Because driving underwater is what you’re supposed to do… right?

The idea of putting a diesel engine into a Jeep Wrangler isn’t a new idea. Nor is the idea of attaching a snorkel system to the engine. But attaching a snorkel to a diesel engine inside a Wrangler TJ for the strict purpose of driving through a pond? Well, that’s probably a new one.

Leave it up to Motor Trend’s “Dirt Every Day” web series to do just that. Host Fred Williams got the clever idea for the build and started stripping away all the parts from his 1997 Wrangler TJ in order to start over. Gone is the 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder, the roll cage, electronics, and even all the interior.

Fred passed the idea onto Cummins, which responded with its 2.8-liter ISF four-cylinder turbodiesel. It’s normally used in heavy equipment like forklifts, but offers plenty of power for its compact size. More specifically, it churns out 160 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque kicks in at 1,600 rpm and last up to 3,000 rpm. What’s more, the engine only weighs 540 pounds, so it’s not that much heavier than the old iron-block 4.0-liter.

Of course, driving under water presents several big challenges. First, the engine has to keep a fresh supply of air while being able to expel exhaust. The fuel system also needs to breath, while the electronics and every other part of the drivetrain need to be completely sealed from moisture. Oh, and the driver has to breath. Fred and his gaggle of helpers spend tons of time preparing the Wrangler. And lastly, an oxygen system was rigged for the diver…err driver. It would all end in triumphant glory or drown in agonizing defeat on its way to Davy Jones’ locker.

So how does it all end? You’ll have to watch the video to find out. Just kick back with a bag of popcorn and a cold drink and enjoy this 25-minute episode of “Dirt Every Day.”


Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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