How long can I run a Cummins diesel with no coolant in it?


Asked by Sep 07, 2014 at 07:36 PM about the 1995 Dodge Ram 2500

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a wrecked Cummins diesel pickup on a trailer.  The rad is gone so there is very
little coolant in the engine.  Can I start it up and run it long enough to unload it and drive it
into my shop or will I heat something up and ruin the engine?  I know a gas engine would
be no problem, but I'm not so sure about a diesel.

2 Answers


Try connecting a hose between the coolant inlet and outlet ports and put as much water/coolant as you can into the upper hose end before connecting it to the block. That should give you about 2-5 minutes of run time without damaging the engine internals. I would also add as much coolant as you can directly into the block as you can at the upper end.


Good idea. I'll give that a try. Thanks.

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