All That's Trucking

Classic KW Cabover Labor of Love for California Port Trucker

September 6, 2013

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David Sosa worked 10 hours a day for seven weeks to combine a K100 cab and a wrecked KW T660 into a clean-emissions repowered classic cabover.
David Sosa worked 10 hours a day for seven weeks to combine a K100 cab and a wrecked KW T660 into a clean-emissions repowered classic cabover.

Some truckers still have a love affair with the cabover, that staple of the '70s highway and shows like BJ and the Bear. I know one fellow trucking reporter (and a former owner-operator) who has been trying to find one to buy for a reasonable price and regales us with stories of misadventures on eBay.

California port trucker David Sosa recently shared with me his story of saving a beautiful Kenworth K 100E cab from the recycler and updating it with a Cummins ISX EPA '07 engine.

Originally this truck was a wrecked 2009 Kenworth T660, which he bought for the engine to help him meet strict emissions regulations at the port. When he was looking for a cab to mate with it, he found the K100 cab nearby for only $1,000.

"I lost my father in August of 2012, and I prayed to him and promised him that I would convert the T660 into a cabover to revive memories of the 1970s when my dad used to have one like that," Sosa says.

Sosa worked on it for 10 hours a day for seven weeks.

The cab, bought in a junkyard, included the radiator, water, air to air cooler, front axle, battery box, two tanks, cable shifting, and air filter, and half chassis. The deal included the box of batteries, pedestal mufflers, two diesel tanks and an air filter, for $3,500.

He took delivery of the K100 cab around Christmas last year, then spent the next nearly two months working on his masterpiece. He took the engine and transmission out of the T660, then cut it leaving the rear ends and welded it together with the K100 to make a 230-inch wheelbase.

Sosa spent $3,500 on the cab and about $1,000 on a wrecked T660 with a Cummins ISX.
Sosa spent $3,500 on the cab and about $1,000 on a wrecked T660 with a Cummins ISX.

The engine did not fit well, so he had to make modifications to crossmembers, engine mounts and oil pan. He also had to find a fan that fit, installed the DPF and designed and drilled 32 holes to modify all the crossmembers including the diesel tanks.

He left the pedestal mufflers for decoration, but the diesel particulate filter is connected to the bottom in the middle of the tanks.

It took another four days to modify the cab so it cleared the turbo and the intake pipes. After that he had to put in all the diesel, air, electric, electronic, hydraulic, brakes, and lights connections, double check all his measurements, and add water and oil.

"On February 16, at 4:40 pm was the last final test. I started the engine and took a while but finally started, I started crying and look toward the sky and told my father, 'This is your truck.'"

This one-of-a-kind cabover is certified clean for the California ports till past 2020.
This one-of-a-kind cabover is certified clean for the California ports till past 2020.

A few more modifications and he took the truck to the streets for the first time on Feb. 18, and made an appointment to get it approved by the California Air Resources Board.

"CARB congratulated me because they personally saw and liked the job done on this truck," he says. With the new lower-emissions engine, he says, the truck is good to work at the port until the year 2022.

"This is more than a project for me. It's a inspiration to people that love their vintage trucks and want to keep driving a old school truck with a modern engine that's clean."


  1. 1. ToroFlow [ September 06, 2013 @ 05:22AM ]

    Neat truck, what a labor of love in a tribute to your father. Congratulations and good luck.

  2. 2. jim stewart [ November 06, 2013 @ 03:06PM ]

    I love what you did with the KW and appreciate the time and effort it took to make that happen but one of my tractors is a 1977 with Cummings 400BC and it's just as clean burning as these new engines. I bet it gets just as good ah mileage too. This is what happens when these environmental wacko's go wild in government. They've launched an all out witch hunt against you operators in the west. This entire GREEN Hoax has caused so much grief for owner/op's and the destruction of some really fine tractors. Thank GOD we don't have these goofy emission laws down here in the southeast. I don't plan on owning anything electronic nor anything newer than a 1985 model tractor. In fact my next project is to get my 84 Western star back together and start hauling with her next year. Please inform the state of California that I don't care to ever deliver another load out there again so best of luck to you guys for what you do...

  3. 3. David [ January 04, 2014 @ 09:56PM ]

    thank you guys i have almost my first year working with this truck in the Oakland port

  4. 4. TomC [ January 22, 2014 @ 02:53PM ]

    Your 400BC Cummins is NOT as clean burning as the new engines. If you want to test, when the exhaust is cold, run your finger inside the exhaust pipe-it will come out very black. I just did the same thing with a DD13 with 245,000mi on it and NO black at all on my finger. I could still see the color of the exhaust pipe! The new emissions really do work-and are getting the best fuel mileage ever.

  5. 5. Julia Torres [ March 04, 2014 @ 10:34AM ]

    What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing it with us!!

  6. 6. Gumby [ March 16, 2015 @ 07:56AM ]

    I have been looking at older thinking about converting some of our trunk back to the old-school Cab overs Most of my drivers which consist of about six Are old school camp over fanatics I have been looking around however haven't found too many That are not already read done with a pretty good price tag attached to them Anyone have any suggestions for us ???


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Deborah Lockridge

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All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.


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