6.4 Powerstroke Performance Upgrade Guide - 4 Mods for 600rwhp

The 6.4 Powerstroke is insanely capable with simple bolt-on modifications. It's injectors, high-flowing injection pump, and compound turbo setup from the factory mean it can support tons of additional power. Just a tuner, intake, and some exhaust upgrades can net +300rwhp which is crazy.

While this engine doesn't necessarily have the best reputation for reliability, the factory components are actually very strong requiring little need for supporting modifications until you push beyond 600rwhp.

In this guide we're going to discuss engine power limits and teach you how to build a 600rwhp with just 4 basic modifications that will all-in run you around $1,500.

The 600whp Limit

A completely stock 6.4 Powerstroke will dyno somewhere around 275-300whp. The four mods on our list can take you very close to 600whp, but that is going to be the limit before things start getting expensive and just about every supporting component needs to be upgraded.

The turbos, fuel rails, lift pump, and transmission will all start to need upgrades if you are trying to push beyond this power limit. You'll also want head studs and to upgrade some things like the oil cooler, radiator, and so on. Ultimately, it gets very expensive. For this reason, we're going to cover the basic upgrades to get you to this power limit and then save the more advanced upgrades for later.

6.4 Powerstroke Performance Upgrades

  • ECM Tuning
  • Cold Air Intake
  • Downpipe
  • 4" Filter-Back Exhaust

This is all you need to get close to 600rwhp. A few other things that are worthwhile to consider are up-pipes, intercooler piping, and an intake elbow. These will add some power but more importantly help airflow and reduce EGTs.

Additionally, if you plan on running an aggressive tune any consistently pushing beyond 500hp then we would also recommend head studs for added peace of mind.

1) ECM Tuning: SCT

Tuning is where all of the big power gains are going to come from. The rest of the upgrades on this list are really to support the engine when it's tuned. But, this is a must-have and where you will see the best power gains at the best cost per hp.

SCT is the preferred tuning device for the 6.4 Powerstroke. You can buy a simple plug-and-play X4 that has 3 pre-loaded tunes on it. But these tunes cap out around +160hp and they don't have any towing specific tunes so if you want bigger power gains or a more tailored option we recommend buying the device with some "custom" pre-loaded tunes from a real tuner.

Price: $419 + ~$300 if you want custom tunes

Shop 6.4 Powerstroke SCT Livewire TS+ and SCT X4

2) 4" Open Air Intake

6.4 Powerstroke Cold Air Intake Upgrade

Since these engines can add so much power with just a tune, the factory intake becomes restrictive early on. To help support the higher boost levels from the compound turbos you'll want to bring more air into the engine which will improve efficiency, reduce stress on the turbos, and lower EGTs.

An intake will add power gains around 10-15whp and 20-25wtq on a tuned 6.4 Powerstroke. It's worth it for the power gains but you'll also see some other great benefits like a 1-2mpg increase, faster turbo spool, and better throttle response. Additionally, it will help to lower temps and EGTs, improving overall engine health and reliability from the turbos.

Our Boosted Performance intake is a full 4" open intake system that uses a high quality S&B filter. It's the best combination of price, performance, and quality that you can get.

Price: $299 | Buy Here

3) MBRP Downpipe + 4" Filter-Back Exhaust

6.4 Powerstroke Full Exhaust Upgrade Kit

Unfortunately, the 6.4 is full with emissions equipment so we have to approach exhaust upgrades in tow pieces: downpipes and then filter-back exhaust systems. A downpipe is going to be the most important of the two as it bolts directly to the turbo and has the greatest impact on backpressure. But, upgrading the filter-back portion has great benefits too so we recommend buying a full kit that includes both.

With more boost and more air coming into the engine we have to now get that air out more quickly. If we don't, we risk hurting performance by creating too much exhaust backpressure which puts stress on the turbo, reduces spool, and causes it to run hotter creating higher temps and EGTs.

If you buy the downpipe with the exhaust together you save about $70 and get a nice exhaust tip added on. With this full exhaust upgrade you'll see around 10-15whp and 20-25wtq power gains but the most important benefit will be EGT reduction. If you don't want the nice exhaust tip you can save $5 and buy the downpipe separate and get the cheaper version of the exhaust.

Price: $514.99 w/exhaust tip (or $209.99 for downpipe + $299.99 for exhaust)

Shop 6.4 Powerstroke Exhaust Kits


That's all there is to it. Tuning, an intake, and a full exhaust upgrade and you can add nearly 300whp to the 6.4 Powerstroke. All of these upgrades will also only run you $1,200 if you go for a plug-and-play tuner but if you really want to dial things in you can get some custom tunes and still be around $1,500 all in. You will need some custom tunes if you want to run anything beyond +160hp or if you want something like a tow-specific tune.

Overall, these engines are extremely easy to make big power on. There are a few other upgrades to consider to help airflow which will add some power but also improve engine health and lower temps. These are up-pipes, intercooler piping, and an intake elbow. Outside of that we would recommend head studs. These are great to add immediately, but install is a pain so unless you plan on consistently pushing 500whp+ then you can probably avoid them for now.

If you need any help or have any questions about modding your 6.4 Powerstroke, contact us and we can provide recommendations based on our experience manufacturing and selling performance products for these diesels.

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