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DP Tuner in E350 Van - Review
I have a '99 E350 12 passenger van with 7.3 powerstroke. It is 100% stock besides the chip. Got and installed an F5 16 Position Chip from DP Tuner in early June 2012. A 1300 RPM high idle, 60 Hp Econo, and 60 Hp Towing, as well as Stock. Been using it for 5 months/nearly 10k miles now so here is my review.
Power – Drastic improvement! Went from 16-17 sec 0-60 (Yea, I know :-P It had a lot of lag time waiting for the turbo to wind up.) down to 10-11 sec in the tow setting and 14-15 in the econo. I haven't really used the tow setting much yet on the road so I can't say how it handles with a heavy load - only that it left my poor sister in a cloud of flying gravel and black smoke the first time I tried putting my foot into it : ) The econo setting has better acceleration all around, especially kicking it up to pass at cruising speeds without having to downshift. Cruising at 60 it will shoot right up to 75-80 in nothing flat.
Fuel Economy – Also good improvements. This was the primary reason I got this in the first place and although I was a little unsure at first I am now a believer. I commute with this van and 8-10 passengers over 250 miles a week; about 75% highway at 60. We also end up going on a couple of 1-2k mile road trips/year also. Almost always (80%) the same driver and always set the cruise dead at 60 when on the highway. The first month or more it was all over the map mileage wise, now I'm wondering if it just took that long to relearn all the computer stuff.
Before the chip I was pretty consistently getting 16-16.5 mpg, never much more than that. I checked the mileage the right way (top off tank and reset the odometer) but I didn't keep all of my records!! I had just been checking for my own interest but now I wish I had kept them all for the sake of this review. To begin with I would get as much as 19.5 mpg from one tank and back down to 16 on the next one with no apparent reason. It has now evened out at 18-20 fairly consistently. I consider an average of nearly 20% gain pretty good.
Here are a few I did have saved in my phone.
7/2/12 - 18.8 mpg One of the better of the initial readings from commuting.
7/16/12 - 17.9 mpg This is from a 1,200 mile road trip from Vancouver, WA to central Idaho, all highway mostly @ 65-75 mph.
7/16/12 tank #2 - 19.7 mpg Also coming back from Idaho on I-84, a fair amount of downhill/flat and slight tail wind.
One nitpick that I have just worked around – In the econo setting it had extremely hard shifting between the lower gears, so much so I was afraid of breaking something. In the upper gears there is no problem at all so I have always just left it in the stock tune for running around town and switched to the econo once I was up to speed on the highway. I'm sure if I wanted to pull it back out and send it in they could fix it for me. I want to do some more testing on it though because a few weeks ago I left it in the econo setting when I came off the freeway and it wasn't nearly as hard as I remembered when I started out from the light. Maybe it has somewhat corrected itself along with the whole relearning process? Maybe someone else knows more about this?
One question, I installed an EGT gauge into the main exhaust pipe just before it turns down behind the engine. I put it there instead of into the manifold because on these vans the 'dog house' comes off giving you full access to the back of the engine but getting to any of the rest of it is a royal pain. Just wondering how much cooling will happen before this point and thus what a reasonable max temp limit should be with this setup.