2013 Ford F-250 Lariat Super Duty - White Lightning: Part One
More Power, Performance, and a Cleaner Look
Perhaps the hottest new diesel truck on the market is the ’11 to ’14 Ford F-Series with the 6.7L Power Stroke engine. The newest version of Ford’s Blue Oval has arguably the nicest interior of any of the Big Three, along with a large-displacement engine and ultra-quick-spooling turbo. But as good as the total package is from the factory, there’s always room for improvement in the eyes of diesel enthusiasts.
In part one of our series, we’ll take a ’13 F-250 and focus on basic performance upgrades like a tuner, intake, exhaust, and also body and chassis upgrades such as a suspension lift, wheels, tires, and lights. Since the truck already comes with a stout 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque, upping the horsepower while keeping the factory turbo and fuel system intact will take some careful tuning. Also, the lift, wheels, and tires will have to be matched to keep body trimming to a minimum and turning radius to a maximum.
For power, we first turned to TS Performance and acquired one of the company’s MP-8 modules. What the MP-8 does is raise rail pressure during injection events, increasing both power and economy. In addition to the MP-8, an H&S Mini Maxx tuner was also added, with tunes from Elite Diesel. These tunes are designed for use with the stock turbocharger, and drive and boost pressures are limited to ensure the factory Garrett turbo is not over-sped. In addition to the tuning, an S&B intake was added for extra airflow, along with a Flo-Pro 5-inch exhaust.
On the suspension side of the coin, a 4.5-inch lift from Icon Vehicle Dynamics was matched to four Nitto LT325/50R22 Trail Grapplers, and 22x10-inch BMF Novakanes. This wheel and tire combination would not only look sharp, but it would also perform well both on the street and off-road.
With drag racing and sled pulling as a real possibility for this build, additional suspension modifications were needed to handle the rigors of boosted launches and 40,000 pounds worth of sled. To control rear axlewrap, a set of One Up Offroad traction bars was added. Up front, a three-link front conversion was installed with an adjustable link arm. These extra modifications get rid of the front-end bounce ’05 to ’14 Fords are famous for.
Since stock is boring, the outside appearance of the F-250 was modified as well. All the bumpers and badges were paint matched, and a set of Amp Research steps replaced the factory running boards. The lighting was also upgraded with Retro Solutions HID bulbs from True Bliss Customs.
With any build like this, power numbers and fuel economy are utmost in people’s minds, so we strapped the F-250 to a Superflow dynamometer for some power numbers and also performed mileage testing. On our first trip to the rollers, the truck belted out a mild 305 rwhp and 610 lb-ft on the stock setting. On the Elite tow tune, power checked in at 344 rwhp and 666 lb-ft, and on the performance setting it made 380 rwhp and 759 lb-ft. Adding the TS MP-8 into the mix bumped the final numbers up to 399 rwhp and 794 lb-ft of torque.
"An extra 94 hp and 184 lb-ft at the wheels—not bad!"
Why do the numbers seem low?
We can already visualize the readers mouthing this question as they read the power numbers in our Stage 1 article. We have a few theories, one of which involves the oversize wheels and tires (and 3.31 gears) on the truck, which take an easy 30 hp extra to drive down the road. But, even if we add another 30 hp to our dyno number (making it 430 rwhp), we still fall short of the near-500-rwhp dyno numbers others have claimed for tuned 6.7L Fords. At this point, all we can say is those are the numbers we got. We have a feeling that most of the 6.7L Fords that are dynoing “500 hp” have some sort of correction factor added or are being tested on very friendly dynos.
Thanks to urea injection, diesels have enjoyed a good fuel economy bump the last couple of years. The ’13 Ford we tested came in at 17.6 mpg in mostly highway driving in bone-stock condition, while the intake, exhaust, and tuning modifications bumped the mileage to an excellent 19.3 mpg. Our numbers took a dive with the lift, and big heavy wheels and tires, however, as our final test revealed 15.3 mpg in mixed driving.
We’re kind of disappointed by the dyno numbers, so the next order of business will be making more power…hopefully a lot more. We’re shooting for 600 rwhp with a turbo and fuel system upgrade, which should put the 6.7L firmly back in the horsepower hunt.
Kibbetech Off-Road Design and Fabrication mounted a 40-inch lightbar on the front of the truck for additional lighting at night.
Nitto TireCypress, CA 90630
Icon Vehicle DynamicsCorona, CA 92880
Amp ResearchTustin, CA 92780
TS PerformanceBowling Green, KY 42101
S&B FiltersOntario, CA 91761
BMF WheelsOrange, CA 92867
H&S PerformanceSt. George, UT 84790