Wondering if you should get a Superchips programmer for your 7.3L Powerstroke?; I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a Superchips 1842 Flashpaq Tuner to review for your pleasure.; Lets just say: Yes, I know I am about 10 years behind the curve of these Superchips programmers.; Everyone speaks very highly of this programmer, so I decided to give it a try and see if it would help my lackluster 7.3L Powerstroke.
Here's a little background information for my truck for those who are interested.; I purchased this truck last year. It had become quite a project to say the least.; The truck is an early 1999 F250 Superduty 4-door Super Crew with a manual transmission. The engine was in fair condition and didn't need much mechanical work.; I did replace a high pressure oil rail quick release fitting which is a fairly common problem as well as my injector o-rings. The engine had approximately 180K miles on it.; It was - like I said - lackluster in the acceleration department. Seemed to just lack power, but I do work on newer 6.0L, 6.4L, and 6.7L Powerstrokes all time at work so maybe I am just not used to the older engine.
So I went on the hunt - to find a programmer to up the ante on my Powerstroke.; I did my research on the subject and eventually found the product I wanted to buy.; I found the Superchips 1842 Flashpaq Tuner on Amazon for a fair price.; I liked this model because it allows programing of almost any Ford engine, gas or diesel.; I figured if I bought this one, I could always use it in the future if I upgraded trucks or even if I bought a car.; It features a data logger, programmable tire sizes for speedometer adjustment, internet up-datable, and 4 preset tunes.; I purchased it and 2 days later (because of my Amazon Prime membership) I received it in the mail.
I'm excited.; I'm ready to let the untamed beast loose. I go out to the truck, plug in the tuner and go to performance quick tune (skipping all the other programmable settings). It takes about 3 minutes to program the truck, and when its done I fire it right up.; Pull out of the drive and find a straight away to give it a test drive.; I floor the truck - slamming through the gears - all the while looking in the rear view mirror seeing a charcoal smoke fill the air.; "Ah," as I exhaled a deep breath I said to myself "Did I really just blow $300 on THIS?"
Woah! Backup.; Yes, you heard my correct.; I thought I had wasted my money.; Let's just say that yes the truck had quite a bit more pep in its step.; It accelerated as if it was a 1000lb lighter standard cab.; It was invigorating.; However, I didn't really see the big deal.; I hardly ever push that poor truck that hard. Seemed like a waste, but I kept it programmed for 3 weeks .; I really enjoyed the extra power on mid range while cruising in overdrive.; I didn't have to downshift from 5th nearly as often.; I noticed nice gains in mild acceleration through 3rd and 4th gears.; I have driven Superchips tuned automatic 7.3L Powerstrokes and they seem like it makes the world of difference, but with a manual transmission I just couldn't justify spending that much money on just a little gain.; I was unsatisfied with my purchase so I took advantage of the 60 day no hassle return policy.; I restored the truck, and sent the Flashpaq back.
Oh, now it seems like that was a horrible idea.; That little bit of pep seemed to make the world of difference when I was back to stock.; It was back to stock.; I thought to myself, maybe I was too hard on the product and expected too much from my own older truck. I came up with a different approach. I figured I didn't give the product a quality fully tested review.; I needed to investigate further and test out the benefits of the Superchips further.; Especially the tow mode and checking fuel economy numbers.
I came across a Superchips Flashpaq 1805 model.; It is the older outdated model that will only program a 7.3L and a 6.0L. Of course, with my luck, this free programmer was locked to another VIN number that was probably 'donated' to a junk yard.; It too is internet up-datable. I log onto Superchips website and download their Spark Updater software, plug in the programmer, and see what it tells me.
I couldn't get the Spark Updater to launch initially.; I had to edit the options of the file and force it to launch with administrative privileges in Windows 7. The Flashpaq was updated to include data logging and newer tunes.; I was given the option to unlock this tuner for $100 so we jumped on that bandwagon.; Since then, I have been testing the Superchips tunes and have to say I am still mildly impressed.; I used the light tow mode to haul a car and trailer and the truck handled the weight as if it wasn't behind me.; I also was able to calculate approximately a 10% raise in fuel economy, often hitting 19-20mpg on highway adventures.; You just can't beat a old 7.3L on fuel mileage if you are comparing it to a newer 6.0L or a 6.4L.
After everything, I would recommend getting one these for your 7.3L Powerstroke.; It does make a difference, and even more noticeable on the automatic transmission trucks.