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Old 08-02-2015, 07:28 PM   #1
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Need some power programmer help

Hi everyone-
I am new to the TT world but not new to towing (had boats most of my life); that being said, our new 5er required a bigger truck so I am now operating my first ever diesel. We opted to go 1ton dually so I bought a 2003 Chevy Silverado 3500 dually with the 6.6L Duramax and 5 speed allison. Our coach is a 2015 Prime Time Crusader 370 BHQ which measures 40'5" and weighs in at about 14k loaded. Truck is stock other than removing the muffler and injectors were just replaced. We just came back from our first trip out with the 5er and everything went great but going up a hill was a struggle. Truck did alright but it was tougher than I like. Im thinking of adding a power programmer to squeeze some more torque out of this thing but have no clue what to get. Im not trying to make a hotrod, just want the truck to power up the hills better pulling this load. I will open up the exhaust to 4" as well, but I definitely need direction on what to do to the motor. Oh, also has a volant cold air intake, so scratch that off the list
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:17 PM   #2
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You've got a good air system, and that's good. A 4" exhaust is another great addition.

But do you have a pyrometer, boost gauge and tranny temp gauge? That's your next step. A tuner won't do you any good if you hit z mountain fozc and turbo temps. go over 1250 degrees--a engine meltdown. Or, if your Allison tranny burns up--going too fast for too long.

I put a TruKool auxiliary transmission cooler on my PowerStroke for $150. It's the cheapest insurance anyone can ever make.

I went to D-P Tuner in Houston, GA for a 60 hp tow and a 80 hp econo tuner. Theirs also includes the John Wood transmission program that's one of the best available. Jody is one of the premier diesel tuners anywhere, and I've been running one for 10 years with great luck. My 7.3 PowerStroke is not as strong as your Duramax stock, but it's got plenty of towing power.
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Old 08-03-2015, 06:17 AM   #3
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google Silverado Forums and you can find a wealth of information there.

I went with the Diablo Intune for my gasser, and one of the pre-loaded programs woke up the beast. But, there is a guy on those silverado forums that will take your info on your truck and design a custom program. From what I hear, he is a master at it.

After seeing the performance gains, I will never again live with a truck and the OEM setup.
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Old 08-03-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
You've got a good air system, and that's good. A 4" exhaust is another great addition.

But do you have a pyrometer, boost gauge and tranny temp gauge? That's your next step. A tuner won't do you any good if you hit z mountain fozc and turbo temps. go over 1250 degrees--a engine meltdown. Or, if your Allison tranny burns up--going too fast for too long.

I put a TruKool auxiliary transmission cooler on my PowerStroke for $150. It's the cheapest insurance anyone can ever make.

I went to D-P Tuner in Houston, GA for a 60 hp tow and a 80 hp econo tuner. Theirs also includes the John Wood transmission program that's one of the best available. Jody is one of the premier diesel tuners anywhere, and I've been running one for 10 years with great luck. My 7.3 PowerStroke is not as strong as your Duramax stock, but it's got plenty of towing power.
What are you pulling with your truck?

Answers on mine: it has a stock tranny temp gauge but no pyro or boost gauge. I was hoping to get around that but as I keep hearing it, sounds like it will be necessary. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:33 AM   #5
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millhouse961,
As an owner of an '03 3500, I will tell you point blank that if you add power, you will need a pyrometer. At the exhaust manifold the duramax can hold 1350* safely for a few minutes, also the stock turbo can't hold over 30psi of boost. I run a 65HP tow tune and I have limped the Allison pulling hills in OD (not a good thing). If I watch when pulling the hill in overdrive and downshift out of OD at a certain point, then everything is fine. I am not telling you not to add the a tuner, but it does cause other problems and you have to drive a little different. My 5er runs over 16,000#.
Frank
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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millhouse961,
As an owner of an '03 3500, I will tell you point blank that if you add power, you will need a pyrometer. At the exhaust manifold the duramax can hold 1350* safely for a few minutes, also the stock turbo can't hold over 30psi of boost. I run a 65HP tow tune and I have limped the Allison pulling hills in OD (not a good thing). If I watch when pulling the hill in overdrive and downshift out of OD at a certain point, then everything is fine. I am not telling you not to add the a tuner, but it does cause other problems and you have to drive a little different. My 5er runs over 16,000#.
Frank
This is great info, thank you. What tuner do you use? I am looking at a hypertech that is supposed to have all the various monitoring, so will this suffice for exhaust temp or do I need to do something additional? Also, on the hills, how do you know when to downshift?
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:00 PM   #7
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Been using Hypertech for 8 years and it delivers great power while truck is still stock. I have been towing in level 2 all over the States as far west as Arizona. Here for the summer months in NB Canada I set it on !evel 3 for great unloaded fuel economy.
Had pyro for 4 years and the cable broke and never saw any alarming temperature.
I do use the ScangaugeII to give me any increasing numbers while towing and protect my truck accordingly. For me I will always tow with the Hypertech with added confidences that the truck will do well.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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Millhouse961,
I have the Dr. Performance Predator, they are out of business, so finding a good one might be a problem. I don't know much about the hypertech, so I can't help you there, but don't go by someone using it on a Ford or Dodge because these newer diesels each have their own idiosyncrasies so you have to be careful to get the best one for a duramax. As far as the gauges go, if it has the pyro probe that is installed into the exhaust manifold then it will work, if not then you will need a seperate pyrometer. I watch my boost gauge and when it gets near 20psi that is when I downshift, I do this by just pushing the accelerator a little further to the floor. And with a tune on pulling that much weight, you do have to watch your pyro, it will approach 1350*, I try not to go above 1300* with mine, I usually just let up on the pedal slightly and the EGT will level off. Also, If the transmission starts hunting (shifting in and out of OD) I will lock out the OD unit I reach the top of the hill.
Hope that this helps you.
Frank
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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Millhouse961,
I have the Dr. Performance Predator, they are out of business, so finding a good one might be a problem. I don't know much about the hypertech, so I can't help you there, but don't go by someone using it on a Ford or Dodge because these newer diesels each have their own idiosyncrasies so you have to be careful to get the best one for a duramax. As far as the gauges go, if it has the pyro probe that is installed into the exhaust manifold then it will work, if not then you will need a seperate pyrometer. I watch my boost gauge and when it gets near 20psi that is when I downshift, I do this by just pushing the accelerator a little further to the floor. And with a tune on pulling that much weight, you do have to watch your pyro, it will approach 1350*, I try not to go above 1300* with mine, I usually just let up on the pedal slightly and the EGT will level off. Also, If the transmission starts hunting (shifting in and out of OD) I will lock out the OD unit I reach the top of the hill.
Hope that this helps you.
Frank
Thanks Frank, this is great. I met with my local Diesel guy yesterday and talked at length; he's super knowledgable and an all around good guy. Current plan of action is the Hypertech system which has a full display showing all needed measurements (exhaust temp, boost, etc), Gibson 4" exhaust (looking at cat back and a second option for cat delete of not too expensive), and an auxiliary tranny cooler. I asked about the need for an additional tranny cooler over stock and he was telling me if you can keep that temp under 200, preferably no more than 150, the tranny will last forever. With the additional cooler he assured me this will be no problem. Waiting on a call this morning to get the final price on everything then will get to it. Nice to see the improved MPG with the tuner too, around town Im only getting 12 and pulling the coach was 9-10, so I vastly look forward to seeing those numbers improve.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:52 AM   #10
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Most of the serious players w/Duramax's use EFI live tuning. It's custom, not something generic out of the box for a bunch of engines. It can be tweaked to your needs and wants, and be much safer.
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millhouse961 View Post
Hi everyone-
I am new to the TT world but not new to towing (had boats most of my life); that being said, our new 5er required a bigger truck so I am now operating my first ever diesel. We opted to go 1ton dually so I bought a 2003 Chevy Silverado 3500 dually with the 6.6L Duramax and 5 speed allison. Our coach is a 2015 Prime Time Crusader 370 BHQ which measures 40'5" and weighs in at about 14k loaded. Truck is stock other than removing the muffler and injectors were just replaced. We just came back from our first trip out with the 5er and everything went great but going up a hill was a struggle. Truck did alright but it was tougher than I like. Im thinking of adding a power programmer to squeeze some more torque out of this thing but have no clue what to get. Im not trying to make a hotrod, just want the truck to power up the hills better pulling this load. I will open up the exhaust to 4" as well, but I definitely need direction on what to do to the motor. Oh, also has a volant cold air intake, so scratch that off the list
Millhouse,

I will echo what many have already said. A complete 4" exhaust and turbo down pipe are good insurance against high egt's, you will also want to add a Fass or an AirDog lift pump system, in addition to the egt probe that others have suggested. Yes these are expensive but please consider them the foundation for many years of great towing and insurance against continuous injector replacements.

If possible try to avoid the box programmers, they tend to be one size fits all however many have had good success with various brands. EFI Live is the benchmark in Duramax tuning software and should be considered as the best choice. Tuning should be done by a professional like Danville performance or Kennedy diesel for example.

The LB 7 Duramax was my first diesel, served me well. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:49 PM   #12
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Adding power with a programmer will add heat... You don't have the beefed up internals of the LBZ motor (06-07)... I fear you will reach max EGT's before you are able to really utilize the increase power.

If you are dead set on adding power over stock, get a good EFI live tune. Hypertech makes chips for gassers, not modern diesels is my opinion. Getting full gauges is critical... EGT, a real Trans gauge, boost gauge...

I would also not assume that adding an additional cooler will save the trans... Increase power will slip clutches and cause problems, even for the mighty Allison.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:55 PM   #13
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Just realized the hypertech programmer I have been looking at is not CA legal; anyone have issued with this?
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Old 08-05-2015, 11:42 PM   #14
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If youre talking about a hypertech max enengy you plug it into the OBDII port, install the program and unplug it, thus leaving no visual evidence you're running a program. Ive used this programmer for over a year and it does what they say it will do. The programmed 07 duramax pulls better than stock and increased my towing mileage from 10.5 to 12mpg.
The "trick" to towing with the duramax in keep your RPMs in the 2,200 to 2,500 range when pulling a grade. I've never saw EGTs over 1,200 towing a 10,000 lb trailer but I'd recommend getting an EGT gauge.
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