Rounding Up The Horses

Published in the October 2009 Issue October 2009 Feature, Installs

In the March/April issue we covered a 6.4 Ford Power Stroke getting a DPF delete kit as part of a complete straight pipe exhaust system manufactured by Elite Diesel Engineering in a story called Straight Shooter. Shortly after that story was shot, the oil industry in Texas started slowing down.

As a result, the owner of the truck found himself on the road a lot, which slowed down the remaining part of the story, the installation of a SCT programmer with custom tuning by Tadd (Owner of Elite Diesel Engineering). When we finally got back with the owner, my dyslexia or something kicked in and I sent Tadd the wrong strategy code for the truck, slowing us down even more.

A strategy code is the ID that identified the software the processor of the truck is using. Each update has a different strategy code. So it is extremely important to have the tuning for the right software version in the truck.

When you get the wrong version, you end up with lots of problems. How do I know? Well, over the past three months we have been fighting problems which have been caused mostly by myself. If the tune is written for the wrong strategy code, the SCT Livewire that we have will upload it to the truck. The truck doesn't run the greatest. In our case, the transmission was having a lot of difficulty shifting smoothly because I messed up the transmission strategy code when I sent it over to Tadd.

The kicker in the whole deal is that when you go to reprogram the truck back to stock, it says NO! At this point, the SCT Livewire realizes that the factory code it downloaded off of the truck and the custom tune doesn't match and it says `no, there is a problem!' So, we had to call SCT's tech support and get their help all five times we did it. (If you don't learn the first time, it will happen again and again. The biggest lesson here, delete the old files that are for the wrong strategy code!) The SCT tech support people were great and easy to deal with at least. But needless to say, if you get the strategy code right the first time, you probably won't need to deal with them.

But anyways back to the story. After deleting the DPF, the program in the truck needs to be reprogrammed so it doesn't go into regeneration. We opted to go an SCT programmer because it allowed us to reprogram the processor, but we can, also, get custom tunes that help the truck work better for our individual needs and modification. To provide that custom tuning, we turned to Tadd Layton from Elite Diesel Engineering. Layton has been a pioneer in the Ford Performance market for many years and he is a natural choice when it comes to tuning the truck.


The SCT programmers are extremely easy to use. Don't be afraid to hook one up and reprogram your vehicle. Once the Livewire is connected to the Data Port under the dash, we selected program vehicle.

After selecting program vehicle, we select whether we want to use our preloaded tunes or a custom tune. Since, we have Tunes by Tadd already installed in the programmer we opted for custom tunes. (Note: custom tunes are in addition to buying a programmer. Depending on whom you buy the programmer from, they may or may not be included with it.)

The Livewire can store up to 3 custom tunes. So, next we selected which tune we wanted to use

From here it is just a matter of following the screen prompts.

You will, also, be asked a few questions about additional options on the truck.

One of the nice options is the ability to recalibrate the speedometer after changing tire sizes.

After the user options have been set, the Livewire downloads the stock tune. This gives the user the ability to return the truck back to stock anytime he or she would like.

Downloading the stock program and uploading a new tune takes around 20 minutes. Do not interrupt this process.

Once the custom tune has been downloaded, the process isn't finished. The Livewire will prompt the user to turn the key off.

With the key off, the Livewire powers down the ECU.

Once that is done, the download is complete and the truck is ready to run.

The first run was the stock tune with the DPF deleted. Notice that there is some smoke but nothing major.

After getting the truck up to operating temperature, we started making runs. Testing the three different tunes that Tadd from Elite Diesel Engineering sent us. The baseline run for this truck with no DPF was 270.52 horsepower and 489.02 lb-ft of torque. After running the Insanity Tune, we laid down 483.63 horsepower and 915.60 lb-ft of torque. This was an increase of 213.11 horsepower and 426.58 lb-ft of torque. Not bad for a tuner and exhaust. We did notice after the day was over, the air cleaner gauge was showing a vacuum was being pulled. So, that means that next we need a higher flowing intake.


Elite Diesel Engineering

Gear Heads Automotive and Performance

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