1981 Kenworth W900 Starts for the First Time After 20 Years, Drives Out of the Vines

You can tell that a machine has been neglected when mother nature tries to reclaim it. However, seeing a rusty mechanical monster covered in the green stuff can be the opposite of deterrence for a determined barn find hunter. Case in point with this 1981 Kenworth K900, which was recently given a new lease on life.

The iconic K900 series, which is still in production, entered service back in 1961 and happens to make for one of the favorite choices of owners who customize these trucks. This example is one of the late W900As (this model was made between 1965 and 1982) and while it’s no custom hero, the vehicle comes with plenty of history.

The big rig is powered by a big-cam Cumming 350 motor, with the 14-liter, six-cylinder diesel making 350 hp. The vehicle was initially owned by Cummins of Tampa, which sold it to a certain Ricky Williams, who used it as a logging truck. However, with the man having left this segment of the business some 15 or 20 years ago, the conventional-style truck has been parked ever since.

Fortunately, YouTuber Bruce Wilson recently got the Kenworth from Ricky, uploading a video of the shenanigan last month. For the record, the vlogger, whose subscriber count sat at 558,000 at the time of press, loves to take home all sorts of contraptions, such as this old John Deere AO orchard tractor we covered over the past weekend.

While the multitude of vines covering the cab might make one think the vehicle was impossible to rescue, Bruce begged to differ. And the K900 would prove quite cooperative.

The oil and diesel in the truck proved enough for a quick resurrection

For one, the truck didn’t need too much before waking up its Cummins. So, after hooking up some batteries (the electrical system proved to require 24V hardware), the big diesel started—you’ll find the glorious moment at the 11:32 timestamp.

All those years of neglect did lead to some trouble though. So, while constantly under the decibel assault of a buzzer, the YouTuber had to deal with an air leak in the braking system, while one of the drums on the front driven axle was stuck.

However, with a bit of help from a front-loader friend, the Kenworth W900 could escape its green prison. And the smile that puts on one’s face is nothing compared to what happens when you see the truck moving solely under its own power.

Of course, before returning to the road, this 1982 Kenworth W900 will need quite a bit of work, but that’s why Bruce packs solid mechanic skills. And while we covered the thorough transformation story of an 1987 Kenworth K100 Cab-Over Engine (COE) last month, we’d love to see how this conventional unit turns out.



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