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November 30, 2019 7 min read

So You Want To Upgrade Your Truck? 

About once a week we are asked some form of, “What should I modify first on my (2011-2014) 6.7L?”. Budget aside, we always recommend the following five purchases, in this order. Keep in mind if doesn’t matter if the truck is stock, tuned, or deleted, these are all great purchases. 


SPE Cold Side Pipe Upgrade

Cold Side Pipe

The 2011-2016 Powerstrokes were equipped with a 3” plastic pipe running from the engine to the intercooler. In higher boost applications (both stock & tuned) the pipes often blow apart at the seams leaving a massive boost leak thus disabling the truck.The SPE Cold Side Pipe fixes the problematic OEM plastic intercooler boot on the 2011-2016 Powerstroke. It increases reliability, durability and performance. The SPE upgraded cold side pipe features a CNC machined throttle body adapter with 3 reference ports coupling with a 3” 5-ply silicone hose coupler. The throttle body adapter retains the factory air intake valve thus allowing you to retain your trucks factory emissions components and making for an effortless install. Since throttle adapter doesn’t affect the butterfly valve, no tuning is required. 

If you're using an aftermarket intercooler, measure your intercooler outlet. MOST are 3". If that is the case and you have a 17-19 Powerstroke you'll need to choose the 11-16 kit in order to have the correct size hose. 

SPE Disaster Prevention Kit + Exofilter

SPE Motorsport 6.7L Powerstroke Disaster Prevention Kit + ExoFilter 

The “Disaster Prevention Kit,” it does exactly what it implies; it prevents the disasters of a CP4 pump failure from destroying the rest of a very expensive high-pressure fuel system. While this is a very simple concept up until now all the other systems on the market were incomplete in our eyes. SPE has rewritten the book and designed a kit that has none of the installation downfalls or shortcomings.

CP4 high pressure pumps are considered problematic for the 6.7L Ford Powerstroke engine due to them being more sensitive than other high pressure pumps. They are more susceptible to contamination due to tighter tolerances and higher operating pressures. When the pump fails it sends debris into the rest of the system and requires a several thousand-dollar replacement of injectors, rails, lines, etc. To learn more about the SPE Disaster Prevention Kit & how it compares to the competitors' kits, check out our YouTube video HERE

As of this publication this is the only kit of it's kind- 100% plug & play (that means no cutting lines), protects return fuel, & allows the customer to monitor the health of their fuel system. 

SPE Upgrade Turbo

Turbo Upgrade Kit

The 2011-2014 trucks feature a Garrett GT32 single sequential turbocharger (SST) with a dual compressor and single turbine setup affixed to a common shaft. The GT32 featured variable geometry technology (VGT), ceramic ball-bearing center cartridge, and an electronically-actuated internal wastegate. The dual compressor wheels were affixed back to back on the shaft with the exhaust turbine on the opposite side. With increased fueling, such as when tuning is present, the cage stretches around the bearings and the shaft allows compressor housing contact (more info found here).

Basically, it’s not an “if the turbo will go out” but more of a “when the turbo will go out” which is why we recommend replacing it now before you’re forced to replace it. 

The most common replacement options are our VGT Strike Turbos available in a cast wheel & billet wheeloption. The VGT Strike with Cast Wheel is a great buy for someone just wanting to replace the turbocharger whereas the Billet Wheel option includes a 62mm billet compressor wheel upgrade for someone looking for a stock-style upgrade with a little more power.

These turbos do require the SPE Retrofit Install Kit which includes all of the necessary components (up pipes, downpipe, turbo, pedestal, manifold, gaskets, hardware, etc) to install on your truck. There will be no sourcing of additional parts on your end.

These are great options for someone looking to maintain the factory look and characteristics of the variable-geometry turbocharger (VGT) such as a truck that spends most of the time hauling heavy loads. Neither of these turbos require any additional tuning.

We also have introduced the SPE Emperor Scorpion Turbo Kit which is available in a 63mm, 66mm, & 70mm option.  The SPE 6.7L Emperor Turbo Kit is a 100% drop-in turbo system for the 2011-2019 6.7L Powerstroke. This system is the perfect solution for the enthusiast wanting the reliability of a non- VGT turbo or the ability to support more power with their 6.7L Powerstroke. 

This system is capable of supporting stock power levels all the way up to 800hp.


SPE 6.7L Low Temp, High Flow Thermostat

Thermostat Upgrade

The OEM thermostat operates as a 2-in-1 thermostat. The temperature of the OEM thermostat opens at 194°F and 201°F. While this is a factory standard for most applications it is not ideal for the 6.7L Powerstroke platform. 

The 2011-2016 6.7L Powerstroke’s primary cooling system is used to cool the oil (this is slightly different on the 17's). Therefore, the common high coolant temperatures directly affects your oil temperatures. This is an issue because once the vehicle is at operating temp your oil temperatures are at 200°F and continue to climb. They cannot go below your coolant temperature since you are using the coolant to cool it and oils being cooled by water via a heat exchanger under normal operation will be a minimum of 10°F higher than the base water temp. 

Being that oil is thicker than water and flows differently it is common for the temperature of the oil to rise well beyond a 10°F difference under moderate driving conditions. The problem with using the coolant system to cool the oil is it will normally take longer to bring it back to optimal temperatures especially when it’s cooled from a base temperature of 200°F via water. To paraphrase, your base coolant temperature is the driving factor to all other fluid temperatures and their control. 

This is an even bigger concern in high heat index climates such as Texas and Arizona where temperatures average 100°F on any given day in the summer. 

After extensive testing and consideration of the 6.7L Powerstroke application. SPE has engineered a thermostat to combat high fluid temperatures. The SPE 6.7L Powerstroke Low Temp, High Flow Thermostat opens at 175°F and 180°F whereas the OEM opens at 194°F-201°F. This 15°F decrease in temperatures is a vast improvement and aids in preventing oil breakdown. This is currently the only thermostat on the market with temperatures this low. 

SPE Enhanced Fuel Pump

Upgraded High Pressure Fuel Pump

The 2011-2014 Powerstroke’s high pressure fuel pump (CP4.2) is capable of supporting up to 550HP in a healthy truck. On higher horsepower/max effort tunes a low rail pressure message may illuminate on the dash as well as a P0093 (Fuel System Leak Detected - Large Leak) code. This does NOT mean that there’s an actual fuel leak. The code is indicating that the pump has exceeded the max potential and drained the rails. You’d most often see this occur when in a deleted truck in which you are in the highest tune setting and you floor it. The fuel pump cannot keep up with what’s being demanded of it and can put the truck into limp mode. A quick key cycle will recover it. 

In 2015, the 6.7L high pressure fuel pump (CP4.2- both the 2011-2014 & 2015+ are called a CP4.2) was upgraded to a slightly higher flowing pump. As of model year 2019, the cab & chassis still has the earlier 2011-2014 style pump seen on the standard style pickups. The newly introduced pump had a longer stroke than earlier models which netted a 9% increase in fuel. 

Both pumps were manufactured by Bosch and due to their design are sensitive to fuel contamination. The ultra-tight tolerances can cause cavitation and eroding of the pump and plunger surfaces. The factory Magnetic Proportional Valve (MPROP)/Fuel Control Actuator (FCA)/Inlet Metering Valve has a course single layer screen that will allow metal debris past it in the case of a pump failure and will typically take out the entire fuels system when it does fail. The Exergy patent-pending MPROP has a two layer 25 micron screen that will prevent metal debris larger than 25 micron from entering the rest of the fuel system, most commonly causing pump failure. With this upgraded pump, the truck will shut off before a whole system failure would occur. These MPROP's will not affect the output of the pumps unless an issue arises causing debris to build up.

The Exergy Improved CP4.2 pump is ONLY a 2011-2014 pump with their patent pending MPROP. It’s a great purchase for someone looking to upgrade or replace their pump. If you are wanting a higher output of fuel this is NOT the pump for you. 

For a few hundred dollars more, we offer aSPE Enhanced CP4.2 High Pressure Fuel Pump.This IS 2015+ pump that we fit with the upgraded, double screen MPROP. This pump can support up to 650hp. 

The next step up from this would be the 55% over Warren Diesel Injection (WDI)pump which theoretically can support up to 700+HP. This is a great cost effective option for someone wanting a little more fuel now or for the future. This pump does NOT come with the upgraded Exergy MPROP but it can be added for an additional cost. 

The last single pump option is the Exergy 10mm Stroker Pump which can support up to 800hp. This pump includes the upgraded MPROP making it a great buy and what we most often recommend for someone looking for more now & something to grow into. This pump also has NO core charge allowing you to either keep your current pump or sell it to help recoup the costs of your upgrade. 

All of the pumps mentioned can be used with the factory low pressure pump (aka lift pump) and we actually recommend using it. In fact, when we put a dual fueler on the truck, we still use the factory lift pump and then run a secondary pump to the additional HPFP that’s how confident in the lift pump we are. Additionally, there is no need for a sump. 

To recap, here's a list of pumps in order of their flow volume & power potential:

  1. Exergy Improved CP4.2
  2. SPE Enhanced CP4.2 High Pressure Fuel Pump
  3. 55% over Warren Diesel Injection (WDI) 
  4. Exergy 10mm Stroker Pump 


For the 2011-2014 truck owner we recommend the following purchases in this order: 

  1. Cold Side Pipe
  2. Disaster Prevention Kit with Exofilter
  3. Turbo Upgrade
  4. Low Temp, High Flow Thermostat Upgrade
  5. High Pressure Fuel Pump

2 Responses

Matthew Tyner
Matthew Tyner

February 05, 2020

Kits should be made just for these upgrades I’m personally having problems figuring out how to go about this in my 2014 6.7 and I would love to be able to get my dpf/egr delete and exhaust with all my upgrades all at one time all from one shop.

Mitchell Sandoval
Mitchell Sandoval

December 05, 2019

This was a great read. It gave me a good direction to go for the future. What do you guys recommend when it comes to doing head studs? What horsepower range is it really necessary to do headstuds?

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