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2015 Ford Power Stroke Emissions-Friendly Power Upgrades

Even as EPA emission regulations continue to get stricter, Ford, GM and Ram continue on with their horsepower battles in the ¾- and 1-ton diesel truck markets. In Ford’s latest 2015 update of the popular Super Duty, the 6.7L Power Stroke offers an all-new turbocharger design, improved injection pump and a host of other upgrades that help produce 440 hp, noticeably more than GM‘s Duramax and Ram’s Cummins bring to the table. But even with all that horsepower on tap off the showroom floor, like any truck, the aftermarket can find a little extra to enhance drivability, mileage and overall feel behind the wheel.

On the chassis dyno at Diesel Performance Unlimited of Pasco, Washington, this particular 2015 Ford put down an impressive 383 hp, which is about right once you consider the 15 percent drivetrain loss as power is transmitted through the transmission, transfer case and rear differential. Those kinds of numbers should be more than enough to keep even the heaviest of loads moving on steep grades while leaving a few sports cars in the rear-view mirror. But in true horsepower-junkie tradition, what could it hurt to try for a little extra?

SUPERCHIPS F4

For those looking for a little extra pep or mileage from their new truck, improvements to the intake system and performance tuning are among the first places to look. The Superchips F4 was one of the first performance tuners for the 2015 6.7L Ford Power Stroke; with good results in the 2011-2014 6.7L platform, it was only natural Superchips knowledge would carry over into the updated 2015 model. The F4 is an inexpensive tuner that offers preloaded custom tunes for improved throttle response, mileage and power. The F4 also offers an industry exclusive two-year limited powertrain warranty, so you can feel at ease knowing it won’t be too rough on your truck’s engine or transmission.

The F4 plugs directly into the truck’s OBD-II port under the dash and walks the end user through the programming steps one by one. By saving your factory stock programming, you can swap it out with one of the three Quick Tunes for Mileage, Towing or Performance. Using the advanced tuning options, you can make changes to the pre-built tunes to better enhance the truck’s performance based on your particular driving style. The tuning process will only take 10-15 minutes and with no tools or busted knuckles needed to bump horsepower output, the F4 install couldn’t be easier.

After its 383-hp stock-tune dyno run, the truck was shut off and retuned with the Superchips F4 Performance tune, which should produce the largest power/torque gains. Once the download was completed, the truck started right back up and was run through the gears on the dyno rollers to get the engine back up to full operating temperatures. After making a few wide-open throttle pulls, the average power jumped to an average of 454 horsepower, a gain of 71 hp to the tires with nothing but programming changes to the ECM. It’s safe to say that with increases like that, Ford definitely left a little grunt on the table and the Superchips crew found it and allows the F4 to take full advantage.

1 Superchips has been one of the most popular names in diesel tuning for decades now, offering a product that is both emissions friendly and economical. The custom tuning found on the F4 platform can take the 400-hp 2015 Power Stroke to an all-new plateau.

2 Like their earlier model handheld tuners, the Superchips F4 is a user friendly tuner that offers complete plug ’n’ play installation—no tools, no wiring, no opening the hood. By simply plugging into the OBD-II port under the dash, the F4 accesses the truck’s on board computer. It can save the factory file and replace it with Superchips’ own files for Mileage, Towing or Performance.

3 After selecting the Quick Tune option in the tuner, the Performance tune was selected as it’s advertised to give the highest horsepower and torque increases over stock. On a quest to push the 6.7L Power Stroke platform to its limits while keeping all the factory emissions equipment intact, this tune should give the best results and the best “wow” factor for daily driving.

ABSOLUTE PERFORMANCE INTAKE

Knowing that any diesel needs additional airflow to make more power efficiently, the folks at Absolute Performance of Kennewick, Washington, developed a new high-flow intake system for the 2015 Power Stroke platform to help reduce restriction on the intake side of the turbocharger and allow that 6.7L diesel to breathe. With the fueling side of things already upgraded thanks to the Superchips tuning, increasing the airflow to the engine should result in better turbo spool-up, throttle response, some mileage increases, and hopefully better power as well.

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While the OEM intake does a good job filtering incoming air and removing dirt and debris, overall flow can be restricted by the paper-style element and baffled intake tubes. To overcome these restrictions, the Absolute Performance air intake system is a complete drop-in kit that uses a giant open style filter and high-flowing 4-inch piping. These changes create better drivability and quicker turbo response when looking to pass someone on the freeway or get that heavy load moving from a stoplight. Another bonus to the aftermarket intake system is the cleanable filter. Instead of throwing dirty filters away and buying new, the conical filter can be cleaned and reinstalled, saving you money in maintenance costs.

Changing the intake system with the truck still strapped to the chassis dyno allowed us to see the true gains from bolting on the big Absolute intake. The previous testing with the stock truck and F4 tuner showed a 71-hp gain, but with the new intake installed, another 26 hp was found hiding under the hood. The simple change in airflow to the engine brought overall power output to 480 rear wheel horsepower. That’s almost 100 additional hp with less than 30 minutes of labor time. The open element air filter also brought that turbocharger to life with quicker low-end spool and a more pronounced whistle coming from under the hood.

4 Before the Superchips software had been downloaded, the truck was run on the chassis dyno to get true stock horsepower numbers. The dyno at Diesel Performance Unlimited of Pasco, Washington, showed the 2015 truck made 383 hp at the rear wheels. The Superchips Performance tune showed an increase of 71 hp to the ground, taking total output to 454 hp.

5 With the fueling side of things taken care of electronically with the F4 tuning, improving airflow to the motor was the next step. The Absolute Performance air intake system replaces the factory box and filter with a much larger open element and high-flow 4-inch duct. This change should reduce restriction making it easier for that new 2015 turbocharger to get air into the engine and help burn the added fuel.

6 Since the truck’s computer will adjust its tuning tables based off of data received from multiple sensors mounted on the engine, the factory mass airflow sensor will need to be removed from the stock intake tube and added to the new 4-inch stainless piece in the AP intake kit.

7 While it may not look like much, the AP intake system is all that’s really needed to get as much air into the engines possible. The big five-layer air filter is serviceable, so there will no longer be a need to throw it away when dirty. Simply rinse it out, let it dry, and reinstall.

DRIVER’S FEEDBACK

After completing the installation and dyno testing, the owner of the truck was given his keys with instructions to report back after a few days. Right off the bat, he noticed a solid gain in low-end throttle response and torque from a dead stop. He reported that the truck’s overall power increase was nice on the freeway when it came time to pass. With the new tuning and intake the truck never felt like it was “under the turbo”—boost was always there when you needed or asked for it with more throttle input. The truck’s regeneration cycles actually decreased, which would help explain the increased fuel mileage. Over the course of the next few fill-ups, the truck’s owner reported a fuel economy gain of almost two miles per gallon. The engineers at Superchips pretty much nailed the transmission tuning with firmer and quicker shifts; the truck accelerates smoothly and always seems to be in the right gear at the right time.

8 The preformed intake pipe and silicone boot fit perfectly in place of the factory plastic hardware and allow for that monster filter to fit right inside the stock location. Absolute uses the largest filter possible to ensure maximum airflow.

9 Don’t forget to get that factory mass airflow reinstalled and plugged in before starting the engine.

10 Still running the Superchips Performance tuning, the addition of the AP intake kit netted an additional 26 hp at peak rpm, bumping the rear wheel power output to an impressive 480 hp. In less than 30 minutes install time, this combination of parts showed nearly a 100-hp increase, along with much better throttle response, better passing performance and even a jump in highway fuel economy.

11 Not only has the new Absolute Performance intake kit added some tire-shredding power and torque to the 2015 6.7L Power Stroke, it looks good under the hood, replacing Ford’s injection-molded plastic with a big, open filter and stainless piping.

For a $750 investment, the Absolute Performance intake and Superchips tuning has brought this 2015 Power Stroke to a new level. Sure, the 2015 Super Duty is a great truck in stock form, but who wouldn’t want to have a little more emissions-friendly power on tap, especially when it translates to better drivability? DW

SOURCES
Absolute Performance
503-396-3288
www.AbsolutePerformanceco.com

Superchips
888-227-2447
www.SuperChips.com