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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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