Looking for the best tuner for your 7.3 Powerstroke? You’ve come to the right place.
We’ve reviewed all the leading programmers. Most aren’t worth your money.
But one, in particular, is.
When it comes to increasing the power and fuel economy in your Ford Powerstroke, a diesel programmer provides the best bang for your buck.
So, which one is the right choice for you? Let’s take a look at the best-selling 7.3 Powerstroke Tuners currently on the market to find out.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
If you use your truck for a lot of towing, or just need an improvement in performance, this is the best Powerstroke tuner that you can purchase for the price.
It’s the best-seller by quite some distance, providing more power in the rear wheels than any other chip out there.
It has six settings that can be easily adjusted while you drive by turning a knob that is mounted to the dash.
- Adjustable in cab
- Easy to install
- Programming and hardware are designed by TS Performance
- Anti-theft fitting
- High Idle mode
- Stock mode
- 50, 75, 100, and 140 HP settings for huge increases in performance
There are six positions on this chip, offering a progressive increase in horsepower on each setting, which means you can adjust your truck’s capabilities to suit the job in hand with ease.
In stock mode you’ll notice an immediate increase in power. High Idle mode helps you warm up your vehicle to maximize fuel economy and oil performance.
The 50 HP setting is the most commonly used of the six, with users reporting massive improvements in power and fuel consumption.
For larger towing jobs, and opening up on the highway, the 75 HP setting is very popular.
Given the huge improvements realized at the lower settings there are few reasons to go as high as the 100 HP or 140+ HP settings (most people report no intention of cranking things up that high), but if you do want to put your foot down they’re there for a little fun!
The six settings are programmed onto the chip based on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, and you can input your specs when ordering.
Overall, this chip has loads to offer at an incredible price. One of the biggest benefits is definitely the ability to adjust it while you’re driving. It also offers more power than any of its rivals.
Averaging a whopping 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 400 independent reviews, it’s our NUMBER 1 CHOICE.
Rating: (4.2 / 5)
If you don’t have much experience in modifying vehicles you might want a tuner that is a bit easier to install.
This 15000 evolution programmer from Edge offers a tuner that is user friendly and has a lot of options.
It will allow you to enhance engine performance by increasing output by up to 100 HP.
In addition, it allows you to scan and then read computer codes so that you can easily find any issues and take care of them before they become serious.
There are three power settings for you to to choose from, so the scope is more limited than the TS.
There are more powerful options out there, but this is a good choice for many as its so easy to use.
- 3 power levels
- Additional 100 HP
- Additional 200 ft lbs of torque
- Adjustable shift points and pressures
- Internet updatable
- Scan tool allows you to read and clear any trouble codes
Overall, if you are looking for a tuner that is easy to use and provides your truck with more power, improved performance, and better gas mileage, this is a solid choice.
Although it’s easy to install and will provide you with the increased power that you’re looking for, you will have to pay quite a bit more for the privilege.
Rating: (3.9 / 5)
This product is a bit more high-end.
It’s a dash mountable unit that can be painted to match your current interior, to makes it appear as if it has always been a part of the truck.
The tuner provides an additional 100 HP to your truck’s stock settings, and will add up to 200 ft lbs of torque.
Again there are three power levels and it also has a scan tool that allows you to clearly read any trouble codes.
- In cab display
- Reads EGTs
- 3 power levels that are adjustable
- LED backcolor that is adjustable
- Diagnostic trouble codes are clearly displayed
The technology behind the device is constantly being improved and all you have to do to update it is plug it in to a computer with active internet.
The programmer is easy to install as it plugs directly into an OBDII plug.
Overall, this is a quality tuner that offers a lot of power. Again, you’ll have to pay a bit more for it, but to many happy reviewers that has proved well worth it.
If you’re looking for the most power and the most versatility in a tuner, the TS Performance 6 Position Chip is the best overall choice.
It features the widest range of settings, allowing you to increase your truck’s performance in stages to find the perfect setup.
At around 200 bucks it’s very affordable (about half the price of its nearest competitors) and as you’ll see in the video below, it’s pretty easy to install.
The other two options on this list are top choices as well. We’re put off a bit by the price tag, and they offer a little less additional power, but they’re both good choices if you don’t like the idea of installing a tuner, or you don’t have a professional at hand to help you.
In short, you’ll get a massive performance increase from a 7.3 Powerstroke Programmer. Here’s what you can expect from the TS 6 Position Chip:
Well, that was pretty impressive, but what exactly will you get?
1. Increased Horsepower
Obviously! But let’s explore this in a little more detail.
It would seem, from the majority of the independent reviews for this chip (400+ reviews to-date) that just cranking the dial up to the second setting (high-idle) will result in a noticeable increase in power.
The sweet spot for most users seems to be around the third or fourth settings (50 HO and 75 HP respectively) which appear to provide sufficient increases to handle any situation in your 7.3 Powerstroke.
Most users report not needing to go higher than these settings, even when towing heavy loads (which probably isn’t advisable anyway).
The few that have gone higher, cranking the chip right up to the fifth and sixth settings (100 HO and 140+ HP respectively) consistently report being amazed at the transformation in performance of their trucks.
Some say it’s like driving a new one!
2. Better Fuel Consumption
Perhaps surprisingly, users report experiencing huge savings in fuel consumption when using this 7.3 Powerstroke Tuner.
You might think with the increased in power that fuel economy would be worse, however the general consensus among users is that, over the course, you’re going to see big savings in your regular fuel spend.
Many users report getting as much as an extra 100 or so kilometers out of a full tank of gas after installation.
The average improvement seems to be around an extra 4 miles to the gallon, although some users have reported saving 8 mpg or more.
With miles to the gallon up, and dollars spent on gas down, what’s not to like?
3. Improved Transition
A nice knock on effect for many users, after installing the TS Tuner, has been a smoother gear shift, most notably when in the mid-range settings.
Users have noticed firmer shifting, which results in reduced “bumping” between gears, for a much smoother ride.
4. Warming Up Your Engine With High Idle Mode
If you operate in cold temperatures then warming your engine up before heading off is highly advisable, not only to help manage fuel consumption but to contribute to better lubrication of vital engine components.
The high idle mode at the second setting of this tuner, at 1,200 rpm, does a great job of that. a few minutes warming your old work horse up on this setting could extend your engine’s life considerably.
And, even if you’re not driving in the cold, a short “warming up” period in high idle mode could get you a few extra mpg on the highway, which adds up to a nice saving if you drive medium to long distances regularly.
Assuming you’ve gone with the TS Performance Chip (lets’ face it; why wouldn’t you) the next step is to install it.
Here’s a handy clip from Thoroughbred Diesel to show you how:
So, briefly summarized, you need to do as follows:
- After you’ve unboxed the product, remove the battery cables
- We’ll say it again: remove the battery cables!
- Unhook the PCM wiring harness
- Find the PCM (on the driver’s side underneath the console)
- Remove the box and the frame
- Then remove the PCM itself and its bracket casing
- You’ll then need to take it out of the bracket
- Make a note of the ECM flash code
- Check that the code matches the chip that you’ve ordered
- Open the plastic cover to get inside the PCM
- You’ll immediately see the contact plate where the chip will be installed
- Remove the waxy layer covering the contact plate on both sides
- Clean both sides of the contact with an emery cloth
- You should just be able to see some copper for a good contact
- Drill a hole in the PCM casing to accommodate your switch wire
- Thread the switch cable through the new hole of your case
- Install your switch onto the TS chip, locking it in place
- Now install the chip into the PCM
- Do this by pushing it onto the computer board
- Slip the PCM back into the case
- Reinstall it back in your truck
- Do this by placing it back in the bracket and re-attaching the bracket under the console
- To install the switch in the cab you’ll need to take it apart
- Loosen the set screw before removing the knob
- Drill a hole in the cabin panel
- Pull the switch through the new hole and tighten it using the nut
- Re-attach the knob to the switch and tighten the set screw
- The chip knob should turn freely between each of the six settings
- Re-install your cabin panel
- Reconnect the PCM connection on the outside of your truck
- Make sure that your wire loom is properly lined up
- You can now re-attach your battery cables before starting up your truck
- And voila, you’re good to go!
Once installed, using the programmer is as easy as turning a knob. And that’s all you need to do in fact.
But you need to think about how best to use each setting.
The first setting keeps you in “stock” mode, and, despite the manufacturers claims that you’ll notice an immediate difference in power, very few users have reported that in this mode, so we question whether you’ll be using it that much if you need a tuner to increase horsepower.
That said, you may wish to keep your engine in stock mode all of the time and just bump it up a few notches for specific jobs, like towing, uphill work, or driving on the highway.
To benefit from the “high-idle” mode discussed previously, you’ll need to crank the dial on to the second setting, which is great to help warm your truck up before opening it up on the freeway.
If you feel that you’re going to need some extra power for the task in hand, but not so much as to effect handling, perhaps for slow towing work, the third setting is a great place to be. On this setting you will feel a huge increase in performance immediately, thanks to the extra 50 HP through the rear wheels.
It’s much the same with the fourth setting, although the power jumps up to 75 HP through the rear wheels. That my not sound like the largest increase in the world, but on an open highway you will feel a significant response when you put your foot down, and also for the hardest of towing jobs, which will feel considerably less labored.
The fifth setting (100 HP through the rear wheels) and the sixth setting (140 HP through the rear wheels) sound nice, and look good on paper, but we can’t think of many scenarios when you’re going to need that level of power increase.
Indeed, you probably shouldn’t be towing anything of significant weight at these levels. They are a bit of fun though if you find yourself on a nice open stretch of road – just make sure you don’t collect a ticket in the process.
This might seem a weird thing to include halfway down a page discussing 7.3 Powerstroke programmers, but you’d be surprised how many don’t know, and also how many people look to buy a tuner for a 7.3 Powerstroek on behalf of someone else.
So here’s a very brief run through.
The Power stroke engine has been used in the Ford F-Series, Ford E-Series, Ford Excursion, and Ford LCF commercial truck.
The Power Stroke engine line came into force essentially existed as a re-model of engines made by Navistar.
The first Power Stroke engine was the 7.3L Power Stroke V8, which was to be the Ford version of the Navistar T444E turbo-diesel V8.
The 7.3L Power Stroke was replaced by the 6.0L at the start of the second quarter of 2003.
Later models followed, including a 6.4, 6.7, 3.2 and 3.0 engine.
Since the introduction of the 6.7L PowerStroke V8 in 2010, Ford has manufactured its own diesel engines.
In its time, the Power Stroke engine has been competed with the likes of the General Motors Duramax V8 and the Dodge Cummins B-Series when marketed against large-block V8 (and V10) gasoline engines.
Of all of the Power Stroke engines produced, the 7.3 is the one with the largest user base. 7.3 Powerstroke owners, on the whole, love this engine, and it’s no surprise that it has developed quite the cult following.
So, a 7.3 Powestroke Programmer to improve performance is often the best Christmas present that die hard fan can receive.
Make of that what you will!
Power Stroke engines are controlled electronically. The 7.3 is a direct injection engine featuring a 4.11″ bore and 4.18″ stroke which combine to create a displacement of over 400 cubic inches.
It’s compression ratio is 17.5:1, and a total weight of 920 pounds.
The 7.3 engine produces up to 250 horse power in automatic-transmission trucks from the final years of manufacture, and up to 275 horse power in manual-transmission trucks.
Most people think that it can hold up to 15 quarts of oil. However a 7.3 oil pan can hold 15 quarts of oil on its own, with the top end holding an extra three quarts, making a total of 18.
The 1994 to 97 Power Stroke engine features “single shot” hydraulic electronic fuel injectors, whilst running a high pressure oil pump to reach sufficient oil pressure to engage the injectors. The 1997 trucks use a two-stage fuel pump, and the 1999-2003 models use a mounted electric fuel pump.
The 1994 to 1997 Power Stroke has a single turbocharger with a turbine housing. In 1999, they added an air-to-air intercooler to increase air density by cooling the turbo charged air. The cooler air results improves the engine’s horsepower potential, whilst at the same time reducing exhaust gas temperature.
That all sounds great, and the 7.3 is generally considered to be one of the most reliable truck engines of all time, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
Owners have experienced routine problems with the camshaft position sensor, which, from time to time would turn the truck off while in use, or revert to a no-start mode. It’s easy to diagnose and fix, but it has in the past been a major gripe.
Many 7.3 owners also report problems with the fuel filter as the housing can begin to crack over time resulting in fuel leaks.
Blown fuses resulting from a short out of the heating element in the filter housing have also been a regular feature for 7.3 owners, who may also experience a no-start mode from this.
The up-pipes found on the turbocharger have also received wide criticism for not being up to scratch. Leaks are a regular occurrence, especially at the joints, and result in the loss of engine power and an increase in exhaust gas temperature.
That may sound a lot, but compared to its main competitors it really isn’t. The reality is that 7.3 Powerstroke performance and durability is second to none.
One final problem relates to decreased performance when towing or at speed over long distances. That’s where getting the best 7.3 Powerstroke tuner comes in. As we’ve seen, if you spend a bit of cash and a little time installing one, you can take your truck’s performance to the next level, and then some!
If you’ve read this far it will come as no surprise to you that we feel that the TS Performance 6 Position Chip is the best programmer for tuning a 7.3 Powerstroke. And that is with good reason.
The company formed in 1997 and began by supplying customers with anything they needed for their diesel trucks. After a time the company started to offer their own tuning for the 7.3L Powerstrokes, before releasing their own chip to work with the Ford computer. That chip, the TS Performance 6 Position Chip, our number 1 pick, has grown to become, in their words “the most popular and widely used chip for the 7.3L Powerstroke engine“.
There are a couple of others who deserve a mention here too.
Edge Products, as we’ve seen, makes some pretty good stuff too. It’s pricier, and won’t result in any better performance than the TS, but the interface is more modern – they pride themselves on their ability to display multiple engine parameters on their programmers, which are easy to understand and easy to use. They’ve been around since 1999 and are a brand that you can trust with confidence.
A third company named Superchips also makes some decent tuning products that can help improve Powerstroke performance. First incorporated in the UK they have grown to become a global leader in automotive tuning for late model cars, Jeeps and trucks. If you’re looking for a 7.3 Powerstroke programmer, but don’t like any of the three on our list, you should consider Superchips as a good alternative.
Hopefully all of the information above has helped and you’re now in a position to choose the right programmer to improve the performance of your truck.
If you feel we’ve left anything out of this guide, or that any of the products reviewed above don’t deserve to be on our list, please let us know below.
Likewise if you’ve had any trouble with them or tuning your truck in general, we want to hear from you.
Well, if you’re a 7.3 Powerstroke owner we know that you’ve got a truck with a few miles on the clock, so why not check out our recent guide to the best oil for high mileage engines.
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Interested in claim-proofing your truck? Then check out our review of the best dash cam for truckers.