Review & Install Video
Justin: Hey everybody, I'm Justin with AmericanMuscle.com, and this is my detailed review, dyno-tested drive of the Superchips Flashpaq F5 tuner, loaded with the Superchips economy towing and race tune, available for your 2015 and up 5-liter F150. The Flashpaq F5 from Superchips is a great choice for any F150 owner out there looking for one of the most affordable handheld tuning devices that, of course, will be able to handle the basic task of flashing your truck, but is also loaded with some of the features most truck owners are after with today's modern tuning devices.
In this video, I'm going to talk about why you might want to go with the affordable F5 over some of your other options available here on the site. We're going to talk about the power improvements over stock, the fuel economy benefits, and, of course, the drivability improvements. So hang out with me, guys, I've got a lot to talk about in this video. We're going to walk you through the device. We're even going to take a drive a little bit later on. But first, let's talk about the power numbers you can expect from using this combo.
Before we even back the truck onto the dyno, we changed out our heavy 35s in the rear with a factory wheel and tire setup, just to get the most accurate results with our dynojet. We then proceeded to knock out our base line runs using our factory calibration and the 87 octane. We then uploaded the Superchips 87 octane economy tune and re-ran the truck. Finally, we drained out all of the 87 octane, filled it up with some 93 octane and ran the 91 octane race tune from Superchips, and here are those results.
Our baseline run using our 2015 5-liter F150 on 87 octane gave us 278 horsepower and 316 pound feet of torque at the rear wheels. With the Superchips 87 octane pre-load, the truck made 279 horsepower and 323 pound feet of torque at the rear wheels. And finally, with the 91 octane race pre-load from Superchips, the truck made 282 horsepower and 328 pound feet of torque at the rear wheels.
Now, 87 octane gains were a little lackluster, as you might expect, picking up only 1 horsepower and 7 pound feet of torque feet, while curve gains fared a little bit better, gaining 14 horsepower and 18 pound feet of torque, respectively. 91 octane gains were a little better, picking up 4 horsepower and 12 pound feet of torque feet, and 15 horsepower and 14 pound feet of torque under the curve.
All right guys, looking at the numbers, breaking them down a little bit further here with Superchips, we have all three laid out on the screen for you. 87 octane didn't fare that well over the baseline numbers, and that's pretty much to expected any time you're using a lower octane fuel like that. You really just aren't going to see the bigger gains as you would with a 91 octane or a 93 octane tune. Another one, 91 octane race tune from Superchips did do pretty well overall.
As you can see, we're picking up a bunch of torque down low. We're also seeing some pretty nice, high RPM gains over our baseline pools. And again, that's what you really want to see when you're spending the money on a tune like this. You want to see the low-end torque gains like we are here with Superchips, because that's what you're going to feel driving the truck red light to red light, towing a load, merging onto the highway, things like that. So overall, the Superchips 91 octane race tune is definitely your better option here, but you do have the option of running the lower octane tunes as well.
Now, guys, you're probably wondering why these tunes aren't making as much power as some of your other options here on the site, and honestly, the answer is pretty simple. Now, the Superchips options only give you an octane or tune for 87 to 91 octane fuels. They don't offer a tune for 93 octane. So, as such, they can't get as aggressive with things like ignition timing, for instance, or air fuel ratios because of that lower octane fuel. These things are 50-state legal, so guys out west, you can take advantage of these tunes, but you're not going to see the big tunes out here on the East Coast using 93 octane as you would with some of your other options.
So there you have it, guys. That's the numbers basically in a nutshell. Let's get back up to the table, and we'll talk a little bit more about the Superchips tunes. Now one thing I do really want to point out here about the Superchips tuner is that they are 50-state legal, they are carb-certified, so if you guys have an F150, and you live in a tough state like California, for instance, you can take advantage of the benefits of the Flashpaq F5 without running into any issues.
In addition to being 50-state legal, again, you are getting three pre-loads here with the Superchips tuner. You're getting the economy and towing, which do require 87 octane or higher, and finally, that race tune, which requires 91 or higher octane fuel. Now, these different tunes are great, because you have different options. If you were to go with an SCT pre-load, for instance, they're only throwing in 87 or 93 octane performance tune at you without the ability or the benefit of the towing or economy tune.
Now, guys I've been putting the Flashpaq F5 through it's paces all week long here with our shop truck, driving this thing all over the place just to get a better idea of what to expect when it comes to the device itself, along with the tune, power improvements over stock, drivability benefits, and, of course, fuel economy.
Now speaking to the fuel economy directly here, I've tested a lot of tunes, and they honestly all improved over the factory calibration to some degree. Now some did better than others, even though Superchips might not have made as much power overall, compared to your other options on the site, it absolutely crushed it when it comes to fuel economy, tying the edge devices here with some of the best miles per gallon improvements in the category.
Now, guys, my drive to and from work does consist of a healthy mix of both back roads and highway driving, and over the time here during the week, I averaged roughly 11 to 12 miles per gallon with the factory calibration on 87 octane. And before you say anything, yes, I know that's terrible. Keep in mind, our truck is lifted 6 inches, we have 35s on there and I drive with a heavy foot. With the Superchips economy tune-up loaded, I was seeing 15 to 15-plus miles per gallon on average, combined. This is basically eco-boost territory here, guys, even more impressive, again, when you factor in the lift and the tires and my driving style.
Switching gears to price, guys, this thing is going to be the most affordable option on the site when it comes to 5-liter tuners. Again, it will be pretty basic, so for that reason alone, I would say it's going to be for someone who is more interested in the tunes themselves as opposed to someone who wants more of a gadget or something to play with. That being said, it still has some pretty cool features. Speaking of those features, the only way to really show you what the F5 is capable of is to plug it in and use it. So what do you say we hop in the truck, and then we'll go for a spin?
All right, guys, we're in our 2015 5-liter F150. I have the Superchips 91 octane tune-up loaded here in our shop truck. And, again, I've been driving this thing around town all week long here with the different tunes from Superchips, just kind of getting a better idea of what they're all about, comparing them to some of the other options I've been driving all week long as well. And I do have some notes. I mean, overall, the performance, even though the peak numbers weren't as good as some of our other options that we've tested here, the numbers under the curve are certainly still there. So you're getting more torque down low, which is what we want, obviously, out of our truck, especially when we're towing a load. And we're getting a little bit more high-end power as well.
Now, if I had one gripe with the Superchips tune, it's that the transmission settings or the shift tables, or whatever you want to call them, they're a little soft for me. You know, granted this isn't really a sports car, I get that. But still, I like a sportier driving experience. I like a snappy shift. I don't want a lazy shift, especially in a big, tough truck like this. I want to feel like it's actually putting me back in my seat a little bit.
Now granted, again, we are seeing some power increases. I'm definitely not denying that. The truck is performing way better than it did before in factory form. But again, if I had one nitpick, it would be maybe toughen up or firm up the transmission setting a little bit here with our shop truck.
One thing, though, that I have to praise with the Superchips pre-load is the fuel economy. I know I talked about it a lot in the shop, tying the edge products for some of the best fuel economy in the category when it comes to the 5-liter truck, as far as what we've tested. I've been putting the thing through its paces all week long. Believe me, guys, I don't have a light foot at all. The truck is lifted six inches. We have 35s on this thing, big Mickey Thompson Baja. I mean, it's not a light truck, and I don't drive very slow. And to be honest, I'm seeing eco-boost-esque miles per gallon here with the Superchips tune. Very impressive. Obviously, I can't say that enough.
So, again, if you have an F150, and you're maybe more concerned about getting some better fuel economy than you are knocking a few tenths off your quarter mile time, then the Superchips options might be a better choice for you.
Now, talking about the transmission a little further, guys, you know, one thing you might notice in the factory form with your F150 is that you're cruising on the highway, and you want to pass somebody or something like that, you've really got to lean into it to get the truck to downshift, at least that's my experience. I'm not complaining. I know some guys would prefer to see the truck downshift a little easier with a little less throttle input. And, unfortunately, it's not totally fixed here with the Superchips pre-load. It is a little better.
There we go. The shifts are sometimes...again, I hate to even dwell on it, but I want to give you my honest review here, and the Superchips transmission settings are a little finicky at times, that's all.
Now overall, guys, I'm pretty impressed with the Superchips offering. As far as the performance, yes, we're seeing a nice increase in both horsepower and torque. You're getting the option to run the economy tune, the towing tune, or the performance tune or race tune. And overall, you're really not spending a whole lot of dough, compared to some of your other options here on the site. Now let's head back to the shop, and I'll walk you through the operation of the Flashpaq F5 device.
Now, we'll wait for this thing to power on. Just again, this is going to be a very, very basic device, guys. Again, looking for maybe someone who just wants to upload those tunes, have a few basic options with the F5, including the data log stuff. You can do some monitoring. Again, it's very limited, but let's walk you through it. The tune stuff, we'll do at the very end. Let's first go through the scan portion here. And, again, this is where you can read and clear your diagnostic trouble codes or check engine lights.
Basically, you just walk through the menu. It will read your DTCs, or diagnostic trouble codes. We don't have any here with our F150, but if you did, you'd go down to clear, and you would knock those guys right out. So there you go, pretty simple stuff. Again, does come in handy if you should ever encounter a diagnostic trouble code or check engine light.
Here's the gauges and data logging. Again, it's a very basic offering when it comes to this. Yes, you can do it, but it's not going to be as extravagant as some of the other devices. You're not going to have the numerous layouts, the different customizable options, things like that. We'll show you what we're working with here. Okay, here's your different groupings of stuff you can choose from.
Now, in each one of these categories, you'll find a few different options, basically, engine miscellaneous; fuel trim; time and distance, which is basically like a trip meter; oxygen sensors; basically, non-engine miscellaneous stuff; EGR; CAT stuff; and, of course, your throttle ETL, throttle percentage, things like that. So we'll go into just engine miscellaneous. We'll choose a few, and then we'll show you the basic layout here of your gauges and data logging.
Okay, we picked our four. And, again, that's really all you can view at one time with the F5. You can only do four different pieces of data from your car's OBD-II port. You can monitor four different things at once. And here you go, I mean, yes, they're easy to read. But, again, as you can see, it's not the flashiest of layouts, not the flashiest of displays. But it gets the job done. So if you did want to data log these figures, all you'd really have to do is just hit the okay button. It will turn green. You're data logging at this point, so do your pools, your wide open throttle pools, your hard throttle pools, whatever you need to do. Data log those. You can offload them onto your computer at any point, very easy stuff there.
So we'll stop that. Again, really basic stuff. It's going to give you some of the basic bells and whistles of a modern handheld tuner, but you really should only be looking at this if you want to just upload those tunes and play around with it a little bit. If you're really big into the gadgets, I'd recommend the Edge CS2 or the CTS2 or even any of the X4 or Livewire from SCT. Because, again, you do have more options there. Granted, they're not going to offer the Superchips tunes, but if you do prefer the gadgets over the tunes themselves, I know it sounds a little crazy, but there's some guys out there that might like that. You can always check those out.
Let's go back a few screens here, again, with the scan and diagnostic tab. You can monitor your battery voltage as well. We'll get out of that. Again, you really have limited options here, guys. We're on the info screen. This is going to give you your vehicle info, your VIN, things like that. And also, the device info itself, your firmware updates, things like that. If you do need to keep track of those, which you do, because you will need to update this thing from time to time, this is where you'll go to find that out.
All right, so last but not least here, we have the tune tab. Again, this is where you really want to go when it comes time to tune and flash the truck, change some different options. Let's go through this quickly here. We got our ignition on, we'll hit okay. Now it's going to reach or communicate with your vehicle's ECU, at this point. This part is the first time we're actually plugging this thing in here in a little while after turning it to stock. So it's going to take a little while to communicate with the ECU. Again, just reading your file, storing your factory calibration, things like that.
All right, guys, so there you go. Basically, we communicated with our truck's ECU. We're into the tuning tab here now, and as you can see, we have towing, we have fuel economy, we have mileage save, which is basically that fuel economy thing we just talked about, and of course, performance. So we'll go ahead and select the performance here. Again, the performance tune is designed to tow heavy loads, but you must use it with 91 or higher octane fuel, so we'll hit okay. Hit check for available options.
We do want to customize these options, because this is one of the big things here with the pre-loads from Superchips. So we'll go ahead and hit okay for yes. And here, guys, you can customize your options. So speed limit, axle ratio, tire size, fan temperature, things like that. Speed limiter is always going to come in handy if you lend your truck to your kid or your buddy for the weekend, and you don't want them beating this thing all up and down the street. You can limit them to speeds, of course.
You can change your axle size, your axle ratio here. 315s, 331s, 355s, and 373s are your options. Tire size, this is a biggie for us, because we do have the 35s on here, so very easy to do. Again, as you can see, you can choose a number of different tire sizes. And what this is going to do is basically calibrate your factory speedometer, so it's going to be accurate. All of your stuff within the dash should be accurate, and you should be good to go here. So select that. Fan temperature, it's going to come on at a slightly lower value than your factory stuff, so we'll select that one.
Pretty much it. That's all you have to really customize your options here. You really can't dive too deep with this. So at this point, you hit continue, it would flash the truck, and you're good to go. So we'll go ahead and do that. We'll get this thing ready to go. Overall, guys, very simple stuff, as you can see. It took me a few minutes to navigate these menus. One out of three wrenches on my difficulty meter. Anybody can do this in about 15 to 20 minutes, and you won't even have to get your hands dirty.
So that's my review of the Superchips Flashpaq F5 handheld tuning device, which you can grab for your F150 right here at AmericanMuscle.com.