Super Rare Cummins Engine From China Features 12V And CR Features

While sweeping through social media today something caught my eye, a video of an engine idling. Clearly, it was the tone of a Cummins engine but something was off. I could see what looked to be a CP3 which isn’t uncommon, but the fact that it had six individual valve covers tells me that this is a 12-valve. Those are mechanically injected, though.
I reached out to the owner of this engine, William Holden at Holden Brothers Diesel, to find out exactly what he had here. The video dropped on their YouTube channel and has already hit just above 16,000 views so and many of us want answers. “This is most certainly a unique engine and the first one we’ve seen here in the states,” said Holden. “I bought this from a friend of ours from here in Texas. He was doing a shop cleanout and as soon as I saw it, I made an offer. Needless to say, I loaded it up.”

Although it looks like a CP3, it is actually a smaller version. It is still a high-pressure pump but not exactly like the newer CP3 pumps. Per the Cummins QuickServMobile app, the pump is capable of 1,800- BAR.

The second Holden saw this was a factory-built engine from Cummins, he knew there was something special about it. He saw what we did in the video, electronic fueling, and 12-valve aesthetics. “Knowing this wasn’t something custom that someone had thrown together, I had to have it. The only real issue with this purchase is that I had literally no information on it,” Holden explained. “I had no idea what I would need to make it run, I couldn’t find any literature on it, and I noticed it was missing the “J2″ OEM truck side of the ECM harness.”
Having that part of the harness was crucial in making it run. With the engine having electronic fueling, this gave Holden Brother’s Diesel an opportunity to modify the way the engine ran but not having that piece of the puzzle was a tough break. “It only had a plastic cover over the ECM connector. After some investigating on the ECM connectors, I identified it as a 94-pin lever lock. The hunt was on for more information and I finally found a wiring diagram for the ECM that came on the truck,” Holden said.

There are a lot of familiar features on this engine but there are also a lot of foreign pieces too. Holden explained to us that this engine is brand new and has zero miles and is covered in Chinese print. As you would assume, translation may have been tough at first.

“This is a CM2880 ECM and once I found the circuits that I believed I would need to make it run, there was hope. The biggest struggle was finding the missing J2 connector and pigtail. All I can say is we can’t wait to hear this engine at 5,000-RPM with some BIG boost.”
Among a wiring diagram, Holden found that this engine was originally manufactured in a plant located in Dong Feng, China. After two weeks of searching, he finally found the correct connector he was going to need. After a month of ship time, the connector arrived but it was a backward orientation.

Knowing this wouldn’t work, he disassembled the connector and manipulated it in a way that it would fit into the ECM plug. With that on and ready, he mocked up a used fuel pump from a late model Cummins engine to supply fuel to the injection pump. “I pinned out the common grounds and power via the wiring diagram and did some rigging on the starter side and we were ready to crank,” Holden said. “To ensure engine oil was moving as it should, we cranked it over for about 15-seconds.”
With oil pressure at bay, he waited for the custom “wait-to-start” lamp to go out and wham! It is alive. As you can see in the video this engine sounds like no other. This rare (to us) engine emits a very unique sound. “I am in the middle of hooking up a TPS and DLC to the engine so we can read some data from the ECM. Once we’ve got control of it on the computer, we’re going to see how it sounds at higher rpm,” Holden said.
With the help of their friends over at CTT, who is no longer in business, Holden was able to get full control. A fully mapped out base file for this engine means Holden is on his way to having a sweet little powerful engine. “I’ve already begun writing multiple tunes for this engine so that when it goes into my 1993 Club Cab W350 dually, it will be ready to make some power,” he said.
Coming all the way from China, the little engine that could is a long way from home. We are excited to see what William and Holden Brothers Diesel accomplishes with this engine in the future. We will be staying in tune with their YouTube channel to see what news comes out. “We will be doing a lot of videos on this engine in the future, as well as another engine we picked up that is even rarer, and we have already picked up several sponsors for performance parts on this so stay tuned. It is going to be sick!”

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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