Best Emissions Friendly Diesel Tuning Options

Want Diesel Tuning that’s eco-friendly and won’t lead to the EPA at your doorstep?

Diesel trucks hold so much untapped potential, horsepower and torque only a fingertip’s length away. How do you access all this untapped potential? All you need is a tuner or programmer. Tuners help achieve high horsepower, torque, and better overall performance from your diesel. There are a lot of options out there, but not all of them provide the same results. If you have an older diesel, tuning is much less complex. There aren’t emissions systems you have to worry about. Tuning a newer diesel is a completely different story. You have to worry about picking a tuner that is CARB approved and offers emissions friendly tuning. What are emissions friendly tunes? Keep reading! We’ll give you everything you need to know.

What is Emissions Friendly Tuning?

Emissions friendly tuning refers to tuning that doesn’t disable emissions devices on a diesel truck. While they don’t delete emissions devices, they still might not be CARB approved or have an EA number. Emissions compliant tuning refers to tuners and programmers that have been tested and approved for use by state and federal governments. They also don’t increase the amount of tailpipe emissions from the truck. Diesel emissions include Nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide, and diesel particulate matter. Scientists have found these to be detrimental to human health and have also cited them as a reason for global warming.

What are Diesel Emissions?

Ever seen a diesel “black smoke”? The black smoke emitted from the tailpipe is unburnt hydrocarbons. This is most commonly seen on older trucks that don’t have emissions systems. Newer trucks feature emissions devices like diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalysts, exhaust gas recirculation systems, and diesel exhaust fluid systems that prevent “black smoke” and other emissions from being released.

Upon release, these emissions systems were at best unreliable. They broke frequently and they costed an arm and a leg to replace or repair. Instead of spending a couple thousand dollars to replace the emissions devices, truck owners opted for emissions removal and delete tuning. Emissions-removed or noncompliant tuning refers to tunes that defeat emissions devices and allow their removal. Deletes or deleting means removing emission devices. While it does lead to increased carbon emissions, it makes tremendous impacts in terms of improved fuel economy and power gains. It’s also only a fraction of the cost of emissions repair and replacement.

Why You Should Roll With Emissions Friend or Compliant Tuning

Although it’s not as cool, you should stick with emissions friendly or compliant tuning. Because of the EPA crackdown in 2019, delete tuning is almost non-existent. Many of the largest tuning companies shut down after they were slapped with huge fines. Modern emissions systems have become more reliable too. The newer diesel trucks already have impressive horsepower, torque, and fuel economy numbers too, so the gains needed by deleting emissions aren’t really necessary. Take the L5P Duramax for example, it provides a whopping 445 horsepower and 910 ft/lb of torque from the factory. Ram’s 2019 HD trucks equipped with the 6.7L Cummins and Aisin transmission produce over 1,000 ft/lbs of torque. Ford’s 2020 SuperDuty tops both of those with an impressive 475 horsepower and 1,050 ft/lbs of torque.

Delete tuning also results in the loss of your factory warranty 100% of the time. The last thing you want to deal with is powertrain failure. Unfortunately, it can happen. If your truck is deleted, manufacturers will give you the bird when it comes to covering this failure under warranty. Deleted trucks featuring emissions noncompliant tuning will also fail emissions testing. This means every year you would have to take off your exhaust, and install all of your emissions devices back on the truck.

Why Get Tuning At All?

Why do you want more horsepower, torque, and better overall performance from your diesel? It’ll help you tow that extra heavy trailer or extend the time it takes for you to fill-up your tank. It can seriously make a difference. If you’ve ever driven a tuned diesel, you know what I’m talking about. It helps improve drivability, fuel economy, and most importantly it makes driving a diesel even more fun.

Best Clean, Emission-Friendly Tuners & Programmers

The best tuner for you depends on what truck you have. Certain trucks have more secure ECMs decreasing the amount of tuning available. We’re going to a write an entire post about tuning an L5P Duramax because there aren’t many options. For the rest of you guys, here is what we recommend.

1. EZ Lynk Custom Tuning

The EZ Lynk tuning platforms allow you to receive custom tunes directly from the cloud. This is ideal, because you don’t have to upload any tunes to a computer and then download them to a tuning device. EZ Lynk also gives you access to custom tuning. Custom tuning offers personalized tuning that is based on existing modifications. It produces the best results because it is based on your exact truck. It can also be tweaked to achieve optimal performance. With this product, you’re going to want to pick a reputable tuning company. Check out our best custom tuning companies post for a list of our favorite custom tuning companies.

EZ Lynk Auto Agent

2. EFI Live Custom Tuning

EFI Live is my favorite tuning platform for my Duramax or Cummins trucks. While it doesn’t allow cloud-based tune delivery, it’s very straightforward to download tunes to an Autocal and it allows you to store your tune files on a computer. It’s less expensive than EZ Lynk tuning and it delivers the same results. Just make sure if you opt for EFI Live tuning that you have a windows computer. EFI Live tuning isn’t compatible with Mac computers. EFI Live requires custom tunes. Check out our Custom Tuning Companies post for help deciding which tuning company to use.

EFI Live Autocal

3. Bully Dog or SCT BDX Custom Tuning and Box Tuner

Bully Dog’s BDX programmer is unique because it offers box tuning for a variety of trucks while also offering custom tune capabilities. Custom tunes are delivered via the cloud. I actually used the BDX to get custom tunes for my 2014 Powerstroke from Innovative Diesel. Check out our Bully Dog BDX programmer review for more information.

4. Banks Derringer

Banks Power has been around a long time and they are known to test their products extensively. They were the first company to come out with L5P Duramax tuning and their new Derringer delivers! The Derringer is now available for most Diesels 2010-Current and is a wonderful option for diesel enthusiasts looking for smooth, reliable power. For optimal results and more insight on your diesel, pair your derringer tuner with a banks idash datamonster for real-time truck monitoring. For older trucks, consider Bank’s Automind, Economind, Big Hoss, or Six-Gun tuners.

5. Edge Products

Edge is another company that has been around a long time. They not only offer tuning, but some of the best monitoring devices around. This is where I believe Edge really shines. Edge products like the CTS Juice /W attitude or the Evolution CTS2 offer quality emissions-friendly tuning with data monitoring. Definitely don’t overlook Edge because they offer tuning for just about every Diesel available. Recently, Edge released their new Pulsar tuner for the L5P Duramax which is the easiest tuner to install on these trucks. They’re also really affordable compared to other tuning available for the L5P Duramax. Even if you decide to go with another tuner like EFI Live or EZ Lynk, invest in a CTS2 Insight. You won’t regret it!

Want Specific Tuning Recommendations for your Vehicle?

Not all of the tuners listed above are available for every diesel. If you visit our diesel resource page, select your diesel type and click product recommendations. We’ll have our favorite tuners listed for your specific truck! Don’t forget to invest in a monitor and a pyrometer to keep an eye on your EGTs!

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Pricing

How much does a new 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Cost? Here’s everything you need to know.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Pricing
2019 Ram 1500 Limited

Pricing was just released for the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Pricing will start at $36,890 plus an $1,695 destination fee. This base model is the Tradesman Quad Cab 2WD model. Unlike previous EcoDiesel generations, the 2020 third generation EcoDiesel will be available across the entire trim spectrum. Even the Ram Rebel will be available with the V6 EcoDiesel. This Diesel engine is a $4,995 option, costing $3,000 more than the 5.7L Hemi V8.

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Highlights

This new EcoDiesel is a redesigned V6 turbodiesel engine that produces 260 horsepower and 480 lb/ft of torque. Ram 1500 trucks with the EcoDiesel can tow up to 12,560 lbs. They will get close to 30 miles-per-gallon on the highway too. Visit our Ram EcoDiesel blog post for more information about these trucks. The 2020 Ram 1500 trucks gained quite a few new exterior packages, technology, and safety features to go along with the EcoDiesel engine.

Want More Diesel News?

Find out more about Ram’s pickup truck lineup, including their new 5th generation HD trucks, featuring a new Cummins Engine. Make sure you sign up for our blog to get the latest diesel news straight to your inbox!

Top Five Christmas Gift Ideas For Guys & Gals that Like Trucks in 2019

What should you buy to spoil the special truck enthusiast in your life?

Christmas is almost here! If you haven’t picked up your presents already, you’re on a serious time crunch! Maybe you have no clue what to get your significant other! If they’re obsessed with their pickup truck, there are numerous gifts that are very useful but won’t break the bank! Some of most useful accessories also happen to be the cheapest accessories you will find. If you have no idea about trucks, you probably wouldn’t think of them. I’m going to help you out. Here are my 5 best Christmas gift ideas for truck lovers in 2019!

1. Dee Zee Tailgate Assist $25-$30

One of the most useful Christmas Gift Ideas for truck owners in 2019 also happens to be the cheapest. The Dee Zee Tailgate Assist stops you from ever slamming the tailgate again. When you drop your tailgate, the tailgate assist controls the fall of your tailgate by using a shock absorber. The other benefit is that it makes it easier to close your tailgate too. This is extremely useful because it allows you to easily open or close your tailgate when your hands are full. It also makes tailgates safer to operate for kids. Installation only takes around 5-10 minutes and should be very easy for anyone with basic hand tools.

Check out our Dee Zee Tailgate Assist review for more information. Keep in mind, the tailgate assist isn’t necessary for recent GMC or Chevrolet trucks. They come equipped with the EZ-Lift tailgate that provides these same features. Here’s a couple of links directly to the Dee Zee Tailgate Assist on Amazon.

Dee Zee Tailgate Assist in action

2. Rubber Floor Liner Set $80-$200

Floor Liners have a huge impact when it comes to keeping your truck clean. This is especially the case in areas where you experience snow or muddy conditions frequently. Floor Liners are contoured to fit your truck perfectly. This means they are shaped perfectly to match the floor of your truck. They are significantly better at keeping your truck clean too because they aren’t flat. Floor liners have an inch or two depth to contain spills, mud, snow, or whatever else you throw at them. These are an excellent addition to a truck that frequently has little kids riding in the back. Depending on your truck’s cab configuration, Floor Liners will be different. We recommend using Husky Liners because they’re high quality and we have used them on numerous trucks. I’ll include some links below to Floor Liners for popular trucks.

Husky Liners For Ram

Husky Liners for Ford

Husky Liners for Chevrolet & GMC Trucks

3. Bug Guards/Hood Shields

Where I’m located in Florida, we have an unbelievable abundance of love bugs. Not only do these love bugs make a nasty mess when they hit your truck, but their remains are acidic which can cause paint damage if it’s not removed quickly. Bugs aren’t the only thing bug guards like the EGR Super Guard Hood Shield protect against. Rocks can also cause damage to your truck’s hood. At only $60-$80 bug shields are a must-have.

I personally like the EGR Super Guard Hood Shield. Why? I love this specific bug shield because it requires no drilling and doesn’t use tape either. It mounts using factory holes under the hood and two clips. It takes at the most 5-10 minutes to install, and it does a tremendous job at keeping my 2018 Ram 2500’s hood clean. There are other available bug shield options too though! They can be found in Chrome, matte black, or gloss black configurations. You can find links to the EGR Super Guard Hood Shield for popular trucks directly below.

EGR Superguard Bug Shield 2018 Ram 2500

EGR Super Guard for Ram Trucks

EGR Super Guard for Ford Trucks

EGR Super Guard for Chevrolet Trucks

4. Bolt Locks – Receiver Locks $31

Does the person you’re shopping for have a hitch on the back of their truck? If they do, they probably have a receiver lock to keep their precious hitch safe. If they don’t and they’re just using a pin, they NEED one. Hitches are very easy to steal and frequently taken off of trucks in parking lots. Receiver locks are a must-have.

The problem with receiver locks however, is that they use a separate key. You then have to add this key to your key chain or store it somewhere in your truck. What if it gets lost? You’ll have to break your lock to take your hitch off. Bolt Locks offers a receiver lock that utilizes your truck key. It memorizes the 1st key that is installed in the lock. This is much more convenient than having extra keys you have to keep around. Check out the links below to find which bolt lock you need.

5. Programmers & Monitors

Programmers and Monitors provide real time data about a truck’s performance. This includes engine oil temperature, coolant temp, fuel economy and other things. Many monitor units also offer tuning that increases horsepower and torque, improves fuel economy, and make the truck more fun to drive. They also allow you to read and clear diagnostic codes, and adjust settings like the speed limiter. Just be aware of whether the programmer you pick offers clean emissions compliant tuning or emissions delete tuning!

Bully Dog BDX - #5 on our list of the best Christmas gift ideas for 2019.

Quality programmers include the Edge Insight CTS2 and Bully Dog’s BDX or GTX. I’ve had all three on my trucks and they all feature highly customizable displays and valuable insights. They’re universal so these units will work with pretty much all trucks. The Bully Dog/SCT BDX and GTX offer tuning with their units however, so if you’re looking for more than just a monitor, that is the way to go.

Want More Christmas Gift Ideas for 2019?

Need More Christmas Gift Ideas For the truck obsessed person you love? Find out 6-10 on our list of best Christmas Gift Ideas for 2019.

Mishimoto’s Universal High-Flow Baffled Catch Can – Affordable Protection For Your Diesel

What is an Oil Catch Can?

Mishimoto Universal High-Flow Catch Can
Universal High-Flow Baffled Catch can with ports and universal mount attached

Catch Cans like the Mishimoto Universal High-Flow catch can are primarily responsible for catching blow-by that is re-routed by your diesel truck’s crankcase ventilation system or CCV. This blow-by consists of oil and fuel vapors that enter the crankcase after combustion. Your truck’s CCV system will then re-route this oil and vapor through the intake.

Catch can’s have been around a while for gasoline powered automobiles, but what about Diesels? Because of their high compression ratios, diesels are especially susceptible to blow-by. Standard catch cans designed for most gas-powered vehicles won’t work for diesels though. They’re too restrictive, and they can cause serious issues like putting your truck in limp mode. Why does this happen? The high horsepower and torque of diesel trucks leads to very high crankcase pressures. A bigger, high-flowing catch can is needed for diesel applications.

Why Should You Get A Catch Can?

The crankcase ventilation system causes blow-by to enter your truck’s intake. This means your turbocharger, intercooler, intake, and other crucial parts can experience carbon build-up causing premature failure. Wouldn’t you rather pay the small price of a catch can to help prevent major failures like a bad turbocharger?

Why Choose Mishimoto’s High-Flow Universal Catch Can?

Mishimoto’s High-Flow Universal Catch Can was made for diesel trucks. They offer high-flowing catch cans that won’t restrict your CCV system but still capture significant blow-by. Inlet and outlet ports feature 1″ diameters compared to the standard 3/8″ outlets. A massive filter featuring CNC-Machined baffle catches harmful vapors and oil while simultaneously letting crankcase vapors pass through.

Worried about having another part to worry about or having to do more maintenance? Mishimoto makes it easy by allowing you to drain the catch can without removing the filter by using a 3/8 NPT plug on the bottom of the casing. They also provide the necessary hardware and a mounting bracket for easy installation too! Mishimoto also has a lifetime warranty on all of their products.

Want to see my thoughts on the High-Flow Catch can? Check out my review of Mishimoto’s High-Flow Universal Catch Can that I installed on my 2018 Ram 2500. This catch can is also one of the products mentioned in my “10 Best Gift Ideas For Christmas 2019” blog post.

Want To Buy Mishimoto’s High-Flow Catch Can Kit?

Click the Amazon link below to take advantage of your Amazon Prime membership and get this high-flow catch can for your diesel!

Drive A Powerstroke? Mishimoto Has Specific Catch Cans For Your Truck.

Own a Powerstroke? You don’t have to use the Universal catch can! Mishimoto makes specific catch cans for your truck. Find the links below!

2011-2016 Powerstroke

2017+ Powerstroke

Learn more about this particular catch can by visiting Mishimoto’s R&D blog post on the Universal high-flow catch can.