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Old 12-09-2020, 03:11 PM   #1
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Cummins 555

Hello everyone. I was wondering if a Cummins 555 from a Fire Truck is worth salvaging any parts off of it? I know this is a land engine and I have no idea if anything can be used off it. It is in a scrap yard and will torn out of the truck soon. Just seems a waste. Any comments good or bad will be welcomed.
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:32 PM   #2
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From what I heard years ago they were not common in boats and parts were scarce. The scarce parts were probably boat mods though. Google 55 5parts and see what you find.
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:44 PM   #3
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Ok, thanks. I was just wondering if anything internal might be the same as marine grade 555's. I pulled the injectors for giggles and plan on leaving everything else to be scrapped.
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Old 12-09-2020, 04:58 PM   #4
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I guess i want clear. The heads block etc are probably the same only the bolt on marine cooling and exhaust would be special
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Old 12-09-2020, 05:09 PM   #5
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You are right about parts scarcity for both the 555 and the bigger 903. Rather than scrapping it, someone might buy it from you for any parts that could be used in marine form. You might list it on Boats and Harbors. I have successfully sold engines with them in the past.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:35 PM   #6
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Cummins called them "triple nickels".
Very compact power plant that was replaced with the hotrodded VTA903s.

Quite common in late 70-early 80s sport fishermen. Especially Bertram's.

Be ashame to scrap them.
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:40 PM   #7
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If it runs its worth about 2500-3500.
If it does not run, its worth about 1500.00
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonR View Post
If it runs its worth about 2500-3500.
If it does not run, its worth about 1500.00
Seems about right. I repowered 8 years ago with John Deere in Port Townsend, WA. The 555's were running take-outs (1950 hours, instant start, no smoke) and from memory I eventually sold them for $5000/pair. I removed them to provide access to replace leaking fuel tanks and figured it was a convenient time to repower.

In any application they were durable engines in low-medium duty. In trucks if you did not flog them, make them 'lug' a lot, run at high rpm and loads (they were rated at 3000 rpm) then they lasted. For trawler boats they were fine, for sport fisherman's, not so much - for the same reasons. In trawlers they probably operated at 1600-2000rpm and were effectively baby-ed and would last a very long time.

The key for boats were to have SS exhaust crossovers fabbed in the PNW (about $12,000 10 years ago), heat exchangers/ exhaust manifolds were ok. Raw water pumps were pricey - back then $1250 each. Parts availability, marine specific items mostly, was not too bad due to after-market suppliers. They are quite an old design now, so engine internals from Cummins may or may not be tricky to get and won't be cheap. But they did not fail catastrophically very often at all, and there are enough old ones around to source stuff for rebuilds. In boats, poorly designed exhaust mixer elbows, that allowed water to run back into the turbo if they failed, was another issue. The PO of my boat had that happen to one engine.

They were very common in Ocean Alexanders in 50 ft range, and similar boats. At the time Cat 3208's were popular also, and builders used one or the other. There are still lots of boats for sale with 555's in them. While some buyers may be scared off (people either loved or hated the 555's, but there were lots of myths propagated that had little substance) if they have been well maintained a savvy buyer will regard them as a win.

The problem is, it might take a while to sell and then they are big and heavy to ship. One guy in Maine wanted to buy my engines as he had a pair and one had failed. But try as he might, the cost of shipping from West Coast to East Coast was 50% more than the engine price. The guy did a lot of shipping of car-type stuff and felt it was nuts, but it was going to need a substantial crate/pallet and forklift at transit points etc.
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Old 12-09-2020, 08:19 PM   #9
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I have an NA V555 and it is still doing just fine. There were lots of them installed in boats and did very well over the years as long as they were run reasonably and maintained, oddly just like any other engine.

THey also did well in generator applications where the revs were constant and the load consistant, or at least more so.

The high outputs in Sport Fishermen did not do as well. Oddly enough, the same can be said for many other engines that have had the HP jacked up way over the original designs.

Cummins by 1983/84 already had the 6B series going so they have been obsolete for a long time now.

Part are harder to find. I will have to make some gaskets for some re/re on my engine now as they are N.A. any longer.

The rest of the stuff is available.

There are still lots of these engines around in many applications.

However, as said the heads may be worth something, the PT pump also, you took the injectors, the manifolds are likely not worth anything to a marine application, maybe the coolant circulation pump.

And the 903 and the 555 are different engines. Same general family but not just hot rodded versions or lower models of one another. Both had NA, and turbo versions. The 903 was to my understanding over all a better engine but a lot bigger and heavier.

Example the V555 was roughly about 2,000#, the 903 was about 3,000#, a big difference.
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
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From what I heard years ago they were not common in boats and parts were scarce. The scarce parts were probably boat mods though. Google 55 5parts and see what you find.
Maybe so on the Gulf Coast.
+/- 1990 there were 100's of 555's on the west coast. They were standard instal in the first generation of Offshore. Ocean Alex, Tolly, Monk McQueen and many others. Lots still in use today.

If it's free and you have space for it in the living room, RonR's $$ are about right.
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