The Ford Super Duty is the best-selling truck in the heavy-duty pickup segment. But if you go to a dyno, sled pull or drag race, you wouldn't see many new F250s or F350s. In their defense, there aren't a whole lot more of the late-model (new-emission engines) Chevy or Dodge trucks at these events, either. But there seems to be a shortage of the big blue oval trucks competing.
Granted, new trucks on warranties usually aren't the first on the race track. But we're far enough into the 2008-and-up model line that features the 6.4L Power Stroke that a large number of them are coming off warranty by now. Maybe that will translate into more 6.4Ls on the track. Whatever the case, most guys will want to know how to maximize the truck's performance.
There are three things we suggest addressing on the 6.4L for race-oriented truck owners: the noise-baffling, restrictive air intake; the flow-restricting, power-robbing factory exhaust system; and tuning that will let the big twin-turbo V8 rip.
We used an Airiad intake to replace the Power Stroke's stock intake system. The Airaid Cold Airbox intake system (p/n 400-214-1) opens up the airways for the big V8 to let the motor breathe. The truck gained 32 horsepower at the rear wheels with just the intake alone.
The 6.4L's stock exhaust system has a lot of extra weight and a lot of backpressure-causing restrictions in between the down pipe and the tail pipe. For competition, the weight is a hindrance and the backpressure the system causes holds the engine's performance back. The diesel particulate filter (DPF) is basically a perforated wall of ceramic, designed to capture black soot particles in the exhaust stream and hold them until the regeneration process kicks in, where diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust system, ignited, and essentially turned into a torch that incinerates the particulate matter. You don't want to be timing the starting tree when the regeneration process starts. We've done extensive dyno work on the 6.4L trucks on Custom Auto's Super Flow dyno, and captured a few runs during regeneration. It's an 80hp loss. Those inconsistencies are unacceptable when there's money on the line.
So if you're going to go racing, you need to replace the entire exhaust system. We went with the Flo-Pro 4-inch down pipe back system with cat and DPF deletes. The Flo-Pro system opens up the exhaust way, relieving all of the back pressure and letting the hot exhaust gases escape the turbine housing as quickly as possible. The Flo-Pro DPF delete racing system includes everything you need to remove the factory exhaust and replace everything, including bungs for the pyrometer and air line that come out of the factory exhaust. You will need a DPF-delete capable tuner to turn off the sensors in the ECM so there are no trouble codes thrown.
For that, and for additional performance, we turned to Edge Products for the Race Evolution programmer. The Race Evolution is designed for closed-course competition, allowing late-model trucks to run with the competition, with or without the DPF in place. With our truck, we needed a tuner that could make good horsepower and finish off the exhaust changes. Edge's Race Evolution gives us that and more.
The Race Evolution plugs into the truck's OBD II port, with no additional underhood installation. The display shows you any trouble codes and clears them, and if the DPF is still on the truck, will show the status of the regeneration process. You can also display corrected speed for oversized tires, and raise speed and rev limiters.
The 6.4L Race Evolution displays all of the parameters of the Edge Evolution monitor, like EGT, boost, engine speed, corrected ground speed, intake air temperature, etc. You can set up different things for the display to monitor.
Power-wise, here's what the Edge Race for the 6.4L Power Stroke is designed to do:
2008-2009 Ford 6.4L:
Level 0: Stock
Level 1: 35 Horsepower - 150 Foot Pounds of Torque
Level 2: 50 Horsepower - 165 Foot Pounds of Torque
Level 3: 90 Horsepower - 205 Foot Pounds of Torque
Level 4: 140 Horsepower - 260 Foot Pounds of Torque
We strapped the truck to Custom Auto's dyno and did some of our own testing. And Edge's claimed numbers are pretty close to our findings. We started out with a stock baseline horsepower of 315.7 rear-wheel horsepower. With the Airaid intake, Flo-Pro exhaust and Edge Race tuning, our peak horsepower shot up to 451 at the tires. That's a 135-horsepower increase to help rocket this 7,500-pound truck down the track.