One of the big plusses of owning a diesel truck over a gasser is that with a small electronic box, you can make big gains in horsepower and torque output. Where you'd be hard pressed to squeeze another 30 horsepower out of a V8 gas engine with a top-of-the-line programmer, you can see those types of gains out of the lowest level on most any diesel tuner.
With help from KLM Performance who supplied our Mads Electronics Smarty unit, we took a stock 2006 Dodge 24-valve Cummins and ran it through the paces on Custom Auto's SuperFlow dynamometer. Our goal was to see how the Smarty affected a stock engine (in order to fully isolate the Smarty) and to compare our dyno gains with what Mads claims. We'll test the Smarty on an engine that has been fueled and modified later on, just to see what it does to a mod engine.
But for now, we want to answer the question of is it worth it for a guy with a pretty much stock truck to spend the money on a Smarty tuner.
The Smarty's software features 10 levels (0-9) of tuning options.
According to the Mads Electronics software description, installing Software No. 0 will drop the engine's power by about half and can be used when absolutely no smoke is desired. Urban drivers know exactly what we're talking about.
Software No. 1 claims a 30 horsepower increase with advanced timing over stock.
Smarty Dyno Results
2006 Dodge 5.9L 24-valve Cummins
|Software Setting||Horsepower Torque (lb-ft)||Change|
Software No. 2 is a 60 horsepower increase, but with no advance in timing.
Software No. 3 is again a 60 horsepower increase, but with a timing advance.
Software No. 4 claims a 90 horsepower increase with no additional timing.
Software No. 5 is also a 90 horsepower increase, but with advanced timing.
Software No. 6 and 7 are 130 horsepower tunes without and with timing adjustments, and Software No. 8 and 9 are 170 horsepower tunes without and with timing (on 2004.5 and newer enginesâ_"2003-04 trucks have two different variations of the 130 horsepower tune with the 8 and 9 software programs).
Given that we were testing a stock truck with a stock transmission, we only tested numbers 1 through 5 (and running 4 and 5 on a stock transmission would be pushing it if you drove the truck. We were only dyno testing and could control the load on these two tunes). We skipped 0 for obvious reasons.
Before loading any programs to the Cummins, we ran a stock dyno run to establish our baseline. The truck registered 264 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque.
Software No. 1 bumped the Cummins up by 42 horsepower 27 lb-ft of torque. Thatâ_Ts the 30 horsepower program with additional timing. Software No. 2 showed a 53 horsepower gain over stock and an additional 43 lb-ft of torque.
The No.1 program bumped the 24-valve up by 64 horsepower and 61 lb-ft of torque. No. 4 showed a gain of 77 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque on the dyno at the rear wheels, and No. 5 registered the biggest power increase over stock, adding 94 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque.