Tech Articles


powerful 6.5 TD Performance upgrade for enhanced engine performance.

We get asked the question of building the 6.5 TD for performance almost daily and find ourselves repeating the same information over and over again so we thought we would write it down.
The key factor in building any Diesel Engine is maximizing Air & Fuel. The #1 mistake that we see people make is that they randomly bolt on performance enhancing items without following a system; for example, putting HO Fuel Injectors into a stock engine will give you little to no benefit without enhancements in programming and air supply. Therefore, we have developed the following Stages to get the maximum “bang for your buck” and build your 6.5 TD correctly:

Stage 1

Unlock the full potential of your vehicle with our 6.5 TD Performance upgrade.

Exhaust: This is #1 on our list for a few reasons: Anytime you are increasing power, be it electrical or mechanical, results in increases in heat. The objective behind the Exhaust System is to remove the Muffler that can cause restriction in the system, increase the tubing size and mandrel bends in the tubing to not only allow the engine to breath but to also get the heat out of the engine as quickly as possible.
Our Duck Exhaust System is made from 304 Stainless Steel that will not rust, has Mandrel Bends to keep a constant diameter in the tubing, is made to bolt on using the existing Factory Brackets and is the most unique sounding Exhaust on the market. In fact, we tell our customers that while it is not a huge gain in horsepower, the unique sound that it produces sounds like you strapped on 100 hp. It sounds like a marketing ploy but they almost always call back after installing the system and tell us that they understand what we were talking about! A sound byte can be found in the product on the website and there are also several videos on Youtube from customers who have installed our Exhaust. Duck Exhaust

Stage 2

Powertrain Control Module (PCM) with circuitry visible.

Now that we have the air exiting the engine faster with Stage 1, now it’s time to get more air in. Stage 2 is one of the only Stages that requires multiple items to be installed together to not only be effective but also to minimize taking the truck apart multiple times to install these items. Some decisions have to made on how many Stages you want to add:

PCM (Powertrain Control Module): Our Max-E-Torq PCM is a Tuned PCM that has unique fuel delivery and start of injection timing curves, tailored to deliver maximum power and torque. It also removes the Over-boost fault that will allow us to increase the amount of Boost supplied without going into De-fuel mode. The Max-E-Torq PCM will NOT be used if you will be going up to Stage 4 (as Stage 4 has its own PCM)

Max-E-Torq PCM

Turbo/Wastegate: Decision time again. When increasing the Boost, you have 3 options depending on your budget and power demands. We have outlined the following decisions from good, better and best:


Mechanical Wastegate: The Factory Vacuum Actuated Wastegate Controller is controlled by the PCM and is limited to a measly 7psi of Boost. The Adjustable Mechanical Wastegate will allow you to more than double the amount of Boost supplied to the engine to 15-18 psi. You can install the Mechanical Wastegate onto your factory Turbo.

Wastegate Controller


Wicked Wheel/Wastegate:  In addition to the Mechanical Wastegate, you can also install our Wicked Wheel into your stock Turbo. The Wicked Wheel spools the Turbo up faster to achieve Boost quicker which improves the throttle response over the stock compressor wheel.



Super 77 Turbo: This is a completely new Turbo that has a larger, proprietary compressor Wheel with a larger throat to give you the maximum bolt on air/boost. The result is a crisp throttle response as well as faster boost buildup over both the Stock Wheel or the Wicked Wheel. The Super 77 Turbo includes the Mechanical Wastegate so there is no need to purchase it separately.

Super 77 Upgraded Turbo

Boost Gauge: Since the Mechanical Wastegate is adjustable, you’ll need a way to monitor the Boost so that you can tune it to achieve the desired level of Boost. The Boost Gauge we offer has Green LED backlighting (so it matches the Factory Gauges) and includes all of the necessary hardware to install. It is also 2 1/16” diameter so it will fit into the factory Clock location (96-00) or can be placed into the panel just above your right knee on the 01-03 models. Other mounting options are also available. The maximum Boost will be achieved when the truck is under load and you are “in” the throttle. After installing Stage 2, we suggest finding a steep hill or incline where you can see what the Boost level is and adjust it accordingly.

30 psi Boost Gauge (Tuned)

Stage 3

HO fuel injectors, essential components for optimizing engine performance.

Now that we have both free-flowing air going out and more air coming in, now it’s time to add more Fuel. 

HO FUEL INJECTORS: A higher Pop Pressure ensures that you fully atomize the Fuel which results in a cleaner, more efficient burn. The result of this is a crisp throttle response, improved drivability and more horsepower. We use Stanadyne Injectors that were developed for the P-400. High Output Fuel Injectors

Stage 4

Discover the reliability and efficiency of our P-400 Injection Pump for diesel engines.

More Fuel! More Fuel! Stage 4 is like getting the performance gains of Stage 1 through 3 all over again!

P-400 Injection Pump: A brand new (not remanufactured) Stanadyne Pump that was built exclusively for the P-400 that produces 50% more fuel delivery than the Stock 5521 Pump. (83-87 mm3/Stroke @3400 rpm as compared to 49-51 mm3/stroke @ 3400rpm of the stock Pump) This Pump requires a special PCM Tune which is included when you purchase the Pump so if you are just starting on performance, you will need to make a decision if you are going to go up to Stage 4 as the PCM in Stage 2 will not be needed.


Raptor Fuel Pump: Required to keep up with the demands of the P-400 Injection Pump. Say goodbye to the weak factory Fuel Lift Pump that only produces 4 or less psi at idle and often drops to 0-psi under load. This lack of fuel delivery not only hinders the performance but also puts a strain on the Injection Pump leading to premature failure. The Raptor Fuel Lift Pump is a 100 GPH Rotary Pump that is not only much quieter than the factory pump but is also preset to 12psi to more than adequately feed your Injection Pump and the best feature is that it is 100% bolt on! No drilling/cutting/wiring required. This is possible through special fittings that are machined by us to accept the factory fuel lines as well as our fabricated Mount that bolts the pump up in the same location as the factory Lift Pump.


Stage 5

Crucial component for cooling compressed air in turbocharged engines.

Time to tie it all together and put Icing on the cake!

Intercooler System: Since the Turbo is driven by the exhaust gases, the Turbo gets extremely hot which in-turn heats up the incoming air. This hot air is then injected directly into the engine thus, resulting in inefficient combustion and higher exhaust gas temperatures. The Intercooler simply sends this hot air out to a cooler BEFORE it is injected into the engine lowering the temperature of the air 100+ degrees. Thus, the colder, denser the intake air, the more efficient and complete combustion of the fuel which results in more horsepower. This kit is 100% bolt on however it does require a 2″ Body Lift to accommodate both the Cooler and the Intake Manifold.

6.5 Intercooler System