Nothing says cool like an...
Nothing says cool like an F-350 dualie doing a burnout. Photo by Justin Cesler
Towing-there isn't an oval track racer in this country who doesn't do it. In fact, we are one of the few segments of the automotive hobby (if you want to call it that) that must have a truck and trailer in order to enjoy ourselves every Saturday night. Look around any short track and the pits are full of a variety of different trucks and tow vehicles, many of which are diesel-powered. Towing to the track week in and week out is not only a necessary expense, but a costly one as well. So, naturally, getting the most out of your truck, by trailering efficiently can mean more money in your pocket-a.k.a. your racing budget.
With that in mind we got a hold of Hypertech's Max Energy Power Programmer to see if we could boost the power and efficiency of the new Circle Track dualie.
Founded by Mark Heffington in 1985, Hypertech has grown into one of the technology leaders in the high-performance computer-controlled engine tuning market. In the '80s Hypertech created the original Power Chips to recalibrate an engine's electronic "brains" for improved performance. As time passed and factory computer technology evolved, so did Hypertech's products. Today, its Power Programmers, such as the Max Energy, can optimize a myriad of engine functions such as air/fuel mixture, spark timing, maximum rpm, transmission shift points, and more with a few easy steps.
The Max Energy Power Programmer...
The Max Energy Power Programmer is simplistic in look and ease of use. Just the handheld unit and a cable to connect to the vehicle is all that is needed to make significant horsepower strides. Each programmer comes with instructions and a CD as well.
The Hypertech Max Energy Power Programmer has three tuning choices-Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3-each setting more aggressive than the previous one. All three of those stages are, according to Hypertech, tow-safe, maintaining safe EGT (exhaust gas temperatures) levels while towing the maximum weight specified by the vehicle's manufacturer. To our knowledge, no other tuner offers this level of safe power for towing.
Tuning on the Max Energy starts with Hypertech engineers optimizing the spark and fuel curves point by point over the entire rpm band. With the additional power and optimized transmission functions, drivers use less fuel to accelerate and maintain cruising speeds without the torque converter unlocking and transmission downshifting to a lower gear. The results are a more efficient delivery of power and an increase in fuel mileage of more than 9 percent (depending on application).
The Max Energy Power Programmer has several functions that are important to consider when choosing a programmer for your truck. First off, the Speedometer Calibrator is designed to take into account aftermarket tires installed on your truck. In addition, if you have installed a ring-and-pinion gearset with a different rear gear ratio, the Max Energy allows you to reprogram for correct speedometer and odometer readings, as well as correct part-throttle shifting.
Ramsey's Performance in Lutz,...
Ramsey's Performance in Lutz, Florida, ponied up some dyno time for us to get numbers on our F-350 dualie.
Along those same lines, if you have installed tires that have a different speed rating, the Max Energy allows you to raise or lower the vehicle's top-speed limiter to match the speed rating of the newly installed tires.
The Max Energy has a nifty feature that will automatically increase shift firmness which will reduce clutch slippage and transmission oil temperatures translating into longer transmission life. Just keep in mind that if you have installed an aftermarket shift kit you can't use the shift firmness feature of the tuner.
Also in the shifting category, Max Energy allows you to raise or lower the shift points in 100 rpm increments for maximum towing performance. This is particularly handy if you live in mountainous areas where, when towing, your truck does a lot of shifting. You can customize the shift points for every gear.
A couple of other features of the Max Energy that will come in handy are the Code Reader and Return to Stock option. If you get a "check engine" light or "service needed" message, the Max Energy will allow you to read the code and gives you the ability to clear the code and turn the "check engine" light off. You can then make the necessary repairs to prevent the light from coming back on.