There are a few sure things in life: death, taxes, and the yearning for better performance. No matter how great your vehicle's power currently is, there's always room to squeeze even more from it. That's the focus of this guide: ways to boost horsepower and torque, whether it's a subtle bump or serious push.
Brute Force Intake System: 2009 Dodge Ram 5.7-liter
Looking for a way to give your 2009 Dodge Ram 1500's 5.7-liter a kick in the pants? AEM offers the Brute Force intake system, which includes a big, powdercoated-black heatshield with a 4x9-inch oil-free Dryflow air filter designed for hardcore durability and filtration. There's also a mandrel-bent aluminum intake tube and beefy adapter elbow. It has an MSRP of $429.
AEM Induction Systems
aFe Stage 2 Cold-air Intake: 2011 Ford Super Duty 6.7-liter
Available for the 2011 Ford Super Duty with the 6.7-liter is the aFe Stage 2 cold-air intake. Features include a one-piece, 18-gauge, powdercoated heatshield to block engine heat and a performance-engineered rotomold plastic intake tube for maximizing air velocity and improving horsepower, torque, and throttle response. Four types of air filters are available depending on the system you get, including the Pro Guard 7 seven-layer version and the Pro Dry S, which has a progressive synthetic media. Prices start at around $348.
Airaid's Cold Air Dam Intake: 2010 Toyota Tundra
For the 2010 Toyota Tundra 5.7-liter and new 4.6-liter is Airaid's Cold Air Dam intake, which has one of the company's premium filters, a blend of gauze and synthetic layers designed to filter out even itty-bitty particles, but without sacrificing airflow. There's also a rotomolded intake tube. The system seals directly to the hood and requires no tuning. It runs around $495.
Airaid Filter Co.
BD Diesel Super B Single Turbo Kits: 1994-2007 Dodge Rams
BD Diesel's Super B single turbo kits are for 1994-2007 Dodge Rams with the Cummins 5.9-liter modified to make 250-425 rear-wheel horsepower. Quick spool-up, cooler exhaust gas temps, and no surging are among the perks. Gadgetry is Borg-Warner Extended Tip compressor wheel technology, starring low-inertia, full-floating journal bearings and BD's dual-volute turbine housing for improving turbine response. There's also a heavy-duty, adjustable wastegate actuator to prevent premature opening from high exhaust pressure. And upgrading to a twin system is a snap. The MSRP starts at $1335.
BD Diesel Performance
DeStroked Zeus Controller: Cummins Engines
Everyone hates a micromanager -- unless, of course, it's you overseeing your pickup or SUV's power. The fully adjustable Zeus controller from DeStroked is for Cummins engines and is a stand-alone ECM that replaces the factory unit. It plugs directly into the stock harness (no mods, adapters, or wiring changes on your part), and its built-in data logger will record all the vehicle info. The no-brainer programming software allows you to tune mild to wild (and you can tune on the fly via a dash-mounted selector). It runs about $3800.
DiabloSport Trinity Performance Monitor: 1999-2010 Ford, Chrysler/Dodge, and GM
When you go to the gym, you (should) wear a heart-rate monitor to watch your performance status. That same concept makes sense for your vehicle. So, DiabloSport offers the Trinity Performance Monitor for 1999-2010 Ford, Chrysler/Dodge, and GM gas and diesel vehicles. Features include programming, diagnostics, reading/clearing trouble codes, virtual gauges, and, if you're so inclined, virtual dragstrip. All the info can be accessed via the high-resolution, full-color touch-screen display. It's about $600.
DynoMax Cat-back Exhaust System: 2009 Ford F-150
Do high performance, reduced restriction, and an earful of awesome growl sound good to you? DynoMax has a cat-back exhaust system for the 2009 Ford F-150, featuring three-inch mandrel-bent 409-grade stainless-steel piping and a show-styled, double-walled, logo-embossed four-inch tip. The company's Ultra Flo welded muffler is an unrestricted design that can support up to 2000 horsepower. It also has Continuous Roving Fiberglass technology to create that perfect tone and to prevent interior resonance. It's around $320.
Edelbrock's E-Force supercharger: 2004-and-newer Ford F-150s
For 2004-and-newer Ford F-150s is Edelbrock's E-Force supercharger. It's based on a supercharger for the Mustang, and for this application, it's been designed to increase the towing power of the 5.4-liter to 478 horses and 504 pound-feet. The manifold has 14-inch-long runners and an internal-bypass valve to minimize parasitic power loss at low engine speeds. The Eaton Twin Vortices rotor assembly is the same thing the Corvette ZR-1 uses. There's also a hi-po reusable air filter, a 110-square-inch air-to-water intercooler with a front-mount dual-core heat exchanger, a handheld programmer for the ECU, and more. It costs around $6300.
Edge Products CS Evolution and CTS Evolution: Most Diesel Engines
If you're seeking a scan tool, programmer, and gauge display in one package, look at the Edge Products CS Evolution and CTS Evolution. CS is for full-color screen; CTS is the color touch screen. The programmers work on all 1994 1/2-2010 Ford diesels, 1997-2009 Ford F-150s, 1999-2009 V-8-powered GMs, and 2001-2010 GM Duramax engines. The Evolutions will allow you to reprogram for better power and performance, and you'll be able to monitor your vehicle as well as read and clear trouble codes. Both will display up to eight parameters at a time. They start at around $439.
Flex-A-lite: 2003-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500 V-8
It's easy to forget that an efficient cooling system can immediately improve performance -- not to mention fuel economy. Flex-A-lite offers an electric fan for the 2003-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500 V-8, and not only is it lighter in weight than the factory unit, but it's a direct bolt-in replacement. It creates 3300 cfm of airflow that will instantly bring down the temp of your coolant (without drawing power from the engine), and it comes with an electronic control unit that measures coolant temp and air-conditioning use. The adjustable temp range is between 160 and 240 degrees. It typically costs around $330.
Flowmaster Cat-back Exhaust: 2007-2010 GM half-tons
When it comes to any upgrade for your truck, we're guessing you want it to be simple. Meet Flowmaster's cat-back exhaust for 2007-2010 GM half-tons with the 5.3-liter V-8 (except the regular cab longbed) for improving power, torque, and throttle response. It's manufactured from T409 stainless steel and has a Super 50 Series single-in/dual-out muffler and 2 1/2-inch mandrel-bent tailpipes. There are also three-inch-diameter, polished stainless steel, logo-embossed tips. Side- and rear-exit pipes are included, so
you can pick the location. The system costs around $900.
Ford Racing Supercharger Kit: 2005-2008 Ford F-150 5.4-liter
Want to squeeze even more power out of your 2005-2008 Ford F-150's 5.4-liter? Ford Racing's supercharger kit has been engineered to produce an extra 160 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheels. The kit includes a 2.3-liter twin-screw supercharger unit, intake manifold, high-flow air inlet, and Pro-Cal Tool for calibrating performance. If customizing is a big thing for you, the kit comes with your choice of finish: polished or black-crinkle finish. MSRP is about $5900.
Ford Racing Performance Parts
Hamburger Torque-Curve Technology Spacers: Available for Most Vehicles
Torque-Curve technology spacers from Hamburger's are said to not only seriously kick up the horses, torque, and mpg, but also pretty much eliminate the whistle that can sometimes be had with an EFI spacer. On a stock throttle body, a negative pressure zone is created on the upper, back side of the throttle blade when at partial throttle, which can create turbulence, slowing airflow and sucking valuable power. Torque-Curve EFI spacers were designed to zap out the negative pressure area. You're looking at about $100 for the spacer.
Hedman Hedders: 2004-2009 Ford F-150 5.4-liter
From Hedman Hedders are stainless steel headers for the 2004-2009 Ford F-150 5.4-liter. They feature a short-tube design (read: simple installation) and are manufactured from T304 stainless material. The mandrel-bent 1 1/2-inch-diameter tubes merge into a factory-style collector that'll bolt right up to the stock exhaust (and the catalytic converters are retained). The flanges are 3/8 inch thick to resist distortion. You'll find the headers priced from $500 to $600.
Hypertech Max Energy Power Programmer: Available for Gas and Diesel Apps
The Max Energy Power Programmer from Hypertech puts controlling engine efficiency, horsepower, torque, and fuel economy in your control. The handheld tuner is available for gas and diesel apps, as well as flex-fuel. For diesels, three stages of power are available, including one that maintains safe exhaust temps while towing. Max Energy also allows you to calibrate the speedo, raise or lower the top-speed limiter, increase shift firmness, and adjust the on/off temps of the electric cooling fan, among its many perks. Figure you'll spend under $400.
K&N High-flow Intake System: 2009-2010 GM Half-ton Pickup
If you've got a 2009-2010 GM half-ton pickup (with the 4.8-, 5.3-, 6.0-, or 6.2-liter), K&N says its high-flow intake system can increase horsepower by 16.6 at 5342 rpm over stock. How? The original intake assembly is replaced with an all-new design; it draws air through a K&N filter that never has to be replaced; there's a powdercoated heatshield in place of the stock airbox, and a rotomolded polyethylene tube that air must pass through; thanks to its shape and form, more air gets to the engine. Figure you'll spend $500.
Lingenfelter Magnuson TVS1900 Intercooled Supercharger: 2006-2009 TrailBlazer SS
Available for the 2006-2009 TrailBlazer SS 6.0-liter is the Magnuson TVS1900 intercooled supercharger from Lingenfelter. The company says you can expect 130 rear-wheel horsepower. The supercharger is available in a black powdercoat or chrome finish; other features include a maintenance-free synthetic oil lubrication drive system, a water-to-air intercooler inside the intake manifold, a water-to-air supercharger heat exchanger, a supercharger coolant reservoir and circulation pump, and custom ECM programming. The kit is around $5695, $9995 installed.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering
Lysholm Supercharger: 2005-2010 V-8-equipped GM truck or SUV
For you readers with a 2005-2010 V-8-equipped GM truck or SUV, there's the Lysholm twin-screw positive-displacement compressor supercharger system. Features include a plenum design with increased volume for unrestricted flow to the intake port and an oversized dual pass air/water charge cooler for a lower discharge temp. The bolt-on system's integrated bypass valve and fuel-rail mount positions are provided. You'll probably pay $5500-$6300.
Radix Retro Supercharger: 2003-2009 Avalanche, Yukon XL, Silverado, Sierra, and Suburban
Radix Retro may sound like a DJ's name, but it's an MP 1900 TVS supercharger system for 2003-2009 4.8-, 5.3-, and 6.0-liter 1500 and 2500 Avalanche, Yukon XL, Silverado, Sierra, and Suburban. It replaces the MP 112, and part of the redo meant moving more air and making more power over that model. Parts include an equal runner length intake manifold with integral water-to-air intercooler, the MP 1900 TVS supercharger itself, high-flow fuel injectors, and everything else needed for installation. It starts at $5950.
MBRP Black Series Performance Exhaust: Most Diesel Pickups
The Black Series performance exhaust from MBRP features a high-tech coating that the crew developed specifically for the exhaust system, making it resistant to chips and discoloration. The Black Series will fit most turbo-back, cat-back, and filter-back diesel pickups in single and CoolDuals configurations. Pricing starts around $377.
Rugged Ridge Cold-air Intake System: 1991-2006 Jeep Wranglers
The Rugged Ridge cold-air intake system for 1991-2006 Jeep Wranglers features a polished-aluminum, mandrel-bent intake tube, which replaces the factory airbox, improving fuel economy. A black-powdercoated heatshield separates the filter from engine heat and debris, while cold air makes its way through a high-flow conical air filter. The dry-panel design of the filter won't require oiling. Depending on how your Jeep is set up, you can expect an additional 10 horses and 12 pound-feet of torque. Each 1997-2006 kit includes a billet-aluminum throttle body spacer. It's around $200.
Pacific Performance Engineering Xcelerator: Available for Most Vehicles
The Xcelerator is the handheld truck programmer from Pacific Performance Engineering. Tune in more ponies, twist, and mpg. And, depending on the model you select, you might be able to adjust your speed limiter, speedometer reading, and transmission settings, as well as read and clear trouble codes. It'll work for the following diesels: 2001-2010 GMC and Chevy 6.6-liter pickups, 2003-2010 Dodge 5.9- and 6.7-liter pickups, 2003-2010 Ford 6.0- and 6.4-liter pickups, and the 2006 Hummer H1 with the 6.6-liter. It's also available for most every gas-powered 1998-2007 GM engine. Prices range from $420-$1200. Pacific
Roush cold-air Intake Kit: Ford F-series Trucks
The cold-air intake kit from Roush for the Ford F-Series includes a Roush air filter, air dam, and induction tube, making for a quick and easy installation--and a quick and easy solution for better mpg and more power. The various kits fit the 4.6- and 5.4-liter 2004-2008 F-150, 2008-2009 6.4-liter and 2002-2007 6.0-liter diesel Super Duty, and 2009-2010 5.4-liter F-150. Pricing starts around $340.
Snow Performance MPG MAX Water/Methanol Injection System: Duramax, Power Stroke, and Cummins Engines
Snow Performance's MPG MAX water/methanol injection system isn't just about the mpg part--via a new injection management controller that allows for a small, steady spray of water/methanol to be injected into Duramax, Power Stroke, and Cummins engines, you'll see an increase in power as well, empty or while towing. There's also a secondary output for Power Mode, an additional stage of water/methanol injection that is adjustable for best performance. It retails for around $700.
Spectre ProFab High-flow Cold-air Intake: GM Light- and Heavy-duty Trucks
For GM light- and heavy-duty trucks there is a new Spectre ProFab high-flow cold-air intake. It has a mandrel-bent, polished-aluminum intake tube, a washable, reusable cotton filter, and a powdercoated heatshield to block high underhood radiant heat. All of this equals more efficiency and better power for towing, hauling, or everyday driving. It'll fit 1999-2006 4.8-, 5.3-, and 6.0-liter engines and costs about $167.
Summit Racing Diesel Exhaust System: Most 2001-2004 Chevy/GMC, 1999-2003 Ford, 1999-2002 Dodge Trucks
You probably recognize Summit Racing's name as a supplier of aftermarket parts, but this aluminized diesel exhaust system is from the company's own line. You can get a four- or five-inch downpipe for enhanced pulling power at highway speeds and use an actual diesel muffler to resist clogging. The systems will fit 2001-2004 Chevy and GMC three-quarter- and one-ton extended and Crew Cabs with the 6.6-liter, 1999-2003 Ford trucks with the 7.3-liter, and 1999-2002 5.9-liter-equipped Dodge Rams. The four-inch-diameter systems run about $300; the five-inchers are around $400.
Superchips Racing Diesel Tuner: Power Stroke
If you've bought a pickup, chances are good it's because you need it for tow/haul mode, but you might also venture to the dragstrip, and Superchips Racing offers the diesel tuner for those of you opting for a little more play than work. Designed for the 2008-2010 6.4-liter, 1999-2003 7.3-liter, and 2003-2007 6.0-liter Power Stroke, it offers five power levels, wheel/tire and gear adjustment, speed and rev-limiter adjustment, shift-pressure adjustment, diagnostics, and monitoring. You'll be able to tune out an overly sensitive pedal, engine surge, and abrupt shifts.
Toyota Racing Development Supercharger: Toyota Tacoma V-6
Want to stay in the Toyota family for power upgrades to your Toy? Then Toyota Racing Development's supercharger is for you. The TRD folks have for the first time utilized charge-air cooling in one of their designs. A self-contained air-to-liquid cooling system has been incorporated to provide a denser, lower temperature intake charge. Translation: better power with less boost pressure. The inlet cooling system includes its own coolant reservoir, circulating pump, and heat exchanger. You're looking at an increase in horsepower and torque of about 30 percent. It's for the Tacoma 4.0-liter V-6 and is priced below $5000.
Toyota Racing Development
TS Performance MP-8 Power Play Module: Late-model Power Stroke, Duramax, and Cummins Engines
The MP-8 Power Play module from TS Performance can provide up to a 100-horsepower improvement without messing with the engine's exhaust gas temps. For your truck, that will equal better efficiency, torque, and power, plus better fuel economy. All you have to do is plug it into your vehicle's computer and it will automatically select the appropriate programming, giving you a selection of performance levels. The MP-8 is compatible with all late-model Power Stroke, Duramax, and Cummins engines, in addition to the Jeep Liberty's diesel mill. You'll spend around $450.
Volant Cool Air Intake System: 2009-2010 Ford F-150
Volant offers the Cool Air intake system, which includes a new radiator coolant overflow tank. That's cool (pun intended) because it allows the sealed air filter box to gain access to a larger air inlet area under the tank. The Volant system replaces the overflow tank for massive amounts of cold air, and that, combined with the large-capacity filter box and high-flow intake tube, means your 2009-2010 Ford F-150 with either the 4.6- or 5.4-liter can see 18 more horsepower and up to a 2-mpg bump.