In the July/August 2012 issue of Truck Trend, we showed you how to install Bully Dog's cold-air intake system on a 2011 Ford F-150 with a 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost. Taking it to the next level of performance, we returned to the Accessory House in Montclair, California, to watch the pros install Bully Dog's Triple Dog GT Gas Gauge/Tuner ($470, Part #40410) on the same F-150.
The GT head unit has a 2.4-inch LCD color screen with captive touch buttons. It has several level settings for tuning your truck's ECU -- the tow or performance levels are recommended for the average user. Both settings will increase horsepower and torque while improving fuel economy for towing or fun. The GT unit is more than just a tuner. It will chart speed, rpm, horsepower, and torque; log raw data into Excel; print drag racing time slips; monitor and diagnose your truck's vitals; and teach you how to get the most out of your truck with Bully Dog's personal Driving Coach feature. A recent dyno test by Bully Dog shows an 83-hp increase on a 2011 Ford F-150 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost after the company's cold-air intake and GT Tuner were installed. Before doing this installation -- or taking it to a trusted shop to have it done -- visit www.bullydog.com/download_center.php to see if there is a software update. If so, consult the user's manual and update the GT Head Unit before installation.
1. This part of the installation took about 45 minutes to complete. It involves T-tapping* into a 5-amp fuse wire for a Key to Power fuse. Key to Power is an accessory fuse that turns on when you put the key in the Accessory or On position. Using this type of fuse wire will activate and deactivate the GT Head Unit when you start and turn off the vehicle. Locate the vehicle's fuse box. For the 2011 F-150 EcoBoost, it's located front and center in the engine bay.
2. Remove the fuse box lid and unsnap the box from its perch by using a flat-head screwdriver. This will take a little elbow grease and patience to get to the fuse wires underneath the rows of fuses. Once that's done, put the key in the accessory position in the truck's ignition.
Connecting the Power Wire
3. Return to the fuse box. Use a voltage meter under the fuse box to find a live 5-amp fuse wire by placing the meter's tip to the base of the fuse. We chose the 5-amp in slot #79, which powers our truck's windshield rain sensor.
4. Once you're satisfied with your selection, crimp the T-tap slightly into the teeth of your pliers, place the wire you've selected into the T-tap, and crimp until you hear a click and release. Crimp the insulated T-tap spade onto the insulated end of the provided power wire.
5. Locate the vehicle's OBD ll port under the driver's side of the dash and plug in the OBDII adapter plug. Plug the power wire to the power wire port on the OBD ll adapter plug. Mount the OBD ll unit under the dash with the included Velcro pieces.
6. Run the power wire through an existing firewall opening under the dash, and snake the wire along the fender wall until it reaches the fuse box. Take a minute to make sure you like the location of the wire and can see it's not going to be in the way of any engine components. Then connect the spade to the T-tap. Snap the fuse box back into place and replace the cover.
7. Make sure your vehicle's key is in the Off position. Plug the main wiring harness into the OBD ll adapter plug under the dash. Run the main wiring harness up and along the driver's side of the dash toward the A-pillar where the GT head unit will be placed. Give enough slack to the wire so that it can be plugged into the GT head unit. Tuck the wire into the door's weatherstripping or under the dash to conceal it.
8. Insert the Micro SD Card into the back of the GT head unit. The Micro SD Card contains all the files for tuning and must remain in the GT unit at all times. Then plug the main wiring harness into the back of the GT head unit.
Setting up the Main Wiring Harness
9. Attach the windshield mount to the GT head unit, and then attach the suction cup to the lower left corner of the windshield.
10. Turn the key to the On position. The GT head unit will light up and prompt you to the setup wizard for tuning your vehicle's engine.
11. The setup wizard will ask if you want to install the performance download now or later. Following the prompts, select your vehicle's year/make/model, and don't turn the key until the wizard gives you the OK -- if the download is interrupted, it will fail. The download should take about 20 minutes.
12. Consult the user's manual to learn how to use the many features on your vehicle: Driving Coach, Gauge Setup, Calibrate Speedo, Vehicle Diagnostic Trouble Codes, and more.
*At the time of this install, Bully Dog instructed you to pull the fuse, wrap the wire around a fuse prong, and push it back into the box. Now, the company offers an optional fuse tap alternative.