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Tuner for an already tuned Cummins


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About 2 years ago I bought a 1999 2500 with a 5.9L 24v Cummins.  The PO claimed that he "had a tune put on it" but couldn't be more specific.  It definitely makes more power and smoke than the similar stock trucks I've driven and there's no sign of any piggyback tuners on the truck so presumably he used a Smarty tuner or similar.  The only other mod that I know of is the Airdog Raptor lift pump that I installed but with a little over 200k who knows what injectors are in it etc.  I mostly use this truck as a road trip vehicle both for work and camping and it usually has a small (1800lb) pop-up truck camper on the back.  This is a mountainous area with lots of long steep grades.

 

I'd like to be able to adjust the tune in order to get rid of some of the smoke and hopefully gain a little fuel economy.  Having the ability to switch between mpg/power tunes would be great but once I get my tune(s) the way I like I don't plan on messing with it much.  Reliability is more important to me than max power.  Adding a piggyback style tuner on top of a tuned ECM sounds like trouble so I'm considering a Smarty or similar.  I suppose if necessary I could find someone to flash it back to stock and then buy a piggy back style tuner.  I'd prefer to keep my ODB port available since I frequently use it with an app to monitor mpg etc while driving.  Any suggestions?  

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 Yeah, the quadzilla adrenaline would fit the bill. I don't have one personally but several on here do. I'm sure one of them with more experience will chime in soon to list alot if the advantages to having one.

 One day I'll pull the trigger on one.

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10 hours ago, RayNAz said:

I'd like to be able to adjust the tune in order to get rid of some of the smoke and hopefully gain a little fuel economy.  Having the ability to switch between mpg/power tunes would be great but once I get my tune(s) the way I like I don't plan on messing with it much.  Reliability is more important to me than max power.  Adding a piggyback style tuner on top of a tuned ECM sounds like trouble so I'm considering a Smarty or similar.  I suppose if necessary I could find someone to flash it back to stock and then buy a piggy back style tuner.  I'd prefer to keep my ODB port available since I frequently use it with an app to monitor mpg etc while driving.  Any suggestions?  

Sorry I should have added a bit more, the quad will do everything you ask in the above list and more, I've not spent any time messing with mine just loaded a towing tune and a DD tune for stock engine which I found on here, I use level 9 of 9 on the towing tune always, truck just gets up and moves, no messing about EGT never over 1000f and my truck is desperate for a set of injectors,  best thing I've ever bought

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Just to give a feel for MPG with the Quadzilla Tuner...

  • 150 HP DAP Injectors (7 x 0.010) popped at 320 bar
  • HX35/40 Turbo (60/60/12)
  • BHAF
  • 4" Inch Exhaust (Straight Pipe)
  • NV4500 Transmission
  • 245/75 R16 tires on 3.55 gears giving a final ratio of 3.69:1

I've maxed out 28.04 MPG. I commonly will got 375 to 425 miles on a half of tank of fuel. The truck below...

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On 1/8/2022 at 3:11 PM, Mopar1973Man said:

Just to give a feel for MPG with the Quadzilla Tuner...

  • 150 HP DAP Injectors (7 x 0.010) popped at 320 bar
  • HX35/40 Turbo (60/60/12)
  • BHAF
  • 4" Inch Exhaust (Straight Pipe)
  • NV4500 Transmission
  • 245/75 R16 tires on 3.55 gears giving a final ratio of 3.69:1

I've maxed out 28.04 MPG. I commonly will got 375 to 425 miles on a half of tank of fuel. The truck below...

Now that's figures I could do with seeing as your gallons are smaller I'd be at 35mpg ish

 

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Am I correct in assuming that if I want to use a piggy back style tuner such as Quadzilla that I would first need to find someone to re-flash my ECM to stock?  Is that something that most shops would be able to handle?

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I think that's the problem. He doesn't know what's programmed into the truck.

 

Digging deep in my memory banks on this one.. there are only 1 or 2 flash style tunes for a Cummins, Smarty for sure and I think a power puck, not sure on that one. Way way early on in the 24v lifetime, there was something called a Jim Jessup tune. It predated or was the creator of Smarty. You sent the ECU in to get manually flashed.

 

I've never had to do it but I would think a factory flash from a dodge dealer would clear out all the tuning.

 

Not sure if a smarty can do that or if it reads the ECU first to make a return to stock file..

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Smarty and SuperChips are the only two I know are flash tuners. 

 

Diablo power puck was wired...

 

Still in all trip to the dealer to return to stock is worth it. I had a another 4th gen truck was running a H&S tuner and it fell apart on the owner. So I replaced it with a EFI tuner (handheld flash). Problem was the H&S left tune on the truck and now the new tuner made a mess of the ECM. Weird and random error codes. Either way after it was returned to stock the new tuner worked correctly. I know this is not the exactly the same but the out come was. 

 

Yes people do try to stack the Smarty and another tuner like Quadzilla. All it does is turn the throttle into a light switch. By the time you reach 25% to 35% TPS signal the fuel commanded is 100%. So its a very poor way to tune a engine. Not to mention the modified timing by the Smarty would be used and then the Quadzilla stacked on top making it hard to set timing properly. After all the years of working with Quadzilla I found out the efficiency is more about accurate timing values over just advancing timing up a bunch. Over advancing all it does is create negative torque where the fuel is burning before the piston makes it to TDC. Typically heard as louder rattle than normal.  

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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Thanks for all the advice.  Looking at the Quadzilla tuning threads it looks complicated enough without having to account for an already tuned ECM.  My understanding is that the Smarty programmers come with a library of "stock" programs by VIN so I may go that route depending on how much the dealer wants to do the flash.  l can probably sell the Smarty if I feel that I need the extra features of the Quadzilla.  Maybe I'll get lucky and find a used smarty locally.

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Hate to say it for the 24V trucks the Quadzilla is the best tuner. For myself I'm at a good 500 HP to the ground with 28.04 MPG high mark.

 

Smarty Touch is the best for Common Rail butlooking towards 1,800 price tag for the full meal deal.

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Looking at some videos on the Quadzilla I noticed that it can show when the Torque converter is locked up and the slip % .  Does that work on a 47RE?  I ask because I just got my truck back from having the transmission rebuilt and it seems like this would be good to keep an eye on.

 

Also, how sensitive are these to having a battery charger connected?  When my truck camper is on I have an automatic transfer switch set up such that sometimes the truck and camper batteries are linked.  For example if the solar panel has brought the camper batteries up above 13v  the switch will close and start charging the truck from the camper/solar.

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9 hours ago, RayNAz said:

Thanks for all the advice.  Looking at the Quadzilla tuning threads it looks complicated enough without having to account for an already tuned ECM.  My understanding is that the Smarty programmers come with a library of "stock" programs by VIN so I may go that route depending on how much the dealer wants to do the flash.  l can probably sell the Smarty if I feel that I need the extra features of the Quadzilla.  Maybe I'll get lucky and find a used smarty locally.

The Quad can be complicated or it can be really easy, At the moment I don't have time to mess with mine at all, loaded a tune from here and all done and my truck is now what it should have been from the factory the difference is night and day.

My truck has a 47RE and I have it set to show slip,  mine doesn't show torque lockup as I've already got all gauges used on the particular display I prefer, I think there is another with more but I get on well with the one I use.

After M73M was saying about MPG I sort of checked mine yesterday and very rough calcs I'm not impressed, I think around 12mpg  (UK Gallons) towing 3k kg  or around 6600lb but on a mix of motorway (highway) and normal roads (not town) I'm going to monitor more closely 

I know my truck needs injectors and Ideally a set of 7x10's as I'm not buying injectors twice but my trans is stock so will have to figure out tuning sooner or later

I don't know about connecting battery chargers other than the instructions says to disconnect the quad

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Like @wil440 said, its as complicated as you want it to be. you can download a tune and never look at the quad again. Or you can build an entirely custom tune based on your truck or your usage. 

 

The jury is still out on the battery charger, but definitely for jumping a vehicle you want to pull the quad.

 

Some of the quadzilla stuff when used with other vehicles show different parameters. TC lockup I don't think is one for second gens, but I know slip is. It just doesn't work on manuals..

 

@wil440, 315s and 3.55s probably are the reason for the 12 mpg(uk)

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8 hours ago, RayNAz said:

Looking at some videos on the Quadzilla I noticed that it can show when the Torque converter is locked up and the slip % .  Does that work on a 47RE?  I ask because I just got my truck back from having the transmission rebuilt and it seems like this would be good to keep an eye on.

 

Not an actual value. Only calculated value.

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3 hours ago, Silverwolf2691 said:

Like @wil440 said, its as complicated as you want it to be. you can download a tune and never look at the quad again. Or you can build an entirely custom tune based on your truck or your usage. 

 

The jury is still out on the battery charger, but definitely for jumping a vehicle you want to pull the quad.

 

Some of the quadzilla stuff when used with other vehicles show different parameters. TC lockup I don't think is one for second gens, but I know slip is. It just doesn't work on manuals..

 

@wil440, 315s and 3.55s probably are the reason for the 12 mpg(uk)

Yep thats me I've never done a thing with my quad other than load and go

 

As for the 315's and 3.55's when towing and around town I turn off OD and whenever I can lock the convertor this puts me at 2100rpm at 60mph ish give or take and engine load between 20 and 30% again that's an ish number depending on grades. and EGT around 600f to 700f

I did 151 miles yesterday from a full tank and refilled first thing this morning with 47 litres which cost me £70.50. 47 litres is a little over 10 gallons UK  so yesterday it did 15mpg UK gallons, I've done around 80 mile today and just looking at the fuel gauge I'm close to half what I used yesterday but today I didn't turn off the OD and just locked the convertor when on the motorway which was around 60miles of the journey, load around 50%, fuel temps at 88f, EGT at 800F to 900F, trans at 138f, again all figures are an ish as they change all the time but they are viewed averages, I also turned the quad down from 9 to 7 on my towing tune

I need injectors but I haven't the time to figure a tune out to keep the 47re from exploding

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