Project Dodge Mega Cab: Diesel Superchips Flashpaq
Diesel Performance can be a fun and functional aspect of any diesel truck. We looked at Project Dodge Mega Cab long and hard when we got to this phase of our build. We wanted more power and torque, but above all we wanted reliability.
We had already added a K&N FIPK II Intake System and MagnaFlow Cat-back 5-inch Diesel Exhaust, so it was time for a Power Programmer.
Read more Cummins Diesel Performance articles for Project Dodge Mega Cab
• Project Dodge Mega Cab: K&N Diesel Performance
• Project Dodge Mega Cab: MagnaFlow Diesel Performance Exhaust
From the factory, the Cummins-diesel-equipped Ram truck comes with a 100,000-mile engine warranty. This is impressive by any standard—so no other diesel truck on the market can beat it.
One way Cummins can offer this impressive engine warranty is by de-tuning the power output. The 5.9l 24V HO is rated at 325 hp, while the 6.7l Cummins provides 350 hp from the factory. Both engines can easily provide over 500 hp with some simple tuning and bolt-on aftermarket parts.
We aren’t planning on doing sled pulls or racing the Mega Cab. So we stayed true to the core of our truck functions: towing and off-roading.
With the newer Cummins diesel engines, computers are an integral part of making them tick. No longer is swapping out injectors or putting in bigger diesel pumps and turbo enough. The brain needs to be altered safely in order to increase both horsepower and torque.
This is where the diesel programmer comes into play. A programmer downloads new information to your vehicle’s computer to produce more power. Some of the items a power programmer alters are:
• Air/fuel ratio
• Fuel injector flow rates
• Spark timing
• Automatic transmission shift points
Anyone can produce more power, but can they do it safety without shooting the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) to the moon?
We looked around at diesel power programmers--and let me tell you, the aftermarket is flooded with them. Some promise you the world and others are short claiming jet propulsion power.
We didn’t want a quick fix or a one-way trip down the quarter-mile strip. We needed something that would last and would not blow up our diesel engine. After extensive research, we decided to work with Superchips out of Sanford, FL.
Superchips has been in the business of digital power tuning for over 25 years. They are the leader in today's power tuner market. They have the engineering, expertise and products to back it.
We wanted the flexibility to be able and tune for fuel economy, towing and performance. Since our Diesel Mega Cab will primarily be used for towing and off-road, we decided to go with the Flashpaq model. Other available models include Mileage XS, Cortex and Racing tuner for hard-core track tuning.
The Flashpaq model gives us three key power options: fuel economy, towing and performance. Everything we were looking for.
Another important feature that sold us on the Superchips Flashpaq is that it will work with our aftermarket high-flow diesel exhaust systems and cold air intake.
The Superchips Flashpaq is a sleek programmer the size of a deck of cards. There are no batteries needed to run; it is powered automatically when you hook it up to your vehicle.
Before you use it, Superchips recommends that you visit their Web site to get the latest update for your tuner. This will ensure you get the latest tuning on your truck. If you don’t have a PC, you can still use it.
The process to get the latest tuning from Superchips is rather simple.
• Go to http://www.superchips.com/
• Click on Downloads
• Hook up your Superchips Flashpaq via USB cord to PC (provided).
• Update your firmware.
In the process, we did learn that the Superchips Flashpaq is only compatible with PC computers--so no Apple for this app.
The installation is extremely easy. You just need to take your Superchips Flashpaq, hook it up to your OBD-II port located inside the truck cab, and pick which programming setting you want the Superchips Flashpaq to do. The Superchips Programmer does the rest. It takes less than 5 minutes to do the entire flashing.
The factory settings are saved on your Superchips Flashpaq if you ever want to go back to stock or need to service during your first tune.
You can choose from the following:
Maximum engine and transmission performance gains. Superchips claims to add an additional 130hp, 270-lb-ft of torque in this setting. Low EGTs included.
“If you’re running the truck empty and want that extra ponies at the tip of your accelerator pedal, the Performance setting is the ticket. Superchips claims it will provide a gain of130 hp on 5.9l 24V HO Cummins. Using our “seat of the pants” detector—the power is definitely there.”
Optimized engine and transmission performance for heavy towing applications up to OEM max towing rating.
Optimized engine and transmission performance for fuel economy. Towing is not recommended in this setting.
You can have any of these power tunes with a press of a button. You’re not stuck with any particular tune either. You can easily re-flash your truck for a different tune that better fits your needs.
It’s really that easy. Superchips makes tuning your Cummins-powered diesel truck simple and fun.
In addition to the increased power, we also like some of the extra features the Superchips Flashpaq gives you. You can calibrate your speedometer by changing the tire size your truck’s computer has as a default (265/70R17). This feature supports tire sizes up to 42 inches.
This is a very nice feature for off-roaders since most of us don’t run stock-size tires. The calibration will help you see how fast you’re really going.
If that wasn’t enough, you can also use the Superchips Flashpaq as an engine diagnostic tool. This comes in handy when ever you get a check engine light. It will read the error code on your trucks ECM and even allow you to clear them. A simple diagnostic can run anywhere from $50 - $85 at a shop.
So you’re really getting three things in one package: power programmer, speedometer calibrator and engine diagnostic tool. We think the Superchips is a great value for everything it does.
We have put over 1500 miles on our Dodge diesel with the Superchips Flashpaq. We have had no issue at all—only big smiles and tons more power.
The Mega Cab drives like a complete different rig. If you need more “giddy up” for your truck, then a Superchips Performance Programmer is in order.
In our travels over the last few months, we had the following experience with the Superchips Flashpaq:
If you’re running the truck empty, and want that extra ponies at the tip of your accelerator pedal, the Performance setting is the ticket. Superchips claims it will provide a gain of 130 hp on 5.9l 24V HO Cummins. Using our “seat of the pants” detector—the power is definitely there.
The Tow Setting has been great to hauling and towing with the Mega Cab. The Superchips tuner really turns the truck into a freight train. The truck doesn't feel as fast as the Performance setting. It provides more control of the load by giving optimal shift points on the auto transmission, making more boost on the turbo and keeping EGTs under wraps so we don't melt a piston.
If squeezing more out of the pump is your thing, the Fuel Economy power setting is a pleasant surprise. You can get about 1-2 mpg increases per gallon.
Overall, we really like how easy it is to program and change power settings on our truck. We also like the fact that Superchips provides free software updates for customers.
So if you're ready to take your diesel truck to the next level, don't wait any longer—get your Superchips.
NOTE: Superchips is running a promotion through the end of the year (Dec. 31, 2010), which gives you a rebate of $25, $50, and $100.
1790 East Airport Blvd
Sanford, FL 32773