Performance modifications, comprehensive list.

Pistol

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Since this is always a topic of discussion I am posting a comprehensive list of bolt on mods I have done to my truck and what my experience with each has been. This should not be taken that you will see the same results, these are my experiences. You should not be taking this as I am some kind of expert. I am a consumer like you. I do not drag race on the weekend, I just enjoy maximizing the performance of my daily driven vehicles. My truck is a 2014 1500 Bighorn Crew Cab 4x4, 8 speed with 3:21 gears.

Tuner - Everyone has different opinions on what you should do first but most will agree that a tuner and a custom tune is the place to start. Whether you go with Hemifever or Jay Green you are going to see an instant improvement in performance. A handheld tuner is going to give you the ability to do several thing the most important would be turning the MDS off. It should be noted that this is where I started and each mod I have done came with or was immediately followed by upgrading the tune in the truck. I have the Diablo I-1, it was purchased from Hemifever and several of my mods were purchased from there.

Peddle Commander - THIS WILL NOT ADD HORSEPOWER. However, it will greatly improve throttle response and provide you the ability to adjust the throttle response on the fly. A tuner will also give you the ability to adjust throttle response but the tuner route is not as fast as the Peddle Commander (PC). A good example was a recent trip I took to Kentucky. I keep my PC on Sport+ at +3. The trip up the weather was clear, cold and sunny. Two days after I got there we got 7" of snow preceded by sleet which turned the roads to solid ice. The PC allowed me the ability to reduce the throttle setting and lessen the chance of spinning out when I was on the ice. Another example is when I am driving and hit rain. While I am driving I can turn the PC down. This may not seem like a big deal but after you put your truck sideways on the interstate at 80 MPH because you are heavy footed you will learn to appreciate the quick adjust feature.

Electric Fan Conversion - This is an inexpensive modification (around $100) that is going to give you a little performance and a slight increase in fuel mileage. I was able to notice a difference in throttle response and slightly less than 1/2 mpg fuel mileage increase. The removal of the belt driven fan frees up power and allows the engine to rev up faster. With this I removed all of the fins in my active grill system except the top and bottom slats.

180 Degree Thermostat - This mod will require a tuner or custom tune to get your E-Fan to come kick on and off at the right times. I cannot say that I say any noticeable increase in mileage or performance but I know I got it. I live in Central Florida which is only a few inches from the sun for 8 months out of the year. Most of my driving is around town in stop and go traffic, with the E-Fan and 180 T-Stat my truck stays under 200 degrees all the time. My T-stat was purchased from Hemifever as well as the ported throttle body. In each case when I received the shipping notification I also received the corresponding tune.

Ported Throttle Body - Throttle response and overall performance improved. It was not earth shattering but it was noticeable. Again, simply bolting on a Throttle Body without tuning may give you a perceived improvement but to maximize it you need a tune.

Vararam Air Grabber - I have ran CAIs (Cold Air Intakes) on every vehicle I have ever owned. The stock system on these trucks are pretty good when coupled with a K&N Filter. There was a perceived increase in performance, probably had to do with the sound more than actual performance, and a slight increase in fuel mileage. My first experience with CAI on this truck was first was a Specter. I realize it is not a K&N but the design is not significantly different. I was disappointed, there was no improvement over the K&N in the stock air box. I eventually went to the Vararam Air Grabber and I am very happy I did. Again, Coupled with the custom tune and ported throttle body there was a very noticeable increase in performance. I want to say I remember there being a slight increase in fuel mileage but honestly with the way I drive it doesn't matter. I realize there are a bunch of different CAIs on the market and varying result with each but the Vararam actually forces air into the throttle body, it has the largest filter surface area and it looks really good under the hood.

Cat-Back Exhaust - I had the local muffler shop replace the factory muffler with a 18" Magnaflow and delete the resonators. This had no perceived effect on performance or fuel mileage. This was the first modification to my truck and done well ahead of the headers.

American Racing Headers - If you are looking for real performance gains this, again, with a custom tune is a must. I have never had my truck on a dyno but there was a significant improvement in performance. Full length headers are pricey and pretty involved to install but well worth it. I cannot say for sure if it helped my fuel mileage but I did not see any significant decrease, again, I like to drive and I drive like I like to drive.

Oil Catch Can - I have a cheap Mishimoto universal can that I mounted to the side of my stock air box. Does this improve performance or fuel mileage? I have no idea. What I do know is it stops the majority of the oil vapors from getting back to my throttle body to the point that since it's installation I have not had to clean my throttle body. The fact the oil vapors are not gunking up my throttle body and intake tells me there has to be a performance benefit.

Core 4x4 Upper and Lower Rear Control Arms - These will not add a drop of horsepower, obviously they are a suspension mod but the fact the stronger arms and the elimination of the rubber bushings made the transfer of power to the ground significantly more efficient and eliminated my wheel hop. Each person's butt dyno is calibrated different. Some people will tell you it takes 15-20 horsepower to feel a difference by the seat of your pants. As I mentioned earlier, I could feel a slight increase just with the the E-Fan conversion and it adds about 10 HP. The Core 4x4 Arms did not increase horsepower, they are not capable of that, but the difference in the responsiveness of the truck felt like I added 30 horsepower to the wheels. The addition of these arms came just before the first time I put my truck sideways on the interstate at 80 MPH in the rain. I cannot say enough good things about this upgrade. They improve power transfer, handling and eliminate wheel hop. Well worth the money.

With everything listed above the truck is pleasant to drive, I average about 14 MPG around town and I've seen as much as 18 MPG on the highway. I have not done any type of drag racing on the street and I have not had it at the track but the truck is very strong. I have a buddy with a 2015 F150 Eco Boost that, prior to the installation of the headers and Vararam, saw first hand his truck was the race truck he thought it was when we did a 70 MPH rolling start in the interstate. I have also suprised a few diesel trucks, factory challengers and even a mustang on the interstate. Did I pull away from them? No, but they were surprised when they couldn't run away from me.

A few other things I've done to the truck that are more related to fuel mileage than performance.

Bed Cover - After installing a bed cover early on I saw a 1 MPG increase in fuel mileage.

Leveling Kit - I initially leveled my truck with Bilstein 5100 leveling shocks and lost the 1 MPG mileage increase I gained with the bed cover. With the Billsteins I still had a little over 1/2" of rake in the front of the truck.

295/60-20 Nitto Terra Grappler G2 - The addition of larger tires reduced the performance and fuel mileage, obviously. This should go without saying, the stock tires on these trucks were designed to maximize fuel mileage and that is about all they are good for.

Eibach Pro-Truck Lift System - Pretty much the same effect as the Bilstein 5100 in that my fuel mileage went down slightly over the Bilstein 5100s due to the front of the truck being truly level. The ride improved with the Eibach Kit and after I removed the factory vibration dampeners from the frame I got rid of the annoying rattle I contributed to the 5100s.

As for what the future holds...

I just ordered a Detroit Trutrac and an ATI Dampener to be installed hopefully in the next two weeks. I know the Trutrac doesn't add power but I my drive on the ice in Kentucky told me I had waited to long to install one. My truck has a little "shimmy" in the rear end after letting out of the throttle from full throttle. I am attributing it to the open diff doing whatever they do.

The ATI has very good reviews and supposedly frees up a good amount of horsepower. I hope it will be a worth while addition.

Once these last two mods are done and I have some driving time with them I will report back and update this original post. Feel free to post your experiences with mods you have done, maybe this thread could be pinned.
 

HEMIMANN

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Nice summary, thank you.

I wish most of these things didn't require farting around with the ECM / PCM. So much simpler in the old mechanical days. I just jammed in a Diablosport Edge Pulsar in-line canned tuner and called it good. Works good enough for me, as I'm not looking for every last microinch-ounce of torque the package is capable of. Just better than factory.

Having a 6.4 Hemi, I went with S&B CAI - very good with lower airflow restriction. They claim benchtested -35%. I did notice snappier pickup with this. Added Moe's PTB, better response, but not be a lot.

Saving for ARH long tubes, but concerned with clearances on the 2500 frame, and if it might throw a bunch of ECM codes without a custom tune. Doing this expensive upgrade eliminates the stock manifold warping and bolt breaking problem, though.

You'll love the Eaton Tru-Trac Torsen diff. Mine came stock with AAM Trac-Rite Torsen Diff. Terrific pulling power.

They put an internal breather on the 6.4 for some reason, so can't get a coalescer for it.

Surprised cat-back upgrade didn't visibly help much. Factory must be unrestrictive enough as-is. Mine has a school bus trash can muffler - it's huge. Biggest muffler I've ever seen. Maybe I'll just leave it.

Stock tires on HD's are Firestone's AT junkers. Finally wore 'em down enough to get General Grabber ATX, top-rated on Tire Rack. They are really great in all weather & terrain conditions, even wet roads where AT's typically skid.
 

Wild one

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Nice summary, thank you.

I wish most of these things didn't require farting around with the ECM / PCM. So much simpler in the old mechanical days. I just jammed in a Diablosport Edge Pulsar in-line canned tuner and called it good. Works good enough for me, as I'm not looking for every last microinch-ounce of torque the package is capable of. Just better than factory.

Having a 6.4 Hemi, I went with S&B CAI - very good with lower airflow restriction. They claim benchtested -35%. I did notice snappier pickup with this. Added Moe's PTB, better response, but not be a lot.

Saving for ARH long tubes, but concerned with clearances on the 2500 frame, and if it might throw a bunch of ECM codes without a custom tune. Doing this expensive upgrade eliminates the stock manifold warping and bolt breaking problem, though.

You'll love the Eaton Tru-Trac Torsen diff. Mine came stock with AAM Trac-Rite Torsen Diff. Terrific pulling power.

They put an internal breather on the 6.4 for some reason, so can't get a coalescer for it.

Surprised cat-back upgrade didn't visibly help much. Factory must be unrestrictive enough as-is. Mine has a school bus trash can muffler - it's huge. Biggest muffler I've ever seen. Maybe I'll just leave it.

Stock tires on HD's are Firestone's AT junkers. Finally wore 'em down enough to get General Grabber ATX, top-rated on Tire Rack. They are really great in all weather & terrain conditions, even wet roads where AT's typically skid.

Install a set of 02 anti-foulers ,it should keep your 6.4 from throwing codes when you install the long tubes. I cut the cats off my wifes untuned 6.4 Challenger and it doesn't throw any codes with a set of anti-foulers installed under the back 02's

Universal O2 Sensor Spacer Adapter Isolator Extender Straight CEL Fix Kit for Exhaust Systems with M18 x 1.5 Sensor Holes (Pack of 2), Exhaust & Emissions - Amazon Canada
 
Last edited:

Wild one

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Since this is always a topic of discussion I am posting a comprehensive list of bolt on mods I have done to my truck and what my experience with each has been. This should not be taken that you will see the same results, these are my experiences. You should not be taking this as I am some kind of expert. I am a consumer like you. I do not drag race on the weekend, I just enjoy maximizing the performance of my daily driven vehicles. My truck is a 2014 1500 Bighorn Crew Cab 4x4, 8 speed with 3:21 gears.

Tuner - Everyone has different opinions on what you should do first but most will agree that a tuner and a custom tune is the place to start. Whether you go with Hemifever or Jay Green you are going to see an instant improvement in performance. A handheld tuner is going to give you the ability to do several thing the most important would be turning the MDS off. It should be noted that this is where I started and each mod I have done came with or was immediately followed by upgrading the tune in the truck. I have the Diablo I-1, it was purchased from Hemifever and several of my mods were purchased from there.

There's lots more tuners then just Green and Powell (hemifever). Ryan Hogan of Flying Ryan Performance has a very good reputation .Jeremy Satera is another excellent tuner , for the Canucks on here Chris Zelinsky of Player 3 Performance Tuning in Edmonton is an excellent tuner. I jumped ship a year or 2 back,because i listened to the internet and decided to try out Jay as i'd been running Chris's tuning prior to that,7 revisions and 1200 bucks later Jay wasn't even close to Chris's tunes,he was a full 1/2 second slow plus my milege numbers went down,i gave Jay 7 tries,before i said to hell with it and went back to Chris's tuning,so there's tuners out there every bit or better as the 2 you listed.Unless you're somebody in the truck world,all you're getting from either Jay or Sean are their generic tunes. I'm not saying either are bad tuners,but to think they're the best is a mistake
 

Pistol

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Good info Wild one. I admit I haven't done a lot of research into people who do custom tuning.
 

HEMIMANN

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pacofortacos

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The ATI will make the engine feel smoother - it will not free up a bunch of HP.
It's barely any underdrive at all, I think 12-15% - so not earth shattering.
And since you already removed the fan, that slight water pump speed reduction isn't much of a horsepower gainer.
 

Wild one

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Thanks @Wild one. What do these do? Do they just pull the sensors away from the exhaust flowstream to reduce particle plating?

Basically you nailed it,they move the back 02's out of the exhaust flow ,so the putor thinks there's a big enough differance between the front and rear 02's to be happy.
They're an old school trick that's been around for years,you can stuff a little bit of steel wool in them before you screw the rear 02 into them for a little more insurance
 
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