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Old     (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-07-2010, 2:37 PM Reply   
Has anyone ever used/installed a performance chip on your car/truck for improved horsepower and gas mileage?

I have a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 5.7 Hemi and I was curious if these things will really increase horse power and improve gas mileage. There are a TON of them listed on e-bay, but they all seem a little too good to be true. Are they a scam or do they really work?
Old     (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       04-07-2010, 3:03 PM Reply   
A custom tune is going to do a lot more for you than just a chip off of ebay. I know for GM products a Nelson performance tune is a good way to go. I am sure there is a company like that for dodge. They will custom tune your ecu for what you want out of your truck.
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       04-07-2010, 3:11 PM Reply   
I have a Gryphon by Power Hungry Performance. It's supposed to increase your milage a bit but most people on the truck forum I go on say it doesn't do too much that way. I have 3 different settings I can program. Transmission only, Towing, and a high performance. They don't make them for Dodge though.
Old     (bmcgee)      Join Date: Nov 2007       04-07-2010, 5:10 PM Reply   
I have a Hypertech power programmer on my Chevy Silverado. It has the options to increase the firmness when the transmission is shifting, adjust the speedometer to different tire sizes, program it to run on higher octane fuel, remove the factory governor, and a couple of other things, but i have to plug it in and reprogram my truck each time I want to change a setting. I bought it back when i was in high school and was obsessed with fixing up my truck. To be honest, if I could do it all over again I would probably just save my money. I really didn't seem to notice that big of a change in power or fuel economy and coughing up 450 bones for it definitely wasn't worth it. On the other hand, once I save up the coin to step up to a diesel, a programmer will probably be one of the first things I do to it. Chipping a gasser just isn't anywhere near as effective as chipping a diesel.
Old     (colorider)      Join Date: Jun 2001       04-07-2010, 5:55 PM Reply   
The eBay chips are a joke. Of you want to get one, only get a brand name one from a top manufacturer with a programmer. The "chip" sold on eBay is usually no more then a diode or resistor from radio shack.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-07-2010, 6:02 PM Reply   
A generic off the shelf chip is a weak attempt at a tune and will never give you the benefit of custom tune. Save your money and find a good tuner, it will really pay off.
Old     (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-07-2010, 6:29 PM Reply   
I bought a chip for my old truck (OBD1) from ebay. It works pretty fair for what I spent. For my OBD2, like your Dodge, I bought a custom tune from PCMforLess, not sure if they do Dodges though. I installed a re-tuned factory computer (I still have my stock one) in my 5.3 V8 Trailblazer EXT as a last resort due to poor mileage and so-so performance. I love it! It gained a 1/2 mile per gallon and tons more driveability. Even for the vehicle of this size, it is pretty quick and much, much more fun to drive. The tranny always had a horrible 1-2 shift before. Not any more and all the transitions, like when rounding a corner, are smooth. The vehicle is a pleasure to drive now and is quite impressive.

I just checked the PCMforLess site and they only do GM's. When you buy a tuner or a chip, you are so limited. With a real tune you can tell them what you are going to do with it and what you expect. Towing, power, gas mileage or whatever. Westers is also a reputable company. One of his tunes is a dual tune for regular or premium gas. Pretty cool. If you put more than so many gallons of fuel in the vehicle it'll bump up the timing until it pings and then it retards it knowing it did not receive premium fuel. If it sees no pinging, it stays as max timing and you enjoy the extra power.
Old     (autotunner69)      Join Date: Feb 2003       04-07-2010, 8:43 PM Reply   
i have a jet stage 2 chip in my truck. it is lifted with the bigger tires on it from stock so the only time i ever notice a difference is during the winter when i have the stock rims/tires on. it halls a$$.
Old     (magic)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-07-2010, 8:57 PM Reply   
When I had my Dodge Ram with the 5.7 motor, there was very little choice in aftermarket programmers. I got a SuperChips one, did very little for mpg improvements but did make the truck more fun to drive. Firmer ****ting, change the shift points, lock out of the other 2nd gear (there are two 2nds, one is more fun than the other).

From what I remember is Dodge does not give their programming info to the aftermarket like Chevy and Ford. So companies like SuperChips have to figure it out on their own.
Old     (jinxton)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-07-2010, 9:01 PM Reply   
I had a 04 Ram 1500 and what I noticed I got the most out of on that truck was the cold air intake. Made a huge difference on acceleration and got me 2-3 MPG.
Old     (jimmy_z)      Join Date: Jun 2009       04-07-2010, 10:26 PM Reply   
Chips do very little for performance in a n/a gasser. Save your money and push on the skinny pedal less for better MPG.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       04-07-2010, 11:09 PM Reply   
Performance chips will not improve gas mileage on any vehicle. The manufacturers spend fortunes to keep mileage at its best and there is not a trick in the electronics that can be exploited. You can get some performance advantages, at the expense of mileage or increased risk to the engine. Generally they are only useful if you have modified the vehicle and are trying to optimize the new parts.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-08-2010, 12:09 AM Reply   
tThe manufacturers spend fortunes to keep mileage at its best and there is not a trick in the electronics that can be exploited.
The manufacturers spend millions balancing performance, fuel economy and emissions- with an emphasis on emissions. You're right, there's no 'electronic trick'..They typically adjust fuels trims, timing and boost if it's F/I.

You can get some performance advantages, at the expense of mileage or increased risk to the engine.
A good tune can increase fuel economy and boost performance with no risk to the motor- sometimes providing an extra level a safety that manufacturers had to factor in due to emission regulation.
I'll give you an example:
My car stock got 17/20 with 247whp/288trq
After the tune it's doing 331 whp and 362trq. I added nothing other than supporting mods on top of the tune and my car now gets 20 in the city and just got 25 on the highway this w/e.

From the factory these cars would blow motors if you ran low rpm/high boost in 2nd and 3rd showing 3.5-5.0 volts of knock just before catastrophic failure.. It happened to at least 19 that I can count off the top of my head. The tuner can add fuel,pull timing, et cetera to correct the condition. That just one example of added safety.
Old     (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-08-2010, 5:59 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by rallyart View Post
Performance chips will not improve gas mileage on any vehicle.
Perhaps true with most chips, but not true with tunes.
Old     (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-08-2010, 8:11 AM Reply   
Alright, so if the cheap E-bay chips are not worth it how about upgraded air filter systems from K&N?

My main concern here is MPG. There is plenty of pep and responsiveness for my tastes just the way it is now, but at $65 per fill up I would like to gain 3-5 mpg. I've seen ads for K&N filter systems that claim to improve mpg. I'm sure upgrading my exhaust would help as well?
Old     (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       04-08-2010, 8:17 AM Reply   
I added a spectre CAI to my avalanche and have seen about a 1.5mpg increase. This is mainly on the highway but hey it is better than nothing. Here is the version for your truck.

Cheaper than the K&N and IMO just as good performance wise.
Old     (magic)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-08-2010, 8:36 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by jinxton View Post
I had a 04 Ram 1500 and what I noticed I got the most out of on that truck was the cold air intake. Made a huge difference on acceleration and got me 2-3 MPG.
Good point, I replaced the intake tube and did a cold intake on my '04 Ram. That made a difference. I also put an aftermarket muffler on too. The exhaust just made things sound better.
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       04-08-2010, 8:59 AM Reply   
You do have to watch with CAI or any intake for that matter. Although they can increase over all performance a bit they can rob you of low end torque.
Old     (nauty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-08-2010, 9:03 AM Reply   
I just did some searching on CAI and found this review:

It looks like there may be a minimal improvement in MPG, but the writer of this review claims that there was a noticeable difference in towing. Perhaps this alone my be worth it just for less wear and tear on the tranny when towing the boat long distances?
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-08-2010, 9:09 AM Reply   
I've used several different approaches on GM vehicles over the years, and the only ones that really worked well have been custom LS1-Edit tunes. I've used PCMforless on a couple vehicles with pretty good results. I've also tried Hypertech chips and one of the best handheld tuners (Diablosport Predator), with mediocre at best results. I don't even bother with tunes at all anymore.

Custom tunes work fairly well for power and shifting, and are necessary if you have other serious mods, but don't do it just for fuel economy. Best economy gain I've gotten over stock with any of them was about 1 mpg. If you go with the 91 octane tune, the extra cost of higher grade fuel nullifies the mpg gains anyway. Most engines are tuned on the rich side for longevity, so all the tuners can do for economy is clean up the stoichiometry.

The one thing I really like about GM tunes is the ability to have two independent fully tunable transmission modes that are selectable on the fly with the tow/haul button. This is a nice feature, especially if you already have transmission mods (shift kit, servos, etc).

Also, IMO do NOT use a K&N or any oiled filter on an EFI vehicle. The oil atomizes and goes into the air stream, and over time will corrode your MAF sensor. Also, oiled gauze does not filter as well as paper, so they should be avoided on diesels or anything that goes offroad as well. Oiled foam is a much better option from a filtration standpoint.

Last edited by trace; 04-08-2010 at 9:14 AM.
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-08-2010, 10:49 AM Reply   
Trace is right about K&N's on a MAS equipped vehicle. Some of the EFI vehicles out there map with a MAP sensor and throttle position sensor (TBI 5.7's for example). K&N's are fine on those vehicles.

As was previously stated... Tunes don't do much for performance these days. Most vehicles are so closely monitored that they run very well (efficiently) right out of the box. If you're looking for performance and don't mind putting premium fuel in your vehicle, then you can usually get some gains through mapping (ignition/fuel).

The best thing you can do for mileage is stay away from bigger wheels/tires and keep your tires properly inflated. Also, how you drive is huge. Mufflers and intakes will help, but it'll be nominal.

The only vehicles where you'll see significant gains in mileage with tuning are diesels. By adjusting the mixture you can make them less emissions compliant, but gain fuel mileage and power.

Turbo charged and S/C vehicles are obviously different. There is much more to gain by tuning in those vehicles, but you'll also open the door to endless hassles if not done correctly.
Old     (jaegermaster)      Join Date: Sep 2002       04-08-2010, 9:02 PM Reply   
Check out

I am on my 3rd Ram. On my first (97' 1500 w/360) I ran a MAC cold air intake and Flowmaster cat back exhaust. I gained better throttle response and maybe 2-3mpg.
On my 2nd Ram (01' 1500 w/360) I also ran a MAC cold air intake and Gibson cat back exhaust (way better than the Flowmaster). Again, maybe 2-3 mpg at best.
Now on my 09 2500 with the new HEMI I am running it stock for now. I get on average 13mpg city/15 highway with 35's. My truck also weighs close to 7000 lbs. so I'm not complaining. It does suck pumping 35 gallons of gas into it once a week though.

Dodge has been notorious for choking their trucks both on the intake and exhaust. IMO you are not going to be able to do much for gas mileage gains with just a chip, I think with a CAI and better flowing exhaust it will be more fun to drive, but it won't do that much for your mileage gains.

Check out some of the guys on this site have spent thousands in mods to their trucks. Do a search for chips in the classifieds. You will most likely find a bunch for sale from unsatisfied people.


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