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Old 08-10-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
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Engine tuner/programmer

This is not really a Crossroads question, but does anyone have experience with using an engine tuner/programmer in their tow vehicle? I have a 2007 Suburban 2500 with the 6.0 gas engine. I'm curious if they are worth the money.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:04 AM   #2
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On turbo Diesel vehicles it is certainly worth it...
on gas vehicles not as much as there are not as many parameters they can adjust, but 10 to 20 hp MAY be worth it to you as it is your decision.

Go to a reputable tuner that knows what they are doing and their websites will typically give you potential gains you can expect.

BUT, any tuning you add to a vehicle requires that there are no underlying issues with the vehilce before tuning or you will just accelerate the issues...

good luck !
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by J_unfred View Post
This is not really a Crossroads question, but does anyone have experience with using an engine tuner/programmer in their tow vehicle? I have a 2007 Suburban 2500 with the 6.0 gas engine. I'm curious if they are worth the money.
Last four trucks I have owned have all been tuned. Power increases can be had, but actual fuel economy increases are limited unless you want to do more than just tune. The vehicles need to breathe better (high flow intake) and exhale better (high flow exhaust and cat delete) in order to see any real fuel economy gains and then, it is only really noticed unloaded (not towing). Power will increase and that helps towing but doesn't necessarily improve fuel economy. For gas engines, the real power gains come from proper tuning for premium unleaded fuel so expect your fuel costs to go up - roughly offsets the better mileage. I have always tuned for power, not just mileage, but in the process the additional torque can improve your fuel economy while towing.

Now, for my current diesel, I have seen significant gains in both fuel economy and power, but not without some significant expense. I am currently custom off road tuned H&S MiniMaxx Race Tuner (4 power levels, switch on the fly), DPF deleted, DEF deleted, EGR deleted, S&B Intake, FloPro 4" dual exhaust, etc. on my 2011 Ford 6.7 diesel. Stock, my truck was 400hp /800ft/lb torque. Tuned, I'm running 500hp / 925ft/lb torque. I get 21mpg unloaded and over 12-13mpg towing but I have loads of power to spare!! This type of mod cost over $3,000 just for components (I did all the work myself, so no labor) and doesn't include the additional cost of my 50 gallon Titan Fuel tank (mounts in place of stock tank), my wireless air, heavy duty compressor, air bags and several other modifications. About another $3,000 worth over the tuning and delete. Keep in mind, I put close to 30,000 miles per year on my truck, usually 6,000 to 8,000 of that is towing. So my fuel economy gains pay for themselves in about 1 year. The fun factor doesn't hurt when I can accelerate faster than most sports cars from a dead stop!! (In an 8,300lb truck!)

So, for the average person, is tuning advantageous? More so with a diesel, but you can get some modest gains on a gas truck with a tuner, intake and exhaust for a cost of about $1,200 to $1,500 total if you do the work yourself. But be prepared to use only premium gasoline to see any significant results and that higher cost of fuel will outweigh the gains unless you drive a lot of miles per year. My gas trucks usually gained about 60hp and 75ft/lb torque with the tuner, intake and exhaust. If you don't put on the miles, a tuner won't make any real difference by itself. Just my opinion, but I do have experience with both Ford and GM diesel and gas trucks with this.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:56 PM   #4
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I have the Banks Automind as well as intake,exhaust and inter cooler upgrades on my powerstroke 6.4. I have seen increases in fuel mileage as well as performance.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:31 PM   #5
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$3000 mod. Figuring gaining 2 mpg towing (10 to 12) and fuel at 3.50/gal you save $61/1000 mi. That figures out to 49,000 mi to break even. Naw, I'll pass...

Then I can't get it inspected so I can drive it.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #6
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Cliff are you running diesel or gas Your sig does not say because diesel is a lot more than 3.50/gal out east 3.95/gal average.
I agree my truck will remain stock. Scott is very knowlegable and does his own work.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:42 PM   #7
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$3000 mod. Figuring gaining 2 mpg towing (10 to 12) and fuel at 3.50/gal you save $61/1000 mi. That figures out to 49,000 mi to break even. Naw, I'll pass...

Then I can't get it inspected so I can drive it.
Actually all of the Banks products are 50 state legal and come with California CARB Compliance documentation.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:37 PM   #8
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It's a diesel. I picked an average number for the price for this area. Banks won't give you those kind of numbers AFAIK. He did the full banana, DPF delete, cat delete etc. Banks doesn't support DPF delete and therefore won't get the gains he saw. Run the numbers at $4/gal and it still takes a lot of towing to justify it. Different strokes for different folks.

What kind of difference did the Banks setup make for you?
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:42 PM   #9
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Cliff are you running diesel or gas Your sig does not say because diesel is a lot more than 3.50/gal out east 3.95/gal average.
I agree my truck will remain stock. Scott is very knowlegable and does his own work.
Diesel < $3.50 in VA.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:09 PM   #10
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Scott also has zero warranty. I kinda like the 5yr 60,000mi Power train warranty. After it's up, maybe but the numbers don't justify it. I went thru the "hot-rod" stage years ago.

I also corrected my signature, I had left off "Diesel"
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:35 PM   #11
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Scott also has zero warranty. I kinda like the 5yr 60,000mi Power train warranty. After it's up, maybe but the numbers don't justify it. I went thru the "hot-rod" stage years ago.

I also corrected my signature, I had left off "Diesel"
Yes, I'm long past warranty. Deleted after it was gone. 112,000 miles on my truck already!! But I am 50,000 trouble free miles since deleted. I agree you have to put on a lot of miles to justify it in my opinion. I'm past the hot rod stage as well, but once in awhile I still like to feel the G Force of all the ponies...ok, maybe I'm not totally past it yet!!
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:21 AM   #12
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Fuel economy is only one facet. Although I did not do a Dino test to capture quantitative data, I noticed a tremendous increase in throttle response and pulling performance. I also got a 20% increase in fuel economy based on my mileage calculations.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:39 AM   #13
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With Ford Powerstoke 6.0's you have to be careful about using tuners. The 6.0 has lots of power, but not anywhere near the 500 hp, 925 lbs of torque Scott talks about.
Unless you change out the head studs with ARP studs, you can blow a head gasket as the cylinders only have 4 studs per cylinder, unlike many other engines with 6, such as the old bulletproof 7.3.
I'm okay with my pulling capability and try to not be in a hurry when towing, needing that extra power.
With gas, you could always consider an aftermarket supercharger, like what Whipple has to offer.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:57 AM   #14
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Fuel economy is only one facet. Although I did not do a Dino test to capture quantitative data, I noticed a tremendous increase in throttle response and pulling performance. I also got a 20% increase in fuel economy based on my mileage calculations.
The 6.4L responded well to tuning because it's fuel economy numbers were lower than the 6.7L from stock. Ford significantly improved fuel economy in the 6.7L so the gains weren't as noticeable -10% on average.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:01 AM   #15
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With Ford Powerstoke 6.0's you have to be careful about using tuners. The 6.0 has lots of power, but not anywhere near the 500 hp, 925 lbs of torque Scott talks about.
Unless you change out the head studs with ARP studs, you can blow a head gasket as the cylinders only have 4 studs per cylinder, unlike many other engines with 6, such as the old bulletproof 7.3.
I'm okay with my pulling capability and try to not be in a hurry when towing, needing that extra power.
With gas, you could always consider an aftermarket supercharger, like what Whipple has to offer.
Exactly - the 6.0 needed to be bulletproof end first, although the 2006 and 2007 models had a better head gasket design and less issues with tuning.

Super charger is the best for gas engines, but you will never pay for it with any fuel savings - way too costly an option.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:51 AM   #16
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BUT OH so much fun to hear a supercharger winding up

My nephew always got mad at me way back when my tuned towing diesels would outrun his sports cars so he got a lightning with one...

Sweet sound - I even talked him out of too loud an exhaust so it wouldn't mask that whine !!!
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:08 AM   #17
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anyone using a smarty jr on a dodge ? I have a 2003 cummins that could sure use a little jump in towing power.
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:24 PM   #18
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Scott, thanks for the info. I too have 6.7PSD and love it. You did a lot of the leg work I was going to do looking for andvantages to a tuner. I have been looking at Diesel Tunes upgrade chip, so you're info is quite valuable. Not sure what direction, but thanks to you and the other forum participants, it sure makes things easier!!
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:01 PM   #19
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Supercharger?

I thought all Fords, GM, Ram diesel trucks were turbocharged?

Quote:
Originally Posted by r2millers View Post
With Ford Powerstoke 6.0's you have to be careful about using tuners. The 6.0 has lots of power, but not anywhere near the 500 hp, 925 lbs of torque Scott talks about.
Unless you change out the head studs with ARP studs, you can blow a head gasket as the cylinders only have 4 studs per cylinder, unlike many other engines with 6, such as the old bulletproof 7.3.
I'm okay with my pulling capability and try to not be in a hurry when towing, needing that extra power.
With gas, you could always consider an aftermarket supercharger, like what Whipple has to offer.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:06 PM   #20
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Mines got "two" turbos.
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