Ford 6.0 Power Stroke Bolt-On Power - Torque Curve
Be King Of The Street, Not Queen Of The Dyno
Often in our line of work, we hear a lot of stories about what you "can" and "can't" do. When we heard of an '05 Ford that was running mid 13s in the quarter-mile on almost all stock parts (including the transmission), a red flag went up. Surely this must be one of those situations where there is more to the truck than meets the eye. Well, we're here to tell you that yes, it can be done, and it just takes a careful selection of parts and some good tuning.
The truck in question is an '05 Ford F-250 owned by Anthony Messina of Bellflower, California. The only real serious modification on the 6.0L engine is a set of ARP head studs, which were installed when the stock head gaskets let go while Messina was towing. Other than the head studs, the rest of the equation is pretty simple: a "race" tune from Innovative Diesel Performance, an AEM BruteForce Intake, an AFE exhaust (that dumps into a stack), and a custom nitrous setup by Messina's own company, Billet Garage. Power is handled by an untouched factory transmission, valvebody, and converter. The rest of the truck is pretty much the same as it was when it left the assembly line, save for the Billet Garage 1.5-inch leveling kit and 33-inch Nitto Terra Grappler tires.
With over 50 passes on his current setup, it's clear that the big Ford is no one-shot dyno queen. Not only does it make decent power, but it can use it down the track, and does so repeatedly without breaking. Given that the F-250 has run a 13.6 at a race weight of 7,650 lbs, expectations were around 500 horsepower at the wheels on the dyno. Without nitrous, the truck still runs low 14s, so 400 rear wheel horsepower seemed like a good guess without the aid of N20. On the stock tune, the truck seemed to take forever to build boost, and the end result was a less-than-stellar 237 horsepower.
Stock is no fun, so Messina then loaded his "race" tune in the SCT Programmer in hopes of seeing over 150 more horsepower at the wheels. While he didn't quite hit the number, the Ford put down a solid 371 horsepower along with 699 lb-ft of torque. With the truck not hitting 400 like we'd hoped, the bottle was turned on and all sights were set on 500. The nitrous run was certainly over quicker, but how much more power had been made? A quick trip to the computer showed 441 horsepower and 798 lb-ft of torque with the juice flowing, and the stock transmission and converter still weren't slipping one bit.
When we asked Messina why his Ford has lived through a stock transmission and converter when others have failed, his answer was simple. Tuning. He said that Innovative's program tunes the transmission as well as the engine to match the new stronger power curve. Another thing we noticed was that Messina's truck has a very broad powerband. Although the peak power is less than might be expected, the truck makes over 400 rear wheel horsepower from 2,600 rpm all the way up to the 4,000-rpm redline. For getting down the dragstrip quickly, sometimes a greater average power number throughout the power curve can give you better performance on the track than a big power spike in one place would. At the end of the day, we left the dyno with a new respect for Ford 5R110 transmissions, and proof that a few well-engineered parts can lead to some pretty impressive numbers.