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Old 07-06-2015, 08:19 PM   #1
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I was fueling this weekend and got to talking with another Ford diesel guy with the newer 6.4. He claimed adding a tuner changed his unloaded mileage from 11 to 17. His plugged into the diagnostic port and changed the ECM program. It had a couple settings that could be changed anytime by plugging in.

The main use of the 7.3 is towing a 10K 5th for most of it's life. The engine is an absolutely stock 7.3. & gets regular maintenance with synthetic oil. I would like to know if anyone has used a programer? What where the results, good and bad? Mileage increase? What brand programer? I'm not looking to do all the other up grades available, but more hp, torque, and mileage with a programer? Might be worth a try. I'm hoping not to get just opinions but actual use info.

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Old 07-06-2015, 08:35 PM   #2
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The programers can get pricey. They do work though if you want changes. Be advised, I have yet to hear of any brand of programmer which can provide a significant boost of HP, and fuel economy at the same time. Its either a significant increase with one or the other and maybe a marginal increase on the opposite. Often times, if you reprogram for more HP and Torque you will lose mileage, whereas if you reprogram for mileage you will lose HP. If you hear of anyone or even yourself find a significant gain across the board with fuel, HP, and torque, then it is as absolute something is being lost somewhere, (often it results in a shorter engine life).
Everything positive has a negative reaction.

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Old 07-07-2015, 06:21 AM   #3
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My TV is bone stock and reliable. I'm not about to tease the gorilla with some tweaks. The biggest thing that effects mileage is our right foot. No jackrabbit starts for me and only 60 mph and I average 12.0 mpg +/- 0.5 mpg. IMHO

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Old 07-07-2015, 06:56 AM   #4
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AS NVGun stated, reprogramming the ECM will give you better gas mileage but you'll lose HP. Can't have both. Sometimes you can come to a happy medium but that takes forever and a ton of trips to the dealer. We have people everyday trying to improve the mileage of their diesels by reprogramming the ECU. We explain to them they'll suffer in horsepower and they quickly refuse. And in some cases, will void a warranty. To me, RV'ing is one of those things. You gotta pay to play.

Keep your power and sacrifice your mileage.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:21 AM   #5
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I don't have a diesel but the big blocks in the Chevy's were tuned well below their potential from the factory. I use a cheap Hypertech unit and notice the increase in torque with the 93 octane tune. Since my mpg already is dismal, and the truck only gets used for towing, it was well worth it for me.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:51 AM   #6
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Well I have a different point of view.
I drive a 2001 F250 SD with a 7.3L motor. I have been running a chip or tune on it most of it's life and I have put every single mile on it, now at 222,000.
My ECM failed several years ago due to a known factory issue and after replacement I did not re-install the chip. The truck was a slug but I left it that way. Average mileage was about 15mpg (average). Ran OK but not like it did before.
I recently decided to tune it again because I am towing again. It was the best move I made. The truck runs great again, I am getting about 18.5 mpg over about 6 tanks of fuel now and it is more responsive and runs smother. I of course do not have a Dino at home so measuring the HP increase is not possible, but it will again get up and go like it did years ago.

I went with a very simple and not to aggressive tune, the device I used is made by Hypertech and it is the MaxEnergy 42500. Here is a link Error - Hypertech
I found a used one on Amazon for about $250.00. I figured if it didn't work I would return it.

They have 3 stages of tune. I used stage one which claims +32 HP. I definitely feel and see a difference. I tried Stage two which is more aggressive and I did not like the way it shifted and with almost a quarter million miles I didn't need to put that strain on my tranny. Stage 3 was not even a thought.

Amazon has 2 more used ones online now at $263.00.

The tune is easy, first it backs up all your factory settings, then it loads the tune. You just plug into the OBD port and follow the onscreen instructions. The first Tune took about 10 min's to gather all the info and load it and the second one was much quicker.

The device also told me about a few trouble codes that were stored so I could look them up. Mine were old, I cleared them and the tune loaded easy.

Bringing the new TT home was a breeze with the way the truck pulled.
I hope this helps.

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Old 07-07-2015, 10:02 AM   #7
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Looks like a pretty even split right now. I know my drivings good, I spent 30+ years driving for work. I tow a 10K + with a 15 year old truck @ 64-66 and last check got 12.7 mpg average. Living in the SW I deal with mountains all the time and added HP & torque seems like it would be a good thing.

Right now I'm like 33 RLDS, the vehicle gets used for towing so I have a low mileage 15 year old truck. The increase from 11 to 17 empty is not insignificant. Getting 17 I might start driving it more without the 5th wheel.

I did get the programer I gain HP & torque and lose mileage on one setting (tow) and I get lose HP & torque and gain mileage on another (economy). Better unloaded mileage more HP towing as advertized. If I lose 1 or 2 towing and gain 6 unloaded I'd gain over all right?
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Edd505 View Post

Right now I'm like 33 RLDS, the vehicle gets used for towing so I have a low mileage 15 year old truck.
My Avalanche is an 04 with only 30K

Hypertech claims 57 HP and 60 ft lbs torque increase on my 8.1 and I believe it as she holds 4th on the highway even on some grades..I rarely see over 3K on the tach unless I want to accelerate up hill..
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:24 PM   #9
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The more you bump up the horsepower the more trouble your going to have with EGT'S. my 7.3 run's 11 mpg draging 22,000. I like the stability of a dually.
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:19 PM   #10
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Thats an good question to ask before purchasing one. Ill give you my opinion on programmers based on engines I have knowlage of.

On a 6.0 Ford diesel, absolutely not. Leave a 6.0 bone stock and run it hard, and it will give you many years and miles of reliable service. Install a programmer and beat the snot out of it and you will be in the shop spending big bucks on head gaskets/studs and injectors and the list goes on.

On a 7.3 Ford diesel, really no problem. Our last 7.3 (an 03) had a programmer on it for the time we owned it. It managed to get 14 mpg towing a 12000 lb 5th wheel at 60mph. Stay away from full (hard) throttle starts. The torque converter is the weakest link in the 7.3 drive line. Consider a "tugger" kit in the transmission if it is an automatic (4R100).

On a gas engine, I think you are better off finding a local "gear head/computer geek" who can program your vehicles computer. They are able change many things to "improve" the towing proformance, just let them know what you are looking for. You cant change it back to stock by going that route, but I think you get more bang for your buck this way.

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