12 Valve Vs 24 Valve Cummins: The Difference

Many people consider Dodge Ram 5.9 Cummins engines to be among the most dependable turbodiesel engines ever. The renowned dependability of the 12v Cummins, commonly known as the 6BT, is well-known.

Despite this, the modern 24-volt, 5-cylinder (ISB 59) Cummins diesel engine is nevertheless a solid performer with a few advantages of its own. The 12v vs. 24v Cummins debate isn’t simple. Which one is superior is a difficult question to answer. In this article, we will thoroughly discuss the 12 valve vs 24 valve Cummins and find out which is better.

When Did Cummins Go From 12 Valve To 24 Valve?

As a result of stricter pollution restrictions in 1998, the 6BT “12-valve Cummins” had to be replaced with the ISB “24-valve Cummins.” 24-valve was more powerful than 6BT and still a very excellent engine, but it never attained the same popularity as the original 12-valve engine.

What’s Better A 12 Valve Or 24 Valve Cummins?

When it comes to the 5.9 Cummins 12v vs 24v, there isn’t a clear winner. There is no clear winner here; it’s a matter of personal preference. While both engines have their strengths and weaknesses, there are specific areas where one performs better than the other.

12V Pros:

  • Simplicity
  • Basic electronics
  • More reputable
  • High-potential horsepower

The 12-valve 5.9 Cummins engine’s simplicity is one of its most significant advantages. The engine was created in a period before the proliferation of complicated systems and unlimited amounts of electronic components. For Cummins 12 volt engines, the P7100 injection pump, which is proven to be more dependable than the 24-volt Bosch VP44 injection pump, is used.

In any case, we’d want to be quite clear about this. Both the 12V and 24V Cummins turbodiesel engines are quite dependable. In the early days of 12v engines, there was little benefit.

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When it comes to modifications for the 5.9L Cummins diesel, the same can be stated. Mods may benefit from both of these options. However, 12v Cummins engines have the benefit of being easy to use, but tuning is more difficult.

24V Pros:

  • Increased stock output
  • The truck and engine are newer.
  • Reliability is still high.
  • “Chip” tunes

Cummins engines with 24 valves are still excellent all-around engines. Some people still prefer the 12v, although 24v has its advantages. For starters, its stock form yields a larger output. For those who do not intend to modify or tune their 5.9 Cummins engine, this is a helpful consideration. Additionally, the 24-valve Cummins has a newer engine and vehicle. There are a few new options, and the inside has been upgraded, among other things.

As we said before, the 12v Cummins engines are somewhat more reliable than the 24v Cummins engines. Due to its more recent age, the 24v may not need as much TLC as the older engine. The usage of “chip” tunes has been made possible by the addition of electronics in 24v Dodge Ram pickups. It’s a bit easier to tune now.

12 valve vs 24 valve cummins

ISB 5.9 Vs 5.9 6BT Performance Comparison

ISB 5.9 24v Cummins wins the race for stock performance. ISB engines with 235hp and 460 lb-ft of torque first appeared in 1998. The 6BT 12-valve Cummins has only increased by a tiny amount. Common rail injection was added to the Ram ISB 5.9 diesel in 2003. As a result, the engine’s horsepower and torque were increased to 305 and 555, respectively. The next year, the power and torque were raised to 325 horsepower and 600 lb-ft.

Inevitably, advances in technology and engineering have resulted in more powerful engines in more recent years. If you have a choice between a 12v and 24v Cummins, the newer 24v engines are the superior performers. However, it doesn’t imply that the 12v Cummins is any less capable.

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Aftermarket Improvements & Tuning: 12V Vs 24V

The 24v engine is still the best option for individuals who only want basic tuning and a few minor bolt-ons. In terms of tuning, the electronics allow for “chip” tunes, which are easier to utilize because of this. When it comes to pushing engines to their limits, the VP44 injection pump is a huge roadblock.

12v 5.9 Cummins wins when it comes to power and performance. When compared to 24v engines, they are proven to be more durable at high power levels. The 6BT’s P7100 injection pumps are simpler to modify and can handle the additional power.

24v is the superior street engine for individuals who want to keep things simple or stock. The older 12v Cummins engine is perhaps the best option if you want high power and performance. Increasing the power of either the engine or the gearbox to above 600 horsepower is not inexpensive.

 Is The 12 Valve Cummins A Good engine?

Cummins 12v/6BT is generally considered to be the greatest and most dependable diesel engine ever made. Rather than using complex electrical components, these engines operate almost exclusively using mechanical components. Because of its simplicity, the device has a huge amount of power while also being quite reliable.

With proper care, the P7100 P-pump and other parts of the engine may easily last for half a million miles. With 500rwhp+, these engines have been known to go over 500k miles between overhauls.

 Are 24 Valve Cummins Reliable?

5.9 24v Cummins is a dependable engine, except for the fuel system. Pistons, rods, and crankshafts, among other engine components, are built to last a lifetime and can withstand over 500,000 miles of use. Hoses, water pumps, and belts, for example, to be replaced during the duration of ownership in addition to the fuel system components. Because of the absence of emissions-related systems, general maintenance may be kept to a minimum.

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The turbo, which is prone to failure in many types of diesel, is very durable. However, this turbocharger isn’t particularly powerful, which is why a lot of people choose to improve it when they’re looking to increase considerable power.

About half of these engines will survive 350,000 miles or more before experiencing a catastrophic breakdown, demonstrating their high level of dependability. Just know that you’ll have to spend a lot of money on new fuelling components before you get to that point.


Light-truck engines with Dodge Ram 5.9 Cummins engines immediately gained a legendary status. The 5.9 Cummins early 12 valve 6BT variants are still regarded as one of the greatest turbodiesel engines, if not the best.

Their performance, dependability, towing, and aftermarket possibilities are all great. Most significantly, the 12v 6BT Cummins’ simplicity appeals to a wide range of consumers. When it was created, there was no such thing as an unlimited supply of electronics or pollution monitoring devices.

Cummins’ 24 valve ISB 5.9 has a lot to live up to as well. However, the 24v Cummins is still an excellent diesel engine, despite not having the same legendary reputation as the 12v. The factory-tuned performance of 24v diesel engines is superior to that of 12v diesel engines.

In comparison to the 12v Cummins, the 24v is known to have a few more costly issues. The ISB 5.9, on the other hand, has the advantage of being the more recent model.

Is there a “better” 5.9 Cummins engine out there? We don’t think so. The 12v engine is a popular choice for high-performance projects since it’s a tried-and-true diesel. Most Dodge Ram truck owners, on the other hand, aren’t aiming for 800+ horsepower and sub-10 second 1/4 mile times.

In this regard, the 24v engine has a lot of room for growth. Although it’s reliable, it’s not as easy as the 12v version.

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