Best 6.7 Powerstroke Tuner Guide
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Best Ford 6.7L PowerStroke Engine Performance Mods

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake is a founder of 8020 Media and one of the lead writers at DieselIQ. He has over 10 years of experience in the automotive industry and is the proud owner of a 2002 F-350 7.3 PowerStroke. When Jake isn’t working, he’s usually wrenching on his PowerStroke, single turbo BMW, or Miata track build. Jake delivers tons of knowledge and hands-on experience and is a valuable asset for those looking to take their diesel to the next level. He is highly knowledgeable on Powerstroke and Duramax diesels.

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.

Stock Horsepower

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

Power Limits

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

  1. ECM tuning
  2. Cold air intake
  3. Exhaust
  4. Turbo upgrades
  5. Cold side charge pipes

1) Engine Tuning

Price: $399

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.

Custom Tunes

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

Price: $250-400

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

Boosted Performance 6.7 Powerstroke 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.

Buy Here: Boosted Performance 6.7 Powerstroke Intake

3) 4″ or 5″ Exhaust Upgrade

Price: $200-600

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

Price: $2,500+

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.

Summary

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Hey man, I’m new to the 6.7 world with my 2011 KR. My purpose for the truck is to pull our travel trailer cross country and I especially want the power to easily handle the mountains. I have three goals for my mods:
    1. To get the best fuel efficiency possible.
    2. Keep the diesel as quiet a possible since I’ll be hauling the family around cross country and an overly noisy diesel won’t make the natives happy on such a long trip.
    3. To boost power as much as possible within those parameters.

    I thought I’d do these 3 mods… 1. Tuner, 2. Intake 3. Cold side charge pipes. How does that sound to you? I’d do the down pipe too except I’m afraid it will be a little too loud.

    1. Drew – congrats on the new truck. A tuner is definitely going to be the best mod for you, the off-the-shelf towing maps they have will give you a decent bump to MPG and help with the mountains. An intake is always a great mod to couple with a tune, just make sure you get a fully enclosed intake system, like the Banks Power ram air system. This will still have a little bit of extra intake noise but it will be a lot less than an open air intake which will be way too loud. If you’re just running off the shelf towing tunes and not looking to make aggressive power then you can get away without an intake, but an intake will help gas mileage a bit and open the engine up a bit for better towing. And same goes for the cold side chargepipe, it’s probably not needed for a modest tune but considering you will be cross country driving it’s not a bad idea just to prevent getting stuck on the side of the road far from home. But overall, you shouldn’t need anything more than the mods you mentioned.

      If you’re concerned about intake noise the alternative option is to get a drop-in filter. A drop-in won’t provide the same gains as a full intake system but it will still help increase air flow and be quieter. You’re probably looking at a 10% increase in airflow with a drop in vs. ~50% for a full intake system. Again, if you aren’t going to be running aggressive tunes then this should suffice as well.

      1. Thanks for the reply! Such good info! I don’t mind a little bit of noise increase if it’s going to bring me 5x more airflow, especially if you don’t think the noise increase will be overly loud. In summary, here’s what I’m buying:
        – SCT X4 Tuner, https://www.xtremediesel.com/sct-7015-x4-power-flash-programmer
        – Banks Dry Filter cold intake system, https://www.bankspower.com/i-556
        – H&S Intercooler Pipe Upgrade Kit, https://hs-motorsports.com/collections/ford/products/11-16-ford-6-7l-intercooler-upgrade-kit?variant=7149489553465

        I’ll keep you updated as I make the mods. Hey, is there any way to determine my performance with actual data before and after the mods? Would love to put some data on here for your readers!

      2. Oh yeah, I had one more question… I’m fixing some bumper damage and have the front end taken off. While it’s off, would it be important to replace the radiator with an upgrade or is that sort of an unnecessary upgrade? Especially the $1000+ aluminum radiators.

  2. Hey guys I’m new to the 6.7 Diesel as well. I have a ton of questions to ask depending on what all I can find out that my truck has done to it. So I just bought a 2013 6.7 platinum in March of 2022 and it had 7,800 miles on it. So brand new, it’s was a show truck. So it has a mini Maxx tune on it, and sounds like and looks like a complete exhaust upgrade. I really do not know what a stock engine or exhaust looks like which I will Google it and hopefully find some answers, but really my goal here is to get the most out of the truck, I was wanting to delete the emissions part of the truck, not the the egr I don’t think but at least DEFluid etc. I live in Georgia where there is no emissions test for diesels. I just don’t know if it’s been done or what’s been done to this beast. I also do not have or know of an honest mechanic that knows these vehicles and the aftermarket possibilities. So I was hoping I could send you some pics and you let me know what I have going on. The truck has a 12inch lift on it so all the pics should be clear and easy to get to. Thanks guys appreciate your info.

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