Diesel Performance Basics
Increase Horsepower, Torque, & Fuel Economy
Your diesel is capable of much higher performance than what it rolled off the showroom floor with. One of the great things about electronically controlled oil burners is the huge performance potential that can be unlocked relatively easily and affordably. The mods listed below are basic bolt-on performance parts that will provide more than enough extra power for daily drivers, tow rigs, and even weekend bracket racers. While you won't break any motorsport records, these are more than enough for most owners and best of all can be had at an affordable price. With any modification, it is recommended that you consider installing head studs and a pyrometer. A pyrometer/EGT gauge will allow you to keep your exhaust gas temperatures within a reasonable range, while head studs will greatly reduce the risk of blowing a head gasket due to higher-than-stock cylinder pressures.
Performance Engine Tuning:
Engine tuning comes in many forms - chips, programmers, tuners, but the basic function of all these parts is similar. These products modify engine parameters in favor of increased performance. Often times this includes, but is not limited to, higher fuel injection pressures, longer injection events, and altered timing. Engine tuning is easily the best bang-for-the-buck method of increasing performance, with some products increasing torque by more than 300 lb-ft. And when your foot is not buried in the throttle, you'll experience improved fuel economy on most models. Search for a model from a reputable manufacturer who can produce proof to warrant their claims. Be weary of "50 mpg" advertisements and other outlandish claims.
Aftermarket filter kits and intake horns are also an affordable way to increase performance. Additionally, reducing intake tract restriction will enhance throttle response and reduce turbo lag. Upgraded intercoolers are good for a few additional ponies as well. These modifications will also help keep EGTs at manageable levels. Cold air intake kits and air horns can be acquired at reasonable costs, though the horsepower per dollar ratio is lower than with engine tuning.
Performance Exhaust System:
No performance build is complete without a performance exhaust system. Reducing restriction in the exhaust will improve turbo response and provide torque increases throughout the entire powerband. A complete performance exhaust should include a free-flowing downpipe, muffler/muffer delete, as well as an attractive tip to add some flare. Many companies also offer DPF/DOC delete kits, which are only allowed on off-highway vehicles. While they are illegal, deleting the DPF can yield huge fuel mileage improvements as well as increased performance.