24v cummins tuner smarty
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Ultimate 24v Cummins Tuner Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert that joined the DieselIQ and 8020 Media teams in 2022. He’s been working on and modifying cars from a young age and has a passion for JDM builds. However, Chandler is also a big fan of American muscle & diesel trucks. He delivers endless automotive knowledge and hands-on experience, and is a seasoned writer who spends some of his free time writing for The Grunge.

While it has been out of production for almost two decades, the 24v 5.9L Cummins is still widely regarded as one of the best turbo-diesel engines ever made. Also known as the 5.9 ISB, the engine was the successor to the beloved 12v Cummins. Dodge produced the 24v Cummins from 1998–2007, where it made 215–325 horsepower and 420–610 lb-ft of torque. While both the 12v and 24v Cummins are great for modding, one of the advantages of 5.9 ISB is tuning. With a 24v Cummins tuner, you can easily add considerable horsepower and torque with just the press of a few buttons. Read on to find out about the top 24v Cummins tuner mods available today. 

Make sure to check out our other 24v Cummins content, including our: 24v Cummins cold air intake guide, 24v Cummins intake manifold guide, 12v vs 24v Cummins guide, and our most common 5.9 Cummins problems guide.

24v 5.9L Cummins Tuner Basics

Using a tuner is one of the easiest, most cost effective, and most powerful upgrades you can make to the 24v Cummins. The earlier 12v Cummins from 1989–1998 does not have tuning as an option, and it is a serious boon for the 24v. Flash tuning is incredibly easy and involves installing software from a handheld tuning device onto your truck through the OBDII port under the dashboard.

This software has several “maps” or “tunes,” most of which either increase performance, fuel economy, or towing capacity on the 24v ISB. They are very easy ways to add gobs of horsepower and torque without requiring any bolt-on modifications. You might be surprised, but with just tuning you can add over 200 horsepower and torque. That’s a pretty substantial upgrade, and transforms the 5.9 ISB-powered Ram 2500 and 3500 into completely different animals. 

Edge Insight CTS3 Diesel Monitor for Cummins

While not a tuning device itself, the Edge Insight CTS3 diesel monitor for Cummins is an incredibly handy tool. The CTS3 is a digital gauge monitor that can be used to view tons of engine information in real time. You can keep an eye on things like boost pressure, transmission temp, EGT, and more. In addition, you can also use the CTS3 to monitor performance like ¼ mile times and zero to 60 mph times. 

The CTS3 is the successor to the CTS2, and it is faster, bigger, and has a nicer display. The CTS3 uses a 5” HD touchscreen, which is very responsive and quick. What’s great about the CTS3, is that you can use it with tuners that do not have great displays, like the Edge EZ Tuner. That allows you to monitor your tune and make sure you are hitting target boost and maintaining fuel pressure. You can also use the CTS3 as a data logger and DTC reader and clearer, making it even more useful. 

Cummins ISB Tuning Terminology

One thing we should probably clarify before going any further is tuning terminology. The terms “tune,” “tuning,” “tuning,” and “tuned” are sometimes used interchangeably with each other but they describe slightly different things. Additionally, E-tuning is a blanket term that is also widely used. 

  • Tune/Map – The file or software that is flashed to your ECU or manipulates it signals
  • Tuner – Tuner can refer to either these two things:
    • 1) The person/company setting the engine parameters in the tune file
    • 2) The handheld device used to flash or piggyback your ECU
  • Tuning – The process of adjusting the engine’s parameters
  • Tuned – A car that has been modified through either a flash or piggyback tuner
  • E-Tuning – The process of having one’s car tuned by a tuner through email correspondence

It’s easy to mix these up when you first start learning about the process, so don’t be discouraged. If you ever have a question as to what something means you can always double check here.

24v Cummins Tuner Benefits

Some of the benefits of a 24v Cummins tuner include:

  • Gains of 200+ horsepower and torque
  • Increased fuel economy
  • Increased power band
  • Maximize gains from other mods

Obviously, the biggest benefits from a 24v Cummins tuner are the massive increases in the horsepower and torque department. With just a tune and no other bolt-on mods, you can make more than 200+ horsepower and torque more than stock. That means more than 500 horsepower out of the 24v Cummins — not too shabby for an early-2000s turbo-diesel. We probably don’t have to explain, but that is an absolutely mammoth improvement. 

In addition to peak numbers, a 5.9 Cummins tuner will improve the entire power band of the engine. This means you’ll have more horsepower soon and it’ll hold out for longer, and the same with torque. Besides maps that offer high-power numbers, there are also some that are focused on improving gas mileage or towing capacity. This makes 5.9 ISB tuners helpful for a variety of purposes. 

Another benefit of tuners is that they can help maximize gains from other mods. While you don’t need to add bolt-ons, if you want even more performance you can upgrade things like a 24v 5.9 Cummins cold air intake or 24v 5.9 Cummins intake manifold. With a tuner, you can maximize the performance from these mods and gain even more horsepower than you would with just them or the tuning by themselves. 

Best 24v Cummins Tuner

The 3 best 24v Cummins tuner upgrades are:

  • Smart Tuners
  • Quadzilla
  • Edge EZ Link

1) Smarty Tuner for 5.9 ISB

First up on our list is the Smarty Tuners for the 24v Cummins. These are some of the most popular tuners for the Cummins, and you’ll soon see why. There are three different tuners available, and all of them offer great value. They range from the cheapest option the Smarty Junior, to the most expensive the Smart Touch S2G.

First is the MADS Smarty Junior 24v Cummins Tuner. This tuner is the cheapest of the three and offers gains of up to 100 horsepower. It has an easy to use navigation system and installs on the car in just minutes. Next up is the 5.9 ISB MADS Smarty S-03 Tuner. The S-03 is a step up from the Junior, and offers gains of up to 210 horsepower. It has a similar navigation system, and is more expensive. Neither the Junior nor the S-03 have great displays, but their tunes are compatible with the Edge CTS3 diesel monitor. 

Finally, we have the 5.9 Cummins MADS Smarty Touch S2G Tuner. This is the top of the line Smart 24v Cummins tuner. It comes with a touchscreen and full 4.3”, 480p display. It offers gains of up to 210 horsepower like the S2G. All of the Smart tuners come with preloaded tunes and are very easy to use, making them the best option for 24v Cummins tuning available today.

2) Quadzilla Cummins Tuner

Next up we have the Quadzilla 1998–2000 24v Cummins tuner. The Quadzilla is almost as good as the Smarty Touch and has most of the same functions. It comes preloaded with 11 different maps that offer 11 different power levels. Max gains from the Quadzilla on the 24v Cummins are 180 wheel-horsepower and more than 400 lb-ft of torque. 

Unlike the Smarty, the Quadzilla does not have its own display. However, you can use their app to monitor on your smartphone, or you can use the Edge CTS3 monitor. In addition to the canned tunes that are pre-loaded onto the Quadzilla, they also offer custom tuning starting at $100. Custom tuning is a great option for those with any extra bolt-on modifications, or anyone looking for a little more safety and reliability out of their tune. 

A drawback to the Quadzilla is it only works for the 1998–2000 second generation 24v Cummins, so it is somewhat limited. Still, it offers huge power potential and is one of the top options for 5.9 ISB tuning. 

3) Edge EZ Tuner for 5.9 ISB

Our final recommendation is the Edge EZ Tuner for 24v Cummins. The Edge EZ tuner offers gains of up to 120 horsepower on some 24v Cummins models, and is the only one of our tuning solutions that has CARB approval and an EO number. This means the EZ Link is 50 states legal, which is a pretty big bonus considering it still has pretty big power gains. 

Like the Smarty and Quadzilla, the EZ Tuner offers a variety of different power levels and maps that emphasize both performance and fuel economy. The EZ Link has a small display on the tuning device, but it can also be used in conjunction with the CTS3 diesel monitor. Edge’s EZ Tuner is a decently priced option at $560, but it is a CARB legal option that offers solid performance gains. 

24v 5.0 Cummins Tuner FAQ

How much HP can a 24V Cummins make with a tuner?

A 24v Cummins can make more than 500 horsepower with a tuner like the Smarty or Quadzilla. 24v Cummins tuning is a great upgrade that adds massive amounts of performance without requiring any bolt-on mods.

What is the best tuner for Cummins?

The best 24v Cummins tuner is the Smart tuner. Smarty offers the combination of functionality and performance, and is competitively priced.

Is a 24v Cummins tuner worth it?

Yes, a 24v Cummins can make more than 500 horsepower with a tuner like the Smarty or Quadzilla. 24v Cummins tuning is a great upgrade that adds massive amounts of performance without requiring any bolt-on mods.

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