The latest generation of diesel-powered pickup trucks are impressive machines right off the lot, but can be downright amazing if you rub them the right way. After driving an '04 F-250 crew cab with the company's Six-Gun Bundle, which includes the Six-Gun Diesel Tuner with Speed-Loader upgrade and Monster Exhaust, we've come to the conclusion that the crew at Gale Banks Engineering (GBE) obviously knows how to tune the new Ford 6.0L Power Stroke.

We hopped in and clicked off a 7.26-second 0-60 mph on a mid-80-degree summer morning at a top-secret test track just around the corner from GBE world headquarters. At California Speedway's dragstrip, GBE said the truck's best 0-60 mph e.t. was 6.75 seconds, with the average of 10 runs coming in at 7.06 seconds, in a rig that weights in at approximately 6,300 pounds with driver.

So What Is the Six-Gun Diesel Tuner and Speed-Loader?
Basically, it's an electronic device that interfaces with the factory engine management computer to tune for high power output. It does this by changing the fuel injection pulse width, timing and fuel pressure, as well as the variable vane geometry turbo, to deliver more power throughout the rpm range of the engine. It has six levels of power increase, available by twisting a control mounted in your dash. The Speed-Loader upgrade is an electronics add-on that significantly enhances power output, but is not calibrated to meet existing emissions standards. This upgrade can be switched on or off quickly from the cockpit.

In addition to enhancing the power output of the engine, the Banks unit also features what the company calls AutoRate. This is GBE's electronic powertrain management system that monitors the engine and automatically adjusts power output to a safe level for prevailing conditions. It's smart, too, with software that monitors and diagnoses itself, and self-monitoring hardware that provides automatic bypass to protect the drivetrain in case something malfunctions. This is standard practice at GBE. The techs there don't like to have minor failures cause a major failure. And that engineering-best practice is worked into the Six-Gun electronics to protect the durability and function of the onboard Power Stroke electronics.

Plug-and-Play Power
The electronics package of the Six-Gun is a plug-and-play install. The hardest part is mounting the power-level control knob. All you have to do is pull a panel off, attach a few connectors, and reinstall the panel. OK, the exhaust side of this combination isn't plug-and-play. But it's the bolt-on equivalent -- after removing the stock components.

The Results
The chart below reflects the advertised power rating of the system. We're very confident that these values are accurate (if anything, the advertised values are conservative) because our quicky 0-60 test matched with the company's testing data.

  Stock Six-Gun Level 6 Result
Rear-Wheel hp
(peak-to-peak) 268.7 hp (3,200 rpm) 370.0 hp (3,200 rpm) +101.3 hp
Rear-Wheel Torque
(peak-to-peak) 467.0 lb-ft (2,200 rpm) 661.5 lb-ft (2,400 rpm) +194.5 lb-ft
    With Speed-Loader
    384.4 hp (3,400 rpm) +115.7 hp
    690.6 lb-ft (2,000 rpm) +223.6 lb-ft

Owner's Report:
The owner of the '04 F-250 featured in this article is fond of telling the story about the time he was towing his fully loaded trailer up a grade, when a guy in Honda tried to pass him in a no-passing zone. He rolled into the power and hung the guy out in the opposite lane long enough to cause him to back off and pull in behind him. "You should've seen that guy's face," says Ken Marks, "was he surprised by this rig." Now, we're not suggesting a similar course of action, but it certainly highlights the enthusiasm this owner has for the power he has on tap with his GBE-enhanced Power Stroke.

As impressed as he is with the power, the mileage increase is also a source of satisfaction with his turbodiesel Super Duty. He says he was getting around 14-1/2 mpg from his rig before installing the GBE equipment. Now, he says, he's getting around 15 to 16 mpg, depending on how it's driven. But the thing he says he appreciates most is that finally someone figured out a way to get low-end pull and top-end power.

He's had the equipment installed for more than a year now, and in all that time, he says it's only pulled on code -- and that was for something unrelated to the Banks system. Overall, he says he couldn't be happier with the GBE system and by the time you read this should be running the new intercooler and intake gear GBE designed to work with the 6.0L Power Stroke.

Stock Specs Check:
6.0L Power Stroke diesel V-8
V-8, iron block and heads
363 ci, 5,954 cc, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder
325 hp @ 3,300 rpm
570 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm