Ford’s turbodiesel 6.7L PowerStroke V8 is already an impressive engine from the factory with new models producing over 1,000 torque. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for improvement!
Just a few basic performance upgrades can add over 100whp and 200wtq to the 6.7 Powerstroke. We’re going to cover the best performance upgrades, focusing on tuning, intakes, exhaust, intercooler piping, and turbo upgrades.
Before we dive into the actual mods it’s a good time to lay out the basics. The 6.7 PowerStroke underwent a few updates through the years. As such, certain years may show a higher ceiling with the bolt-on performance mods we discuss. Stock power output for the 6.7L engine is as follows:
- 2011-2014: 400 horsepower / 800 torque
- 2015-2016: 440 horsepower / 860 torque
- 2017: 440 horsepower / 925 torque
- 2018-2019: 450 horsepower / 935 torque
- 2020+: 475 horsepower / 1,050 torque
The 2011-2014 models uses an older fuel pump and also have the smallest turbo. The 2015+ CP4.2 pump, often referred to as a HO or high output fuel pump, flows about 10% higher volume. As such, those with 2011-2014 models may consider the CP4.2 pump upgrade. It’s good for about 600-650whp vs the older 6.7 pump that caps out around 550whp.
That said, a 2015+models are good for about 600whp with just a tune, intake, and exhaust. The 2011-2014 models can get to that number too, but they’ll likely require turbo and fuel pump upgrades to get there. Nonetheless, these are highly impressive numbers for such a short list of basic bolt-on mods. Let’s jump in and discuss the above 5 engine mods for the 6.7L PowerStroke.
Best 6.7 PowerStroke Engine Mods
- ECM tuning
- Cold air intake
- Turbo upgrades
- Cold side charge pipes
1) Engine Tuning
Tunes are first on the list for good reason. They’re the building blocks to unleashing more power and torque on the Powerstroke 6.7. Every other engine upgrade relies on a tune to properly account for the adjustments. However, there are tons of different ways to go about tuning. You can opt for a flash tuning device that comes with off-the-shelf tunes. Or you can take it a step further with custom tuning.
SCT X4 Flash Tuner
The SCT X4 is by far the most popular tuner for the 6.7 PowerStroke. It comes pre-loaded with tested, dyno-proven tunes at a great price of $399. We believe this is the top option, especially for those newer to tuning and modding.
This is just a short list of all the features. The preloaded SCT X4 tunes also allow user adjustable parameters for common 6.7L performance mods like intakes and exhausts. It’s a quick and easy installation that anyone can do at home. Returning the vehicle back to the stock tune is also incredibly easy.
The SCT X4 tuners also allow you to hold up to 10 custom tunes on the flash device. Custom tunes cost extra money as they require some testing and tweaking. However, custom tunes typically offer superior performance since they’re dialed into your truck specifically. We believe the base tunes are likely good for most; at least as a starting point. Custom tuning is something to consider if you’re looking for a bit more power.
Tune Power Gains
Tunes allow quite a bit of flexibility. On a stock 6.7L PowerStroke with no other engine mods a tune usually gains about 50-130hp. This all depends on your specific goals. You can select a conservative tune for less power, or opt for a more aggressive tune. Torque gains are right in the same ballpark – if not a bit higher. These are impressive performance gains for a $400 tune alone. You may also be able to squeeze out a bit more power with custom tuning options.
2) Cold Air Intake Upgrades
We’ll move through this section a bit quicker. There are tons of 6.7 Powerstroke intakes to choose from. They all accomplish roughly the same goal. We also wrote a more detailed guide about 6.7L Powerstroke intake upgrades here. Intake upgrades offer gains around 5-10hp and 20-30tq.
Intakes offer great benefits beyond just power gains. They will add 1-2mpg in fuel economy increases, improve turbo efficiency, increase turbo spool, and add some cool engine sounds.
Boosted Performance 4″ Intake Upgrade
One of our favorite intake upgrades for the 6.7 Powerstroke is the Boosted Performance 4″ open intake. An open-design allows for the best airflow and power gains. The Boosted Performance intake uses 4″ mandrel bent, aluminum piping with a clean wrinkle black finish. It also uses a large, quality air filter from S&B Filters.
For $299 it’s tough to beat the great balance of price, performance, and quality. Check out our 6.7 PowerStroke intake upgrade guide (linked above) for more info and product recommendations.
3) 4″ or 5″ Exhaust Upgrade
An upgraded downpipe is one of the biggest exhaust components for power gains. Downpipes bolt directly to the turbo and help reduce exhaust backpressure. A downpipe will offer the best performance gains out of the entire exhaust.
Reducing back-pressure near the turbo allows extra boost, more efficient turbo operation, and quicker spool. A downpipe also shouldn’t add too much noise. It will definitely add more turbo spool sounds and a deeper, aggressive exhaust note. However, we think it’s a great sound that’s still solid for daily driving.
Downpipe Back Exhausts
Another common exhaust mod is from the downpipe back. These systems keep the stock downpipe, but replace the rest of the exhaust. You can also opt for options that delete the DPF. A catless exhaust will offer the best performance gains, but emissions testing may be an issue.
If you want loud then opt for an exhaust system without any mufflers. Lastly, you’ll run into 4″ and 5″ exhaust options. A 5″ exhaust will generally flow the best and help reduce EGT’s. Stick with a 4″ exhaust for a more conservative setup and sounds.
Exhaust HP Gains
A lot of the horsepower gains depend on exactly how deep you want to go on the exhaust. Removing the cats will provide by far the most impressive gains as they’ll offer the best flow. Additionally, a downpipe will have great power gains since it bolts right to the 6.7 Powerstroke’s turbo.
Depending on all these factors expect to pick up somewhere around 10-20 horsepower and a bit more torque. Gains may also be higher or lower depending upon other mods and tuning. Nonetheless, these are solid power gains for the price.
4) Turbo Upgrades
We’ll do an in-depth post on turbo upgrades in the near future. For 2015+ 6.7L models, turbo upgrades can start to get pretty expensive. That’s because the stock fueling is just about capped with the stock turbo and the previous 3 bolt-on performance mods. At that point, you’re adding quite a bit of money in supporting mods. Again, we’ll touch on these aspects in another holistic post.
For this article we’re really focused on turbo upgrades for the 2011 to 2014 6.7L PowerStroke. The turbo on these early engines is a real bottleneck to performance. Stock turbos are also known to give out on modded Powerstroke’s since they’re too small and are being run outside the efficiency range.
2011-2014 Powerstroke Upgrade to 2015+ Turbo
One popular mod is converting to the same turbo found on the 2015+ 6.7 engines. This upgrade can run up to about $2,500-3,000 for the turbo kit so it’s not cheap. However, it’s really the only way to get above the 500whp mark on the earlier 6.7 PowerStroke’s. If it’s in the budget this is definitely a great mod to have.
Alternatively, you can opt for an even larger, more capable turbo. In order to reach its potential you’ll need some fueling upgrades like the CP4.2 pump. You can, of course, simply run a larger turbo with a conservative tune. If you’re spending the money anyways we think this is a good route to go. It can’t hurt to build in some headroom to push things further in the future.
5) Intercooler Pipe Upgrade Kit
To finish up our list we have a less exciting engine bolt-on mod. The cold side intercooler pipe upgrade isn’t really for power or performance directly. Rather, the stock cold side piping is known to fail once you begin modding the 6.7 Powerstroke. It’s a plastic pipe prone to cracking (or exploding) under higher than stock boost.
Look for a strong, metal intercooler pipe kit. They’re not too pricey and it’s a good mod to have to ensure you aren’t left stranded. We still believe it’s an excellent mod to have; especially if you’re shooting for 500+ horsepower on the 6.7L engine. For more intercooler mods check out our 6.7 PowerStroke intercooler & piping upgrades guide.
The 6.7 Powerstroke is an awesome engine from the factory. Performance figures are already pretty impressive, but it’s just not enough for some. Fortunately, the engine responds well to performance upgrades. A tune, intake, and exhaust alone can push the early 2011-2014 PowerStroke’s to nearly 500whp. 2015+ models with the larger turbo can reach up to about 600whp.
The best part is – there aren’t any expensive mods to reach those power goals. No need to spend thousands on turbos, fueling, etc. However, a cold side intercooler piping kit is a great preventative mod to have. That’s one of the few components prone to failure at higher than stock boost. Finally, early 6.7L Powerstroke engines may need to look to turbo upgrades to achieve the same performance as 2015+ models.