|By Ken Payne
For many years Ford Powerstroke diesel owners have been accustomed to a great deal of aftermarket support for power enhancing products. From intakes and exhausts to chips and fueling boxes, there is a wide selection available to the owner looking to add extra power.
With the introduction of the 6.0L Powerstroke diesel in the 2003 model year Ford increase power significantly. The previous generation 7.3L generated 250 HP @ 2600 rpm and 505 ft/lbs torque @ 1600 rpm. The all new 6.0L was introduced with 325 HP at 3300 rpm and 560 ft/lbs torque @ 2000 rpm. More power in factory form doesn’t stop the enthusiast from wanting even more and the aftermarket has been introducing exhausts and intakes for the 6.0L to help.
The big void in the 6.0L marketplace was computer tuning. There have been external fueling boxes available since nearly the beginning that add power but they lack the ability to fine tune the power curve and they do not address the transmission, resuling in harsh, erractic shifts under heavy throttle.
In January 2004 Diablo Sport introduced the Predator tuner for the 6.0L diesel. This remarkable device not only tunes for power, it also adjusts the transmission programming in automatics for a firm and predictable shift. The unit has 3 power settings, 45 HP, 65 HP and 100 HP, to suit a variety of uses and driving habits.
Additionally, the unit has advanced diagnostic capabilities beyond a basic code reader. It will display and clear diagnostic codes, provide a short diagnostic text line with each code, provide real-time sensor input data monitoring of over 100 parameters and up to 30 minutes of data logging. Diablo Sport has also give the unit the ability to be updated over the Internet, a big plus for those worried about obsolescence.
How does it perform? Pat Stajdel from Diablo Sport not only answered all my questions (and I asked a lot), he also was kind enough to supply us with dyno charts for a stock 6.0L and the same truck with the 100 HP tune. This truck was "bone stock", no exhaust or intake modifications.
This chart reveals a few things. Horsepower gains at peak stock rpms (the point where the stock tune peaks, or about 3250 rpm ) is roughly 120 HP. Measure the horsepower gain over stock at 2850 rpm and the gain comes in just under 150 HP. The torque gains adds even more to the story, with the Predator’s tune gaining nearly 260 ft/lbs torque at about 2600 rpm. Impressive, to say the least.
A big concern with turbo diesel tuning is exhaust gas temperatures. Too hot and you start having concerns about melting down the turbo! We don’t have concrete EGT data for this article. However, we’ve had reports of roughly 10 degrees for every mph and this number has been confirmed by a number of users in our forums. Max safe EGT is about 1200 – 1250 degrees. The Predator’s tunes give a wide margin so EGTs should not be a concern for the vast majority of uses. We recommend you get an exhaust temperature gauge if you do very heavy towing, or use the highest setting for light towing.
Naturally, we don’t intend to simply end this article using Diablo’s chart as our sole source of data. In the words of Ronald Reagan when the USA signed the nuclear missile treaty with the Soviets: "trust but verify." With that in mind, we have two upcoming articles in the works. The first is a Superchips Microtuner article similar to this one. The second is a head-to-head article using two sets of independent dyno results we have for each brand.