Except for what is in this thread your truck is pretty stock? The chip in general will up the trannies line pressure to try and compensate for added power that the motor is going to be putting out. You'll generally be safe if you at least wait for the truck to shift into 2nd before romping on it and let up on the pedal between shifts. Since you are starting early with looking at a chip I would recommend the one from Tony Wildman (Cary at CT_Performance is a dealer and is faster on the delivery then calling TW in Texas. PM him with questions). IIRC the TW chip is the only one with free reburns right now and you will like that as you can reburn your chip for each upgrade you make on your truck for nothing but shipping.
Removing the Cat.? Depends on your state and local provence. In general the EPA and the DOT both say that removing any emissions equipment from any vehicle is illegal. Here in L.A. County only diesels newer than '98 are smog tested so I removed all my emissions crap as they will never see it. Places like Colorado that test every vehicle every year this wouldn't work per se but if you hollow out your Cat's housing then they would never know without taking it off and looking into it. BTW, here in So. Cal. the test is only "stab the throttle and count the seconds till the smoke clears". Since it is the smog stations opinion to what "smoke clears" means that just furthers the local opinion that the test is a joke. Only a fool would go to be tested on a calm day.
Last question, not particles as in a solid state of matter (ash). The Cat is designed to restrict the exhaust path for the purpose of creating heat. The desired heat is in the 2000* range. The effect of the high temperature is that as the CO2 and CO that are traveling down the pipe will enter this high temp zone and split into their base elements (C+O+O and C+O). As the base elements move on down the chamber and start to cool they start to bond with the other elements that are already present in the pipe from combustion (H, N, O to create H2O, NO, NO2). Since the Oxygen from the CO and CO2 is now mated to the Hydrogen and Nitrogen then the Cat has done its' job of reducing CO and CO2. It was then discovered that NO2(and 3 and 4 this is why it is simply referred to as NOx) are just as dangerous to the environment as CO2 (in fact "Smog" creating compounds are any compounds that are lighter than air and are at least 3 base elements). The issue was with the Cat was getting so hot that it made the NOx. Now they use either Platinum OR Palladium(whichever is cheaper at the moment of manufacture) enriched ceramic honeycomb. The radioactive enrichment of the ceramic material allowed the Cat to not get as hot, flow more "air" through it, and reduce the NOx that was created.
Last edited by BigFuel; 11-14-2012 at 08:53 AM.