Best Ford 6.7L Power Stroke Engine Performance Mods
6.7L Power Stroke Bolt-On Engine Mods
Ford’s turbodiesel 6.7L Power Stroke V8 is already an impressive engine from the factory. Early models come in at 400 horsepower and 800 torque following the software update. 6.7 Power Stroke performance only improved throughout the years. 2020 Power Stroke’s now make an insane 1050 torque. However, all these numbers may not be enough for some 6.7L turbodiesel owners. In this guide, we will discuss the best 6.7L Power Stroke mods to take your Ford to the next level.
Ford 6.7L Turbodiesel Horsepower
Before we dive into the actual mods it’s a good time to lay out the basics. The 6.7 Power Stroke 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 Power Stroke 6.7L: 400 horsepower / 800 torque
- 2015-2016 Power Stroke 6.7L: 440 horsepower / 860 torque
- 2017 Power Stroke 6.7L: 440 horsepower / 925 torque
- 2018-2019 Power Stroke 6.7L: 450 horsepower / 935 torque
- 2020+ Power Stroke 6.7L: 475 horsepower / 1,050 torque
In 2015, Ford began using a larger turbo in the 6.7L engine alongside a few other updates. The engine went through more updates for 2020. Power differences in 2015-2019 models is primarily attributed to software updates. We’re simply highlighting that not all 6.7L Power Stroke engines are the same. They’re all very capable with a few engine mods. However, don’t expect the early 2011-2014 engines to make the same kind of power as 2020 models, for example. They can get there but it will take some extra money and mods.
Best 6.7L Power Stroke Engine Mods
A few of the best bolt-on engine mods for Ford’s 6.7 Powerstroke include:
- Tunes (SCT X4)
- Turbo upgrades
- Cold side charge pipes
Below we’ll dive into each of these mods and discuss the benefits and cost of each. Before we move on it’s important to note a few quick things. The 2011-2014 Power Stroke 6.7L uses an older fuel pump. 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+ Ford Power Stroke 6.7L is 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 Power Stroke.
1) Ford Power Stroke 6.7L Tunes
Tunes are first on the list for good reason. They’re the building blocks to unleashing more power and torque on the Power Stroke 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 that’s dialed into your 6.7L Power Stroke specifically.
SCT X4 Power Stroke Flash Tuner
The SCT X4 is by far the most popular tuner for the 6.7L Ford 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 their turbodiesel Power Stroke. The SCT X4 also comes with excellent features including:
- Built in Wifi
- Data logging
- Clearing DTCs
- Holds up to 10 custom tunes
- Full color display
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.
6.7L Power Stroke 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 6.7L Power Stroke tunes are something to consider if you’re looking for a bit more power.
6.7 Power Stroke Tune Power Gains
Tunes allow quite a bit of flexibility. On a stock 6.7L Power Stroke 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) 6.7L Power Stroke Intake Upgrades
We’ll move through this section a bit quicker. There are tons of 6.7L Power Stroke intakes to choose from. They all accomplish roughly the same goal. We also wrote a post about 6.7L Power Stroke intake upgrades here. 6.7 PowerStroke intake upgrades offer gains around 5-10hp and 20-30tq. It may not sound like a lot compared to the previously discussed 6.7L tunes.
However, intakes still offer solid performance for the price. Most cold air or performance intakes come in under $400 and are easy to install. They’ll also help with efficiency and free up some awesome turbo and induction sounds.
Performance Intake vs Air Filter
To cut straight to it – a performance intake is the better mod. A full intake system replaces the stock airbox and filter with larger, more efficient designs. A drop in air filter is a simple mod and costs quite a bit less. However, the performance gains of an air filter are less than a full intake system. If you just want a tiny bit more then an air filter may be a good 6.7L Power Stroke engine mod for the price. Those looking for power above all else should definitely opt for a full intake. S&B Filters, K&N, and GDP Tuning all have some excellent options.
3) Ford Power Stroke Exhaust Mods
Exhaust mods are another excellent, inexpensive mod for the 6.7L turbodiesel Power Stroke engine. The downpipe, specifically, is one of the biggest exhaust components for power gains. Downpipes bolt-on directly to the 6.7 turbo. Exhaust has diminishing gains the further back you move from the turbocharger. In other words, 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 Power Stroke 6.7 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 a 6.7L Power Stroke exhaust system without any mufflers. However, it may be too loud for some. Lastly, you’ll run into 4″ and 5″ exhaust options for the PowerStroke 6.7. 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.
6.7L Power Stroke 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 6.7L Power Stroke’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) 6.7L Power Stroke 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 Power Stroke’s since they’re too small and are being run outside the efficiency range.
2011-2014 Power Stroke Upgrade to 2015+ Turbo
One popular mod is converting to the same turbo found on the 2015+ 6.7L turbodiesel 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 Power Stroke 6.7L 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) Ford 6.7L Turbodiesel 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 6.7L Power Stroke. 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. This option from H&S Motorsports is a great choice for the 6.7L Power Stroke. In summary, this engine mod isn’t completely required nor does it offer big performance gains. We still believe it’s an excellent mod to have; especially if you’re shooting for 500+ horsepower on the 6.7L engine.
Power Stroke 6.7L Bolt-On Mods Summary
The 6.7 Power Stroke is an awesome engine from the factory. Performance figures are already pretty impressive, but it’s just not enough for some. Fortunately, the Ford 6.7L turbodiesel responds well to performance engine mods. 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 Power Stroke engines may need to look to turbo upgrades to achieve the same performance as 2015+ models.
That’s really all there is to it. Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke is a great engine to mod and get some extra power out of. The mods are all pretty basic bolt-on parts. There are ways to go a lot deeper, but we suspect most will be happy with 500-600whp. We certainly would be.
What’s your experience with 6.7L Power Stroke mods? Or which are you considering?
Drop a comment and let us know!