Bolt-On Truck Power

Bolt-On Truck Power
By Dan Sanchez for

Truck owners can always benefit from more fuel economy and more power to haul heavy loads. Most associate adding more horsepower with using more fuel, but when it comes to selecting compatible aftermarket performance parts, increasing fuel economy and power can be a direct result of improving engine efficiency. So here are the three most popular aftermarket parts you can use to get the most out of your gasoline powered pickup truck.

Air Intake Systems

Aftermarket air intake systems are one of the most popular performance add-ons that truck enthusiasts install. They replace the vehicle’s factory air intake tube and filter with one that creates higher air-flow and more air volume through less restriction in the intake tube and a less restriction from the air filter. When designed correctly, increasing the amount and velocity of air that enters into the engine can slightly improve its efficiency to a point where a leaner air/fuel mixture results in more power and improved fuel economy.

A sealed cold air intake system like this one from Volant, offers unrestricted airflow for the engine without contamination from engine heat. Combined with a high-flow air filter element, a system like this one for the 2011 Ford F-150 can provide an extra 18 horsepower and up to a two-mile per gallon improvement.

Aftermarket air intake manufacturers often claim large quantities of horsepower improvements but they often depend on the testing procedures and lots of other variables that aren’t typical of a daily driven truck. Most experts and truck owners agree, that 8-10 horsepower improvements and nearly up to one-mile per gallon improvement in fuel economy can be had with an air intake system that offers a high-quality, low-restriction air filter within a design that seals out engine heat.

There are essentially two types of aftermarket air intakes. Open element systems utilize a cone-style air filter that may include a heat shield to protect the filter from engine heat, but is open to the available air around the engine compartment. Sealed air intake systems have an enclosed air inlet box, much like the factory, but are typically larger in size to create additional air volume. Sealed systems isolate the incoming air from engine heat, dirt and moisture, allowing the engine to breathe higher volumes of cooler ambient air. The differences range in price, ease of installation, and performance gains. Keep in mind that manufacturers have a variety of testing methods, and will use optimum conditions to measure their power increases. So it’s always best to check with the manufacturer and with other truck owners to see what types of performance gains they are receiving with their vehicles.

Cat-Back Exhaust Systems

Most truck owners will undoubtedly add some kind of aftermarket exhaust component to their truck. An aftermarket exhaust system provides a deep-throaty performance sound to the vehicle, but can also improve its efficiency by reducing the restrictions of the factory exhaust. This is done by means of smoother bends, larger diameter tubing and a low restriction muffler.

Photo-4-560 Exhaust systems are another popular method to achieve improved engine efficiency. This cat-back exhaust system from Gibson, uses stainless steel tubing and the company’s high-flow baffled muffler to provide a deep tone but with much less restriction. An exhaust like this one for the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can produce as much as a 10-20 horsepower increase in the low rpm range, for optimum use in towing.

OEM exhaust systems typically have kinks and bends that decrease the diameter of the tubing and thus, limit exhaust flow. In addition, restrictive mufflers use extensive baffles and sound absorbing materials that eliminate noise, but also hinder exhaust flow and engine efficiency. For this reason, aftermarket systems use larger diameter tubing and smooth, non restrictive bends, made by a process called mandrel bending. This type of system is called a cat-back, a term referring to the complete tubing and muffler system that replaces the factory exhaust tubing from the rear of the catalytic converter all the way to the tailpipe. This type of system also ensures that the exhaust complies within Federal and State emissions laws.

Most aftermarket exhaust manufacturers use these techniques, along with their own high-flow muffler design, to dramatically reduce the exhaust gas restriction and increase performance by an average of 10-20 rear wheel horsepower, for most gasoline powered pickup trucks. They also manufacture their systems from a variety of materials that directly affects the cost. Those systems made from aluminized tubing are typically less expensive due to its moderate corrosion resistance. Systems made from higher grade metals like stainless steel, offer higher corrosion resistance and typically cost more, but survive better in harsher environments.

Because sound plays such an important factor in an aftermarket exhaust system for your truck, it’s best to talk to other truck owners and listen to the sound their vehicles’ make to help narrow down your selection. Whatever you choose, this will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make on your truck, because it’s not only a performance upgrade you can feel, but one you can constantly hear.

Power Programmers

Power programmers offer the best power per dollar. A system like this one from Hypertech, offers improvements in power and fuel economy using a variety of low and higher octane fuel levels. This programmer also has other uses such as recalibrating your speedometer when using larger diameter tires, scanning for engine trouble codes and more.

Perhaps the most performance in power and fuel economy can be gained for your truck is from an aftermarket power programmer. A programmer can provide as much as 15-30 extra horsepower and 30-50 pounds-feet of torque (when using 91 octane fuel). Depending on the settings, you can also improve fuel economy by as much as 15-20 percent when driven under normal highway conditions.

Power programmer works by that altering the factory fuel and ignition timing tables in the vehicle’s Electronic Control Module (engine computer). Various programmer manufacturers also provide the vehicle owner with the ability to switch to various modes to improve towing performance, higher horsepower, or improved fuel economy. Keep in mind that maximum power results are done with higher-octane fuel, but some programmers also provide significant results using lower 87 octane fuels, which is great for customers who are also concerned about high gas prices and can also improve your cost-per-mile.

Performance programmers also offer other uses. Most have the ability to read trouble codes, should the vehicle check-engine light appear. Some systems also re-calibrate the speedometer settings if the vehicle has larger custom wheels and tires. Programmers are also easy to install but they will vary on how they update their products and fix any errors made in programming; most are available to download from the manufacturer’s website. Some manufacturers also offer price-point models that simply add the performance vehicle calibrations, while more expensive systems can be used as a dash mounted gauge to display multiple functions. More expensive models feature a virtual drag strip, engine dynamometer, acceleration and braking meter and more.

Combining Power Parts

One of the most common misconceptions is the amount of power that will be achieved when you install an aftermarket air intake, exhaust system and power programmer. You can’t add up the claimed power increases from each manufacturer and expect the total to jump out at you on the chassis dyno.


It’s important to keep in mind that aftermarket manufacturers test their systems on completely stock engines without any other modifications. So the power gains delivered by only one component can take the greater share of the engine’s limited percentage for improvements in efficiency. When you add all three components, an air intake, cat-back exhaust and a power programmer, the engine’s overall percentage of improvement potential has to be split among all three.

So do you really need all three? The answer is yes if you can afford to. The reason is that installing all three ensures that the vehicle is gaining the maximum potential for improved efficiency and in most cases, slightly better fuel economy too. In some cases the power programmer also has a tune for trucks that take into account an aftermarket air intake and exhaust system. So maximizing your engines efficiency for more fuel economy and power can be accomplished with a little effort and the right combination of parts.

There are many other performance parts that can be added to your truck, such as headers, superchargers, performance camshafts and cylinder heads, but we chose to add only the easiest to install and the most cost effective in gaining the most power and fuel economy from your pickup. Of course, each vehicle is different, but on average, adding these three popular performance components can deliver an improvement around 10-15 horsepower and torque improvements of 20-40 pounds-feet. Fuel economy improvements of up to 1.5 miles per gallon are normal, but are dependent on your driving habits. More power tends to be used more often, but if you keep your foot off the pedal, you’ll begin to see the fuel economy improvements you’ve been hoping for.


thanks Mike Levine very good article

I have a serious question for those who know the answer please help I have been to a lot of threads trying to find out what I should do with my 2010 5.7L Tundra DC as I already have Volant CAI and Doug Thorley headers nut I recently changed exhaust to Gibson dual extreme which has some drone so should I run an x-pipe or a h-pipe? I was told both increase power but I dont know which is best for a pickup and I was told the x-pipe would decrease noise in the cab but the h-pipe has a better sound. I think PUTC needs to test both to answer this question because their is no definitive answer to this question.

Well written article Mike.

The gas mileage, on my Dodge Ram 2500 4X4 Power Wagon (5.7L, 6-spd automatic, and 4.56:1 gears), went from about 10.3 m.p.g. (city) stock to about 11.5 m.p.g. (city) when I added; a Magnaflow muffler, Airaid Modular Intake Tube, and a Superchips flashpaq programmer.

I wouldn't trust the vehicle's in-dash computer tallied mpg's after these mods.

Yep in my experiance I have gained about 10%-20% across the board with all the above, it all depends on the vehicle.

I guess that makes General Motors a long time cheater as well, huh?:

Current Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 (supercharged)
Current Buick Regal GS (turbocharged)
Chevrolet Cobalt SS and HHR SS (?charged)
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS (supercharged in '04 & '05)
Pontiac Grand Prix GXP (supercharged)
G.M.C. Syclone and Typhoon (turbocharged)
Pontiac Bonneville SSEI (supercharged)

General Motors getting it cheating!

it is also worth mentioning that advanced synthetic oil reduces friction in the motor and has longer change intervals, great for performance and towing. the less friction in and heat in a motor the less power lost, power that is already there. to answer 5.3 lol's question h pipe catches large amounts of back pressure, x pipe catches it all. x pipe is better than h pipe, h pipe is better than nothing, if you have room for the x pipe go for it. either way a crossover pipe sounds better than separate pipes. I have a 2007 dodge ram 1500 thunder road with a 5.7 hemi. i bought two thrush glass packs 2.5 inlet/outlet from advance auto parts (only $22 dollars a piece, you can get two glass packs for the price of one chamber muffler) and took them to a muffler shop where i had them cut the pipe in front of the factory y pipe and i had them make an h pipe for me. so i have true duals with an h pipe and two glass pack mufflers with chrome slant cut tips strait out the back (total price for everything was $225 dollars roughly). at idle it is slightly louder than stock but if you get on the gas it gets louder as rpms get higher and the h pipe gives a slight mustang 5.0 sound. the glass packs give a rougher sound than a chamber muffler but remember they are cheaper too. also a glass pack is really a resonator keeping most resonance out of the cabin, while a muffler takes all the high pitch out of the end of the tail pipe while keeping a deep tone like a chamber muffler by flowmaster, cherry bomb or thrush (chamber mufflers come in single, double, or triple chambers, the more chambers the more mellow sound but quieter, the less chambers the louder but rougher the sound). when i had true duals put on my truck (not a muffler with one inlet and two outlets to have dual tips like some do) i instantly noticed a difference, it even shifted differently. at first i thought i had messed something up because when they cut the stock pipe they cut pretty close to the oxygen sensors and i did not know if it would change the way the computer ran things because of the free flow or anything, but i have had no problems. it justs shifts quicker instead of being lazy like stock. a lot of people who use power programmers say their trucks shift the same way. i will probably get a superchips power programmer with my tax check as well as a k@n cold air intake ( i would like ceramic coated headers, but they cost a lot and are hard to install on a hemi where the steering column is). right now i have a k@n stock intake replacement air filter and the main difference i noticed when i put it on (back when i had my stock exhaust) was that it gave slightly more sound inside the cabin. it cost me $25. i also use a k@n oil filter with 7.25 quarts of royal purple advanced full synthetic motor oil and i noticed a difference with the oil too. the motor revs smoother and gas mileage did go up slightly. i recommend k@n with royal purple, mobil 1 extended performance with mobil 1 extended performance, or castrol edge with bosch distance plus filters and oil for people with gas motors looking to get the most out of their motors. i almost forgot about throttle body spacers, which work well with cold air intakes.

i almost forgot about amsoil, which is hard to find. what kind of vehicles and mods do you guys have? does anyone out there have turbo gas V8 truck? i've seen a couple of sts turbo silverados on youtube that are pretty cool.

@michigan bob you can let it go man, no one cares anymore or is influenced by your stuff one way or another. you hate ford, they're so terrible, we get it.

To all: Is it still the case (or mostly the case) where a bolt on intake will void the warranty? I don't really know where most manufacturers stand on that topic and was wondering if that was (still) true.

@minivan bob could you please wait for some gm news to talk, we no you dont like fords its getting really old hearing about your jealousy of fords though.
back to topic though, i find it hard to justify the price of a programmer on a gas motor, now on a diesel it seams way more wothr the money when you get over 100 hp out of it


Under the Magnusson-Moss consumer protection law: NO dealer and NO manufacturer can void your warranty just on the basis of aftermarket modifications. Under the law they MUST prove that the modification(s) was the true cause of the vehicle failure.

Now with that said, it can be a long drawn out process (phone calls to dealership/customer service, lawyers, court proceedings, etc.) to reverse a dealerships/manufacturers quick decision to void your warranty. You have to be willing to fight for your rights! Good luck!

@Josh - problem with glass packs is that they eventually burn out the packing then you got what amounts to straight pipes. Not good for keeping the constabulary off your hide.

I'll consider these kind of mods once my warranty is expired.

@ Buy American,

You do still have to be in compliance with local or federal regulations for safety, emissions, etc. But most major manufacturers have figured out 50 state compliant products to sell.

Too bad they don't just do this kind of stuff at the factory level. Maybe it is to have "head room" for product refreshes every 3-4 years.

Aftermarket intakes really don't do anything, Sometimes they decrease HP because they don't have an airbox. Exhaust systems don't do much either. They only way those would help is if your engine was breathing more and faster from other mods.

@mhowarth - I doubt we will see fully adjustable engine or performance tuners, or even fully adjustable shocks and/or suspensions from the factory.
Engineers are bright enough to know that the general public will find more ways to screw up a vehicle if they have the ability to tinker with it.

We will probably see more stuff like what is in the Raptor - pre-set options for performance.
I'd like to see factory pre-sets for economy, medium, and heavy duty work, as well as performance tunes.
Adjustable pre-sets for suspension would be cool as well.
It would give the consumer some choices but not take it totally out of control of the engineers who do the testing.

@Bob - stop trolling. It seems to me that you consider winning magazine tests as your primary metric for determining the "Best".

Here is what most people look at for determining the "best".
Long term durability.

JD Power has 20 (twenty categories).
GMcorp products were top rated in only 3 categories.
Large Car
Large Premium Car
Large Crossover/CUV

GMcorp excels at building large land yachts.

Whoop dee doo.

They are the best at catering to the over 60 crowd.

The industry average is 151 problems per 100.

Care to tell me if the Sierra and Silverado are the "best" in the Large Truck category?

All this old people vehicles GM talk does bring up the question why does GM still make Buicks?

@5.3 LOL - the reason GMC killed Pontiac and not Buick is because Buick is a huge hit in China.
I guess the Chineze elderly have similar tastes.

@ 5.3 lol GM builds Buicks because the Chinese likes them. The decision came down to Pontiac or Buick to axe. In the global market Buick sells more than Pontiac even though Pontiac sold more in North America.

@ Josh I've installed shorty headers on Rams like yours. I believe they were from Edelbrock. Fit very well in the available space and matched up with the factory y-pipe perfectly. They weren't cheep though.

In my experience nothing is better than a CAI + cat back + a custom tune. The engine cannot fully benefit from these mods unless its optimized for them. And of course every intake and exhaust kit is different.Just like its optimized from factory for the factory setup. And while most aftermatket tuners do an acceptable job you may as well get the best bang for your buck.

Post deletion in 3........2..........1

Any thoughts or suggestions on tonneau covers? I hear they get you 1-2 mpg improvement. Seems like a pretty cheap bolt on mod to me if true.

@Bob - I'm just pointing out the highly illogical thought patterns applied by you:

1. You say sales don't prove a truck is the best when GM products are in second (USA) or 3rd place (Canada).
You keep bringing up hamburgers.
You will brag your ass of when GMC is in first and you used to do just that.

2. You don't mention the fact that the F150 won the last 1/2 ton shootout. (If magazine tests are so important to you).
But still say GM 1/2 tons are the best.

3. You don't mention the fact that an F150 won the "worktruck" shootout. (If magazine tests are so important to you).
But still say GM 1/2 tons are the best.

4. You point out that "Ford" is cheating with the EB 3.5 V6 when it is proven to outpower what GM offers.

5. You cling to some vague 1 mpg advantage that the 5.3 has.
Even though there are people who've gotten over 30 mpg out of the EB.

6. You make fun of features that GM doesn't even have. ie. tailgate step, and side step.
I didn't hear you make fun of the side steps on the GM concept truck a while back.

7. You go on and on about OnStar when Sync does the same FOR FREE.

8. JD Power - their survey results place Tundra #1, F150 #2, and Ram 1500 #3 in long term durability.
I guess that test doesn't matter to you?

I would post examples of your posts, but for some strange reason - they keep getting deleted.

You also bash and troll Ram news.

I said "@Bob - stop trolling. It seems to me that you consider winning magazine tests as your primary metric for determining the "Best".

I did not say "magazine tests do not matter".

Magazine tests do matter.

The information in them matters.

Who came in first does not matter.

@antibob - I'm not sure that they make a huge difference. Testing seems to indicate that tailgate nets or vents , or lowering the tailgate don't matter as an "air pocket" or "bubble" forms in the box and gives you similar MPG.
I've seen a box cover that starts high at the cab and slopes down to the tailgate that is supposed to improve mpg, but that is the only one that I've seen that makes any real claims to an improvement.
I had a tailgate net on a previous truck and didn't notice any change in mpg. The back end of the truck was easier to spin around or break loose.

@anti-Bob - one last point. I've played with hypermiling a bit and can get 15 mpg city and 20 highway out of my 2010 5.4 4x4 SuperCrew.
It doesn't cost anyone a dime, but driving habits can be much harder to change than a rusted set of exhaust manifolds;)

I got between 12-13.5 mpg towing a 3500# boat 800 miles over the weekend. 2006 GMC Sierra Denali 6.0. Set the cruise on 65, pretty good I thought considering I only get around 14.5 around town anyway. Always willing to invest in something that make a real world improvement, that's why I asked.

@Antobob - I've managed to get better mpg by not using cruise control. One hypermiling strategy is to try to slowly build momentum for hills and allow for some drop in speed going up the hill.
I get my best mpg if I stay in the 1,200 to 1,600 rpm range and try not to let the transmission downshift on hills. (3.55 gears).
A canopy or cap might be of benefit for towing a camper or enclosed cargo trailer. There usually is a fairly big gap between truck and boat so I doubt it would help there.
It seems to be that most mods for fuel economy will take 3-5 years for a break even point.
your Denali is AWD? That is pretty good.
Try some hypermiling techniques.
Clean MPG has some good tips.

I'd say your best gains would be by keeping one's vehicle well maintained.
I had a 3/4 ton that I put dual exhaust on it. I didn't see any change in mpg but it had more power.
none of the guys I know with bed covers have ever mentioned an improvement in MPG. Some of them are really heavy though. (The bed cover, not my friends. LOL)

When I bought my 08 Ram Hemi, the first thing I did was put on a Volant CAI. I didn't really notice any difference in performance or FE.

I then bought a Superchips tuner. I noticed a very sizable gain in power, but FE was not effected.

I then bought a Magnaflow catback exhaust. Once again, I noticed no gain in power or FE. But, I absolutely loved the new sound of the truck.

I then put a higher flow Magnaflow "Y" pipe on. I noticed a small gain in midrange torque, but no gains in FE.

I then bought the Customizable Trans Tuning option for the Superchips tuner. I noticed a small gain in performance; mainly do to the quicker shifting, and a 1 mpg gain in FE, because I was able to make the trans short shift.

I noticed very little performance and FE gains from these bolt-ons. But in the future, when I decide to go more in-depth with my performance options (Turbo/Cam); I think the better air flow these bolt-ons gave me will help significantly. For those who only want to lightly mod, choose wisely.

I put a Flowmaster Catback on my 2011 Ram 2500 Hemi and I noticed an increase in low end power when I drove it right after the install. I think FE wise 0.5 to 1 mpg but I did not really calculate the fuel mileage because my Avenger is the economy car.

@Josh or anyone- About the synthetic oil: My dad has always told me that synthetic is better than conventional but it isnt a good idea to start using synthetic on an old motor that has had conventional in it all its life. He said even if it didnt burn oil before, it probably would afterwards.

Now, he is an old guy and doesnt keep up on newer motors so maybe that was true back in the day. Or maybe hes just wrong. Any thoughts?

Frank wrote:

"Any thoughts or suggestions on tonneau covers? I hear they get you 1-2 mpg improvement. Seems like a pretty cheap bolt on mod to me if true".

I have had many pickups over the years with covers and toppers. I have never seen a 2mpg increase in any of them. I have had a mix of small S10's and full size Silverado's. I think your best bet to get 2mpg more would be to find a way to remove about 800Ibs.

I'm surprised Ford can't engineer an intake system! All that work too get more ponies out of the engine and someone comes along with a bunch of pipe and bam.....18hp

I have a Jason's Extreme Topper on my truck. I pull a 4,000 pound Bay Boat with T-Top and I can 100% say that with the Cap on the Truck the Wind Drag is allot less than without. My Mileage went up about a 1/2 MPG so it's worth it over the long run, plus I get allot of DRY/LOCKABLE storage with it.
* Now onto the MODS..... Most DYNO Results show 1-2 HP with a INTAKE installed ON the DYNO the same day after getting a good baseline with your stock intake. Add a EXHAUST and 90% of the time HP increases on the top end by 4-8 hp over your baseline but Low-End TQ suffers from the less restrictive exhaust..... TURBO'D Cars and Trucks are different. Add a Tuner to the mix and you will see a 10-15 HP Increase over Baseline and better low end TQ but it basically gets it back to stock low-end tq. Is all of this worth the $$...well that is for the buyer to descide. $800 to $1500 worth of modifications are hard to pay themselves back with a 1/2 to 1.5 MPG increase. Especially when most of these trucks are weekend warriors...LOL..... If you have the money to it! If your buying all these mods on CREDIT.......BIG WASTE OF $$$$$$$!!!!


There is some truth in your father's statement. The problem comes from the super slick, high detergent, properties of synthetic oil. The synthetic oil has the potential to dissolve the sludge/gunk that is acting as an extra barrier around old gaskets and seals. When this happens there is a chance that the synthetic oil will seep past the dried out gaskets.

Now, synthetic oil is for sure better than conventional oil. That is why I only use Mobil 1 synthetic oil in my; 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited (175,000 miles), 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (54,000 miles), and 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon (70,000 miles). I have used Mobil 1 in all of these vehicles, except for the Grand Cherokee, since new. I bought the Grand Cherokee three years old, with 34,000 miles, and started using Mobil 1 right away.

I have a 1968 Ford Mustang G.T. fastback with over 240,000 miles and my parents have a 1987 Jeep Cherokee with 230,000 miles. Both these vehicles have lasted all these miles on conventional oil.

Using synthetic oil is mostly for peace of mind and cheap insurance. We have the technology, and it is affordable, so why not use it? That is why I will always use synthetic oil in my newer vehicles.

I have a 2007 f150 4x4 reg cab short box with the 5.4 and I recently added the roush off-road exhaust and roush CAI. My mileage went from around 14 straight to around 16.5 mpg. I noticed a big difference in throttle response as well.

as for mod i like them but are they worth all the hype is the question, when i bought my truck i drove it off the lot i was getting 13.5 city after $1,500 in mods and a tune from PHP mods include, Cold air intake, throttle body spacer, and a much smaller muffler, and synthetic oil, i keep my rear tires at 10LBS over recommended and the front 5lbs over recommended and now i get 16 city give or take a little and over the years have changed my driving habits, i started with a super chip 1st it gave me a lot more throttle response but my FE tanked so i researched a little more and found Power Hungry Performance and i install there tune and i got the same feel from that as the super chips but i actually gain about 1 MPG, the thing with tunes are that if you stay out of the gas pedal you will see gains in FE but if you are constantly laying into it you will see losses, i put a bed cover on my truck and i did not see a gain in FE but as one gentleman said it keeps my bed dry, the best thing to do if you want to see better MPG's is to maintain your vehicle properly and drive the speed limits, as for the synthetic oil leaking problem i found before you change over is run a conditioner in the engine that is what we do here with used vehicles and it works

@Buy American thanks for the info. I think the law definitely would protect the consumer, but you're right, the fight might not be worth the hassle. I think i'll stick with buying a better air filter, keeping it clean, using synthetic, and keeping my foot off the gas!


A little more for you to chew on. A year ago I had a battle regarding my dealership, that I had been going to for 15+ years, voiding my warranty on my Dodge because of a simple modification I made.

With the modification removed from the truck, I was able to take it to a different dealership, where the technician(s) are more savvy to the Power Wagon mechanicals, and they determined that in fact, it was a legitimate warranty issue.

It is a gamble how a dealership will treat you. Choose your modifications wisely. Bolt-ons (no cutting, no drilling, no welding) are best. The easier it is to remove the modification(s), and return the vehicle to stock, before you take it in to the dealership the better.

i do notice that my hemi makes a ticking noise with royal purple synthetic but i read online that all hemis make that noise it just gets louder with synthetic. before i used royal purple i was using castrol edge with titanium technology (gold bottle) and i did not hear the ticking. also on the castrol edge bottle when they first came out with it said it met the needs of chrysler 5w-20 (what i must use for the mds to work properly) but then when they put the titanium label on the bottle they took the "meets the needs of chrysler 5w-20" off and put "other vehicles requiring 5w-20". it never was chrysler ms-6395 certified but castrol edge with syntec power technology is (formally castrol syntec). the titanium edge is advanced full synthetic while the edge syntec is just full synthetic. my point is does anyone know exactly what CHRYSLER MS-6395 is and how serious it is to use oils that are certified by it? Could this be why my truck ticks louder (royal purple isn't certified by any automaker)? the reason i use it though is because i have always thought it to be the best synthetic oil. i used it in my 2003 dodge ram 1500 st hemi (stripped down truck with one of the first generation three hemis with the plug wires and no MDS and they take 5w-30, not 5w-20) and i ran the same oil when i bought it at 192,000 miles drove the mess out of it to 206,000 miles no lie, and the whole time before i traded it on my 2007 and all the hard driving with royal purple and the ticking nothing happened except i burn out the number seven ignition coil and the plug on cylinder seven that is fired by the number seven ignition coil. but was i slowly messing it up or was it fine with the ticking, any chrysler techs out there? despite the ticking i did notice the trucks were a tad faster and the motors did rev smoother despite the ticking (which i suspect could be the rocker shafts on the hemi maybe, it comes from the heads, that or maybe the vavles against the valve seats).

i read on that chrysler likes shell products for the srt-8 cars, like shell rotella 5w-40 full synthetic and pennzoil (prefferably pennzoil ultra class synthetic 5w-20) for regular cars. quaker state (which i would never use) just meets requirements not exceeds but is still part of SOPUS, shell oil products united states. no high mileage (a lesser synthetic blend for vehicles over 75,000) oil is certified by an auto maker because it is like mineral (conventional) oil with additives like lucas, which by the owners manual is not recommended. any opinion on wix filters anyone?

@JBrown - I've seen similar results on sport bikes and dirt bikes. You pipe and chip the bike and you loose low end and gain top end. I had a buddy with a CBR900 that I could beat everytime with my YZF1000. He piped his bike and I still beat him. The low end loss was huge.
I think that all of these new trucks are so well designed that minor mods aren't going to yield any big gains.
I plan on getting a cap for my truck. I'm not expecting any MPG gains, I just want a dry place for my dogs and to keep snow out of the back.
I will take a hard look at tires and the compromise between grip and MPG when it comes time to replace my stock Wrangler SR-A's. They seem like a decent all around tire. If I spent more time offroad I'd ditch them as they do gum up with mud fairly easy. They seem okay in sand, snow and on ice. I'm running 4 psi over stock because they seemed to be wearing more on the edges. The extra air seems to have helped with that, ride is basically the same, I feel more road hum/vibration on a rough, old pavement. I haven't seen any difference in MPG but I haven't had the chance to go on a decent road trip since the change.

Of everyone of the above, the sythiol is the cheepest way to get more efficiantcy and power for the $$$, that is the 1st thing I have done after breakin in all my units, on the air-cooled Harley iol temp went from 210+ to 180+ on the same roads temp. ect.! as far as highend gain low end loss or visea versa, that is the job of the cams in said engine, and of course the rice rockets will gain on the top end with tuners, put a tuner on a truck and if the said tuner has more than one mode, the low end towing mode will get more improvement than the high end mode. Also the Chevy Hy-Brid twins and the XFM models came with the tonneu covers stock, I don't think GM would wast $$ on something they coudn't prove worked! The biggest advantage with the syth-oil is the cold start advantage! and the very high temps. advantages,

Josh: nothing wrong with Wix filters! and Shell Rotella T oil is about the beat for Heavy Diesel trucks. As far as the ticking noise? it could be your injectors, maybee you are hearing the injectors because the rest of the engine is quieter because of the oil that you use when they "click" is because it has better friction reducing properties, therfore you hear something you couldn't before? try rolling up a towel or something to mask the noise coming off the injectors by laying it on the fuel rail along the head between the intake manifold and valve cover, (when cold) and see if you can still hear the clicking? I know my Dodge makes the "clicking noise) at times when every thing else is very quiet. Good luck

Is there such a thing as a power programmer for a Chevy Colorado with the 3.7 5 cyl?
Anyone know, cause I can't find one.

I have Banks powerpack on my 06 f150: and it does make an improvement on power, mpg, and looks:

@ Josh I happen to be a Chrysler tech. Its hard to say without hearing it but your ticking could be an exhaust leak. Its not uncommon for the manifolds to warp on the back end and break the rear most bolts off. Try pulling or prying on the heat shields near the back of the manifolds. If you can move them away from the engine the bolts are broken. If the manifold are still good then try switching back to Castrol and see if the noise goes away. If the noise is gone I would stick with that oil. As for the SRT cars, Chrysler recommends Mobil 1, usually 0w-40.

Now, here's a dose of the TRUTH which most guys already know.

A) CAI isn't going to do crap for your truck except make more noise. You'll likely lose low end torque actually, and possibly MPGs. If you are lucky, your MPGs will stay the same.

B) Exhaust isn't going to do crap for your truck except make more noise. Some muffler designs, especially Flowmaster, have been proven on dynos to DECREASE torque.

C) Programmers can give you SMALL gains on gas appications, but the cost (hundreds of dollars) makes them almost not worth the hassle, especially if you are under warranty.

D) If you truly want more power and MPGs, the best thing you can do is reduce load on the engine. Shed weight, use electric fans, don't run the A/C so much, etc. Regear your differentials to match the type of driving you do. Numerically higher gear ratios will IMPROVE mileage in most applications, contrary to the moron engineers that design today's rides. Drive with a lighter foot. Basically, it's all common sense... but the aftermarket doesn't want you to hear that.


Not trolling her is what i have experienced with my mods, i agree the exhaust does not do a lot if anything, after talking to my mechanic and this is what he told me, is that on a gas the three easiest things to do is cold air intake, throttle body spacer, and a programmer, now with a gasser you will not get a whole lot but for me i really noticed a difference on FE, TQ, throttle response and power especially when towing, the reason to do all three is they all work together, i agree with you on driving habits that is one good way to see increase in FE
that's MHO

Use of a Power Programmers does void your vehicle warranty.
First thing Chevy garage looks for.

Some folks go so far as to buy another engine computer, and set aside the unmolested original, if they are going racing.

wxMAN: wow did you get that backwards, yes driving habits do the most for fuel economy, but wont get you any more power! but what part of the engine being a air pump, and the easyer air gets in and out, make it more efficiant? ergo more POWER ANd fuel ecconomy? don't you understand? other wise why would the manuf. void your warranty?

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