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Old 06-01-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
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Thinking of buying a programmer for my tow vehicle

I have an 09 Ram 1500 crew cab hemi 4x4 with 3.55s that tows my Jayco 22fb rather easily. I'm looking to buy a tuner to improve performance and gas mileage while towing and everyday driving to and from work. I realize it's a beast of a truck, and not meant to get good mileage. But I believe if you drive conservatively and don't floor it all the time to feel the 390+hp it does surprisingly well. What I'm after is getting the most out of my truck to make it run more efficient and effective in whatever driving circumstance.
There are a lot of different companies that make programmers out there. I've read reviews good and bad about them all. Bully Dog, Diablo Sport, Superchips, etc. I was curious if anyone from this forum has had any real life experience with this situation. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I'm more interested in people who have tuners with GAS engines. Diesel engines are a whole different story that is much different than what I'm after.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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Al,
Don't forget to check out Banks Power. I've got the Automind programmer for my Chevy 6.0 gasser and it not only lets you program 4 different engine performance (mine has: Towing, Economy, Sport, Extreme Sport) but it also allows you to change many transmission set-points, adjust speedometer calibration, scan for engine error codes and monitor engine performance in real-time (while driving). I pretty sure you can even expand and upgrade to the Banks IQ module. Anyways, check the website: http://www.bankspower.com/
They've got much more to offer.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I spent a lot of time researching Banks Automind. I'm intrigued and have more questions for you. Is your truck a daily driver? Are there any other performance upgrades done to your truck? (exhaust, drop in filter, cai, tb spacer, etc.) Do you notice any performance and/or mpg gains while towing and not towing? Would you purchase the programmer again if you had a choice?
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2014 Eagle HT 26.5 RLS

2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Hemi 4x4 Big Horn
Magnaflow muffler with factory dual exhaust, K&N drop in filter
3:55 ratio, Goodyear Duratrec 285/60/R20
2011 Jayflight 22FB...sold!
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbrown View Post
Al,
Don't forget to check out Banks Power. I've got the Automind programmer for my Chevy 6.0 gasser and it not only lets you program 4 different engine performance (mine has: Towing, Economy, Sport, Extreme Sport) but it also allows you to change many transmission set-points, adjust speedometer calibration, scan for engine error codes and monitor engine performance in real-time (while driving). I pretty sure you can even expand and upgrade to the Banks IQ module. Anyways, check the website: http://www.bankspower.com/
They've got much more to offer.
I have a Edge Tuner for my 6.0 Chevy and it sounds pretty much just like the Banks. Noticeable difference with the towing tune but I don't think anything can help the MPG's on these 6.0 Chevy gassers. LOL
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:29 AM   #5
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I have the Hypertech for my 8.1 Avalanche. I run the hi octane tune. They claim 57 HP and 60 FT TQ increase. I figure if its half that its worth it..
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuinnFam View Post
Thanks for the reply. I spent a lot of time researching Banks Automind. I'm intrigued and have more questions for you. Is your truck a daily driver? Are there any other performance upgrades done to your truck? (exhaust, drop in filter, cai, tb spacer, etc.) Do you notice any performance and/or mpg gains while towing and not towing? Would you purchase the programmer again if you had a choice?
I do NOT currently drive my truck as a DD; only recreation and towing. Other upgrades...oh yes! I purchased the Banks torque tube headers at the same time as the Automind and have custom dual exhaust with Flow Master 40 series mufflers; that covers the exhaust. Intake is through the stock filter box with a drop in K&N filter, but it is highly customized: the old intake tube has been relaced with an Airaid modular intake tube, the filter box has a custom forced/ram air system that I fabricated using 4" aluminum duct and air scoops that sit behind the vent openings in the front bumper. The inside of the filter box has the duct entering the bottom and one of the side openings from the fender well is equipped with a flapper vane/valve that closes off the fender air when the 4" ram duct is supplying enough air to close it. I've verified that it closes off at around 35-40mph. I replaced my belt driven radiator cooling fan with 2 - 16" electric ones that do much better and stay off when moving. And of course the programmer is used to adjust things or just monitor what is happening as I'm towing. I usually leave it on the tow haul mode but I've tried all of them. Performance gains are noticeable whether towing or not and although I haven't put it on a dyno...there's at least a 50-60 HP gain with all that and the throttle response is instant. Yes, I would purchase the Banks Automind again...no question. Nah, I don't even monitor the MPG anymore...about 12-13 highway 9-10 towing with 93+ octane gas. It pulls noticeably better on the 93+ and the minimum with the program in is 91 anyhow.
BTW, the Automind economy mode was tested for about 20 mins and it sucked...the engine runs so lean that it barely has any power...thats the only way the 6.0 would gulp less gas and it doesn't like a lean diet at all. The other 2 performance settings will quickly burn both tires off and snatch your neck/head into the seat head rest at each shift. You can't tow with the extreme performance modes unless you want to break something. I'm very happy with the tow haul mode gains and the ability to fine tune the transmission shift points and pressures. Oh yeah, and like you, I've also got big power hungry tires; 285/75/R16 BFGs with a 4:10 drive. I did myself and the truck a big favor this year and converted to Amsoil lubes in the entire powertrain. I could go on and on but I'll let it rest.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:26 AM   #7
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Re: Thinking of buying a programmer for my tow vehicle

Quinn,
I also have an '09 HEMI Ram. Last fall I added a Superchips Flashpaq Volant cold air intake, Magna flow muffler and Airlift airbags in the rear springs to help with sag. All have been great investments. I have an increase of 2 mpg when pulling our TT (from 8.5 to 10.5 mpg). This also made the truck feel better when towing. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:48 AM   #8
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I had an Edge Evolution on my F150 and it was great I would recommend it, happy with the performance and I think it added about 1 mpg. I used tow mode all he time.
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