Purpose of this Thread:
The purpose of this thread is show what a 6.0L Powerstroke is capable of in a daily driver level build, without excessive debate over individual components and practices. The daily driver builds outlined below all allow for some form of towing, either as they are or as a result of aftermarket tuning restricting fueling of the injectors.
I do not build race trucks, nor am I a mechanic. I own a 6.0L/5R110 setup and found that I have a considerable amount of notes on the subject that other members of the ORG may benefit from. These are not the end-all setups for a particular powerband, but instead a starting point for those who are looking to get the most of their 6.0L.
What I need form other ORG Members:
I will always be looking to improve this thread. As technology advances and breakthroughs are made (for example the recent advancements in 6.0L turbos, and FICM tuning), I will revisit this thread and update it accordingly.
Scope of this Thread:
Limiting this thread to the builds using a single VGT style turbocharger, and aftermarket injectors up to 205cc. Again, these are daily driver builds, which the single VGT turbo lends itself to be reliable. Tuning will be limited in the scope of my discussion to SCT custom files flashed via an SF3 or X3 tuner, and the recent development of FICM tuning.
Do to the various factory strategies and variables of trucks between the years of production between '03-'07, no particular setup will produce the exact same results for every truck. Again this thread's intention is to be a starting point for that 6.0L owner who has a grasp of the motors shortfalls, and bullet-proofing requirements, looking to get to a certain power level.
Furthermore, these builds will be under the concept of Fuel Only. At least until such a point I have collected enough data to justify the application of Nitrous, and Water/Methenol systems to this discussion.
Organization of Builds:
This thread will be broken down first by power level achievable through Electronic Tuning alone. Followed by specific sections focused on a particular Injector size. The reason behind this, is the dependency of matching the injector to your turbocharger. The supporting modifications for any one build are more centered upon the choice of fuel injector than
any other upgrade.
First step in any of these builds will be the installation of a Monitor Package / Gauges that will allow for the owner to prevent the major shortfalls of the 6.0L from becoming major failures. This will also allow the owner to keep an eye on the details of what the major systems under the hood are operating correctly, and what will require service/repair. Before
tuning the following subsystems must be verified:
-Coolant flow through the Oil Cooler, and EGR Cooler
-Fuel Delivery to the Injectors
When the goal will be to break 400RWHP, considerations should be made to the next level of Bullet-Proofing. This may or may not include the installation of Head Studs, or the External Oil Cooler systems, however all Model Year flaws should be addressed, the EGR Cooler should be solved, the the Fuel Pressure Regulator should have the updated spring.
Write Up: Bullet-Proofing the 6.0L PSD.
Studs in my mind are a preventive measure up to around 400RWHP, at which point the tuning is advanced enough to stretch the stock bolts leading to failure. Most tuners have stock bolt level files, which I won't go into much detail about. When you set your goals above 400-425RWHP, you short change your programming, and reliability by not doing a full head stud job. This should include the following:
-Having the head studs themselves installed.
-Use of OEM Head Gaskets.
-Having the Heads themselves taken to a shop to be tested, checked, and ensured flat. Even new OEM replacements have such
a tolerance leaving the factory, that new heads should be checked as well.
-Have the Oil Cooler rebuilt/replaced (you're already this far in the motor), and ensure your EGR solution is holding up.
Base Line - Stock Power Levels:
Stock Programming from Ford is Rated for 325HP/560-570Ft-Lbs at the crank, which depending on the truck and gearing leads to a conservative estimate of 270HP/490Ft-Lbs at the rear wheels. For these discussions I'm only worried about the power put down at the rear wheels.
Breaking 500RWHP Modifications:
There are a number of components on the 6.0L Powerstroke drive train that are commonly taken as "good to 500HP." Though individual builds may address these later, I will take a moment to address a couple of key ones now:
-An aftermarket Cold Air Intake, simply isn't required for builds of this level. The stock Donaldson filter has been proven to 500RWHP, and filters better than anything on the market, maintaining the longevity of the turbocharger and valves.
-An aftermarket intake manifold elbow and cold IC pipe (only applies to '05+ trucks with the plastic IC pipe). These pipes commonly fail under high boost pressure conditions with larger than stock turbos.
-Stock components of the 5R110 Transmission, though this requires that you are using SCT programming, and no shift on the fly. The SCT tuners will actually adjust more parameters of the 5R110 transmission, then they will on the engine itself. The 5R110 is a solenoid-valve centered transmission (vise a valve-body like the 4R100 was). Where as the power handing potential is there, shift on the fly tuners rely on the transmission relearn protocols to adapt to the new power levels each time the power is changed. Each of these adaptations, lead to the possibility of damage from a bad shift, and will overtime shorten the life of your transmission. Written tunes align the transmission's expectations to the new power of the ECM tune, allowing for hundreds of thousands of miles of performance out of the stock internals with routine maintenance. What will need to be upgraded will depend on how far past that 500HP mark you take your build, and how hard you drive it.
-Either the turbocharger or the injectors will require replacement to break this plane of performance. I'll leave the particulars of these choices for the builds listed below.
Cold Air Intakes
There is a lot of debate about the cost-benefit ratio of upgrading the stock air filter and intake assemblies on the 6.0L. The old mindset was that the stock air filter was good to 500RWHP, and for the most part that is still correct. However once you building beyond the limits of electronic programming, you are limiting your gains by the stock box.
507RWHP was put down with 175's and the Powermax turbocharger, it was truck builds similar to this that gave folks the impression that the stock air filter can and will support builds upto that level of power. Depending on your driving evironment, and personal perferances, the stock filter may not be best for your 500RWHP build. Dusty areas, and dirt roads, situations were filtration is more important is were the stock filter surpasses anything on the aftermarket for filtration and protecting your investment.
When you look at the gains of these advanced builds being put together now. 485RWHP on an S&B intake, exhaust, stock injectors, and a Stage 2 turbo, with ECM/FICM tuning. (Only 22HP shy of that 175, Powermax, stock air box, ECM tuning only.) With the investment of a turbo or injectors (between $850-$3600, plus instalation), its pretty clear you are holding your build back with the stock air filter (roughly a $400 upgrade). There are two leading filter systems out there, the first is the S&B intake and the other is from AFE.
When you look at weather your build requires the addition of a cold air intake, look at that filtration to performance balance.
I found one good source on the subject, actually a set of test results from S&B, per ISO 5011 Air Filtration Standard. Great read here, and puts a lot of things into perspective:
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(Will pop-up as a PDF, ignore the page not found)
A couple of key notes with these specific filters:
Capacity of Dirt:
S&B 75-5032 - 170.3
S&B 75-5032D - 136.2
Motorcraft (Stock) - 1304.1 (huge capacity for contaminants)
S&B 75-5032 - 39.16% improvement (on average)
S&B 75-5032D - 35.28% improvement (on average)
Motorcraft (Stock) - Base of this Test
Consider this: It only takes 170.3 grams of contaminants to provide the filter with enough restriction to pull 28"H2O per that test with the S&B 75-5032. That level of contamination is only 13% of the life cycle of the stock unit. Which will hold 1304 grams of contaminates before pulling the same 28"H2O.
I'm gonna keep looking for more of this type of data, from the other competitors. S&B took a good step here backing up the claims with about as solid a test as you can get.
Electronic Programming Only:
Supporting Modification for builds focused on Electronic Programming only:
-A 4" Turbo Back Exhaust, with either a 3.5" or 4" DP, and maintaining the CAT and Muffler as owner and local regulations dictate. The stock exhaust will be sufficient for daily driving, with minimal time is spent at WOT. I ran my files for several weeks with the stock pipes with no adverse effects, other than it didn't take long to reach 1250* EGT's at WOT.
370-400RWHP via tuning:
-Most of the street level programs offered today will fall under this powerband, and be able to tow upwards of 8K on stock head bolts. Street manners are very calm on trucks running this level of power, with smooth shifting of the transmission. Smoke is minimized or non-existent on most of these files.
400-425RWHP via tuning:
-The higher HP performance tunes from the tuners today market their files within this powerband. Towing of any kind is not recommended to to the amount of fueling involved and chance of damageing components / overheating. Depending on the build of these tunes, the transmission shifting may be smooth (street files) or much firmer (race files). Smoke at WOT is not uncommon, however when these files are ran for daily driving smoke is manageable.
Breaking 425RWHP via tuning alone:
-This will require the highest HP files from your tuner, with your goals clearly defined at the time the tune is written. Again, towing of any kind is not recommended. Transmission shifting tends to be firm on these files, as street manners play less of a factor. Smoke will be present with these files, as the tune is typically written to maximise fuel delivery,
which will exceed the supply of air delivered by the stock turbocharger.
-The second phase of this tuning, will effect the FICM. Files are now available in 40HP, 80HP, and 100HP over stock vareties (figures do not stack on top of aftermarket programs). A 80HP or better FICM tune is recommended for those who intend to push electronic tuning to its max. Again this will maximize fuel delivery under programming.
A great thread on the benefits of 58v vs. 48v:
48v vs 58v FICM
Explaination of Aftermarket Injectors:
In regards to aftermarket injectors, what does the 'cc' value and '%' actually refer to?
First is the capacity of the injector spool itself. This value tells you how much fuel it holds, under the pressure of the fuel header. For baseline reference the stock units are around 135cc.
Second number is the percentage that the nozzles are bored over stock. This value is the relative improvement of how quickly that injector would drain the fuel held in its spool.
How do these numbers inter-relate?
Four factors will determine how much fuel will make it into your cylinder. 1) Injector Spool Size, 2) Nozzle Size, 3) Fuel Pressure, 4) Injector Pulse Width. If you have an injector that is stock, running the proper 65psi of pressure, and firing under a pulse width that empties that spool (135cc fuel delivered). Change the injector size, the other three held constant, you will still only deliver that 135cc charge based on fuel passing the same nozzle, pressure and timing (Yes even if running say a 190cc injector with stock nozzles, you will only deliever a stock level of fuel during the same pulsewidth- you will have more power on the low end when RPMs allow a longer PW, but under high RPMs the injector cant stay open long enough to deliver that fuel charge). Change the nozzle size, the other three held constant, and you will run out of fuel in the spool during the cycle. So as that example shows, one has to either match injector capacity with nozzle to allow the same tuning, or adjust tuning to maximize performance. What is done is normally a combination of both.
Here is a rough listing of what the general ratio is of injector capacity to nozzle size.
Stock: 135cc / Stock
Aftermarket: 155cc / 30%
Aftermarket: 175cc / 75%
Aftermarket: 190cc / 100%
Aftermarket: 205cc / 125%
There is one more marketing factor with aftermarket injectors, and thats the number of holes. The stock units, and most aftermarkets are 6 hole which will be more reliable in the long run (as less material is removed during the process). 8 hole injectors are offered by a few manuafacturers, and while the smaller individual hole allows for better atomization of
fuel leaving the nozzle, there is a balance of what is structurally better for the long run. Since this thread is for the daily driver level builds, we will only be looking at the 6 hole injectors.
Regardless of the aftermarket injector and turbo combination you select, tuning should be adjusted to maximize performance.
I'll get into this balance of Air / Fuel / Tuning, after we discuss turbos.
For further discussion, check the following thread:
Explanation of injector CC and nozzle %
Fuel Supply Systems:
As I mentioned these builds focus around the injectors, such as supporting mods are normally biased to the injector level. Fuel System upgrades are vitally important to ensure injector longevity, and performance. With stock or mild injectors the stock fuel system is capable of delivering the required 65psi during WOT. This is something to keep an eye on, however, and the installation of a regulated return system is recommended but not required for 155cc class injectors. Moving into the 175cc and 190cc Injectors, the stock fuel pumps become overburdened. This is where the aftermarket kits like the AirDog 2 start to come into play. Once you make the jump to 205cc injectors or above, you will need to talk directly with your injector supplier for their recommendations to ensure adequate fuel is available for your larger power demands.
HPOP is the other aspect for proper fuel delivery, and Injector Control Pressure is feed by the HPOP. For the builds discussed in this thread, an aftermarket upgrade of the HPOP is not required. Typically, injectors larger than 225cc is when one would start looking at these units, or as an alternative to replacing a stock unit that has failed.
Explanation of Aftermarket Turbochargers:
**Reserved for further discussion about specifics and relationship**
Stock Garrett Turbocharger: 58.0x82mm 0.58AR (10 blade for '03, and 13 blade for '04+)
Garrett Powermax Turbocharger: 63.5x88mm 0.58AR
Stage 1 Mad Turbo Werks: (Durastroke - LLY) 63.5x88mm 0.58AR (blade count dependent on provided turbo)
Stage 1 Mad Turbo Werks: (Durastroke - LBZ) 62.8x88mm 0.58AR (blade count dependent on provided turbo)
Stage 1 Mad Turbo Werks: (New Model) 63.5mmx88mm 0.58AR (13 blade).
Hybrid Mad Turbo Werks: 64.7x88mm 0.58AR (13 blade).
Stage 2 Mad Turbo Werks: 64.7x88mm 0.72AR (blade count dependent on provided turbo)
Stage 3 Mad Turbo Werks: (Under Development) 67.8x94mm .58AR
Stage 4 Mad Turbo Werks: (Under Development) 72.0x94mm .58AR
Elite Diesel Modified Powermax - SSX: 64.7x84mm 0.90AR
Elite Diesel Modified Powermax - HO: 67.8x94mm 0.90AR
Bringing the Three Together
High Performance Diesels are a balance of Air to Fuel ratio and programming. We have all seen those that blow nothing but smoke, it is what has given the diesel enthusiasts a bad reputation, and what tightens the regulations on these trucks with each passing year. Smoke is nothing more than unburt fuel, its not horsepower, its not impressive, and it isn't getting you down the track any faster. Causes of smoke (unburnt fuel): 1) Insufficient Airflow/Boost. 2) Overly Tuned Injectors. 3) Poor Aftermarket Tuning. In reality its all three of those factors that make a truck smoke like a freight train.
How do we maximize the performance of these trucks? By using the advantages in electronic tuning, deliver the right amount of fuel for the turbocharger and injector combination in the specific truck, under the right engine load and boost condition. Its as simple and as complicated as that. It starts with custom aftermarket tunes from a trusted tuner to ensure your trucks strategy, performance modifications, and injector / turbo combination are taken into account and your goals (when realistic) are attained. We are going to get into specifics below of what injector and turbo combinations have been proven.