Tuning your truck is quite different from just monitoring the stock performance. I run a modified 87perf/tow tune from 5 star that I program with an SCT unit. I only have that connected while up loading the tune, then reconnect my Scangauge II and monitor the function of the truck through that on a day-to-day basis.
There are two different categories of tunes. Ones that come pre-loaded on the tuners (edge, SCT, superchips, hypertech, bully dog, etc) and specific tunes written for your truck by tuning specialty companies(5 star
While the pre-loaded ones work out for some people, they don't for others and cause drivability issues. Having a custom tune written for exactly your truck with its modifications or lack thereof is useful and can be catered to how you want the truck to run. The original 87perf/tow tune that I got from 5star had a tendency to shift too high in rpm range for my driving style. I asked for them to be lowered and within a few minutes had the tune I have been running for the last 5 months. I couldn't be happier with the performance.
Your 5.4 and 6 speed (same as mine) worked OK as programmed by ford, but works a lot better (in my opinion) with a custom tune. The transmission shifts much better in my case and that's only on the 87 tune. I have only tried the 87 economy tune and the current 87 perf/tow tune, but also have a 89 perf and 91 perf tune that i will probably never use.
I paid $170 for the scangauge that allows me to add "xgauge" info for information specific to my truck, which is useful. The SCT programmer and 5 custom tunes from 5Star was $400 or so. money well spent in my opinion. Edge, SCT and others make units with a display that do both functions, but cost about the same as the units separately.
Be aware that 2009 and 2010 trucks use different Engine Control Modules and Transmission Control Modules than the 2011 and up trucks (they are two separate units as opposed to the integrated unit on the 2011+ trucks so make sure you specify this in your purchase. It took almost 1.5hours to program my truck (save the stock programs and upload the new ECM and TCM tunes) the first time out and you need to make sure your battery is in good condition during the program.
Originally Posted by dbctmc
I was looking at some plug-in monitors and came across the edge insight. Anyone have any experience with these? Also, for $100 more, the edge evolution provides the gauges the insight has plus the ability to "tune" the truck's computer, with a towing mode that "makes the shifts firmer which reduces wear on the transmission" (from their website). Any thoughts?