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  #1  
Old 08-31-2013, 04:53 PM
MikeTEC MikeTEC is offline
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Are Programer Tuned Trucks Reliable?

Wife and I have a 2002 7.3 diesel 4dr. automatic CrewCab and tow a loaded travel trailer generator and with camping gear in the bed. It has 179,000 trouble free miles and we have kept it very well maintained.

At our age and our truck being very well maintained, I expect it will be the last truck we buy.

Only upgrades have been a BTS transmission for durability, reliability plus a Ford Severe Air Intake System to help with dirt filteration. Stock muffler, tires, ect...

Our small, loaded & wet travel trailer scales at 5200 lbs We carry a Honda generator plus camping gear in the bed which gives us a bed weight of about 600 lbs.

We sometimes camp in remote areas of New Mexico, so our vehicle reliability is most important.

However, we would like a little more power for towing to prevent downshifting on hills. A friend suggested a programer and some light tunes.

But as we camp in remote areas, we are concerned about reliability of programmers. All input and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Mike
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2013, 05:20 PM
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Coronado Coronado is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeTEC View Post
Wife and I have a 2002 7.3 diesel 4dr. automatic CrewCab and tow a loaded travel trailer generator and with camping gear in the bed. It has 179,000 trouble free miles and we have kept it very well maintained.

At our age and our truck being very well maintained, I expect it will be the last truck we buy.

Only upgrades have been a BTS transmission for durability, reliability plus a Ford Severe Air Intake System to help with dirt filteration. Stock muffler, tires, ect...

Our small, loaded & wet travel trailer scales at 5200 lbs We carry a Honda generator plus camping gear in the bed which gives us a bed weight of about 600 lbs.

We sometimes camp in remote areas of New Mexico, so our vehicle reliability is most important.

However, we would like a little more power for towing to prevent downshifting on hills. A friend suggested a programer and some light tunes.

But as we camp in remote areas, we are concerned about reliability of programmers. All input and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Mike

If you don't put too hot of a tune on an engine, it will not effect reliability. You can always look into tunes that only tune the transmission, if your really concerned.

Personally, I've had my 6.0 tuned for over 10,000 miles and haven't had any problems. It's all how you treat it, and beat it.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:16 PM
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BTS has a chip that will work great for your needs. I would go that route vs a programmer. You have a modified trans, might as well take advantage of it capabilities.

Unless you already have or plan on getting an EGT gauge then you might want to stick to a 40hp tow tune. I ran a 40hp program for over 100k miles and it did fine. I now have a PHP PHX chip and its far superior to a programmer. My truck has over 314k miles so far with great realiability.

I know of quite a few 7.3 trucks that put out well over 400 hp (at the wheels) with no reliability issues so you should be fine with a 40-50 hp increase without too much concern. However, downshifting on serious grades is actually good for your engine. It gets the engine to its max hp range and lowers EGTs. Trying to lug a 7.3 up a hill with a heavy load is a good way to pump a ton of heat into the engine. Higher rpms while climbing steep grades is better for your engine in several ways.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:03 PM
MikeTEC MikeTEC is offline
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Thanks. Perhaps we should leave well enough alone. My mileage towing on long trips is 12.8 MPG and 19.0 MPG solo.

Also we have been told we might consider replacing our stock muffler with a Walker Big Truck Muffler (straight through design) and that might provide more power for less downshifting.

However, we like the quietness of a stock muffler on eight to ten hour pulls.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeTEC View Post
Thanks. Perhaps we should leave well enough alone. My mileage towing on long trips is 12.8 MPG and 19.0 MPG solo.

Also we have been told we might consider replacing our stock muffler with a Walker Big Truck Muffler (straight through design) and that might provide more power for less downshifting.

However, we like the quietness of a stock muffler on eight to ten hour pulls.
Your mileage sounds great. You will not see any power increase by changing the muffler....it will just be noisier. The stock exhaust system is very capable for what you are doing. The AIS is the only intake I would recommend over the OEM unit so you are already good there.

If you are looking for extreme realibility then search the 7.3 forum for a thread we started called "Failure Prevention Thread". On my 450, I am getting ready to pull the HPOP and fuel bowl in order to change out the seals, o-rings and hoses. It is pretty easy to do and doesn't really cost that much so I have decided to go through everything up top so I can have another ten years of worry free driving.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:43 AM
MikeTEC MikeTEC is offline
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Thanks Shake-N-Bake for your insight. I guess most of us would like to have more power. But as with any type of additional power in all phases of life, it comes with a price to pay, additional responsibility and more upkeep.

Probably should leave well enough alone for now and not move forward with additional modifications.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Coronado View Post
If you don't put too hot of a tune on an engine, it will not effect reliability.
That's just wishful thinking, not the truth.

The truth is that ANYTHING that increases power output decreases reliability. A mild tune may not reduce it a lot, but it will reduce it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeTEC View Post
Thanks Shake-N-Bake for your insight. I guess most of us would like to have more power. But as with any type of additional power in all phases of life, it comes with a price to pay, additional responsibility and more upkeep.

Probably should leave well enough alone for now and not move forward with additional modifications.
I agree. Generally speaking, anytime you change something all you are doing is trading one problem for another. Finding a satistactory balance is the trick.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:10 PM
MikeTEC MikeTEC is offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
That's just wishful thinking, not the truth.

The truth is that ANYTHING that increases power output decreases reliability. A mild tune may not reduce it a lot, but it will reduce it.

Thanks, Mark. Good to hear from you again. I always appreciate your insight as an engineer.

I do not think my wife and I will ever wear our truck out. She will probably wear us out!

Mike
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:10 PM
 
 
 
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