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New big bore Cummins breaks cover

EXCLUSIVE: In this first report OwnerDriver discovers an entirely new engine being primed to provide the driving force of a bold model development at Paccar Australia


We’ve been hearing whispers and rumours for well over a year that Cummins is undertaking a major Australian engineering exercise and field trials of an entirely new 15 litre engine.

And we mean ‘entirely new’, with nothing more in common with the current X15 than pistons that go up and down, red paint and a Cummins stamp on the rocker cover.

To date, however, that’s all it has been – whispers and rumours, with only occasional snippets of information seeping from random sources about an engine known to some as an M15 and to others, MX15.

Southbound on the Pacific. On the outside it’s just another new K200. Underneath, it’s an entirely new powerhouse

Whatever it’s called, we can now confirm that several of these significantly lighter and livelier 15 litre Euro 6 engines – as many as five, we understand – are busily notching up big kilometres to iron out the bugs in a trial program which will precede the launch of a major product release by Paccar Australia in the next year or so.

The centrepiece of Paccar’s plan is a high horsepower, Cummins-powered DAF flagship based on the superbly equipped XG+ model launched in Europe in 2021.

This isn’t the actual test truck but Newcastle-based AJM Transport was one of the first to trial the new 15 litre Cummins

As we’ve reported several times, the Cummins-powered DAF project is being jointly developed by Paccar engineering teams in Europe and Australia, with Cummins an integral part of the development effort both here and at DAF headquarters in the Netherlands.

No question, the new engine is the key to the success of the entire exercise and for Cummins, the pressure is on to not only iron out bugs but ensure the performance and efficiency levels expected by Australian operators.

The new 15 litre engine is not only significantly lighter than the X15, it’s also physically smaller

As we reported well over a year ago, ‘There is no shortage of talk about a new DAF cab being close to release in Europe and likewise, emerging rumours of an entirely new, lightweight big bore global engine from Cummins.’

As we further speculated, ‘It is becoming more apparent that Cummins is on the cusp of announcing a highly advanced and completely new global engine. Built on a sculpted ladder block similar in principle to the livewire Cummins X12 engine, the new powerhouse is believed to be as much as 250kg lighter than the current X15, consequently easing the burden of high front axle weights that currently trouble the set-back front axle designs of many European brands punched by big bore engines.

‘In performance terms, it won’t surprise if this entirely new Cummins hits the market with up to 660hp and 2300lb-ft of torque.’

Neither Cummins nor Paccar have been forthcoming with confirmation of our reports, but nor has there been any denial.

As our exclusive photographs show, however, Lindsay Transport is a high profile fleet with at least one of the engines notching big kilometres in a new Kenworth K200 on B-double shuttle work. Actually, word has it there’s also a Cummins-supplied K200 engineering trial unit doing the rounds at Lindsay.

What’s more, Lindsay Transport is certainly not the only company with trial engines. According to other sources, one of the first outfits to run the new engine was AJM Transport based at Newcastle.

The badge says X15 but what sits underneath is something far different

Technical details of the engine are obviously being closely guarded but after a close look and a few quiet conversations, a number of facts have emerged. A single cam design, it uses a rear geartrain assembly which not only helps harness noise levels but also aids installation in cab-over models.

Further, while the sculpted iron block is a major contributor to reducing weight and enhancing overall strength without resorting to the cost of graphite iron, weight loss has also been achieved with inclusions such as a composite oil pan.

Exhaust packaging suggests there’s something peculiar about this particular K200

It’s also understood the new engine can endure substantially higher peak cylinder pressures than the current X15, thus enhancing overall power density and efficiency.

Critically, this new generation 15 litre engine is built by Cummins in China, in what the engine maker insists is the most advanced engine manufacturing facility in the world.

It is, of course, still very early days in the Australian testing program and the fact that engines are being trialled in Kenworth cab-overs suggests the new Cummins will be also eventually offered in Paccar’s premier brand, but most likely only after it officially surfaces in the new DAF XG+ flagship, perhaps in another year or so.

Nor would it surprise if there were already quite a few XG+ models with the new Cummins being rigorously assessed at DAF facilities in Europe and somewhere in and around Paccar Australia’s Bayswater (Vic) headquarters.

Whatever, these are exceptionally exciting times for both Cummins and Paccar Australia, building the platform for an entirely new and potentially market-shaking addition to the heavy-duty product portfolio. Much hinges on the success of the project, for both companies.

If there’s one thing we can be entirely sure of, it’s that engineering and product development teams at Paccar Australia and Cummins will leave nothing to guesswork or naïve hope in the creation of a premium DAF model tailored specifically for the Australian market.

Climbing Coolongolook. It’s early days and performance and fuel results are still being acquired

What’s more, while it’s likely the new model will be initially marketed alongside its iconic K-series counterpart, it’s easily conceivable that commercial (price) considerations will ultimately make the Dutch truck the dominant cab-over in Paccar Australia’s portfolio. Kenworth traditionalists may shudder at the thought, but what’s being prepared now is undeniably Paccar Australia’s path to tomorrow.

Stay tuned, because this story still has a long way to run before the curtain eventually comes up to reveal arguably the most enthralling and exciting new model development ever initiated by Cummins and Paccar in this country.

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