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Old 10-24-2011, 11:45 AM   #1
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After Market Engine computer chips

I tow my FW with an 04 Silverado 2500HD gas engine. On a good trip I will get around 11.5 MPG. I have seen advertisements for chips promising an additional increase in horsepower and MPG. Knowing it takes gas to make horsepower I do not understand how there would be an increase in MPG. Does anyone have any experience with these devices? Can changing timing and shift points give results like that and if so why isn't it provided by the manufacturer?

Graybeard aka Glenn
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:14 PM   #2
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With a gas engine I really don't think you will notice much difference. If you are getting 11.5 towing I wouldn't mess with anything. They make all sorts of claims and when you don't see any changes they say it is your driving habits or something like that. The only real way to notice any changes is to dyno the truck before and after plugging in the box on the same day on the same dyno.

Diesel engines are another story. Big changes can happen.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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From what I've read, those gadgets are a scam, and immediately void any warranty or recall claims for the vehicle. Now, to be fair, I've no personal experience with them, but I wouldn't touch them.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:23 PM   #4
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Probably no warranty on an 04. I would just use the money for travel.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:34 AM   #5
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I appreciate the feedback and pretty well knew what to expect when I posted the question. Someone always has a gimmick to sell. From reading here the mileage I am getting is not that out of the norm. For the miles I drive I can not make the cost of a deisel work for me. I would have to drive about 200K miles to make a break even. The truck may make it that many miles but I have doubts if I would. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:09 AM   #6
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Power programmers are the way to go. There are several on the market, and can be pricey ($250-400). However, being able to 'tune' your truck's pcm/ecm to provide better mpg (if possible under towing applications), firm up tranny shift points, tune spark and fuel curves, and even change the octane rating to use higher octane fuels for best power possible would be priceless. They do work, and can be used infinitely after purchase. Most also offer diagnostic tools to read codes and reset malfunction lights.
Do some more online research and see what you can find- this may interest you more than just a pre-programmed 'chip' that has limited applications.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #7
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Check Bully Dog.. they should have a programer for your truck... JUST REMEMBER if you use the new found power by driving harder you will not see mileage gains...
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #8
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My local mechanic bought a "power chip" system for his Tow Vehicle and within 6 months, he had to replace his engine. If wondering, the 3rd party "power chip" system drove the insides of his engine too lean. Too lean = more inner heat. More inner heat = bad thing. Especially when under towing loads. Its actually better to run an engine slighter richer than too lean. Many factory engines are slightly rich. NO engine is at 100% perfect mixture at 100% of the time (unless one looks at professional racing engines - that are re-tuned for each race). In his words (based on lessons learned), my auto mechanic tells me to stay away from these "install it and leave it" power chip systems. If one wants a "power chip" system, they must monitor its performance every week. If slightly off, then re-program it ASAP. Thus, ensuring it doesn't unknowingly run "too lean" (which is a bad thing).

From a financial view, these MPG improvement 3rd party mods can cost $400 to $800. If they increase MPGs by 1 or 2 miles (while under load), then how much true cost savings in the long run? In the long run, what is ROI (Return on Investment)? Especially if you plan to keep your vehicle for a 3-5 more years. And, don't forget to add in the time/hassle of ensuring the "performance improvement" computer system is working properly. re: Stop it from creating damage when it does start to fail.

As a suggestion, perform detailed research on your specific vehicle. re: Engine, transmission, rear gearing, air intake, exhaust, wind drag from roof racks, etc. etc. If its factory air intake is the bottleneck, then get a better air filter (or air filter system), if its factory exhaust is the bottleneck, then get a better or dual exhaust system. If factory bottlenecks are in "air flow" restrictions, installing a "super chip" isn't solving the root cause. Do the "airflow" factory bockneck elimiantions first. That's the best bang for the money (invested money).

As you can tell, I did lots of research in this "computer chip" improvement areas. Today, I run 100% factory. And where needed, I might recommend rear axle gearing improvements. For example, go with 373 or 411 gearing - because the "loaded down heavy" Tow Vehcile is struggling too much with its existing axle gearing. IMO, screwing around the sensitivy computer systems on today's computerized vehicles isn't worth it. If one does plan improvements, only focus on pure mechanical changes - like improving rear axle gearing (if its needed). Or, perhaps a better air intake upgrade system (if needed). Or, perhaps a better air exhaust upgrade system (if needed). Each vehicle's performance bottlenecks are different... Not all vehicles will benefit from 3rd party "computer chip" performance upgrades (assume they never fail and never need to be adjusted).

Hope this helps in your research...

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Old 10-29-2011, 09:04 AM   #9
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This may just be my experience and limited to a diesel application which I know some are but it's worth a shot. Since owning my truck and pulling our unit I have done upgrades in steps to see if each really worked. I would strongly reccommend doing each at steps rather than all at once if you do anything.

The last thing I did most recently, 2 tanks ago was change my oil to Mobil 1 full synthetic. I have to date gotten 1.5MPG better in my daily driving which belw me away. Blends don't seem to give the same results. It's a cheap easy mod that you can try. One thing is that you need to make sure your engine is broken in fully before going to this type oil. Check with your mechanic or dealer if your uncertain.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3'senough View Post
The last thing I did most recently, 2 tanks ago was change my oil to Mobil 1 full synthetic. I have to date gotten 1.5MPG better in my daily driving which belw me away. Blends don't seem to give the same results. It's a cheap easy mod that you can try. One thing is that you need to make sure your engine is broken in fully before going to this type oil. Check with your mechanic or dealer if your uncertain.
I use Rotella Synthetic and saw about the same jump on my GMC Duramax.hi-flow airfilter and exhaust mod about all you can do and not start effecting the life of the hi-dollar parts,IMHO
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