Fuel system mods/maintenance
Fuel system -
Motorcraft primary fuel filter
Motorcraft secondary fuel filter
Motorcraft fuel pressure regulator
Motorcraft updated fuel pressure regulator blue spring kit
Power Service Diesel Kleen during summer months (gray bottle)
Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement during winter months (white bottle)
Motorcraft updated LCF truck HFCM drain plug
FICMRepair.com 2-year premium repair service
Power Hungry Performance Atlas 40 tune
Gauge to monitor fuel pressure
Install updated (?) 6.4 fuel rail banjo bolts (Motorcraft)
Install upgraded FICM (BPD, Swamp's)
Gryphon FICM programmer (PHP)
Install aftermarket metal fuel filter cap (Sinister, BPD)
Install regulated fuel return setup (Sinister)
Install fuel tank sump kit (Sinister)
Install aftermarket fuel air separator (AirDog, FASS)
Install upgraded fuel injectors/nozzles (many different companies)
Everyone on here by now knows the importance of OEM filters, the blue spring kit, the upgraded HFCM drain plug, and using some sort of diesel additive. I myself run Power Service because its readily available, but there's tons of different ones available. As far as the FICM goes many people go to Ed because of his prices, customer service, and excellent work. FICMRepair.com was my choice, and they offer two levels of rebuilt with difference warranty periods. Also, he is able to install PHP tunes at the time of rebuild as well. The recommended tune is the Atlas 40 because it allows the truck to remain flexible between towing and pure power. The Atlas 80 and Hercules are not recommended for trucks that tow and are considered street only tunes.
Now the optional stuff. Swamp and BPD both offer a 53 and 58 volt FICM and some people like the idea, but IMO it's just putting added strain on the system that was designed to run on a 48 volt setup. Ed used to offer these upgrades but found that it generated unnecessary heat and shortened the life of the internal parts. It may cause the injectors to work faster, but to me that also means more injector wear. The 48 volt setup has been shown to work perfect as long as the FICM continues to work as designed plus there's no way to read above 53 volts anyways. BPD has a nice case for their FICM and offers the redundant power supplies, but you have no way to tell if the power supply has failed, so it's just as good as an OEM FICM setup is IMO. The PHP Gryphon FICM programmer is for those who want to be able to cycle between FICM programs and can provide rollbacks as well. If you read down further there is more information posted about using it. The metal fuel cap can be used if you need an auxiliary port but besides that it's just bling and is pricey. The 6.4 banjo bolts seem to be a good upgrade as well since they can flow better than the 6.0 ones and they're cheap, but in research they have shown to prove no difference at all since the 6.0 fuel system is a deadhead setup. Also, some people prefer to keep the check valves that the 6.0 bolts have. The regulated fuel return, upgraded injectors and nozzle, and fuel tank sump kit seem to be more for those guys running an upgraded fuel system as I haven't seen any real reliability or fuel mileage gains from them and an upgraded turbo is highly recommended with them. It seems like a stock fuel system with the blue spring kit and good filters is able to keep up with whatever the stock turbo can do. There is more below about upgraded fuel system parts on a truck that tows.
Did a bit more research concerning injector size. Apparently it just comes down to how closely you want to monitor your EGT's and where you're gonna be towing. From what I've seen the recommended largest injector size if you're going to tow anything heavy is 155cc with a Powermax or similar turbo, but this requires close monitoring of the EGT's, especially when running through hills. My thoughts are to keep the truck as tow and daily driver friendly as possible so that I don't have to stare at the pyrometer and constantly shift it up and down or worry that someone with less experience will melt the truck towing with it.
Also, the price to do upgraded injectors isn't just in the injectors themselves, it involves an upgraded lift pump, regulated return, and turbo to match. All this together gets to be very pricey and it seems if you're not looking to pull a sled or drag race it's not needed. Upgraded injectors are approximately 1500, lift pump is around 700, regulated return is around 700, and Powermax turbo is around 1200. For me the 4100 (or more) dollars isn't worth it as these parts all go hand in hand with each other.
Builds above Electronics Utilizing Stock 135cc/Stock Nozzle Injectors:
Stock Injectors until recently have been considered limited to builds under 450RWHP - That still remains the realistic goal of those drivers not looking to make the change to higher performing injectors. They will however, allow owners who tow heavy (at or near GCWR of their trucks) to do so with little concern for the adverse impact of hotter EGTs and internal temps.
--SCT Race Programming, 135/Stock Injectors, and the Powermax 63.5x88mm
440RWHP - By Dnyo - stock fuel system
--SCT Race Programming, FICM Tuning, 135/Stock Injectors, and the MTW Stage II 64.5x88mm
485RWHP/968Ft-Lbs - by Dyno -stock fuel system (Currently this is the highest numbers I've seen on stock injectors)
--Towing Considerations with Stock Injectors
The only consideration is to have either an appropriate street (under 8-10K load, depending on tune), or designated tow file loaded via the SCT programmer. Depending on aftermarket turbocharger, for example the Durastroke, reverting to stock Ford Programming is also an option. Towing should be avoided with any high performance program, or FICM tuning above 40HP.
That's probably plenty enough for most people when you're not towing. The Powermax numbers would be slightly higher with a FICM tune as well I'm sure. Now, here's where it starts to get a bit scary when dealing with injector sizing...
Builds Utilizing 155cc/35% or 50% Nozzle Injectors:
155cc Injectors are classified the limit for those who will still use their trucks to tow heavy on a routine basis and are not chasing a higher HP goal. With the right combination of tuning 450RWHP is very achievable. These injectors can produce 500RWHP realistically with supporting modifications.
--Supporting Modifications for 155cc Injector Builds
Regulated fuel return, or complete fuel system depending on power goals.
Cold Air Intake, should you be going after the 500RWHP mark on these injectors.
Transmission issues may develop when pushing 500RWHP, depending on driving habits the 5R110 may not require immediate
--Towing Considerations with 155cc Injectors
Concern here lays in towing heavy at altitude, it would be recommended for those who pursue this course and tow heavy to talk with their tune writer to determine how much fuel will be pulled via tuning. The same guidance applies with regard to street and high performance tunes as they do with stock injectors.
Based upon what I've read and my plans for the truck to keep things completely flexible I'll be staying on a stock sized injector. As stated above I don't really have the want to build the fuel system (very pricey) or upgrade the turbo (slightly pricey) at this point simply to chase more power while not towing. My thoughts are that if you can't use the extra power when towing and you're not sled pulling or drag racing it's a lot of money spent for little gain. Also, there's no fuel economy or reliability gains to be had out of the regulated return, upgraded lift pump, fuel tank sump kit, injectors, or HPOP upgrades and having to be extremely mindful of the pyrometer kind of ruins the fun in driving the truck.
I had finally decided that I would prefer to keep the truck more flexible for towing (hey, it was made for that, right?) rather than simply shoot for more power (and problems, generally). I had settled on the SCT SF3 tuner as it easily seemed to be the best bet as far as PCM/TCM programming and can be loaded with custom tuning as well. I have not decided on a custom tuner yet, but I needed the tuner to defeat the EGR function while the truck is getting bulletproofed, plus it's useful for many other things as well. Those of you who don't already have a way to monitor engine vitals may lean more towards the TSX or Livewire as they offer real time data, but I've already got Torque setup on my phone, so I'm set. The canned tunes offer a lot and will be plenty for most people and retain all of the flexibility of the truck as far as wanting to tow, race, or just normal street driving. SCT is easily the most popular option and its priced well too.
During the truck rebuild I found that my FICM was dying and I've got 2 injectors down, so I had to decide what route to go on those as well. This was the time I began looking into FICM tunes, and found that PHP offered the Gryphon FICM tuner which would allow you use swap between any of their 4 tunes. Also, I found that using this device would also allow PCM/TCM rollbacks to earlier strategies. Ed offers a single FICM tune for 150 dollars, and the Gryphon tuner is 400 dollars + an additional 75 dollars to perform a rollback. Now, I needed to figure out if the Gryphon tuner was going to be worth the extra as we're talking a 325 dollar difference at that point.
Everyone knows that certain strategies are terrible, but others are good. It's regarded that the earlier tunes are good, and the later ones bad. Now, from what I have read, the only downsides to the latest tune (VXCF9) for the 05-07 trucks is the reduced fuel mileage and power, but the turbo vane sweep and the mild induction heating as well as the excellent cold weather starting are very nice. Some people like to rollback to the earlier strategy to gain the power and economy back, but it seems a moot point with the SCT as you gain the power and mileage back when you re-tune, especially when using custom tunes as the base strategy is nearly completely re-written minus the additional "features." Knowing with the SCT tuner and custom tunes I would be able to essentially set the PCM/TCM up in any way I wanted to I decided a rollback wasn't going to be worth it.
So, I was now in a dilemma. Do I get the Gryphon tuner for the 4 FICM tunes or just pick one? Easily the biggest thing I used to narrow it down was the fact that overlapping a FICM tune and PCM tune only returns about 25% of the FICM tune's power. This means that even with the Hercules (highest tune for the FICM) you're only talking a 15 HP difference between it an the Atlas 40 (most recommended tune). They use the same strategies, just that one creates more power than the other. If you were to use just the Atlas 40 you would gain power, be able to tow heavy (as long as you had a 4" exhaust), and gain fuel economy. If you wanted to switch the to Hercules or Atlas 80 you would gain ~15 HP but wouldn't be able to tow heavy with them. This was the point I decided that I'd just pocket the 325 dollars and save it for custom tunes and other things and just go with the Atlas 40.
I hope this helps out anyone who is confused by all the options out there. Obviously my situation may be different from yours and you may simply use the truck just for fun in which case you have a lot more options out there as far as injectors and tunes go. But for a truck that's going to tow heavy and wants to gain a bit of power, fuel mileage, and only trade a small amount of driveability it seems the SCT Tuner and Atlas 40 seems to be the way to go.
Here's what my list currently looks like:
Perform fuel pressure test
Motorcraft updated LCF truck HFCM drain plug (87,014)
Power Service Diesel Kleen during summer months
Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement during winter months
Motorcraft primary fuel filter (includes seal) (85,923)
Motorcraft secondary fuel filter (includes seal) (85,923)
Motorcraft fuel pressure regulator cover (77,643)
Motorcraft updated fuel pressure regulator blue spring kit (77,643)
Motorcraft cylinder 4 remanufactured fuel injector (includes seals) (89,717)
Motorcraft cylinder 7 remanufactured fuel injector (includes seals) (89,717)
Motorcraft cylinder 8 remanufactured fuel injector (includes seals) (89,717)
FICMRepair.com premium 2-year warranty FICM repair service (89,717)
Power Hungry Performance Atlas 40 FICM tune (89,717)