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Old 04-10-2013, 01:07 PM
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Chip Chasers (prospective buyers)! Read this first!

I bought Stinky (2000 F250 7.3L 4X4) in 2010, blew up and replaced the transmission in 2011, and bought my DP Tuner F6 soon after. Having a case of Uber-Anal Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I got real picky with how my tunes behaved. I noticed my acceleration had a “shelf” where I'd get a jumbo jump in juice with the shift to Over-Drive. One year ago this month (April 2012), I dove in with a wrench for the first time (with a lot of help from woodnthings and other members) at a tech day... installing a T500, FRx, and doing a fuel bowl rebuild. That's when I started an AutoEnginuity rampage of modify/repair and monitor results.

The work never stopped, nor did the Buck$Zooka blasts... through all of 2012. Along the way, I learned a lot about our beloved 7.3L and the Superduty. I survived the Mayan Calendar near-death experience and popped up for air in 2013 (with a still-sick vehicle) and changed many things, including tuners. Don't read too much into that... I changed my underwear and they still work. With all the things I learned by swapping parts around like I was trying to trick Stinky in a costly shell and pea game, I feel I can now share some sage with fellow 7.3L 'Strokers.

Prerequisites for the best possible results with tuning the 7.3L:
1. The vehicle needs to be 100%: I'm not kidding. Imagine having the flu and you've been managing to walk around. Now somebody tells you to run the mile with the flu and you'll respond by falling flat, or extending a full range of Italian sign language to the one who asked you to run. Exhaust and boost leaks are a huge problem with our age of vehicle. You'll want to take steps to find and fix these. A good working turbo is important because tuning means more fuel and you need plenty of air to make good use of it. You also need that air to get out, so make sure your exhaust doesn't have a bad case of constipation.

Air in fuel will make noise and try to lower ICP, but the conservative stock tune does a good job of compensating. A tuned vehicle will try to take the injectors to the limit and an air-in-fuel situation will make you chase phantom problems with ICP. You also need to make sure your fuel pressure is where it should be and there are many components that can suck the sauce source. I was ghostbusting for far too long because of fuel issues alone.

A weak HPOP causes issues, but you won't know how much punch your HPOP has until you pop it in the mouth with a hotter tune. You can't be sure of what your HPOP is doing if you don't know if your Injector Control Pressure sensor is honest and your Injector Pressure Regulator is responsive. The Exhaust Back Pressure sensor needs to be accurate... remember, you're taking the whole vehicle to the limit and this tells the PCM how much load you have on the engine.

Getting your vehicle to 100% improves fuel economy, power, reliability, noise level, and your overall outlook on the vehicle. I was amazed at how much spunk Stinky has in stock mode with everything working right. I can hear you already: “But Tugly, how do I know if the vehicle is 100%?”

2. Gauges: Still not kidding here. You're not going to convince anybody to let you stay home with the flu until they take your temperature... and pray it's not taken rectally (unless you're into that sort of thing). There has been a general consensus to get the primary gauges: Exhaust Gas Temprature, Boost, and Transmission Temperature. I thought that was good for a long time, until I was hamstrung by the lack of one important sensor on the 7.3L – Fuel Pressure.

I say EGT (no existing sensor on vehicle), Fuel Pressure (again... no sensor) and an OBDII gauge of your choosing. The vehicle has many existing sensors you need (to get the vehicle to 100% and to monitor things), tuned or not. Why not use 'em? They ain't the cheap ones. Transmission Temp is in there, so is Boost... as well as Injector Control Pressure, Injector Pressure Regulator, Engine Oil Temperature, Battery Volts, Fuel Injector Pulse Width, etc.... Many of the available OBDII gauges even have critical tests built in, like a buzz test (“Are all the injectors solenoids firing strong?”), Cylinder Contribution Test (“Which injector is causing grief?”), and a code reader (“I have a problem, where do I start?”). I bought AutoEnginuity and a manual to get Stinky where he belongs, but I still have on-board gauges for when I'm not in troubleshooting mode.

3. Exhaust and intake (Optional if you have stock injectors): I can tell you my experience and others will tell you theirs. A bigger exhaust and air filter really helped my stock performance, as well as the tuned performance. BUT... it didn't shut down tuning Stinky when he was closer to stock. More air is very good, but I feel this is one corner that can be cut and saved for later... with stock injectors.

4. Get input: Start a fresh forum topic for your vehicle and your situation, asking how you can attain your tuning goals – present and future. Just want a little more pep? Maybe a PCM flash is all you need. Using the vehicle for Daily Driving and occasionally towing heavy or burning down a ricer? A simple chip might put a square peg in that square hole. Plan on getting Powerstroke Mod Syndrom (as if anybody plans this)? PHP's Hydra and DP's F6 can receive custom tunes through the internet, instead of yanking and shipping to get changes made. Infinity is a new powerful product on the market, and it may fit the needs for a tuner and your OBDII gauge. Our vehicles are getting older and acquiring “personalities”, so remember... a single configuration that works on one vehicle may need a marriage counselor on your vehicle (or at least a tuning tweak or two).

5. Trust no one person's input...not the sales rep's, not your beer buddy's, not even mine! I live my life possibly thousands of miles from your location and nobody but you has to do the work, spend the money, and live with the results. Ask questions, find answers that meet your level of understanding (we're not diesel engineers), get a consensus of common sense, and plan your move. Swaggering to the keyboard with your ATM card in hand and no plan can leave you firing wildly at the vehicle with a Buck$Zooka... to clean up the mess.


Summary:

Sure, you can just slap a tuner in there to find out what needs to be done... many do it. Tuning doesn't improve your fuel economy, and tuning frequently leaves you driving in Stock mode at first. Why? Many vehicles have the flu, just walking around with the humble requests of the stock tune... so we trudge blithely on. Say you spend the money on pep, but you can't use it until you fix the weaknesses you discovered by trying it. How will you feel... after you forked over a few Franklins for a fuel fix, then run the cursed thing in Stock mode until you fix the fuel for a few more Franklins? Forked over... is how you will feel. Getting the vehicle to 100% regains more fuel economy than any other trick I've learned to date (mondo serious). With the money you save on fuel, you can reload the Buck$Zooka quicker to get the tuner, or maybe afford that better one you've been eying. You might even postpone a tuner after your vehicle is 100%... to enjoy your new-found/rediscovered performance. Seriously.



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Old 04-10-2013, 01:45 PM
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reading your threads are always entertaining and informative.

Cheers
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:18 PM
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Good info, one reason why I'm forgoing a tuner until I can get the injectors replaced.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MTDewX View Post
reading your threads are always entertaining and informative.
Cheers
X2 on that statement!
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:55 PM
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Rich, will the MAP read boost beyond 25psi or so reliably for an OBDII gauge to pick up? I wonder if a dedicated boost gauge is better, especially if the MAP is governed by a boost fooler in the future.

Cant wait to get AE running so I can take your advise and get Big White Stupid Truck to 100%.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:06 PM
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AMEN BROTHER.. couldn't agree more

the only problem i see with your picture is, that should be 100's instead of 1's
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWST View Post
Rich, will the MAP read boost beyond 25psi or so reliably for an OBDII gauge to pick up? I wonder if a dedicated boost gauge is better, especially if the MAP is governed by a boost fooler in the future.
I've used my boost gauge for so long and ignored MAP in AE, that I can't remember. Once you have AE up, let us know. If you use a boost fooler (like I have done), an OBDII gauge will no longer see the correct boost reading. By the time someone is to this level, PMS has sunk in pretty good and a boost gauge just needs a fourth hole (like I'm in the middle of).

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AMEN BROTHER.. couldn't agree more

the only problem i see with your picture is, that should be 100's instead of 1's
Silly. The bacon is under the hood... you just see the splatter.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:02 PM
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Hit the nail on the head Rich. Knowing whats going on under the hood is number one. Thats why I have 8 gauges. Call me analog man.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:46 PM
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Could of shipped that article off to Diesel Power and got paid for it. Nice read, great information.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:33 PM
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Always entertaining and informative, thanks Rich and Stinky.

BTW, I nominate you for the FTE "Entertainer of the Year" award.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:16 AM
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I will do some of those big buck upgrades if and when they fail. I am very happy with my DP Tuner. Second best purchase 6.0 trans cooler. EGT, Trans and Boost a must. Would not mind getting a few more gauges.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:17 AM
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Thank you everybody for the positive "reviews". They are always appreciated and it helps me to strive to hone my communication skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1L243 View Post
Would not mind getting a few more gauges.
One OBDII gauge will "activate" all those expensive sensors already in the vehicle... for a comaparitively small price (try buying all those individual gauges and see what that costs).
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWST View Post
Rich, will the MAP read boost beyond 25psi or so reliably for an OBDII gauge to pick up?
I'm running an OBDII gauge (BullyDog Watchdog - no, no tuning, just a gauge) and monitoring (MAP-based) boost on it. When it gets to 23 PSI, it flips around to 0 and stays there until you get off it. So, 23 seems to be the max the MAP sensor/PCM will compute.

Edited to add, since Tugly suggested an OBDII-based gauge - don't consider the BullyDog Watchdog. It will only monitor boost, RPM and MPH without external sensors (on a 7.3). The local truck shop that suggested one for my truck instead of "expensive pillar gauges" saw me and my wallet coming.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:26 AM
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Very interesting read. Nice thread. Do the OBDII gauges do away with the need for the pod mount gauges. If not what gauges are needed in the pod and what is the type of OBDII gauges most recommended by the good people on this site.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by allhuntalltime View Post
Very interesting read. Nice thread. Do the OBDII gauges do away with the need for the pod mount gauges. If not what gauges are needed in the pod and what is the type of OBDII gauges most recommended by the good people on this site.
I really like my Infinity. About $750 with EGT sensor. A little more expensive than others but you can also data log with it along with all the Koeo and Koer tests and read / clear codes. They're also coming out with a dual EGT and 8 other sensors you can add to it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:00 AM
 
 
 
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