Best Power Stroke Tuner On the Market?
Modern technology has made Powerstroke tuners better than ever. But which one is best for your Super Duty?
Tuners have always been a hot topic of debate among truck guys. On one hand, they can unlock tremendous power and even improve fuel economy with the touch of a button. On the other hand, plenty of horror stories out there revolve around decreased reliability and exaggerated claims. But as technology has improved over the years, so have these magical little boxes.
Tuners are especially popular with the diesel crowd, because oil burners seem to possess a ton of unlocked potential. But the market is literally flooded with Power Stroke tuners these days. So obviously, it can be difficult to figure out which one is best. But that’s exactly what the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forums are for.
We’re pretty sure that among our members, pretty much every Power Stroke tuner on the market has been tried and tested. So naturally, RenoHuskerDu headed straight to the forums seeking advice from those who have already been there and done that.
“What tuners have you guys used? Tuners used to jack up the line pressure in the 4R100, which is why so many of us had to get our trannies rebuilt. Hopefully tuner makers learned from that. Mostly, a 7.3 just needs a big exhaust, better airbox, healthy injectors…and MORE FUEL in order to make 280hp. But I hear the that powdered metal connecting rods go bye bye if you make much more than 300hp. Does this match up with what you know, or have you learned the hard way?”
Without delay, Tugly chimes in with some useful advice that clearly demonstrates just how far tuner tech has come in a few short years.
“With a very brief search, you can find an endless supply of the talk on the latest tuners/chips – and it’s not as controversial or visceral as it once was. It’s now pretty much universally accepted that the Hydra is the “weapon of choice” here. This is opposed to the TS chip in your link – it is very old tech. If you need a tune added or changed, you have to yank it and ship it… leaving the truck in some anemic mode – or a jacked up mode if you have bigger injectors.
Hydra gets the tunes from email or the web, and changes to the tunes come fast. Hydra is almost as widely accepted as the TS, so you can have your choice of tuners available out there. In case that’s a little confusing… a tuner is the guy who writes the tunes, and the chip or programmer is the hardware onto which the tunes go.
280-300 HP is completely doable with some air mods and a chip, but the 4R100 still needs some help – even with stock power and tuning. There are aftermarket components and transmissions out there that allow the 4R100 to take a bigger beating without whining. I suggest those before chipping. I also suggest clicking the “custom tunes” link in my signature before chipping.
As we modify our trucks while approaching their second decade on the road, we do learn the limits of what’s reasonable vs. what’s asking for trouble. 400 HP is the “line of death” for the wallet and the engine. PMRs can take this just fine with proper tuning, and the mods aren’t too radical… but 400 HP is a suspension bender. I had to install traction bars to save my driveline and associated components.”
Now that’s some useful (and part saving) advice. But as SkySkiJason points out, there is more than just one good Power Stroke tuner option on the market today.
“Stock PMT2 trans tuning is fine. You can have the tuner move shift points for your driving style (i.e., your commute is 45mph and it downshifts at every rise in the road). I have used tunes from several tuners. The one I’ve used the most has been less than great lately. The last few tunes I’ve gotten came from Dan K. I’ve been happy with his tunes and customer service.
The ONLY way to compare tunes is to run tunes from different tuners. You’ll learn what you like and don’t. You need gauges for adequate comparison. You can start with stock files from PHP on hydra ($325 for chip and access to all PHP stock files). Other tuners can then email you files.”
All of which is great advice for those seeking more power and firmer shifts from their Super Duty. We’re sure that more resident experts will chime in with their own advice as well. And we encourage you to do the same! Head on over to the thread and let us know if you’ve got any Power Stroke tuner suggestions!