[quote='05TJLWBRUBY]Excellent post above. Lots of good info there. [/quote]
Thanks Mike for the kind words...it just is experience and seeing first hand what goes on in a diesel repair shop on my days off (I only work 15 days a month...so I have a buttload of time off).
Things that work:
-Injector nozzles. You have the choice between two different style's of nozzles...SAC and VCO. Factory use VCO due to longevity. You can get a really good spray pattern off a VCO nozzle for the improved mileage and power. SAC nozzles don't last as long (150K miles or so), but they smoke less, get crazy power out of them, and are more efficient. The nozzles are not cheap, and you have to set them up properly on a bench so they fire off when they need too. For example, my truck is a 02 CTD HO motor 2500. For VCO nozzles, the pop off pressure is 300 bar, with SAC nozzles the pop off pressure is 280 bar. We try to ballance every injector to pop off within a very close range. It takes a lot of time, but it is worth it in the long run, and I have seen what happens when the "cheap" injectors online fail and fry a motor. Do the research, and this is by far the best bang for your buck mod to improve mileage, driveability, and power safely to a diesel motor. Most dealership techs will not be smart enough to know you have aftermarket injector nozzles installed. The only way they might know is fuel return flow (this would be a crap shoot at best) or remove the injector and count the holes. For trucks that are known for going through injectors...I wouldn't spend the money since the dealer will send the injector off with your aftermarket nozzle and your truck will run like ****. So then you either fess up and void the warranty or have your truck in the shop forever.
It is a little different with a Common Rail diesel truck's. You can feel the power from adding injector nozzles, however you see the best results from a fuel box/ or a fuel/timing box.
Dodge-I have a stock intake box and plan to keep it with a drop in aftermarket filter until I put 400+ HP to the ground. So that will be a long time if ever. I have an aftermarket intake system sitting in my back yard right now collecting dust if that tells you anything.
Chevy-early 01-05 benifit with a aftermarket intake system. After that, the intakes are pretty sufficient for some big HP numbers that people won't be towing with anyway.
Ford-Early models benifit, I have not comment about trucks after 03..since I don't know.
Dodge/chevy/ford- a true 4" mandrel bent exhaust will cover you to 475-500HP. A 5" exhaust will make you loose HP/TQ numbers. It has been proven on many dyno's. Until you are running a HUGE turbo/injectors or compound turbo set up...no need. You will also get a nice loud drone in your cab which is annoying to anyone over the age of 22. Don't even get me started on exhaust stacks.
The newer diesels with the DFP filters...There are several things you can do, but most of them are illegal. If you are in a state that has random checks, I wouldn't even bother messing with it (ie. DFP delete and tuning), the fines are too big for the return.
Yes there is a difference on how they work and how they effect your overall system. Programmers flash your ecm (store your factory one in the downloader, vin locked). I have ran one, you can get some really good numbers and performance out of a downloader, they are just not "on the fly" or easily done on the fly(example EFI live, Smarty, Spartan etc). Most of these downloader’s will let the dealership know you have had something in the system...and will void your warranty. The Smarty (for dodge only) is not really detectable, and you can lie your ass off. Marco, the man that designed the Smarty used to work for DC as a software guru...so he knows the system well.
Chips (Edge, Banks etc) are plugged inline the electrical system and retrieves the factory signal for fueling/timing and sends another signal to trick out the computer. Most of these are programmable "on the fly" like the Edge Juice/ Attitude (this is what I have for several reasons)
Some of the good programmers/chips:
PPE EFI live, Smarty, Spartan, DP Tuner, Edge, Bully dog, Banks, TST Powermax (cr), and a few others I have missed. Just do some research. Join a few diesel sites. Everyone will have an opinion like everyone has an ******* (much like what I am doing).
Some of the one's I would stay away from:
Hypertech (at least on a Dodge). I have been told by several Four Wheel Parts guys that they don't even recommend them due to so many failures and computer issues with them. I would also stay away from any of the "great deal chips" offline. If you know how much it costs to reprogram or buy and reprogram and ECM, you wouldn't even think about it.
Fuels- You can run whatever you want in your truck, but for me...it will come from Texico, conico or something like that. WVO and biodiesel is a good idea if it was regulated more, but it isn't....and it can cost you huge in repairs. To replace a fuel system on a Cummins Common Rail truck, the dealer will charge anywhere from 8-12K dollars. Injectors and install are around 4800.00, Injection pump and install 1500-2K, Lift pump 600.00+ install, and that is if you didn't f-up the motor when an injector nozzle cracks from water (since it doesn't compress and high pressure).
WVO- This can be refined and processed...but my lord if it isn't. Don't get the BTU (British thermal units) content that #1/2 diesel puts out...so you better be getting it cheap.
Biodiesel-This is regulated some, but you better bring some fuel filters with you for the first 3-6 tanks full...it will clean out your fuel system like no other..and clog your filters quick. Our fleet department went to B5-50 depending on what time of year it was to be "environmentally friendly"...holy **** all the trucks didn't want to run, and for the most part, the computers had to be flashed to run this fuel. In the long run, they spent more money on maintenance then they were even close to saving.
Water in your fuel system will kill it quick...so you take the risk if you want too. I had to replace the whole fuel system on my 05 CTD, I was lucky one of my good friends owns a shop and I got everything at cost.
Please don't dump your used motor oil in your tank. I don't care if it is only a quart at a time. This holds true for automatic transmission fluid. These are detergent oils (meant to clean) and will also destroy a fuel system, especially a high pressure one. If you want extra lube in your fuel system if you think the ultra low surfer diesel won't lube your fuel system (********), you can use a non-detergent motor oil, 30W or two cycle oil that is TC-W3 rated (no detergent). You can get these at wal mart for cheap.
If you want some good reading, check out Blue Chip diesel. Chip has been in the industry for years (over 17) and knows fuel systems; he has seen first hand what WVO, bio fuels and water will do to pumps. He also has commented on ULSD and not having the need to run extra lube in the fuel system.
Methanol- This works very well. If you ever get the chance to run in a forced induction vehicle that has the meth kit installed...it is amazing what it can accomplish. This will be one of my mods for sure. You can pick up a good snow kit for under 500.00 and get cooler EGT's and get huge power gains when needed (programmed for certain boost settings). Windshield washer fluid is cheap (-20 degree stuff) and can be found anywhere. You can even buy it in bulk to make it really cheap per gallon.
Propane- Some have good luck, but the cost of propane per pound is pretty expensive. Not cost effective like a meth kit...and propane can explode. You also have to get a large propane tank installed in your truck...that would bring in the suck.
Some other considerations when hopping up a diesel truck:
-on common rail (high pressure fuel systems), when you put a fueling box on, this raises the rail pressure. This is very difficult on factory injector nozzles, and they can crack and leak down/ and or wash out your cylinder wall. This will give you a good excuse to get nozzles or a motor...which neither are cheap.
-Please get gauges to monitor your truck. At a minimum, I would get a pyrometer to keep an eye on your egt's...and make sure you tap off before the turbo to get an accurate reading. If not, whatever your gauge says...add at least 300 degrees to what you are reading. Ford was nice enough to put a boost gauge in there trucks (can't remember when they started that). A trans temp gauge is nice for the dodges, ford and Chevy have them factory in some of the more recent years. A rail pressure gauge is a good idea on Dodge trucks...not sure about Chevy or ford, but I would assume that it would.
I would personally get gauges on a stock truck. My 05 CTD would get hot and I never even knew it. Something to keep in mind.
-You can get away with up to 70hp injectors on a Common rail or 100 hp injectors on a manually fired injector before turbo upgrades are needed. Do some research on when you will need to put head studs in: 45 psi on a CTD...time to spend 450.00 + bottom tap for studs. You can do bursts up to 50psi, but not sustained. 40 psi for duramax..650.00 + bottom tap. I am not really sure on the Ford motors. As many problems I have seen with them...I would leave it stock so your warranty is intact...LOL!