I own a 2005 Ford Excursion 4x4 Limited with the V-10 (gas). Over the years I've made a few minor improvements with the brakes and suspension, and now am hoping to inject a bit more pep into the 10,000 lb beast. I am not interested in transforming the truck into a pavement smoker, but I would like more crisp shifts and perhaps up to 50 more Hp for greater passing power and a more square kick in the pants. Mileage is not a primary concern. Here are the questions:
Question #1: Is an aftermarket Powertrain control module (PCM) or "power programmer" (such as Hypertech, Jet, Unichip, e.g.) a worthwhile investment? I've read that the 10% ethanol + gas blends -- essentially everywhere here in the Southeast US -- will negate the ability of the programmers to increase engine power gains. So are these programmers only good for diesels now?
Question #2: Do you have information regarding a plot of vacuum requirements versus available power for this engine, or, scfm versus available power? I ask this because I am bullish on K&N regarding increased power gains with Fuel Injection Performance Kits (FIPK), or alternative arrangements versus stock intakes. I agree that initial air flow is greater if replacing stock filters, until the aftermarket filter accumulates debris. However, the air intake leading outside the engine compartment cannot be enlarged easily and most FIPK/intake systems simply route the intake below the radiator and I cannot do that (water intrusion, 4x4 use, etc). Thoughts? Is a K&N FIPK worth the cost?
Question #3: When the brakes were upgraded, I was told stainless steel lines are not available for the front (though they are for the rear). Can't I simply use 2004 F-250 stainless lines for the front? (I think the 2005 F-250 had coil springs; 2004 and the suspension all-around for my truck are leafs).
Good questions. Geared a bit toward engineering, but here's some quick input: 50hp may be a lot to ask from external add-on components. Just an example: One manufacturer says you'll get 25hp from this, another says 25hp from that, and a third says 25hp from my product. But after installing all three you get a 24hp boost on the dyno. The basic consensus is to open up the intake flow, exhaust path, and fine tune the ignition timing curve and injector pulse width (possibly shift timing) with a programmer. No guarantees.
Answers #1: The majority of programmers do up the ante in power. But again, take the estimates as to how much with a grain of salt. It would involve a lab-type environment to determine the difference in hp and torque gains from a programmer -- comparing the same vehicle running on straight gas and an E-10 blend. But common sense is telling me there should be little, if any difference. Even if the 10% ethanol / 90% gas mixture reduces power slightly as a whole (it actually boosts octane), the ignition curve and injector pulse width improvements should still produce similar gains. E85 might be a different story. That's my stab at it, anyway. Call the programmer's tech support and see what they say.
Answer #2: Sorry, we don't have access to those types of intake specs. However, we do know that most aftermarket filters, intake pipes and boxes do help by increasing airflow to the intake manifold. And K&N is a quality brand. But don't forget about the back end. A nice Borla stainless steel exhaust system will also help the engine breathe, not to mention the throaty grunt. If you do serious four-wheeling and the aftermarket intake setup leaves the filter significantly exposed to outside elements, it's probably not worth the risk of sucking in water/mud. You might be better off with just the filter.
Answers #3: I guess you're referring to steel braided brake hoses. Where I come from a brake line is a fixed tube with double-flares on each end, attached to the frame or axle. If you're gonna use a brake hose which is listed for another vehicle, be careful. There can be a lot of parts variances between common truck platforms. The hose may be a hair short, mounted to it's fittings at different angles, or even an incorrect inside diameter.