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The Cummins 855 Big Cam vs the N14

A break down of their history, mechanics, power, and reliability

Comparing Cummins 855 Big Cam Diesel Engine and the Cummins N14

Two Renowned Diesel Engines

Choosing the right engine for your fleet can make a significant difference in performance, reliability, and overall cost. This is a review of two renowned diesel engines from Cummins: the 855 Big Cam and the N14. We'll break down their history, mechanics, power, and reliability to understand the differences and requirements that had to be met over time.

History of Cummins 855 Big Cam

The Cummins 855 Big Cam, introduced in the 1970s, became a staple in the trucking industry due to its robust design and reliable performance. Known for its mechanical simplicity and durability, the 855 Big Cam earned a reputation for being a workhorse capable of handling rigorous workloads. It was widely used in various heavy-duty applications, from long-haul trucks to industrial machinery.

History of Cummins N14

Cummins N14 EngineThe Cummins N14, launched in the early 1990s, is essentially an evolution of the 855 engine. Building on the strengths of its predecessor, the N14 introduced electronic control modules (ECMs) for better fuel efficiency and emissions control (to meet new requirements). The N14 quickly gained popularity in the trucking industry for its balance of power, efficiency, and versatility.

Differences in Mechanics

The 855 Big Cam features a straightforward mechanical fuel injection system, making it easier to maintain and repair. This simplicity is both a strength and a limitation. While the engine is easier to work on, it lacks the advanced fuel management and diagnostic capabilities of modern engines.

In contrast, the N14 incorporates electronic fuel injection, which allows for more precise control over fuel delivery. This leads to improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. However, the added complexity means that repairs and diagnostics require specialized knowledge and equipment. This change was necessary due to new regulations.

Power Differences

When it comes to power, the Cummins 855 Big Cam typically produces between 400 and 500 horsepower, depending on the model and configuration. This level of power works for most heavy-duty applications but may fall short in extreme conditions or for those seeking higher performance.

The N14, on the other hand, has a broader range of power options, from 310 to 525 horsepower. This flexibility makes it suitable for a wide variety of applications--from moderate-duty trucks to high-performance haulers. The electronic controls also contribute to smoother operation and better response under varying loads.

Reliability Differences

Reliability is a crucial factor for any engine, especially for heavy duty trucks. The 855 Big Cam has a long-standing reputation for durability and ease of maintenance. Its mechanical design means fewer electronic components that can fail, making it a favorite among those who prefer simplicity and reliability over advanced features.

The N14 is also very strong for reliability but with a different focus. Its electronic controls and advanced diagnostics allow for proactive maintenance and troubleshooting, potentially reducing downtime. However, the increased complexity and the need for specialized knowledge when repairs are needed can add costs.

Conclusion: What Is The Industry Reputation of Each Engine

While both the Cummins 855 Big Cam and N14 have their strengths and limitations, they have earned a solid reputation in the trucking industry over the years. The 855 Big Cam is known for its simplicity, durability, and ease of maintenance, making it a reliable workhorse for demanding applications.

The N14, on the other hand, has gained popularity for its balance of power, efficiency, and versatility. Its electronic controls offer improved fuel economy and emissions control, making it a great choice for those seeking a more modern engine with advanced features.

Both the 855 Big Cam and N14 have made significant contributions to the trucking industry and continue to do so today. So, it is important to carefully consider all factors and consult with experts before making a decision for your fleet or business.

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