BROWN’S DIESEL’S CRAZY 740-HP 4BT ‘32 FORD
The legendary 5.9L Cummins little brother, the 4BT Cummins engine has long been maligned in the performance industry. After all, the engine is only 3.9L, how stout can it be? Well, we’re here to tell you the answer is: very stout. Richard Brown, of Brown’s Diesel in Riverdale, California often marches to the beat of a different drummer, so when it came time to replace the alcohol-burning 408ci Chevy in his 3-window coupe, he thought why not a diesel?
The problem was a 6BT (5.9L) Cummins was just all wrong for the application. It was too heavy and too big dimensionally, and ‘32 Fords aren’t exactly known for extra space. So, a 4BT Cummins got the call. Like many projects, Richard’s Ford took on a life of its own. Originally starting with a 263-hp turned up stocker, the 4BT moved the 2,900-pound coupe along pretty well. After a while though Richard kept modifying and turning up the coupe more and more, and eventually windowed the stock block. The next engine would be a full build.
Built Up 4BT
The team at Brown’s started out with a stock block, that was equipped with a Gorilla girdle, ARP 625 head studs, and a fire-ringed block and head. The crank was factory, but the rods were from Carillo, and the engine received forged pistons from D&J Precision Machine. To help get the airflow moving, a camshaft from Hamilton Cams was installed, along with pushrods and valvesprings that bump the valves in the factory cylinder head. The long block is rounded out with trick tappet and front covers from Keating Machine.
Richard knew the small-displacement engine would need help making power, so he went with every trick in the book–and then some. He started with a 12mm injection pump and some 5 by 0.018-inch injectors, but has since moved up to an 800cc 13mm pump from Scheid Diesel on an adjustable gear and massive 5 by 0.025-inch injectors. Since this is a heck of a lot of fuel, Richard built an equally serious turbo system for the car.
Air and N2O
The 4BT is a smaller engine, so the turbos had to be sized accordingly. Keeping this in mind, Richard went with a 57mm S200 and 69mm SX-E S300, both from BorgWarner. Together, the turbos combine to make a whopping 75 psi of boost. In addition to the boost, Richard also runs both water-methanol injection and nitrous on the 4BT, and quite a lot of both. The nitrous comes in four stages–a 0.035-inch spool jet, followed by three 0.080-inch jets that are ramped in via Hobbs switches between stages as boost increases. The water-meth is also ramped in, with two nozzles feeding the intake horn.
It may be “just” a 4BT Cummins, but with a full-manual race valvebody with a transbrake from Goerend Transmissions, the automatic behind the 3.9L needed to be plenty stout. Luckily, Richard is a transmission builder, so he knew exactly the direction he wanted to go. In addition to the valvebody, the 47RE-based transmission was fed stronger 48RE internals, as well as aftermarket shafts from Sonnax and TCS. The converter was a slight mystery, since the smaller Cummins engine made a lot less torque. In the end, they went with an experimental triple-disc converter from Goerend that allows for ultra hard transbrake launches.