Diesel tuners are also known as engine performance tuners. These small electronic devices manage and optimizes engine performance on diesel trucks.

How diesel tuners, programmers, and modules work

Tuning alone can unleash performance improvements for modern diesels. It can also increase fuel economy. Tuning has many forms. These include tuners, programmers, and modules. Performance tuning involves greatest power output. Let us refer to a tuner as any of the mentioned devices. These aim to increase performance and fuel economy. It also offers extra features. This is through reprogramming or modification of the factory calibration of an engine.

Diesel tuners or chips

Chips or tuners have direct connection to the engine’s PCM/ECM. There are some that connect through the OBD II system. A diesel tuner often offers on-the-fly selection of different performance levels. You can adjust it while driving. It does not reprogram the control module, it changes different parameters in real-time.

Diesel programmers

A programmer plugs into a vehicle’s OBD II port. It also allows the reprogram of the PCM/ECM. The uploaded tune provides parameters for the control module that favor performance. And fuel economy as well. Programmers often feature in-cab monitors that display different parameters. These include engine load, coolant temperature, and boost. As well as fuel pressure, transmission temperature, and exhaust gas temperature. The engine should be off when uploading or changing tunes with programmers. Changing performance settings usually take several minutes.

Diesel modules

Under the hood is where the module or box gets installed. It intersects different sensors such as fuel pressure and manifold pressure. It allows the module to read an operating parameter. It delivers a different parameter to the PCM/ECM. It tricks the engine’s control system into making adjustments that favor performance.

Tuners change the factory engine calibration. The affected parameters depend on the manufacturer and application. It may include a combination of the following:

  • Injector timing

Time when an injection event occurs. This is critical in maximizing the efficiency of combustion.

  • Injector pulse width

The amount of time an injector stays open. This is often in milliseconds. A greater injector pulse width means a greater fuel flow rate per injection event. This means a higher quantity of fuel injected per event.

  • Occurence of injection events

Modern common rail diesels have piezo electric injectors. They are capable of performing many injection events. This is all for a single combustion cycle.

  • Fuel pressure

Fuel pressure is important in maximizing the efficiency of combustion. This is by promoting complete atomization of fuel. Also increasing the potential fuel flow rate through an injection.

There are many tuning options. Especially for all Power Stroke, Duramax, and Cummins turbo diesel owners. A pyrometer installation is usually recommended for any performance enhancing tuning devices.