Ford 6.7 Powerstroke Bolt-On Performance Upgrades for 600whp

The 6.7 Powerstroke is quite capable from the factory, with newer models producing over 1,000 torque already. But adding fuel to the fire is always more fun and these engines can easily add upwards of 100-150whp with just a few basic performance modifications.

In this guide we're going to teach you how to take your 6.7 Powerstroke into the 500-600whp range with tuning, a cold air intake, exhaust upgrade, cold-side chargepipe, and drop in turbocharger. There are 3 generations of the 6.7 diesel so far and power capacity varies for each. So first, we'll cover some some basics like engine power limits and other considerations before jumping into these performance upgrades.

6.7 Powerstroke Power Limits

All generations of the 6.7 Powerstroke are limited by their connecting rods. They are made out of powdered metal and can only handle about 700whp before you risk bending or snapping a rod. The fuel injectors are also strong across the board, with a limit of about 750whp before needing an upgrade.

Further good news is that the stock 6R140 can handle around 650whp before it needs some upgrading so no need for built transmissions if you're following this guide.

The biggest limitation on all of the generations is the turbocharger. Upgrading the turbo can get expensive, so while we'll discuss it in this guide, the power limits quoted below are the max levels before you'll need to drop in a turbo.

2011-2014: ~500whp

The 2011-2014 models came with the smallest turbocharger and also the weakest CP4.2 injection pump. The injection pumps will last until around 550whp but the first power limit you hit is the turbocharger right around 500whp. These levels can more than easily be hit with just a tuner, so upgrading the turbo with either a 2015+ OEM one or going aftermarket is common.

If you don't want to get into turbo upgrades then tuning, an intake, exhaust, and chargepipe is a great combo and you can run around 475whp safely.

2015+: ~600whp

2015+ models have a lot more room to run due to an upgraded CP4.2 and a larger turbocharger. On these models you can get above 600whp at which point you're maxing out the stock turbo. The factory injection pump can handle up to 650whp - but to run up to these limits you'll need a larger turbo. Anything beyond 550whp and you should consider a turbo upgrade.

6.7 Powerstroke Performance Upgrades

  • ECM Tuning
  • Cold Air Intake
  • Exhaust Upgrades
  • Cold-Side Chargepipe

This is everything you need to hit the aforementioned power levels. But that doesn't necessarily mean that is all you should have. If you are trying to really maximize performance without sacrificing reliability then running 500whp or 600whp without an upgraded turbo isn't going to work out so well. Also, the CP4.2 injection pumps don't have a great reputation for reliability so just because the factory fueling can support it doesn't mean it isn't smart to beef up the fuel system at this power levels too.

1) ECM Tuning

Tuning is where all of the big power gains come from. Tuning alone can get you to the power limits of the 6.7 Powerstroke. All of the rest of the upgrades on this list are here to help maximize the benefit of tuning and optimize efficiency at higher boost levels which in turn improves reliability when tuned.

If you're looking to maximize power then you're going to want to get custom tuning and also transmission tuning, through a device like EZ Lynk. If you are just looking for some basic plug-and-play horsepower gains, fuel economy increases, and don't intend on really pushing things then the best and most cost effective route is getting something like the SCT X4.

We have a full guide on 6.7 Powerstroke tuning so check that out for more details and recommendations, but a tuner is a must have.

Price: $399-$1,400+

2) Cold Air Intake

6.7 Powerstroke Cold Air Intake

Higher boost levels requires more air to be compressed. The stock intake is fine but it isn't efficient and doesn't flow enough for tuned Powerstroke's. This makes a cold air intake one of the best supporting modifications. The extra airflow will reduce stress on the turbo, improve its efficiency, and increase air density which will help add power and also increase fuel mileage.

An upgraded 6.7 Powerstroke intake is good for up to 10whp and 20-30wtq when tuned. You'll also notice faster turbo spool and improved throttle response. And it pays for itself over time as the air density improvements will aid gas mileage, resulting in 1-2mpg improvements.

The benefits make this a must-have in our opinion and we make the most performance-oriented intake on the market. We currently only have an intake for 2011-2016 models but have a product for 2017-2019 models coming out soon.

Price: $299

Buy Our 6.7 Powerstroke Cold Air Intake (2011-2016)

3) Exhaust Upgrades

More air and more horsepower result in more exhaust gases. If you can't get the exhaust gases out of the engine quickly enough it creates backpressure within the exhaust which acts against the turbocharger, reducing its efficiency, causing it to work harder. This takes a toll on turbo reliability and causes it to run hotter, leading to higher EGTs and higher risk of other engine problems. So, we need to upgrade the exhaust to improve flow and reduce backpressure.

There are two upgrades here: a downpipe and a filter-back exhaust. Since we have emissions equipment sitting in the middle we have to upgrade the exhaust in pieces. First, the downpipe. A larger, freer flowing, downpipe is going to offer the biggest performance benefits and most EGT reduction. Next, we have the portion of the exhaust that comes after the DPF filter and SCR piping. Upgrading this to a 4" muffler-less system will further decrease backpressure, adding minor power gains and helping to further reduce EGTs. 

Price: ~$700 for an exhaust + downpipe combo

4) Cold-Side Intercooler / Charge Pipe

An upgraded cold-side intercooler pipe should really be the first modification on this list as I recommend upgrading it before tuning. The factory cold-side piping on the 6.7 Powerstroke is make of plastic and is known to burst. This happens enough on stock trucks and becomes even more prevalent on tuned trucks running above stock boost levels. The plastic can't support the higher boost and fails, creating a huge boost leak.

Upgrading the piping might help improve airflow a little bit but the biggest benefit is the ability to hold higher boost levels. Plus it's a reliability upgrade so that you don't end up on the side of the road with a busted chargepipe. 

We are about to launch our chargepipe upgrades - with options for both 2011-2016 models and 2017+. Stay tuned!

Price: ~$250

More Power? Drop-In Turbos

Pushing 500whp on 2011-2014 models requires you to run the stock turbo at 100%. The same thing goes for 2015+ models - 600whp is really a death wish for the turbo. Therefore if you want to push past 475whp and 550whp, respectively, then you should consider a turbo upgrade.

There are too many kits on the market to get into specifics in this article but there are really three routes: a drop in turbo, going compound, or a full blown kit. If you just want to push a bit more power beyond stock levels then a drop in kit is going to be the best route. It will still run you $2,500-$3,000 but it's a simple bolt on turbo that makes more power easy. For 2011-2014 models you can simply drop in a 2015+ turbo you just have to keep in mind the fueling limitation you'll run into next.

Drop ins are a good way to cost effectively run 550-600whp but if you want to reliably break through these levels then you'll want to look into more substantial upgrade kits which we'll cover in another article.

475-550whp for Less Than $2,000 

If you want to keep it simple and within a budget: an SCT X4, our cold air intake, some MBRP exhaust kits, and a chargepipe will run you less than $2,000 and probably closer to $1,500. And this will take you '11-'14 F250/F350 to 475whp and 15+ models to 550whp or so. 

You can also run lower power levels and just reap the benefits of tuning and reduced airflow restrictions. Lowering engine temps, increasing gas mileage, and getting some moderate power gains along the way is something you can't beat. If you really want to play it safe hit all the mods on this list and run things at 450whp and 500whp and enjoy the newfound power and benefits.

Pushing beyond 600whp is where things start to get really expensive as we have to start thinking about 1) turbo upgrades, 2) fueling upgrades, 3) head studs, 4) built transmissions, and 5) not blowing your engine.

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