As the prices at the fuel pumps soar out of control past US $4.00 per gallon small diesel truck owners are looking for ways to improve fuel economy.
Besides the standard tire pressure, air cleaner, oil change basics one of the most effective ways to really get another mile to 1 ½ per gallon increase, is through the use of an aftermarket engine computer programmer. These programmers and “chips" can really result in a 10% increase in fuel economy. These programmers have multiple settings you can choose to create:
(a) more economy
(b) enhance towing ability
(c) add maximum horsepower up to 125 - 200 extra ponies.
When choosing the economy mode most will add an extra 40 hp by adjusting timing, fuel delivery and transmission shift points. The truck will be more responsive and generally drive better than stock while delivering better fuel mileage.
I have almost without exception seen increases in fuel mileage with this mode selected. I have had customers tell me of 3 to 4 more miles per gallon but I would view this as an exception and not the norm. Changing to an aftermarket air cleaner or full intake system also seems to help. When selecting the Tow mode hp goes up to around 60m, big gains in torque happen to get your load going. Transmission shift points are also changed to facilitate better towing. The torque gain will keep the transmission from banging down out of overdrive less frequently at highway speeds when climbing small grades. It pulls much harder in this mode. *When towing do not expect to see any big gains in fuel mileage.
Step up to the plate and select “Performance" or “Extreme" and you have just turned your truck into a street racer. 125 hp is BIG. Can you really tell. . . absolutely! After you burn the rear tires off you may want to detune it.
This setting is not for daily driving and can cause problems. You will need to install an air intake system and move up to 4 or 5 inch exhaust from the turbo to the tailpipe to avoid turbo temps that can damage engine parts.
Most diesel trucks from 1999 to 2007 are good candidates for these programmers.
(Ford 2003 1/2 & 2004 6.0 should only use the economy setting)
(Chevy, Dodge & Ford 2008 new generation engines. . . wait awhile)
Diesel Performance Expert
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