The test drive of a lifetime!

The Clean Cruiser Project’s re-powered Land Cruisers with Pico de Orizaba in the background on what would be a harrowing trip up the mountain.
The Clean Cruiser Project’s re-powered Land Cruisers ,with Pico de Orizaba in the background, make a harrowing trip up the mountain.

Perhaps the biggest test for the R2.8 Cummins Turbo Diesels came perched precariously on the side of Pico de Orizaba.

Drivers Nathan Stuart and Steven Ploog took a wrong turn in their Land Cruisers, re-powered with Cummins crate engines, about 13,000 feet up Mexico’s tallest mountain, the third highest peak in North America, and they were quickly running out of options.

The Clean Cruisers wade through a stream in Central America
The entire 9,000-mile journey from California to Nicaragua would test the Cummins crate engines under almost every condition imaginable. See a video on the trip here.

It seemed like such a good idea, climbing to a base camp at 14,000 feet as part of their Clean Cruiser Project from California through Central America and back to demonstrate overlanding, a form of adventuring in four-wheel drive vehicles, could be done in an environmentally sensitive way.

The friends had managed to get past some of the deepest ruts they had ever seen on the way up, but now they were on an out cropping of slippery, shale-like rock with no easy way to turn around without flipping over. Adding to the challenge: each vehicle had a trailer attached with supplies for planting trees to help offset the environmental impact of their trip.


Slowly and painstakingly, Stuart and Ploog backed up, inch by inch, counting on their engines to provide the torque they needed despite the altitude and rocky trail. Eventually, they reached a place where they could slowly turn and head up the narrow trail they’d found earlier using a drone they had packed for the trip. Upon reaching the base camp, they shared a bottle of wine with those waiting to summit the mountain.

“I can’t emphasize enough how hard we worked those engines,” Stuart said, recalling not just the wrong turn, or the climb up Pico de Orizaba, but the entire 9,000-mile journey from California to Nicaragua and back.

Once they warmed up after a cold night half-way up Pico de Orizaba, the crate engines performed flawlessly on the climb despite the colder, thinner air. Four hours after Ploog and Stuart wore down jackets toasting with others at the base camp at 14,000 feet, they were driving in tropical conditions at sea level. The R2.8 Cummins Turbo Diesel never missed a beat.

Over the course of the trip, tires blew, bearings in the trailer wheels failed, and, in one particularly scary instance, one of the trailers flipped over several times on the road in Nicaragua (thankfully, no one was hurt). But the Cummins crate engines just kept going, through deep ruts, over sand, across streams and in all kinds of weather.

It should be noted the engines were running on bio-diesel, the same B20 mix available at many U.S. service stations. The fuel blend was another step Ploog and Stuart took to reduce their carbon impact. 


The trailer flip would prove a salient moment for Stuart, who manages a herd of more than 200 sheep at a California winery, and Ploog an Army veteran, accomplished backpacker and full-time student who took a break to work on the project. 

They had planned to drive through Costa Rica and all the way to Panama. But with their 600 trees planted, and after the various challenges along the way (repairs took much longer in remote areas than they anticipated), as well as some particularly difficult border crossings – one, Stuart said, was like the worst trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles you can imagine – they decided to turn back.

Neither man is a professional mechanic and they were grateful the R2.8 Turbo Diesels worked so well. Cummins helped sponsor their trip in part to show that hobbyists could install the new engines and benefit from their clean, dependable power.

Stuart and Ploog talk to a local resident on their trip with Pico de Orizaba in the background.
Stuart and Ploog talk to a local resident on their trip with Pico de Orizaba in the background.

The trip home would prove to be the final challenge. Stuart and Ploog were eager to get back after so long on the road. They drove their Land Cruisers at eight and 10 hour stretches, at 65 mph most of the way.

From Mexico City to Texas, across New Mexico and Arizona, and finally back to California, the stretches of desert never seemed to end, always up a gentle incline. Temperatures reached 100 degrees, but the engines never faltered.

“We just wanted to get back to our wives and families,” Stuart said. 

After six weeks on the road starting in mid-May, Ploog and Stuart arrived home. Over time, their memories will focus on the incredible things they saw and the amazing people they met. They truly demonstrated off-road adventuring can be done in a low carbon way.

But now, it’s still difficult to get past all the hard work that went into the trip.

“With all that we faced, it was nice we never had to worry about the engines,” Stuart said.

Clean Cruisers Nathan Stuart and Steven Ploog
The project lives on. Steven Ploog (left) and Nathan Stuart (right) want to plant more trees. Learn more about their effort at the Clean Cruiser Project.


blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that.


Five boating safety tips to remember before you hit the water this season

Boating safety tips

From filing a boat plan to scheduling a vessel safety check, here are five tips to help ensure your time on the water is memorable for all of the right reasons. 

Summer is right around the corner. Many of us have been yearning for the long days, warmer weather and time spent on the water. Whether you’re headed out in your pontoon on the lake, fishing boat in the gulf, or sailboat on the ocean, safe boating starts on shore.  

"At Cummins, our daily lives revolve around safety," says Jennifer McQuilken, who works for Cummins marine but is also a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain. "From wearing proper protection equipment to taking appropriate precautions when installing our product into applications, ensuring the safety of our team members and customers is top priority. That is why all of us at Cummins marine want to remind you of a few easy things to do before you head out onto the water for the first time this season." 

Without further ado, here are five boating safety tips to remember as you prepare for your voyage. 

Wear a life jacket

Boat and water safety tips - life jackets
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, wearing a life jacket is recommended for every boater. 

No matter what activity you have planned on the water, you should always have a life jacket. It is also important to ensure your life jacket is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or another authorized agency, is appropriate for your water activity and fits properly. There are life jacket styles available for almost any adventure – cruising, hunting, fishing, paddling, watersports, etc.  

Safety first

Make sure you have the proper safety equipment on your boat. There are many items that need to be checked on any boat, some which expire. Valid registration, running lights, flares, and approved fire extinguishers are among some of the things needed for a safe trip on the water. Don’t forget sunscreen, water, and proper clothing for the elements. Not sure if you have what you need? Schedule a free Vessel Safety Check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons before you hit the water. 

File a float plan

Inform someone you trust of your float plan, which includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing vehicle, communication equipment and emergency contacts. Should you not return or check-in as intended, a float plan will ensure someone has the information they need to help. Find out more at

Follow navigation rules

Adhering to these rules is like following the traffic laws. As the operator, you are responsible for the safety of your boat and passengers. Knowing what to do in situations such as meeting head-on, overtaking another vessel and understanding aids to navigation (signs, buoys, etc.) is essential for safe operation of your boat. Be aware of your surroundings and always travel at an appropriate speed for the environment.

Know your local boating laws

Rules and laws can differ by state, region or country. Violations can result in ticketing, fines or jail time. Minimum operator age, towing restrictions and boating licenses and insurance all vary. Ensure to check in with your local guidelines before hitting the water.  

“Being on the water is a fun way to connect with your friends and family,” says Captain McQuilken.

"From active pursuits such as fishing and tubing, to relaxing on a sailboat or cruising around, we want you to have fun, safe day on the ocean or lake." 

Regardless of whether you are an experienced boater, or just getting your feet wet, there are resources available to help you, family or friends learn more about being safe on the water. Consider taking a safe boating course, either in-person or online.  

"See you out there!"

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

Competing for the title: biggest and baddest in Bristol Bay

The F/V Emory James is a Cummins-powered twin jet Bristol Bay Gillnetter

Enjoy a side of chaos with your salmon fishing? Welcome to the Bristol Bay Fishery. 

Utter chaos. Hundreds of boats slam into each other. Fishing nets thrown on top of one another. Tides rise and fall by the hour. Patrol boats, planes and helicopters monitor GPS coordinates every minute of every day to ensure nobody crosses the boundary line. And if you do? At best, you’re looking at a $5,000 fine.

Welcome to the Bristol Bay Fishery, home to the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon run.

The four-week season begins in mid-June when upwards of 50 million salmon make their way to the spawning grounds at the headwaters of the four main river districts; the Naknek/Kvichak, Nushagak, Egegik, and Ugashik. During this time, 1,500 boats will voyage to southwestern Alaska to partake in their most thrilling yet exhausting month of the year. Each boat will carry between four and six fisherman who will endure 20-hour days while on the water for an entire month without venturing back to land. Many participants will make their entire year’s living in their brief time at Bristol Bay – which makes building phenomenal new commercial fishing boats well worth their while. 

F/V Not Guilty
A pair of Cummins QSC8.3 engines each generating 600 hp @ 2800 RPM powers F/V Not Guilty (pictured).

The competition at Bristol Bay is at an all-time high with the run exceeding 50 million for five years straight; a historical best in 2018 at 62.4 million. This level of success has brought continued investment by fisherman to ensure their boats are the biggest and most powerful in the water. In order to beat the other guy, you have got to have the best. That is why many boatbuilders are calling upon Cummins B, C, and M series engines. The QSC8.3 being the most popular with its lightweight yet powerful structure. Achieving 600 hp and a light duty commercial rating, this engine’s capability is one step ahead in the market for the Bristol Bay Fishery. 

Jeff Johnson of Peregrine Boats says that, "Cummins is very supportive in helping to match an [engine] with our jet application to get the best performance we can in a bay boat." Jeff has built a handful of Cummins boats for customers, but also owns two larger commercial vessels himself.

“As far as I’m concerned, there is no better [engine]. Cummins match up and service stands out, I won’t...recommend any other...for my application.”

In addition to the qualities already mentioned, Bristol Bay is also unique because of its remote location. There are only two ways to get there: by plane or by boat. That is why two main attributes set Cummins apart from their counterparts during the commercial fishing season.

First is local service. Cummins Marine will fly two technicians to southwestern Alaska during the summer to support our customers fishing the bay. In such a competitive environment and so brief of a season, it is crucial to have service support around the clock. Even just one hour of downtime is a lost opportunity.

Parts availability is the second critical asset. Cummins products are made in the United States and easily accessible in a short time frame. This makes our product much more convenient when solutions are needed quickly. 

In the next year, 10 new 1200hp boats will hit the Bristol Bay commercial fishing fleet, all powered by twin Cummins engines. These boats will join the adrenaline-filled fight for the title of fastest and strongest in Bristol Bay. Soon their shiny complexion and buffed exterior will be battered with bruises resulting from pushing the boat and crew to their ultimate limits. But they will enjoy the absolute and utter chaos that can only be characterized by the four short weeks a year spent at the Bristol Bay Fishery. 

Katie Yoder - Cummins Inc.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a Marketing Communications Specialist. New to Cummins in 2018, Katie joined the marketing operations team where she supports trade show initiatives in North America. As a University of Wisconsin alumna, Katie enjoys watching Badger sports in her free time.

Cummins High Mileage Club profile: Keeping essential trucks on the road

Cummins High Mileage Club - March 2020

For our March 2020 Cummins High Mileage Club profile, we put the spotlight on Charles, who uses his Cummins-powered vehicle to help keep essential trucks and other businesses operational. 

Cummins field service engineer and his 900,000-plus mile pickup keep essential trucks on the road. 

“It’s especially important to keep trucks on the road right now, and I work on engines from our smallest 2.8 liter to our largest 95 liter,” said Charles “Rabbit” Ross, Cummins field service engineer.

Rabbit drives all over the southeast in his 2006 Cummins-powered RAM 3500 dually, repairing engines with hard-to-diagnose service issues. While many workers across the world are working from home, Rabbit is still "making sure trucks are available for deliveries, that rescue vehicles are ready, and that power stand-by generators are available if needed,” he says.

While his work has put many of the miles on this truck, its power and dependability have also made it his vehicle of choice for pulling his 5th wheel camper on family trips. At 910,000 miles, the Cummins High Mileage Club is proud to count this truck-and-driver duo as members.

To see more featured Cummins High Mileage Club members, visit

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

A farmer's guide to increasing fuel efficiency and saving money

Cummins - Money-saving tips for farmers
Tools such as headland management, GPS coordination and field mapping can help you get the most out of your farm equipment.

From simple things you can do like checking your tire pressure to leveraging the latest in agriculture technology, there are several ways farmers can increase fuel efficiency and save money.

When the harvest season approaches, we know the last thing you want to worry about as someone who works in the agriculture industry is your fuel bill. That’s why we’ve pulled together some hints and tips to help boost fuel efficiency and save you money. 

Healthy engine = better fuel economy

Engine maintenance is key – maintain and replace your air intake filters in line with the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that enough air can enter the engine. Removing air intake filters and banging them on the tire to clean them is a bad idea. 

Minimize time spent at idle 

If you leave your engine on while you’re taking a break or catching up with neighbors, you’re using fuel but not getting any value from it. It’s simple change can save money. Extended times spend at idle can also have a negative impact on engine life. 

Easy, tiger!

Aggressive driving can increase fuel consumption, so avoid using unnecessary throttle. Can cultivation be done in a higher gear or baling done in Eco PTO mode to reduce engine speed? Try it. Most modern tractors display fuel consumption information to help you decide. 

Get your tire pressure right

Low tire pressure will increase fuel usage, but remember when operating in a muddy environment, low tire pressures help to increase traction and reduce wheel slip, which will actually reduce wasted fuel. Many tractors are now fitted with tools to assist in generating traction and minimizing wheel slip.  

Keep radiators and radiator screens clean

This will avoid any excess fan-on times and reduce the energy consumed by fan operation.  

Be mindful of excess weight

Using ballast in the field to achieve better weight distribution and traction which will reduce fuel consumption overall but avoid carrying excess weight when hauling loads at higher speeds. Take wheel weights off when hauling straw and fill your fuel tank with only the fuel you need. Remember, if you need 50 gallons to do a job, having a full tank will mean you’ve carried around more than 500 lbs of additional weight throughout the day.  

Check those oils

Axle oil, rear axle oil and hydraulic oils should all be checked to ensure they are in-line with the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements and topped up where necessary. If the tractor is running low, it must work harder to cool the system, meaning more fuel is used.  

Using the right equipment matters

Use the right equipment for the job – using appropriately sized equipment will help reduce your fuel bill. Don’t use a super heavy-duty tractor for grain carting, if a 140 hp tractor will probably do. 

Are you using those features correctly?

Use diff-lock and four-wheel drive appropriately - if these features aren’t used correctly, it can cause drag or wheel slip. You may have automatic settings to assist in using these features properly.  

Technology can be your friend

Make use of your vehicle’s features! Tools such as headland management, GPS coordination and field mapping have all been developed by OEMs to help you get the most out of their equipment. Your local equipment dealer will be able to advise the best tools for your specific operation – if you don’t ask, you don’t get! 

Learn More

Since our first engine for agriculture was manufactured in 1919, Cummins has powered equipment for some of the world’s leading manufacturers. Learn more about how Cummins technology powers Agriculture.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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