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Cummins N14: Reliability & Durability

1,000,000 miles? Sure, in the rearview. The N14 is quite possibly the best engine ever from Cummins.
Cummins N14 Diesel Engine
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The Cummins N14 Delivered More Horsepower and better Emissions

The Cummins N14 was originally introduced in 1987 and production began in 1990. It is an inline, six-cylinder engine capable of producing 310 to 525 horsepower. The N14 replaced the popular 855 Big Cam that practically owned the Class 8 engine segment in the late 1970s to mid 1980s. The Cummins N14 engine may be the best engine Cummins has ever produced.

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Cummins N14 Features & Specifications

  • Horsepower: 310-525
  • Peak torque: 1250 - 1850 lb-ft
  • Max Engine Speed: 2100 rpm
  • Engine Weight: 2550 - 2625 lbs dry | 2650 - 2750 lbs wet
  • 6 Speed
  • Oil System Capacity: 11 gallons
  • Dimensions: 59 in L | 37 in W | 51 in H
  • Injection: Celect or Celect Plus electronically controlled injection
  • 6 cylinder
  • Cast iron cylinder head
  • Cast iron engine block
  • Valve Train: Overhead valbe (4 per cylinder)

A Little Cummins N14 History

Venerable Service

The Cummins N-14 engine was in production for more than 10 years starting in 1991. Many owners would tell you the engine commonly joined the 1,000,000 mile club. It also featured the first electronic control system. It had big shoes to fill as it replaced the venerable Cummins 855.

The N-14 was also designed with new emissions regulations in mind and it consumed a lot less oil— around 20-30% less. Kept in good repair, the engine didn't require a major overhaul until at least 500,000 miles.

Common Issues

There were a few common issues with the N-14, including injector wiring going bad and a faulty fuel solenoid. It is recommended that drivers carry 1-2 extra injectors in the truck in case one goes out. Usually they go out in pairs which makes sense to carry 2 at all times.

Injector Issues
  • Injectors overfill with fuel and it overfills the crankcase
  • Injector O-Rings will leak
  • Misfires occurring due to a clogged filter screen on top of the injector pump
  • Cummins N14 Injector Harness Connector
  • Injector cup failures allow water in the fuel
More History of the Cummins N-14


More About the Cummins N14 Diesel Engine

Comparing Cummins 855 Big Cam Diesel Engine and the Cummins N14

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.

Heavy Diesel & Fuel Economy

In the United States approximately 90% of all goods are shipped using diesel engines. This includes over the highway freight, marine and train transportation. Diesel tractor trailers alone consume approximately 20 billion gallons per year, and a fully loaded tractor trailer traditionally obtained approximately 5-7 miles per gallon.

Cummins N14 Specs, History and Problems

The Cummins N-14 is a great engine; quite possibly the best Cummins engine ever produced. These engines are the stuff dreams are made of if you’re an old school guy looking for reliability. No doubt, the N14 is part of “1,000,000 mile club”. The engine features the best of engineering fundamentals mixed with one of the first electronic control system. First designed in the late 1980s it was sent into full production in 1991. The N14 engine is the follow up to the vastly popular Cummins 855 Big Cam which was produced 1976-1985. Cummins listened to it customers and designed a more powerful version of the 855 while maintaining a similar profile and bore/stroke architecture. Overall, the biggest structural difference between the 855 and N14 is the air-to-air cooling system changes but both engines are very similar.


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