Today, high-tech, high-torque diesels in HD trucks are taken for granted, and whether you want an engine to get a big job done or a platform to product some staggering power and torque, the natural choice is a diesel. Prior to the late 1980s, diesels did not quite enjoy the coveted, prestigious reputation they do today. But when Chrysler partnered up with Cummins in the mid-1980s to bring the first turbodiesel full-size pickup to market in 1989, it set off a whole chain of events that has culminated in today's diesel truck market.
To say things have come a long way in the past quarter-century is an understatement. Compared with the original 12-valve mechanical injection Cummins B59 5.9-liter I-6 diesel, today's most powerful factory Cummins produces 225 more horsepower, and a staggering 450 lb-ft more torque, significantly more than double the output of the original engine. Just a few years ago, the idea of more than 700 lb-ft from the factory was considered mind-blowing. Today, all three of the domestic HD diesel offerings have surpassed that figure by a long shot.
Although Ram went with an Italian-designed V-6 for its 1500 diesel, and Cummins has announced its collaboration with Nissan on the next-generation Titan, the Chrysler/Cummins relationship seems as strong as ever, with Cummins-powered models accounting for as much as 85 percent of Ram HD sales. A factory truck with 1000 lb-ft might have seemed outrageous or farfetched a few years ago, but that staggering figure is probably only a few years away.