6.7 Cummins Tuning Guide

6.7 Cummins Tuning Guide

About Zach Mayock - DieselIQ

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Zach is one of the founders of 8020 Media and a lead writer for DieselIQ. He’s been in the automotive industry for over a decade and has published more than 400 articles for DieselIQ, TuningPro, BMWTuning, & more. His blend of automotive knowledge, writing & research skills, and passion make him an excellent resource for fellow diesel owners. His expertise goes beyond writing and includes a deep knowledge of Cummins and Powerstroke engines, as well as nearly 10 years of DIY experience. Zach is also experienced with tuning and has a wealth of technical knowledge that he brings to every article he writes.

Tuners are easily the best bang-for-the-buck mod for the Dodge 6.7 Cummins. We discussed tuners in our 5 best 6.7 Cummins mods guide, and had them at the top of our list as the best performance upgrade. Tuners can provide significant power gains from a simple plug and play device.

There are a lot of different tuning options on the market. When it comes to tuning devices you have flash tuners and piggyback tuners. These devices are simple plug-and-play options but there is also custom tuning, dyno tuning, and transmission tuning that are worthwhile to discuss.

This guide is going to walk through the different types of 6.7 Cummins tuning devices, the different tuning options, and recommend a few of our favorite tuners on the market.

6.7 Cummins Tuner Performance Benefits

  • 150+whp and torque gains
  • Plug-and-play with pre-built tunes
  • Better towing
  • Custom tuning and transmission tuning available
  • Increased fuel economy
  • More efficient engine, better throttle response, etc.
  • Diagnostic and code reading

Power gains are mostly achieved by turning up the boost on the turbo. Most tuners will have 3-4 different performance tunes that range from +30whp up to over 150whp. Obviously, the more aggressive of a tune you run the more likely you are to blow your turbo or run into other problems.

In addition to just power gains, a tuner can help improve gas mileage and help with towing and other functional uses. Running a modest tune won’t usually have much of an effect on reliability, but keep in mind it can if you choose to run an aggressive tune frequently.

Custom Tuning

For anyone that wants to maximize power gains and reliability, there is custom tuning available. Custom tuning is more precise, accurate, and reliable since it allows for the tune to be more precisely adjusted to your specific engine and existing mods.

Flash and piggyback tuners are simply plug-and-play. You hook them up and turn them on. However, they might not be the best option for all 6.7 Cummins owners. If you are running upgraded fueling, a larger turbo, etc. you will need custom tuning to properly calibrate your engine for these modifications.

For custom tuning the 6.7 Cummins, you’ll need a flash tuning device. Flash tuning devices can hold custom tunes. The majority of custom tuners on the market work with the major brand tuners like SCT and Edge. They will create various custom tunes for you engine and then load them into your flash tuning device.

Since you need a flash tuner for custom tuning we recommend starting with the pre-built tunes on the device. These will suffice for 95% of drivers. However, if you do keep modding your Cummins or already have some serious mods, it allows for the flexibility to go the custom tuning route. But we usually don’t recommend custom tuning until you are pushing serious power levels and have some significant upgrades like turbo’s and fueling.

Transmission Tuning

The 6.7 Cummins transmission can only handle about 500whp before it loses some reliability. A tune alone can easily take you over this 500whp mark, so you need to be cautious of your transmission.

One of the best options for transmission reliability is getting your transmission tuned. This allows the transmission to hold more power and be more reliable at higher power levels.

Unfortunately, transmission tuning is all custom. Additionally, most flash tuning devices don’t support transmission tuning. The best option for custom tuning and transmission tuning is EFI Live. We’ll discuss EFI further below but we recommend working with a tuner first since EFI is a lot more complex than the other flash tuners we’re going to recommend.

2013+ Models

The ECM/PCM in the 2013+ models is a bit more complex and harder to crack. Therefore, 2013+ models require an additional step. You will need an additional communication module or “unlock cable”. This unlock cable connects to the ECM and is used to unlock the ECM. You won’t be able to flash new tunes into the ECM until it is unlocked.

The ECM got a lot harder to crack in 2019. Therefore, a lot of these handheld plug-and-play devices only work on vehicles through 2018. Tuning a 2019+ Cummins is possible via EFI Live but you must have the CMF CM2450B PCM.

Best 6.7 Cummins Tuners

As discussed above, we prefer flash tuners due to the flexibility they offer with custom tuning. Therefore, all of the options we are going to mention below are flash tuners. However, if you want a piggyback tuner for warranty purposes, we recommend the Banks Derringer.

The majority of these devices below are the same, with the exception of EFI Live. They are all flash devices, come with pre-loaded tunes, and are capable of custom tuning. With that said, our recommendations are personal preference. Getting something from MADS, SCT, Bully Dog, Edge, etc. is a great option regardless of which you choose.

Keep in mind fitment for tuners is year specific. Tuning the 6.7 Cummins has some quirks and therefore most devices only fit a range of years.

6.7 Cummins Tuning Guide

1) MADS Smarty 6.7 Cummins Tuner

Our favorite tuner on the market is the Smarty touch tuner from MADS. It is compatible with all 6.7 Cummins years up through 2018. For years 2013+ you will need an unlock module to crack into the ECU. The reason this is our favorite tuner is that it is one of the most versatile on the market.

In addition to coming with 9 pre-loaded tunes the Smarty tuner allows you to input your existing modifications and then adjusts the tune and engine parameters to work best with your existing mods. It has a number of different monitoring layouts, has data logging and diagnostic troubleshooting and more. Additionally, it comes with an SD card that can store custom tunes. It’s a touchscreen device that can be mounted on your dash for cool monitoring capabilities.

Overall, this is one of the most popular and well-liked devices on the market. While it is a little pricey compared to other options, it is one of the more robust tuners on the market.

Price: ~$800

Buy Here: 6.7 Cummins MADS Smarty Tuner

2) SCT/Bully Dog BDX Programmer

The BDX programmer is made and sold under both the SCT and Bully Dog name. The tuner tops our list because it works with all 2013-2021 6.7 Cummins unlike most other devices on the market. However, it only comes with 3 pre-loaded tunes. But, it is one of the most affordable devices on the market and is capable of storing 20 custom tunes. It does require an unlock cable, but fortunately it’s only $25.

This is a great option for anyone that wants a more budget device so that they can spend more money on custom tuning. At just $419 it’s one of the lowest priced tuners on the market and isn’t lacking in features. It doesn’t have a big fancy touch screen which is why it’s more affordable than others. It does diagnostics, code reading, data logging, and all the major things you need out of a tuner.

Price: $419

Custom Tuning & Transmission Tuning: EFI Live

EFI Live is the best solution for custom tuning and is the only device that is also capable on transmission tuning. Transmission tuning isn’t plug-and-play and will need to be custom tuned, however. EFI Live is slightly more complicated than the basic handheld tuners we mentioned above which is why we recommend working directly with a tuner if you are going to go this route.

This is the most robust software for tuning and therefore is the best option for anyone who is heavily modified and looking for custom tuning and transmission tuning. It’s also one of the limited number of options for tuning 2019+ trucks.


A tuner is one of the best performance upgrades for the 6.7 Cummins. With a simple plug and play device you can instantly unlock over 100whp, improve towing abilities, increase gas mileage, and unlock more power and responsiveness from your engine.

We recommend flash tuners over piggyback tuners since they allow for more precise adjustments and custom tuning. Piggyback tuners are a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to crack into their ECU. If you want a piggyback tuner, we recommend the Banks Derringer.

Custom tuning is a great option for anyone who is looking to maximize performance and reliability. Custom tuning is easiest done through EFI Live, although this is a more difficult device to work with compared to the other handheld devices on the market. We generally only recommend custom tuning if you are heavily modified.

2013+ 6.7 Cummins are slightly more difficult to tune since their ECU’s need to be unlocked first. Fortunately, most tuning brands also sell reasonably priced unlock cables. Tuning options for 2019+ options is more limited since the ECU is tougher to crack.

There are a lot of flash tuning devices available for the 6.7 Cummins. The MADS Smarty tuner is our favorite on the market since it is very robust and comes with a nice touchscreen display for monitoring. SCT’s BDX device is great since it works with 2019+ Cummins and is only $419 plus a $25 ECU unlock cable. Edge also makes great products we would recommend as well, but picking a specific device to recommend is difficult since fitment varies.

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