DIAL A SMILE
INSTALLING A BDP6-POSITION CHIP ON A 7.3L FORD
Installing a BDP 6-position chip on a 7.3L Ford
Like many work truck owners, Matt Ford wanted to get more efficiency out of his 2000 Ford F-250 7.3L Power Stroke without a lot of down time. He wanted something that would work with the waste vegetable oil system he has on the truck.
Ford turned his truck over to Jonathan Jones at Beans Diesel Performance in Woodbury, Tennessee, to dyno-test the Beans Diesel Performance 6-position chip. He uses the truck to tow used vehicles purchased from all over the country back to his shop, MF Automotive in Knoxville, Tenn., and was happy to get more power out of his truck, but was primarily focused on improving fuel economy. But adding the capability to switch on the fly between six different tunes for his truck was a great bonus. He opted to have the stock, high idle, tow, daily driver, economy and performance (hot) tunes programmed onto the chip.
After Jones strapped the truck to the Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno, he ran a few baseline pulls with both #2 diesel and the auxiliary veggie oil. On diesel fuel the truck made 224.8 horsepower and 478 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t too bad for a truck with more than 335,000 miles. But as is usually the case, the old Power Stroke was leaving something on the table. The pulls on veggie oil showed a drop in peak power of just over 5 hp, to 219.6, and torque measured at 458 lb-ft.
The BDP 6-position chip was then created with the following six individual tunes: high idle in position 1, stock in position 2, economy in position 3, tow in position 4, daily driver in position 5 and the performance tune in position 6. While the chip was burning in the office, Jones removed the ECU from the truck and modified the plastic ECU case to allow him to
remove or install the chip in the future without having to remove the ECU from the truck.
Before returning the ECU to the housing, he removed the factory access cover and split the case to carefully clean the terminals on the circuit board. Jones tells us that when installing a 7.3L chip cleaning the terminals is a vital step that is often overlooked or improperly done, causing intermittent problems down the road. He cleans the terminals with a piece of Scotch-brite, making sure to remove any coating or corrosion buildup on both sides of the brass terminals.
After reassembling the ECU, he slips it into the plastic housing, reinstalls it under the dash and reconnects the harness. The rotary control knob harness is then plugged into the chip and the chip is installed into the ECU, making sure it is fully seated on the circuit board. The 6-position rotary knob wiring harness is routed under the dash to the area to the right of the steering column. A hole is drilled to accommodate the control knob. To finish the installation, he bends the faceplate to match the dash contour, mounts the control knob and then fires up the truck to verify the chip operation.
With everything buttoned up and working properly, Jones starts the dyno rollers spinning again. Since the truck is normally operated on waste vegetable oil, each tune was dynoed with the truck running on veggie. Using the BDP economy tune, the truck put down 243.7 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque for an increase of 24.1 and 20, respectively. Stepping up to the tow tune, the truck made 287.0 horsepower and just over 600 lb-ft of torque with a huge bump in both horsepower and torque from 2,000 to 3,000 rpm, where it will really help when towing a heavy load. Moving to the daily tune, the truck made 309.3 hp and about 690 lb-ft of torque with peaks around 2,400 rpm and falling off steadily from there. The BDP hot tune picked up about 5 more horsepower at a peak of 314.5 and about 740 lb-ft of torque.
To wrap things up, Jones made a few pulls using the hot tune on standard #2 diesel. It made a peak of 341.7 hp—an improvement of 117.7 when compared to the stock run on diesel fuel! Torque was also greatly improved over stock with 744 lb-ft of torque compared to
the 470 lb-ft we measured as stock. The power band was very wide and virtually flat from 2,400 to 3,400 rpm, showing that even a high-mileage truck like this can benefit greatly from a simple chip and custom tuning.
If you own a 7.3L Power Stroke truck and are looking for flexibility in tune selection, check with the guys at Beans Diesel Performance; they can create a combination of tunes to meet your needs. And by the way, in the short time the truck has been on the road since the BDP chip installation, Ford estimates that fuel mileage has improved by 3.5 miles per gallon to 17 mpg while towing a 4,000-pound load! UDBG
This small wonder from Beans Diesel Performance can store six custom tunes and allows switch-on-the-fly changes. Even in an old road warrior like this truck with more than 335,000 miles on the clock the BDP chip allowed it to pick up about 120 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque!
2 The red dyno graph is from the dyno pull on diesel fuel resulting in a 224.8-hp peak measurement, while the blue graph shows the WVO results with a 219.6-hp peak.
1 After strapping the truck down to the Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno, Jonathan Jones makes baseline dyno pulls with both diesel fuel and waste vegetable oil.
3 Jones custom burns the tunes to the BDP 6-position chip to match each customer’s requested tuning and switch order.
4 To remove the ECU from the truck, Jones first loosens the 10mm bolt securing the harness to the ECU from the engine side of the firewall.
Most of BDP’S customers choose to mount the rotary knob in the panel to the right of the steering column. Jones drills the mounting hole for the switch.
The access plug must be removed from the end of the ECU; a small screwdriver is perfect for the task.
To get better access to the circuit board, Jones opens the ECU and thoroughly cleans the terminals on the board with a Scotch-brite pad.
The ECU is reinstalled in the truck by installing the mounting bracket bolts then connecting the harness under the hood and tightening the 10mm bolt. Then the BDP chip and harness can be installed into the ECU.
5 Moving to the inside of the cab, the mounting bolts are removed and the ECU can be removed from the truck.
6&7 Jones then cuts away some of the plastic from the ECU mounting bracket to make room for the installation of the BDP chip, which will slide into the end of the ECU after it is mounted in the truck.
With the ECU board cleaned and the case reassembled, Jones slides it back into the mounting bracket that has been modified to allow the BDP Chip to slide into the ECU without removing the ECU from the truck again.
Comparing the baseline dyno graph (red) on diesel fuel to the BDP hot tune dyno graph (blue) shows a huge bump in power, as well as a much flatter and wider power band to make this one happy 7.3L Power Stroke.
13 Jones also bends the switch plate to match the contour of the dash and installs the switch and knob to complete the installation.