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Old 03-15-2011, 07:20 PM   #15
Slide Out Society #001
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,278

This is almost as volatile of a topic as which hitch is best?

I bought my '05 Dodge new and got bit by the power bug a little bit, well before the AS. We have an '07 Dodge at work and the boss said BUY IT FROM BANKS! we did, I installed the Banks 6 Gun Tuner, exhaust, massive intercooler and at the time brand new Banks air intake. All bolted up and performed quite well. I was so impressed I bought the 6 Gun for my '05.

In hind sight.
I don't run the power settings on a regular basis, they really make it jump when you nail it.
The Palm display is really nice, I like having an EGT and boost gage right there.
OBD II is at your fingertips if anything happens.

I actually had lunch one day with Gale Banks and got a short tour, it is an impressive operation but the one big thing I took away from that day was that Gale doesn't want to make you a pedesterian.

Many other systems exist but I think the big unanswered question is, which brand truck are you looking at new or used? and if used how far back? I'm not sold that the highest unusable number and the most black smoke is real power, performance and reliability.

For me, I'm sold on Cummins, why? line up the big three, same year, open the hood and you decide which one YOU could work on.

TEST DRIVE and ask for seat time from Diesel friends. I was sold when a 1997 Ram 5.9L 3500 5 speed pushed me back in the seat going uphill in 5th gear.

My neighbor HAD a nice 6.0L, it bit him once too often, traded for an '11 Ford 6.7L, very impressive cab, no room for a payment book under the hood.

Big debate possible here, but that goes with the question.

Have fun and good luck.

S/OS #001
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L 6 Speed
16" Michelins, Hi Spec Wheels, Max Brake, Carslile Actuator, Equal-i-zer, Dill TPMS. Campfire cook.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:53 PM   #16
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2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
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I have seriously looked at Dodge, Ford, and GM. I am leaning toward the Duramax for two reasons. Number one is that I am sitting on a $3,500 GM MasterCard rebate. That makes it hard for the others to meet the price. I plan to order this truck new, and have priced all three, and they are very competitive, but $3,500 is difficult to ignore. The new chassis and payload of the GM kind of seals the deal.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:09 PM   #17
Rivet Master
2005 25' Safari
Trabuco Canyon , California
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I don't have experience because I wouldn't install programmer/chip device.

I don't feel the settings have been proven out at the level of the factory tune. The companies don't have the resources for hundreds of thousands of miles of testing. Wholesale changes to fueling rate, injection timing and who knows what else without heavy testing is not my cup of tea. I'm also very skeptical of claims of 15-20% better fuel economy. I don't feel the stock engine is timed so retarded it hinders fuel economy to that degree. Advancing timing increases noise and subjects engine to heavier combustion loads.

I have a '99 Powerstroke. You can bet when I sell it the words stock, never been modified or chipped will be in the classified ad.

My '99 will get nearly 15 MPG on steady cruise at about 60 MPH pulling 25' Safari. I very strongly question whether any increase is possible from the 7.3. Possibly a Cummins from the most economical years can improve on that a bit, but I don't hear many reports of pulling widebody Airstreams at 17 mpg.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:10 PM   #18
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Is it worth the gamble?

Hi, Brian. Leave it stock; You don't even have it yet and you're considering modifying it? From what I have seen and was told by Ford while I was still working at the Ford dealer that I retired from, quite a few Diesels died because of aftermarket modifications. Changing the air filter on a gas engine can destroy the Mass Air Flow sensor, and on a Diesel it can pit the turbines on your turbo-charger. Five inch exhaust with low restriction muffler or in some cases, no muffler causes the turbo to spin way too fast. Fuel modifications can make the Flower Pattern on the tops of the pistons too large; This means that the injector opened too soon. I personally have seen this and the Ford engineers are quick to tell you that you just bought a $25,000.00 diesel engine. In most cases they can tell if you chipped/modified anything and returned it back to stock when you suddenly have a problem.

I know you're a General Motors guy, but I would buy the Ford Diesel and use your $3,500.00 credit to buy your wife a Chevrolet Volt. Now you have a great vehicle for hauling your camper while towing your Airstream and offset the fuel mileage with the car. [my opinion]

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:22 PM   #19
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My Ford is so old the only programmer is the one between my ears

My only concern with the aftermarket is the ability for the manufacture to step away from the warranty should something go wrong. All of this information is in print in the warranty booklet. Just make sure you make an informed decision.

"Old fashioned service on your late model Airstream"
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:07 AM   #20
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I've thought about a chip w/ a mild tune for my 96 Powerstroke; it would be handy to have a bit more power @ 2100 rpm so I could climb Donner pass @55 mph in third w/ the Tin Pickle behind... we're often 12000+lbs total weight, so a bit more power would be nice.

I may yet do so; the other advantage is that these units allow one to run more advanced timing, producing better fuel economy w/ slightly higher nitrous oxide emissions. Less C02, more NO2. Hmmm.

I added an aftermarket air filter assembly (Tymar filter); the stock unit is known for leaking dust. I've added a nice Autometer transmission full-sweep temperature gage, so we know just how hot we're getting... and added air springs this last weekend so I can get the rig leveled just the way I want. I will likely replace the downpipe from the turbo (the stock unit is quite restrictive) and perhaps add an exhaust gas pyrometer at some point so I know just how hard the motor is working.

Like working on the Airstream, enhancing the truck is fun.

- Bart
Bart Smaalders
Menlo Park, CA
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:29 AM   #21
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I seriously doubt you will want or even need a tuner. All the new trucks come pretty darn good from the factory. They are tuned to be reliable and have good power. Most folks running a tuner on a truck past 2007 are doing this to bypass emissions. The diesel particulate filters and egr system are the drag on modern diesel engines. Typical mileage claims are about 2 mpg when deleting the emissions equipment.
At this time I have decided against putting a tuner on my Dodge. Currently it is quiet, doesn't stink of diesel exhaust and has more power than I will ever need. If and when the exhaust system starts costing me a lot of money in repairs I will rethink my position. I have heard that diesel particulate filters are in the neighborhood of $1500+.
The Duramax you anticipate buying will be the same - you will enjoy the quiet power of the modern diesel. Also as others have stated these tuners will void your warranty. You need to drive the truck for awhile and see how things go.
Also manufacturers have caught on about the less restrictive air intake systems. I read about some tests done in comparison of the modern stock system vs. the after market system. The difference was negligible and in many cases the aftermarket had less flow and hotter air temperatures.
I would do a lot of research before investing money in one of these systems.
Steve, Christy, Anna and Phoebe (Border Collie)
1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:59 AM   #22
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I considered one. I dismissed it. They are more for increasing power than saving fuel. Save fuel back off the throttle. Slow down. It's that simple and already built into the truck.

My milage is going up after break in. Around 50,000 miles.
Michelle TAC MT-0
Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

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Old 03-16-2011, 08:15 AM   #23
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Bakersfield , California
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The factory is pretty good after all these years at balancing power/mpg/reliability/emissions. The big-3 are in a 3 way knife fight in a phone booth. if gaining 2 mpg was so easy they would do it. You can gain one at the expense of the others. It will void the warranty. You can set it back to stock, they may know through other means. If you have a serious issue they will ask. You'll either tell them the truth or have to lie about it.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:55 AM   #24
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Walkerton , Virginia
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I'm sure all you guys are right; it's just that I am a 65 mph'er on the interstate, and I don't rush to get there. It's easier driving if you don't have to be passing all the time.

I had taken the same truck, but with a 25' Safari to 3 of the four corners of the country in the previous three years - Alaska, Key West and Quebec. So I was very familiar with the truck, trailer, power and range. Especially frequency of fuel stops.

When I bought the heavier 31' Limited (much heavier, by the way) my miles between fuel stops was immediately noticeable once I got on the road. So when I installed the tuner midway on that 1800 (or so) mile trip, the miles immediately increased between stops. The power increased, but it is the mileage that floats my boat.

Setting the tuner back to "stock" is not for concealement from the dealer. But sometimes they will install an update to the onboard computer as a matter of course. If they have done that, and you had not reset the tuner to stock, the tuner will then be out of synch and have to be reset by the factory, for $$.

It would be interesting to see if a factory had denied a claim based on use of the BullyDog, but I have not seen this yet. Now, I am not speaking of a racing setting like Crazy Larry, as I am not Crazy Pat. The Tow setting works for me.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:33 AM   #25
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Pat, I agree. Also use the Bully Dog 4 pos. on the 2000 7.3. Around town on stock, and tow with the AS. Sal.
Sal & Nora
Let us live so that when we die even the undertaker will be sorry. Mark Twain
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #26
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ECM's on the new Duramax & Super Duty's store any mods to their firmware. No longer can you remove a tuner and have it appear is if it were never installed.

On the Super Duty 400hp with 800lbs torque is more than enough for me - mileage, if there were any gains - would have thought Ford\GMC would have flashed the ECM to make it so.

Don't waste your coin since your purchasing a new truck - if it were 4-5 years old - then I would say go for it....
John "JFScheck" Scheck
2015 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL
2015 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 XL Chassis with Mercedes BlueTec V6 Diesel
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:20 PM   #27
2006 25' Classic
New Hyde Park , New York
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I have a '02 Ford F350 7.3 2WD. My diesel guy, SouthEast Power in Tampa installed a chip last year for me. I also have the following Banks items:Trans Command, Turbo Elbow, Waste Gate and exhaust. Also an AFE air filter. After the chip installation I got a 1.75 mpg increase when towing on the +35 hp setting. I tow a '06 25' Classic. Around town I get 2.5 mpg on the same setting.

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Old 03-16-2011, 02:45 PM   #28
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
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Brian -

I would recommend getting to know your new rig for a year or two before looking into tuners, chips or that sort of thing. Once you get comfortable with it and are looking for some improvement, then I recommend that you go the route I have gone.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with you guys one of these days and seeing your new tv (and Lucy, of course. Oh and the family, too).


Somebody, please, point me to the road.

AIR 3987
WBCCI 4596
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