Tunes are one of the best performance modifications you can make on your 6.7 Powerstroke. In our 5 best 6.7 Powerstroke mods guide, we list tuners as the best and first modification we recommend. Flash tunes are an essential component to unleashing significant power gains out of your diesel.
There are a lot of different tuning options from off-the-shelf flash tunes to custom tunes to dyno tuning, etc. Whether you are just looking to add an extra 50rwhp or trying to build a 700rwhp monster, flash tuners are an important modification.
With 440hp and 925lb-ft. of torque from the factory, the 6.7 Powerstroke is completely capable of doing just about anything you need it to do without modifications. However, outside of being able to add 80+rwhp and 100+wtq, tuners are also great at improving engine efficiency and gas mileage. With preloaded tunes for light and heavy towing, fuel efficiency, and performance, tuners are valuable modifications even for those not looking for tons of extra power.
6.7 Powerstroke Tuner Benefits
- Up to 120+whp gains
- Up to 150+wtq gains
- Improved gas mileage
- Better towing
- Quicker throttle response
- Diagnostics / code reading
Powerstroke Tuning Basics
Tuners are probably the most common and popular performance upgrades across all Powerstroke and diesel engines. As shown above, tuners can unlock significant power gains as well as help in various functional situations like towing.
Tuners essentially re-write, or re-flash, the parameters and variables of the PCM, or the engines computer. The majority of the power gains come from increase the boost, or psi, of the turbocharger. In addition to this they also alter ignition timing, air to fuel ratios, fueling, and various other factors to optimize engine efficiency in conjunction with the increased boost.
While the primary gains come from the increased boost, these other parameters are altered to improve reliability and efficiency of the engine.
Flash Tuners vs. Piggyback Tuners
There are a few different 6.7 Powerstroke tuning options. We are going to cover custom tuning next, but for now let’s stick with tuning devices. There are two different types of 6.7 Powerstroke tuners: flash tuners and piggyback tuners.
Flash tunes re-write the factory PCM tune. It actually changes the fueling, timing, etc. parameters in the PCM. This allows for very precise tuning control and gives more flexibility in altering and adjusting a tune to work best with your specific vehicle. It’s called a flash tuner because it allows you to “flash” or load different tunes into your PCM. All flash tuners will come with 5-10 pre-made tunes that you can flash into your PCM right away.
Piggyback tunes don’t actually re-write the factory PCM parameters. They instead manipulate certain signals and data parameters to essentially trick the PCM. Piggyback tunes also come pre-built with various maps. The primary difference between flash and piggyback is that piggyback tuners cannot be adjusted, ie. you can’t do custom tuning with them.
We recommend flash tuners for the 6.7 Powerstroke. The majority on the market are flash tuners but there are a few like the Banks Derringer, aFe Scorcher, and a few others that are piggyback tuners. We recommend flash tuners because they are more precise and offer the ability for custom tuning. They are also a lot easier to remove in case you need to take your truck to a dealer and don’t want them to know you are tuned.
6.7 Powerstroke Flash Tuners vs. Custom Tuning
Flash tuners are all plug-and-play. Each one of them will have a number of pre-built tunes that you can load into the car right when you get the device. This is what we recommend for the majority of 6.7 Powerstroke drivers. However, one of the benefits of flash tuners is that you can load other tunes into them. This means you can get your truck custom tuned and have those custom tunes loaded into the handheld flash tuner device.
To get custom tuning you will need to have a flash tuning device. There are some exceptions with live dyno-tuning but we’re going to ignore those. So regardless of whether you want to get custom tuning done or just have a plug-and-play device, you’ll need a flash tuner.
Custom tuning is great for anyone that is heavily modified and chasing certain power levels. Each engine runs differently and the pre-built tunes that comes in these devices aren’t necessarily the best for every application. For example, if you are running an upgraded turbo, larger injectors, and so on.
Our general advice is that custom tuning is recommended once you upgrade your turbo, or if you are pushing your stock turbo to the limit. For the majority of Powerstroke owners just looking for a little extra power, the pre-built tunes are perfect and all you need. And you need one for custom tuning anyways, so start with the pre-built tunes and go from there. If you want more power or your truck just doesn’t feel right then you can opt for custom tuning.
The majority of custom tuners can tune based on all the major brand devices like SCT, Bully Dog, Edge, and EZ Lynk.
Best 6.7 Powerstroke Flash Tuners
As mentioned above, we prefer flash tuners. They are more precise, more flexible, and capable of custom tuning. Therefore, all of our favorite tuners we recommend for the 6.7 Powerstroke are handheld flash tuners.
The majority of these tuners are virtually the same, to be honest. They are all flash devices, they all have a handful of pre-built maps on them, they are all custom tuning capable, and they are all easy to use handheld devices. Therefore, our recommendations are personal preference. The best brands on the market are SCT, Edge, Bully Dog, and EZ Lynk. There are a few other reputable ones like H&S and Banks.
Overall, if you just want some solid power gains then any flash tuner will suffice. But, these are our favorites for factors we’ll discuss below.
1) 6.7 Powerstroke SCT X4 Tuner
SCT is probably the most popular tuner on the market. Virtually every custom tuner supports it and you can find them all over the place. SCT is our favorite since it’s one of the most simple tuners on the market and therefore offers the best bang-for-the-buck. The handheld device isn’t fancy but it offers everything you need from built-in wifi, data logging, trouble code clearing, and so on.
It does have a fully display to monitor boost, intake temps, and so on. The device is capable of holding up to 10 custom tunes. It allows for user adjustment for various mods such as intakes, exhaust systems, and so on.
At about $350 this is our favorite option on the market. It offers all the functionality you need in a tuner in an affordable package. Again, the device itself isn’t as fancy as the Edge device we’ll discuss below but there is a reason this is the most popular device on the market. It does everything you need it to do at the best price point on the market.
Buy Here: SCT X4 6.7 Powerstroke Tuner
2) Edge CTS3 Evolution 6.7 Powerstroke
Similar to SCT, Edge is one of the most popular Powerstroke tuner brands on the market. Their CTS3 tuner offers the same functionality as the SCT X4 does but comes with a fancy 5″ touchscreen. The touchscreen also serves as a monitor you can attach to your dash to view all vital readings like intake temps, boost, etc.
Edge is slightly more complicated – you’ll also notice they have an Edge CTS3 Insight which is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Evolution. The Edge Insight is purely a monitoring device. It does not have any tunes built into it and is not capable of holding tunes and flashing. If you want tuning, you will need the Edge Evolution CTS3 which is about $700.
This device comes in behind the SCT X4 simply because of price. If you want a more fancy display and some other cool features like quarter mile times and so on then this is a great product. However, from a tuning perspective it does the exact same thing as the X4 but is about twice the price. You can build custom monitoring dashboards and so on.
Overall, the CTS3 Evolution is a great tuner for anyone that wants more monitoring capabilities and a fancy looking touchscreen device. Just keep in mind the cheaper Insight device is monitoring only. A lot of these other unknowledgeable diesel sites on the internet list the Insight as one of the top tuners, and it is in fact not a tuner.
Buy Here: 6.7 Powerstroke Edge CTS3 Evolution
3) Bully Dog BDX & GT
Bully Dog offers two tuner options for the 6.7 Powerstroke. The BDX is a handheld device similar to the SCT X4 that comes in at $419. It doesn’t have the fancy big screen for monitoring but does everything you need it to from a tuning perspective. Next is the GT which has the larger display, although is not touchscreen like the Edge CTS3 is.
The downside to the Bully Dog GT is that it is not compatible with custom tuning. If you want the option for custom tuning you’ll need to get the BDX tuner from them. Outside of this, these tuners do just about the same thing all the other ones do, and Bully Dog is a reputable name with a solid price point.
Price: $419 (BDX) and $449 (GT)
Best Tuner for Deleted 6.7 Powerstrokes
SCT, Edge, and Bully Dog are all large companies that comply with the law. Therefore, none of these tuners are capable of handling EGR or DPF deleted 6.7 Powerstroke’s. Therefore, if you have a deleted truck or plan on deleting it you will need to get a custom tune.
H&S Mini Maxx is a popular tuner that still offers EGR and DPF delete tunes off of the shelf. Their device is $650 and doesn’t require custom tuning for deletes. The EPA is hitting these companies hard so who knows for how much longer they will be offering tunes pre-built for deleted Powerstrokes.
If you don’t want to deal with custom tuning and are deleted then the H&S tuner is the best option on the market.
6.7 Powerstroke Tuner Summary
A tuner is hands down the best performance mod for the 6.7 Powerstroke. Simple handheld plug-and-play tuners can add over 100whp and torque with pre-built maps. Just plug them in, flash the tune you want into the PCM and there you have it.
There are dozens of options on the market. The majority of tuners available are flash tuners, but there are also a handful of piggyback tuners out there. We generally always recommend flash tuners since they are more precise and offer the ability for custom tuning. Piggyback tuners aren’t custom tuning compatible and are more difficult to uninstall.
The SCT X4 is our favorite tuner on the market. It offers everything you need from a tuning and monitoring perspective. Since it comes in a pretty basic design it is super affordable at $350. If you want something with a more fancy display that has more monitoring options then we recommend the Edge CTS3 Evolution. Bully Dog creates great products as well and has a few tuners, but they come in last on our list due to price and functionality. If you need pre-built DPF and EGR delete tunes then H&S Mini Maxx is the way to go.
What tuner are you running on your 6.7 Powerstroke?