When it comes to 6.7 Powerstroke performance modifications, nothing adds power like a turbocharger upgrade. Furthermore, the 2011-2014 models had an unreliable and problematic turbo, making it a great performance and reliability upgrade to swap in a new turbo. However, there are tons of routes to go and differing options based on your engine generation.
In this guide we’re going to break down the turbochargers used in each 3 generations of the 6.7 Powerstroke, discuss single vs compound turbo setups, and share some of our favorite setups available on the market.
Turbo Upgrade Basics
First, let’s start off with some basics surrounding the 6.7 Powerstroke turbo.
Importantly, the turbos used on this diesel are a little different than your standard unit. Ford has gone through several different turbos on the 6.7, with the first one from 2011–2014 being the Garret GT32 SST. The SST stands for “single-sequential-turbo,” and it is a very unique piece of turbo tech. SSTs use a dual-plane compressor with wheels that are both driven by the same shaft.
Essentially, the dual compressors allow the single turbo to act like a sequential twin-turbo system. Unfortunately, the GT32 was widely known for being unreliable and prone to premature failure, often from the internals failing.
In 2015, Ford upgraded the turbo to the new Garrett GT37. The GT37 is a “variable geometry turbocharger,” which the GT32 was, too. VGT turbos have unique internals that allow them to work efficiently at both high or low engine speeds. This allows for improved acceleration while reducing emissions.
Yet, while the 2015 GT37 is a VGT like the GT32, it is not an SST. This has improved reliability of the GT37 over the GT32, and it is common for 2011–2014 owners to swap the 2015+ turbo onto their car for better performance and dependability.
Horsepower Gains by Generation
Now let’s talk about horsepower gains that come from 6.7 Powerstroke turbo upgrades. Generally, the GT32 turbo will max out at ~475–500 wheel horsepower with supporting mods and tuning. The 2015+ GT37 is a little more capable, allowing for up to ~550 wheel-horsepower.
While those are already pretty incredible numbers, if you’re looking for a lot more, a turbo swap is the easiest way to accomplish your goals. There are a ton of different turbo kits on the market, and you can add anywhere from 100 horsepower to more than 800 horsepower over stock depending on turbo size and supporting mods (see below).
Your final power goals will depend on what version of the 6.7 you’re starting with, with newer versions making more out of the box than older ones. Still, you can expect to add a minimum of 100 horsepower over stock with a Stage 1 turbo upgrade. With the most extreme turbo upgrades out there, you can surpass more than 800-1,200 horsepower. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to potential power, but keep in mind what you’re using the truck for.
If you plan on using your truck for any heavy towing, usually it’s advisable to stay at a Stage 1 turbo or below. With larger turbos, you’re going to shift the power band higher in the rpm curve, which is the opposite of what you want when towing. For towing, you want as much low-end torque as you can get, which the stock and stage 1 turbo upgrades will give you plenty of.
Single vs Compound Turbo Kits
In terms of turbo kits for the 6.7 Powerstroke, you essentially have 2–3 different options. The first option is to upgrade to a larger VGT-style turbocharger. This simply replaces the OEM turbo with a larger one that is capable of flowing more for increased horsepower and torque. This is the simplest turbo swap you can do, and it is still possible to net over 800 wheel-horsepower doing so.
Your second option is to swap in a non-VGT turbo. This used to be a popular mod on the 2011–2014 Powerstrokes due to the unreliability of the OEM unit, before other VGT options were available. However, most people now retrofit Gen 2 or 3 kits onto the 2011–2014 models and opt to use VGT but non-SST-style turbos. There are still non-VGT kits available for all years of the Powerstroke, though they are not as popular now.
The final option you have is to do a compound turbo setup. These are often mistaken as twin-turbo kits, but they are very different. A twin-turbo kit has two individual turbos that feed the engine independently of each other.
Yet, on compound turbo setups, a low-pressure turbo feeds a high-pressure turbo, which then feeds the engine. Compound turbo setups have been shown to make excess of 1,200 horsepower with proper fueling and supporting mods. They are much more expensive, but also brutally efficient and powerful.
6.7 Powerstroke Turbo Upgrade Supporting Mods
Before listing out our recommendations, it’s important to talk about supporting mods for a turbo upgrade. Previously, we looked at the top 6.7 performance mods, which included more than just turbo upgrades. In reality, if you are thinking about swapping a new turbo on, you’ll want to look at also investing in some other bolt-ons, so you can maximize your gains.
The other supporting mod to talk about with the 6.7 Powerstroke is fueling. The stock CP4.2 fuel pump is notorious for premature failure and unreliability. In addition, it will struggle to supply enough fuel for most turbo upgrades past stage 1. There are a few ways to handle this.
If you plan on keeping the stock fuel system, you will at a minimum want a disaster prevention kit. This kit prevents the rest of the fueling system from imploding after the pump failure, and should really be used on all trucks, even those remaining otherwise stock.
Another option is to add a supplemental fuel pump to the system, such as the Bosch CP3. This allows the fuel system to maintain enough rail pressure during high-boost. You can also get a stroker version of the CP4.2. A Stroker CP4.2 will support more than 800 wheel-horsepower.
Lastly, you will also potentially need to look into bigger fuel injectors. Depending on the level of boost/size of turbo you plan on running, you’ll need larger injectors past 700 wheel-horsepower.
Best Ford 6.7 Powerstroke Turbo Upgrades
- 2015+ GT37 Turbo Swap into 2011–2014
- KC Turbos Staged Whistler Turbos
- No Limit Fabrication Single & Compound Turbo Kits
- Maryland Performance Diesel Compound Turbo Kit
1) Swapping the GT37 in place of the GT32
Our first recommendation is for 2011–2014 6.7 Powerstroke owners. Both for reliability and increased power, one of the best turbo upgrades is to simply swap the 2015–2019 GT37 in its place. By swapping out the older turbo for the new one, you lose the SST functionality, but that doesn’t mean a loss in performance. It’s actually the opposite, and the GT37 can provide up to 550 wheel-horsepower, or about 50-75 wheel-horsepower more than the GT32.
Unfortunately, the GT37 is not a simple direct bolt-in swap for the GT32, and requires quite a few different pieces to make it work, including a new downpipe, exhaust manifold, intermediate downpipe, pedestal, and more. Luckily, there are several companies who make retrofit kits for the GT32.
In addition, you can upgrade from the stock compressor wheel to a large 63-64 mm wheel. An upgraded compressor wheel can net as much 600 wheel-horsepower, or about 50 wheel-horsepower more than a stock GT37.
GT37 Retrofit Kits
There are quite a few different retrofit kits for the GT37 to GT32 swap. One of the most popular is from KC Turbos. The KC Turbo retrofit kit has everything needed for the complete swap, including all supporting mods and a new OEM Garrett turbocharger. Next up is the No Limit Fabrication retrofit kit, which includes the turbo and some of the supporting parts, but not the turbo pedestal, oil feed line, or coolant feed line.
Finally, there is the Maryland Performance Diesel retrofit kit. The MPD kit has everything needed for the swap, except the actual turbo. However, the MPD kit allows for the retention of a lot more of the stock equipment, making installation much easier than other kits. Even with a turbo, it’s still cheaper than most other kits.
2) KC Turbos Kits
For our first aftermarket turbo setup, we suggest KC Turbos. KC Turbos probably has the best reputation for their turbo kits. They have been making them for years on a variety of platforms, and their Powerstroke kits have consistently had fantastic reviews for fit, performance, and customer service. KC Turbos has both VGT turbo kits and non-VGT turbo kits, though we recommend the VGT ones.
There are three main kits available from KC Turbos: stage 1, 2, and 3. Stage 1 uses 63 mm compressor wheels, which jumps to 64 mm on stage 2 and a whopping 68 mm on stage 3. KC calls these the Whistler series of turbos, due to the use of a 10-blade high-flow turbine wheel to give it that ‘03 turbo-whistle sound. They perform exceptionally well and are probably the most popular on the market.
3) No Limit Fabrication Single & Compound Kits
Next up we have No Limit Fabrication. Along with KC Turbos, No Limit has been in the Powerstroke game for many years, and they have an impeccable reputation within the community. Yet, No Limit has both single and compound turbo kits, unlike KC which just has singles. For their single-turbo kits, they offer non-VGT kits using Precision ball-bearing turbos. These range in size from 6266 to 6466 to 6870, and offer power ranging from 660–880 horsepower.
Their real performer, however, is their compound turbo kit. For the turbo, it is a Precision 76/85 ball-bearing with a 1.12 A/R exhaust housing, and it connects to the OEM turbo. With the proper supporting mods and fueling upgrades, the kit can pump out an excess of 800 horsepower.
4) Maryland Performance Diesel Compound Turbo Kit
For our final recommendation, we’re looking at the Maryland Performance Diesel compound turbo kit. This rivals the No Limit kit as one of the most reputable on the market, and MPD also has a solid reputation within the community. For their turbos, MPD uses Borg Warner SXE-series, ranging from the S476 to the S488. The S476 produces as much as 500-750 horsepower, while the S488 can shoot clean past 1,200 horsepower with supporting mods. The MPD kit comes with everything you need for a 2011–2021 turbo upgrade, and produces some absolutely nasty results.
The Ford 6.7 Powerstroke has used two different primary turbos during its production cycle. From 2011–2014, the Powerstroke used a Garrett GT32 single-sequential-turbo that was also a variable geometry turbo. In 2015, Ford replaced that with the GT37 turbo, which is a variable geometry turbo but not a single-sequential turbo. The GT37 turbo is far more reliable than the GT32, so many people swap it over.
Contrary to some belief, the 6.7 Powerstroke only uses a single turbo. From 2011–2014, the Powerstroke used a Garrett GT32 single-sequential-turbo that was also a variable geometry turbo. It acted like a twin-turbo setup, but was just a single one. In 2015, Ford replaced that with the GT37 turbo, which is a variable geometry turbo but not a single-sequential turbo. The GT37 turbo is far more reliable than the GT32, so many people swap it over.
The most popular turbo upgrades for the 6.7 Powerstroke are from KC Turbos, No Limit Fabrication, and Maryland Performance Diesel.
A compound turbo setup will ultimately make more horsepower than a single-turbo setup. A compound setup involves two turbochargers, with a low-pressure turbo feeding a high-pressure turbo, which in turn feeds the engine. They can make more than 1,200 horsepower with enough supporting mods.