-coming diesel builder by night. For years, he’s been tinkering on different trucks, but now he’s carving out his first diesel race truck build.

“A lot of guys think you need tens of thousands of dollars to get into this sport, which is probably true at the higher levels, but you can start running races with a modest build,” Blackard points out. “The biggest thing for the Outlaw Diesel Super Series and the health of the sport is getting people out of the stands and in the staging lanes.”

A few years ago, Blackard stumbled upon a 2nd Gen 2001 Ram 2500 that was being sold by Chase Fleece of Fleece Performance. After a few years of casual driving and fixing it up, he decided in 2022 to get working on a race build.

The first point of order was to invest in a reliable competition transmission, which he got from Firepunk; the Comp1 47RE system features a billet input and output, triple disc converter, and high-pressure valve body.

The engine is a 5.9L VP44 Cummins, which makes around 550 horsepower, or 720 horsepower with one jet of nitrous. Blackard started running it in the Outlaw Diesel Super Series (ODSS) last year, which doesn’t particularly have a lot of VP44 trucks running in it. Most of the competition are full-weight trucks that make around 750-800 horsepower. Blackard can size up the competition through the weight reduction efforts he made to the build.

“It has a stock bottom end, remanufactured stock heads, and ARP 625 studs, that’s about it for the engine,” he says.

What the engine lacks in internal components, Blackard makes up for with a single, small S363/68/.83 T4 turbocharger, a Steed Speed manifold, and 90-horsepower DDP injectors. With a small turbo, injectors, and a single solenoid and a .136 jet of nitrous, Blackard was able to run 7.22 seconds in the 1/8th mile.

Blackard gutted about 1,200 lbs. of the truck to help in weight reduction, including the bed, exhaust hangers, most of the interior, and more.

“Right now, I want to win an event before I get any faster,” he says. “I’ve had a few second and third-place finishes, but I want a first, then I’ll move up. This season, I’m going to run an S363/68 gated T3 and S476/96/.132 compound setup and bigger 7x.012 injectors, then if I ever move up from the 7.70 class, I’d like to get a new chassis – probably a long bed four-wheel-drive and do a common rail build.”

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].

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