In the world of diesel pickup trucks, the 3rd generation Cummins from Dodge is considered one of the best ever. It made its debut in 2003 and it was a game-changer in terms of performance, efficiency, and reliability. The 3rd Gen Cummins was ahead of its time, as it incorporated a new high-pressure common rail fuel injection system that delivered better performance and fuel efficiency while keeping the emissions in check.
The 3rd Gen Cummins featured a high-pressure common rail injection system that was electronically controlled. An electronic lift pump sent fuel to the reliable CP3 injection pump, which pressurized the fuel before sending it to the fuel rail. The fuel rail then distributed fuel as it was called upon by the injectors. This system was much cleaner and more efficient than previous mechanical fuel injection strategies, helping Cummins keep their trucks EGR-free for a few more years.
The new common rail system required other fuel upgrades to be added as well. The CP3 fuel injection pump was added to pressurize fuel before sending it off. New injectors were added that were controlled by the ECM. While these injectors were not as durable as previous mechanical versions, they still typically held up for a couple of hundred thousand miles. The 3rd Gen Cummins featured two different turbochargers for the 5.9L engine. The Holset HE341CW turbocharger was introduced in 2003, and it had a mechanically controlled internal wastegate and a fixed geometry design. In 2004.5, a new turbocharger was introduced by Cummins. The Holset HE351CW helped the Dodge Cummins pickup line lower emissions while providing a noticeable performance boost. It was also a fixed geometry turbocharger, but unlike the HE341, its waste gate was controlled electronically.
In terms of performance, the 3rd Gen Cummins was a significant improvement over previous models. The 305hp and 555 lb-ft of torque at just 1,400 rpm was an incredible 60hp and 50 lb-ft more than the '02 high output engine. Although a 235hp and 460 lb-ft Cummins was also available on '03 model year Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500s, the 305hp version of the 5.9L common-rail Cummins was the preferred choice by customers. It was not just the horsepower and torque numbers that improved, but the 3rd Gen Cummins was also significantly quieter, with a roughly 10 dB lower noise level, than the previous model.
The 3rd Gen Cummins was also known for its reliability, as the new engine design and fuel system upgrades made it more dependable than previous generations. The 3rd Gen Cummins was a marvel of engineering, as it not only provided significant performance and fuel efficiency improvements but also lowered emissions without sacrificing power. The 3rd Gen Cummins proved to be a truck that was built to last, and it remains highly sought after by diesel truck enthusiasts today.