Why Powerstroke Chip Modifications are so Important

What is a Powerstroke Chip or Tuner aka “Programmer”? And what does "chipping" or “tuning” my Powerstroke really do? Easily one of the most asked questions we receive at Wasatch Diesel Performance, it's also one of the most misunderstood answers.

Many enthusiasts and tuners can often confuse piggyback computers with chipping. Let's face it, we've all heard those arguments, but the process and the idea behind them are the same. 

While the term Powerstroke chip can be somewhat confusing, it's important to not remain stuck on terminology. For those people who still are not sure what chipping a Powerstroke really means, this guide is for you. 

Powerstroke chip

What does a Powerstroke Chip do?

There's an onboard computer, often called an ECM or PCM that your truck relies on. This computer gathers relevant information from your engine by way of engine sensors. Based on this information, the ECM is primarily responsible for delivering the fuel and controlling ignition in a manner that's most effective or efficient.

Unfortunately, performance and efficiency aren't always on the manufacturer's minds. When the engineers at Ford, Chevy or RAM begin their engine management process, they prefer to err on the side of safety. Safety usually means diminished ignition, overly rich fuel trims, all of which hinder your truck from its true potential.


Powerstroke chip, Duramax or Cummins all us a tuner, or chip so to speak that allows you to change information from the PCM. While older piggyback chip units used to "intercept" the signal from your Mass Air Flow Sensor, or your Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor, and alter it to your needs.

These units were problematic and primitive. They required you to splice in the wiring to make the tuner function.

Powerstroke chip tuners today are far more advanced, allowing you to directly plug into the OBDII port under the dash of your truck.

Powerstroke Chip

Most of these modern Powerstroke chip units allow you to flash or rewrite the ECU values. This gives you the flexibility to adjust and get the most gains from your truck, regardless of the situation. 

The gains you can get from a proper Powerstroke tune can net you gains of well over 100 horsepower and much more in many cases. As you add modifications to your truck, the performance level your tuner provides also increases. In essence, the Powerstroke tuner aka “Programmer” is your way to truly unlock your truck's potential.

For 7.3L Powerstroke owners, there are two methods you can employ to turn up the performance wick. One of the easiest is often reffered to as the "flip chip". This Powerstroke chip gives you the chance to upgrade your ECM immediately by plugging directly in. Easy to use, affordable and straight to the point, these tuners are an excellent value.

Traditional Powerstroke chip products, however, plugin, and give you the true power of your vehicle. Many tuners include pre-mapped points that give you a lot of range and ability to increase fuel economy and power, without sacrificing reliability. One of the most popular options for chipping that we USE at Wasatch Diesel Performance would be a Hydra chip from PowerHungry Performance, or even the Edge Evolution.

For 6.0L Powerstroke owners, the are some enhancements that were made back in 2003 that really give Powerstroke Tuner companies an inside edge. Being able to control and flash the ECM directly through the OBDII port made it easy for anyone to tune their truck. One of the more popular options for this platform is the SCTX4 7015 and the upcoming Edge Insight CTS2 Pro 86100 with colorful monitoring.

After that of course is the 6.4L, which was highly sought after for a variety of reasons. Ditching the HEUI fuel injectors and switching to a more traditional fuel rail injection option gave owners a new range in OBDII accessed programmers. Today, companies like SCT, EzLynk, Edge, and many others have truly cracked the code.

So in a nutshell, the Powerstroke chip gives you, the owner of your project the ability to do what you want with the computer. Extracting every ounce of the efficiency from your truck is the name of the game. After all, isn't that what you are modifying or customizing your truck to do?

Have any quesitons about Powerstroke tuners or a Powerstroke Chip that you think is right for you? Head on over to Wasatch Diesel Performance or drop us a line, and we'll be more than happy to assist you!

Some other Powerstroke chip and diesel tuner suggestions

Preferred Tuning applications by Make and Model

Ford Powerstroke 7.3L- Hydra Chip 6.0L- SCT or Insight CTS2 Pro 6.4L- SCT 6.7L- Ezlynk

Dodge Cummins 1998.5-2005 5.9L- Smarty, Edge or Quadzilla 2005-2007 5.9L- EFI Live 2007.5-2019- EFI Live

Chevy Duramax 2001-2019 6.6L- EFI Live

1 comment

  • Great article!
    Still need a set up for my OBS 7.3
    With the old style computer (early OBDII

    Jim Pasquin

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