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5 Best 6.6L L5P Duramax Performance Upgrades

How To Get The Most Out Of Your L5P

The L5P Duramax posts some pretty impressive numbers without any help from the aftermarket. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve your L5P Duramax though. There are numerous aftermarket additions that can increase horsepower, torque, fuel economy, or reliability without breaking the bank. Whether you just want a little more get-up when you go to pass someone, or you want to make your truck bulletproof, our 5 best L5P Duramax Performance Upgrades list has something for everyone.

6.6L L5P Duramax Tuners

The addition of an inexpensive, emissions-compliant tuner is one of the best L5P Duramax performance upgrades. They greatly improve throttle response, increase horsepower and torque, and can even add an MPG or two. Five our our favorite L5P Duramax tuners are listed below. If you’ve installed a diesel tuner before, you’re going to find that installing an L5P Duramax is a little more complicated. It takes about the same level of effort to crack the L5P Duramax as it would to break into a NASA computer. The Banks Derringer, Edge Pulsar, and AFE scorcher are excellent options if you want moderate gains without the headache of removing your ECM. If you want true custom L5P Duramax tuning, you’re going to have to purchase an ECM swap, HP tuning hardware, and custom tunes separately. Right now, PPEI and DuramaxTuner offer HP tunes for the L5P.

Edge Pulsar $799

Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax Tuner
The 2017-2019 Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax Tuner

The Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax Tuner offers gains of up to 90 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Installation is relatively easy, and power levels can be adjusted by using your vehicles cruise control buttons when cruise control is not engaged. The device works best in conjunction with an Edge monitor like the CTS2 or CTS3 Insight. See our full L5P Duramax Edge Pulsar Review for more details.

2017-2019 Banks Derringer $739

The Banks Derringer is another high quality L5P Duramax diesel tuner. The 2017-2019 Derringer tuner offers gains of 61 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque from its 6 different power levels. The 2020+ L5P Duramax Derringer tuner offers gains of 81 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. The iDash 1.8 Supergauge is required and can be purchased as a complete kit.

AFE Power Scorcher $499

AFE Scorcher L5P Duramax tuner
AFE Scorcher tuner for 2017-2020 L5P Duramax

The AFE Scorcher is another L5P Duramax tuner that adds 60 horsepower and 120 ft-lbs of torque. If you’re looking for power on a budget, this is the option for you. Power levels can be adjusted by the switch or via a smartphone app.

L5P Duramax Cold Air Intakes

Another easy and inexpensive L5P Duramax performance upgrade to increase horsepower and torque is the addition of a cold air intake. While intakes aren’t nearly as poorly designed as the OEM units used on diesel trucks ten years ago, they are still restrictive. An upgraded cold air intake increases air flow which in turn improves performance and can help you get slightly better miles per gallon. Some cold air intakes even claim to reduce the amount of regenerations that occur. Maintenance can also be easier as a lot of the aftermarket products don’t require as frequent service or they have washable filter, which can be removed, cleaned, and then re-installed.

Banks Ram-Air (Dry Filter) $429

2017-2019 L5P Duramax Banks Cold Air Intake (CAI)
Banks Ram-Air Cold Air Intake (CAI) 2017-2019 L5P Duramax /w Dry Filter

The Banks Power L5P Duramax cold air intake system boasts that it provides a 20 horsepower gain, helps provide cooler operating temperatures, reduces regenerations, and drastically outflows the stock intake system. It’s available with a dry filter, shown to the left, or a re-usable filter, show below.

Banks Ram Air (Re-Usable Filter) $429

This cold air intake provides identical performance to the dry filter above, but it features a re-usable oiled filter. The filter elements on the Banks Ram-Air products are huge for better flow and engine protection.

2017-2019 S&B Cold Air Intake $299

2017-2019 S&B Filters Cold Air Intake
S&B Cold Air Intake for 2017-2019 L5P Duramax

The S&B CAI system offers a 43% airflow improvement over the stock air intake. They’re available in both a dry replaceable filter or a re-usable/washable filter. I’ve used their products before and they fit well, perform great, and look outstanding.

Diesel Performance Monitors

Diesel Performance Monitors are an upgrade that every L5P Duramax owner should own. They provide you with real time data according to the parameters you choose to display. They read and clear diagnostic codes which can be an absolute lifesaver when you’re on the road. Many Diesel OBD2 monitors offer other features than just parameter monitoring and trouble code reading. They can function as switches, change tuning power levels, be used in conjunction with a rear-view camera, or even test performance like 0-60 times.

Edge Insight CTS3 $399.95

Edge Insight CTS3 Diesel Performance Monitor
Edge Insight CTS3 Performance Monitor

If you’ve owned diesel trucks for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Edge Cts2 Insight. Edge just released their CTS3 Insight that has more features and is much friendlier to use. Stay tuned for our upcoming Edge CTS3 Insight review.

Banks iDash 1.8 Supergauge $279

Banks Power iDash 1.8 SuperGauge L5P Duramax
Banks Power iDash 1.8 SuperGauge For use with Derringer Tuner

The Banks Power iDash 1.8 SuperGauge is the perfect performance monitor to pair with the Banks Derringer tuner. Banks has tons of different parameters you can monitor with one of these units. You can also purchase more than one SuperGauge to keep an eye on even more parameters.

L5P Duramax Exhaust Kits

Unfortunately, a turbo-back exhaust system can’t be used with the L5P Duramax unless you purchase emissions-deleting tunes. If you live in the United States and have your truck registered with the DMV, it’s federally illegal to delete your truck. While some states don’t require emissions tuning, it’s still best practice to keep your emissions in-tact. Exhaust systems offer the most substantial gains when they are turbo-back or down-pipe-back. The L5P Duramax exhausts we list below are DPF-back systems. Air-flow is slightly increased, the sound is slightly better, and back-pressure is reduced. They do look significantly better than the stock Duramax exhaust however.

2017-2019 Banks 5″ Monster Exhaust $549

Banks Power 2017-2019 L5P Duramax Exhaust System
5″ Banks Monster Exhaust System for the 2017-2019 L5P Duramax

The 5″ Banks Power Monster Exhaust System is a DPF back exhaust system that is the perfect system from L5P Duramax owners currently using a Derringer Tuner and Ram-Air Intake. This exhaust uses 5″ Aluminized piping and includes a polished exhaust tip. This kit angles the exhaust differently, releasing exhaust gas out the side of the truck. Many stock duramax owners complain about the extreme heat output of the exhaust during Regenerations because it can cause damage to a trailer. By replacing the stock exhaust with this kit, you prevent any trailer damage as well as reduce EGTs.

Aftermarket Fuel Tanks

This last L5P Duramax Performance upgrade is often overlooked. While an aftermarket fuel tank won’t give you more horsepower, it allows you to travel further distances and be picky about where you get your diesel from. I only buy diesel at nice, well-kept gas stations that are busy. I’ve had fuel pump failures in the past from bad diesel so I do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Aftermarket fuel tanks are awesome when going on road trips or going camping. The stock L5P Duramax tank size on most trucks is 36 gallons. While it’s a pretty good sized tank, you can get a 56 gallon tank that will extend your range another 200-300 miles. They’re also made to fit in the same space as your OEM tank, and a GM dealership can re-calibrate your truck’s fuel gauge for the bigger tank.

Titan 2017-2019 L5P Duramax Crew Cab Short Bed 56 Gallon Fuel Tank

2017-2019 L5P Duramax Crew Cab Short Bed Titan 56 Gallon Fuel Tank
2017-2019 L5P Duramax Crew Cab Short Bed Titan 56 Gallon Fuel Tank

This Titan fuel tank offers 20 more gallons of diesel to be stored versus the stock 36 gallon GM fuel tank. Not only is this tank bigger, but it’s built to be durable. Titan fuel tanks are made of military grade cross-linked polymer (XLHDPE). They’re more durable than the factory tanks too. Often, when people want a bigger tank, they add an auxiliary tank that sits in the bed. This unit mounts in the same location as the factory tank and doesn’t require any drilling, welding, or cutting. It bolts right in and is easy for even a novice mechanic. Titan also offers a lifetime warranty on their tanks. Visit the Titan website for more information.

Check out our other L5P Duramax Resources

Want to learn more about the L5P Duramax? Visit some of our other resources by clicking on one of the links below.

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ABOUT Kamil

Founder of Diesel Resource and a complete diesel head. Has a little bit of problem buying too many trucks. Learn more about him by checking out his truck.