There is no denying the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine in Ford’s Super Duty pickup is a very impressive mill for hauling and moving objects. In fact, it comes with some great specs that make it the go-to engine for many truck enthusiasts. That said, sometimes truck owners want to get a little more out of their engines. Luckily, the team at SCT Performance can help with that. However, the method of tuning might be a little different than you’re used to.
For years, simple handheld tuners were plugged into the OBD-II port and the tunes were simply “flashed” into the truck’s computer. However, recent advancements in vehicle options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity mean that safety protocols are put in place at the factory to keep would-be hackers from taking over the vehicle.
Connecting For Your Tune
While some vehicles can be tuned with the addition of a simple security bypass wire, the Ford Super Duty still presents hurdles that require a different way to tune. For these trucks, SCT has come up with a special way to tune the ’20 and ’21 Super Duty.
Currently, some tuning suppliers need you to send your Engine Control Module (ECM) to them for a tune (or tunes) to be installed. Now, uploading a custom tune is accomplished via the use of the SCT X4 hand-held controller, a power lead, and a security bypass box and wire. There is no reason to remove your ECM and have a truck that can’t be used until the “box” is sent back to you.
Tuning begins by first contacting the tuning person of your choice and then purchasing and then downloading the tune to your X4. Then the X4 is connected to the truck. The connection process is simple. Begin by disconnecting the three large connectors located on the ECM on the passenger’s side firewall. With the factory harnesses disconnected, the SCT connecting harness is plugged into the ECM and the security box. The security box connects to the X4 device, and the power lead connects to the security box and battery. From there simply upload the new engine tune parameters. If you want to return the stock tune, that is just as easy, as it is stored within the X4 device. We do need to let you know, currently, the X4 does not contain any predesigned tunes that can be uploaded to your truck. We are told they are in testing as we speak.
One tuning aspect that many other hand-held devices are unable to tune is the transmission. With the new SCT system, transmission tuning is also done via the X4 device, but instead of making the connection under the hood, transmission tuning is accomplished via the OBD-II port under the dash.
And The Benefits For Your Super Duty Are…
Now that we have learned how easy it is to tune the ’20 and ’21 Super Duty, the X4 device is a way for custom tuners to extract the best performance from your truck. All you need to do is email the tuning person of your choice, let them know what you plan to do with the truck, and they can email you a tune that you download onto the X4 and then upload to your truck’s ECM. No muss, no fuss, no removing the ECM, and no syncing a phone to your controller. Simply download the tune from an email and upload it to your truck.
The X4 also allows you to adjust the TPMS warnings. While that might not seem important, driving around in a 3/4- or 1-ton truck with 80 psi of air in the tires can lead to a rough ride. However, if you drop the tire pressure to 50 psi (while not hauling or towing) to create a softer ride, the TPMS warning light will be screaming at you. With the X4, simply adjust your warning light to come on at 48 psi and enjoy your softer ride.
If you have changed your tire size or rearend gear ratios, the X4 will allow you to adjust your speedometer to accommodate the upgrade. Finally, DPF regen cycles can also be initiated when it works best for you. You do not have to rely on the truck to say when it gets done, you can do it when you feel it is necessary.
Another parameter SCT can help you adjust are in the transmission. This is the first hand-held controller that affords diesel truck owners that capability. We asked Matt what transmission parameters are affected by X4 and he says, “we adjust shift points, torque management, torque converter lockup, and fluid pressures.”
Currently, the SCT tuning is being tested for a CARB EO number and SCT fully expects this — like many of their other tunes — to be 50-state compliant.
Now that SCT has made tuning the ’20 and ’21 Super Duty so easy, what are you waiting for? Don’t you think it’s time to realize the full potential of your Super Duty and reap the benefits of better tuning that has been simplified?