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craveman85 12-05-2019 03:19 PM

Using tuners on pickup trucks
Have any of you with v8 pickups gotten better mileage with the use of a tuner? My vehicle needs kinda forced me into a 2008 f150 4x4. I used to average 28mpg throughout the year with my rwd ranger. With this f150 if I'm just commuting I'm averaging about 16mpg. Any off road use really drops it down. I was thinking about ordering something like a sct tuner with custom tunes for my truck like an economy and a towing tune. Can they really help economy at all? I can't really get any better with changing driving habits and mods really aren't feasible at this time. I'd like to get another ranger but don't have the room at the time.

redpoint5 12-05-2019 03:31 PM

How far is your commute roundtrip, and is it roughly 5 days per week? If you're lookin to save money, lets start with those figures.

Regarding tuners, I've anecdotally heard some people claim improved economy for electronic injection turbo diesel trucks, but I don't have personal experience. I imagine a gasser tune could see some improvement too, especially if emission stuff is ignored such as elimination of the rich/lean dance. My guess is the improvement in efficiency would never offset the cost of the tuner.

Taylor95 12-05-2019 06:25 PM

I heard of someone getting 30 mpg from their explorer partly from the use of a tuner and 91 octane fuel. I think the biggest gain would come from advancing the timing and using premium fuel

Ecky 12-05-2019 06:34 PM

My understanding, there's a few percent to be had with slightly advancing ignition timing and maybe leaning out the AFR slightly. Advancing timing under full load will deliver both power and economy, but will be harder on rods, pins and bearings. Doing so at low load should be safe but increase NOx in the exhaust.

One does not need premium fuel to advance timing at part throttle, it's only at WOT that it makes any difference.

craveman85 12-05-2019 06:42 PM

My commute is 80 miles a day 4 days a week

redpoint5 12-05-2019 07:04 PM

That's about 16,000 miles a year, in a 16 MPG truck, or 1000 gallons spent commuting. Perhaps $3,000 a year in fuel.

If you don't need the utility of the truck at work, it might make more financial sense to commute in a used car that is more fuel efficient. Plus, everything on a truck is more expensive such as tires, oil changes, etc.

I used to rack up a lot of miles on my truck back in the day, but that was when I had a source for $1/gallon fuel, and plenty of time to spend working on trucks. Now I only use it for truck stuff. Just moved a clothes washer yesterday.

2000mc 12-05-2019 09:48 PM

I had my pcm tuned by Blackbear, but this wasnít specifically an eco tune. tune was also needed to enable pcm controlled cooling fans. I hadnít wanted to put a grill block in front of a fan clutch either. So within a couple tanks I added a 91 octane tune, partial grill block, swapped mechanical to electric fans, and Iím guessing I picked up .25 - .5 mpg with mixed, or more in town driving. Iím wondering if I might have picked up a bit more highway, but havenít had a good comparison yet. I donít use the vehicle to commute, so comparing tanks is tricky.

Picked up some power, guessing at least a sliver of efficiency from the tune alone, enabled the fans. But there was a happy surprise, maybe itís just how I drive it, but the biggest thing I noticed from the tune was drivability improvements. Feels like they replaced my lazy old transmission with one that is almost psychic.

I think a lot of peopleís first mod is some sort of grill block. Which should be possible for most conditions. My next thought is an airdam, but that would be dependent on your off-roading.

On my old 91 K1500 I figured up the fuel I saved slowing down worked out to about $5 saved per hour lost

oil pan 4 12-05-2019 10:17 PM

The tuners don't do much on gasoline engines.
On a half ton 4x4 you are probably fighting bad gearing, big aero dynamic foot print a big engine and a bunch of extra drive train losses.

Lean burn can give a 10% to 20% boost. At least that's what I was able to achieve with a carb. But implementation on newer fuel injection can be a little more difficult since about 99% of the truck tuner market is focused on more power.

craveman85 12-06-2019 03:49 AM

I don't have room for a car for commuting at the moment. I really needed a do it all vehicle which my truck covers everything. My off road stuff is corn fields in hunting season which tend to rip air dams right off.

Hersbird 12-06-2019 12:06 PM


Originally Posted by craveman85 (Post 612872)
My commute is 80 miles a day 4 days a week

With that many miles you would be well served with one of the 3.0 turbo diesel trucks. Ram has the oldest ones meaning they will be less expensive used but now all 3 make one.

gone9 12-06-2019 03:19 PM

Tuners from edge, bullydog/sct wont make a noticeable improvement that pays itself off in any reasonable amount of time. Most Ford and Dodge diesels I owned with various types of ecm flashers and directly plugged in chips saw maybe a .5-1mpg barley on highway road trips.

You would see a steady 1.5mpg with a basic full bead tonneau cover though. You could also look into low rolling resistance tires/skinnier tires. For example I run a 285/75r16 but I am swapping to a 255/85r16 next set wich gives me 1.5in narrower tires and .5in taller. It wont be dramatic but wont look goofy and will help some.

Aeromods are going to be the biggest improvement and a basic full bed tonneau cover brings a steady 1.5mpg boost. it will payitself off super fast in 80 mile daily trips. Also drafting behind bigrigs if your commute has them. You don't have to be an an unsafe distance from them to gain a boost in economy. plus the slower speeds will help even more if time permits of course.

craveman85 12-06-2019 03:40 PM

My tires are 255 width. Low rolling resistance tires are usually garbage when you go off pavement or get in snow. I have a cap over my bed because I have that area set up for sleeping /my dogs.

oil pan 4 12-06-2019 10:05 PM

Make a removable air dam for the 9 to 11 months that aren't hunting season. That's what I did with my suburban, in the event of hunting season or deep now I have 3 bolts on each side that once removed release the air dam.
Go to highway tires and a set of snow chains. They will be the baddest mud tires you will ever use. No point in wearing out expensive, soft, quick to wear out muds with 99.9% highway miles. I used to buy aggressive mud tires back in the early 2000s, then switched to aggressive A/T tires for a little while then to highway tires and snow chains back in 2009.
The highway tires lasted 2 to 3x longer than the muds, were cheaper by a lot and rode better.

This year my friend put his set of muds on his truck for deer season, where he is the limit was 5. In an unusual chain of events he tagged out the first day. So I think he had his mud tires on for a total of 3 or 4 days. He has had the same mud tires since 2012 and they are still like new.

I have low rolling resistance tires on my Nissan leaf and it has snowed twice here so far for fall/winter 2019 and they did great. This "Winter" for west Texas and eastern new Mexico has been labeled as "extreme" by weather dot com.

slowmover 12-08-2019 04:33 PM

Four days of round-trip commute.

The real question is ANNUAL MILES

Of which:

1). What is annual average MPH?
2). What is annual fuel consumed?

That’s where answers are needed. Records.

Spending to save only works when one has exactitude.

320-miles of commute plus another forty for all errands, etc.
Call it 19,000-miles per year. Zero idle time.
1,188-gallons fuel.

Syracuse Average this week is $2.60. ($3088)

Ten years is $31,000

Economy is better understood as longevity plus reliability. A temp/humidity-controlled insulated garage benefits any vehicle choice.

Fuel mileage, like tire and brake life, are only indicators. Not central, but marginal.

Thus, past best storage (as all but a few hours are spent at rest), spending to save is with tire choice.

To get to small potatoes (like a tuner), investing in pre-heating engine oil & coolant is indicated next. Year-round. Cheaper still are grille blocks (upper only for mild; full for below 31F only (thermostat should never open prematurely due to reduced cooling).

The longer term is with shock absorbers (higher than base Bilstein or FOX; remote reservoir; need best control of body & springs); new cab & bed bushings; new tie rods; poly anti-roll bar bushings; etc.

Brakes should operate as new. No exception.

Steering requires ZERO play. Align for best wheel return plus lowest wear.

All maintenance time/miles intervals reduced 10% with nothing skipped.

New factory parts only. Never rebuilt.

All lamps replaced every three years maximum. New headlight housings if at all faded.

Rebuild the drivers seat.

This is how to spend to save: Storage. Pre-heat. Brakes, Tires, Steering as new.
Posture, vision, and control as new OR BETTER.

The number of times one changes from steady-state is first. Second (and where most fail) is the DEGREE & DURATION of driver input necessary. What’s necessary is emotional in effect (lazy Americans can’t distinguish desire from necessity), so exert discipline. Fewest. Shortest. And won’t be ever be at upper posted limit. It’ll be about never stopping or idling, first.

But before that: records of every gallon (FUELLY). Average MPH (engine hour meter).

The feedback needed en route is with an ULTRAGAUGE. Or, the old dashtop trio of engine vacuum, tachometer and fuel flow meter gauges.

Set cruise control at 58-mph for commute. Never more. Leave earlier. Arrive earlier and enjoy the empty moments acquired.

Get that AVERAGE MPH as high as possible. Should be NEXT TO NO DIFFERENCE between city and rural Interstate in MPG.

If my highway is 24 and city is 21, so can you (achieve close figures).

Cummins engineer DIESEL DAVE was the pickup MPG champ. 47+. That’s more than twice mine. But mine was 1.5-times the owner average. (How many engine starts per week? Record. How many accel/decel events per day? Record. How many non-work related trips per week? Record).

Dave did his by getting everything done in a warmed-up vehicle. That’s in excess of fifty miles summertime for tires to come to equalization.

It’s the operator. So long as the vehicle is far better than you can utilize, a magic rifle scope won’t give you 1-MOA at 400-yards. Jewel the bolt, bed the barrel, crown the muzzle, install a Geisselle trigger, fix the LOP. All operator problems for this analogy.

Still want to spend to save?

1). Plywood tonneau half the distance from tailgate to cab. Then on to cab roof wing.

2). Seal bed/cab gap. Seal gap between tires and body (see PETERBILT EPIQ 579). Convex wheel covers (see FLOW BELOW).

3). Research using expanded metal as bellypan. I’d try fabric over it as well.


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