Buyers Guide & Information

Best Tuners For 5.9 Cummins Reviewed

Finely tune your trucks engine with these great devices for better mileage.

When it comes to heavy-duty trucks and diesel engines, enthusiasts are fond of the 5.9 Cummins diesel motor. It was in production from 1998 until 2007 and is still ranked as one of the best.

While this engine has a lot to offer on its own, using the best tuner for 5.9 Cummins only makes it better. We will review the top choices, so you can find the 5.9 Cummins tuner that takes performance to new levels.


Preview

Model

Compatible Vehicles

Monitor Size & Display Type

Check Price

MADS Smarty POD Programmer

MADS

Smarty POD

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Number display

Edge Products 84130 Insight Monitor

Edge Products

84130

1998-2007 5.9 Cummins

5” full-color, high-resolution swipe screen

MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 03-07 Dodge Ram Cummins...

MADS Smarty Jr.

J-06 03-07

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Number display

No products found.

Smarty

Tuners S-03

1998-2002 5.9 Cummins

Number display

Edge 85400 Edge Diesel Evolution CTS2

Edge Products

85400 CTS2

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

5” high-resolution swipe screen

MADS Smarty Touch Programmer S2G - Dodge...

MADS

Smarty Touch

1998-2007 5.9 Cummins

4.3” high-resolution touch screen

No products found.

Superchips 3845

Flashpaq F5

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

2.8”

MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 03-07 Dodge Ram Cummins...

Dodge 5.9L Cummins

Smarty Junior 

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Number display

How Diesel Tuners Work

The diesel engine comes from the factory with pre-set configurations in place, but that’s not the limit of what the motor can handle.

Instead, using the best tuner for Cummins 5.9 L gives you access to the performance settings to make modifications without permanently altering the configuration. From small tweaks to massive improvements, you have complete control over the changes that occur.


Benefits of Tuners & Programmers For Dodge Ram Trucks

You can purchase the best tuner for 5.9 Cummins mileage if you want to save money at the fuel pump.

In addition, the best tuner for 5.9 L Cummins will improve horsepower and torque for your towing and hauling applications. Some of the 5.9 Cummins tuners will also allow you to view real-time data, plus give you the ability to read and delete DTCs.


How To Choose The Right 5.9 Cummins Tuner

Compatibility

If you are looking for the best tuner for 2003 5.9 Cummins, you can’t purchase one meant to work on a 2008 6.7 Cummins instead. While some of the tuners are compatible with multiple engines, this isn’t something you want to assume. Instead, read through the compatibility specs to ensure the model works with your truck.

Ease of Set-Up & Use

For the most part, the tuners are going to plug into the Ram's OBDII port and offer simple setup instructions. If you prefer to use a chip, you will have to install that under the hood, in the engine bay instead. Read through the customer reviews to gauge how complicated setup and configuration is before you purchase the tuner.

Power Levels

If you want to make quick power adjustments, look for a tuner that has pre-configured settings. Many of the top brands make it simple to increase horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. There should also be a stock setting, which allows you to revert back to the factory settings at any time.

ECM Download Time Frame

Once you make a setting change, you want to know that it will take immediate effect without any lag time. Typically, you can understand how long this process takes by reading through customer reviews. The initial program change might take longer than subsequent setting adjustments, so be prepared to wait a little longer at first.

Storage

If you plan on making your own setting changes, you will want the storage to hold these customizations for later use. Normally, only the higher-end models will offer storage for your settings, but you should be able to find units offering between five and twenty storage spots, which is helpful when you want to make adjustments on the go.

Monitor Size

You can spend less money and get a smaller monitor with your Cummins tuner. Sometimes, these are difficult to see but are helpful if you prefer something compact. Otherwise, you might prefer a larger screen with additional features, such as a color display, touch screen capability, swipe screen, and more.

Versatility

Aside from altering the performance aspects of your Cummins engine, you can also use the best mpg tuner for 5.9 Cummins to view real-time data. This information allows you to see what's happening with the engine at all times. Plus, if you purchase a unit that will enable you to read and erase DTCs, you save more money over taking your truck to the mechanic every time a warning light is on.

Design & Style

While the look isn’t always the most important factor when choosing a tuner, you don’t want to overlook the effect. After all, having a tuner mounted on your dash that doesn’t look seamless to your cabin could be distracting. Evaluate your options to see if you can find a design and style that fits your look.


8 Best Tuners for 5.9 Cummins Reviewed

1. MADS Smarty POD

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

Number display

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0-99 preset levels

ECM Download Time

3.5-5 minutes

Warranty

1-year

This is hands-down the best Smarty tuner for 5.9 Cummins. It works on 2003-2007 Ram trucks and can offer a large number of performance gains, without a long installation time. In fact, with the right tune, you can quickly add 215 horsepower. Plus, this unit has Power on Demand, which allows you to change the power levels while you are moving.

This Smarty tuner for 5.9 Cummins also contains a speed limiter. This setting allows you to set the maximum speed of your truck, anywhere from 25 and 250 mph. Play with the settings for the ABS tire-height adjuster or use the unit to read and clear DTCs. Also, this tuner is not traceable. If you revert back to stock and disconnect the tuner, no one will know it was ever installed. 

Smarty claims that the ECM update time is the fastest in the industry, and users tend to agree. If you don't want to wait around for the updates, this might be the best option for you, but be prepared to pay for it. As with many of the 5.9 Cummins tuner options, you will also receive a one-year warranty with this model, which offers some additional peace of mind.

Pros

  • Fast ECM download time
  • Increases horsepower up to 215
  • Quick installation
  • Power on Demand

Cons

  • Expensive

2. Edge Products 84130

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

1998-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

5” full-color, high-resolution swipe screen

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

unknown

Warranty

1-year

While this Edge Products monitor isn't a tuner in itself, it will work in conjunction with other tuners for a comprehensive view of what's happening with your Cummins engine. It works with all 1998-2007 5.9 Cummins engines and comes with a sizeable five-inch full-color, high-resolution swipe screen. With this screen, you can view multiple gauges at once. Simply connect it into your OBDII port for a quick installation.

The best part is that you can customize the display with a variety of colors for the backgrounds, needles, and gauge arcs, giving you a perfect look for any truck cabin. Along with a tuner, you can also purchase additional accessories, such as an EGT pyrometer probe. This Edge Products monitor sends out alerts when the engine is in trouble, so you will never neglect the well-being of the motor again.

Overall, some people don’t want to spend this price for a monitor when it’s possible to get a tuner for the same cost, but the reviews suggest that it is worth the expense. In fact, it’s one of the top-rated monitors on the market. Plus, all customers receive a one-year warranty in conjunction with the purchase, but the manufacturer offers longer terms if you need it.

Pros

  • Large, easy to use screen
  • Highly rated
  • Fast installation
  • Customizable display

Cons

  • Requires a separate tuner

3. MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 03-07

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

Number display

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

3.5-5 minutes

Warranty

1-year

The best tuner for 03 5.9 Cummins might just be this option from MADS. The Smarty Jr. tuner 5.9 Cummins works with 2003-2007 Ram trucks. Choose from three various power levels: 40, 70, and 100 horsepower. You can improve the drivability and fuel economy of your Ram truck with a few simple adjustments.

For the most part, ECM download time should be between 3.5 and 5 minutes, depending on the truck model. This is much faster than many other tuners. Use this device to adjust tire height, recalibrate the speedometer, or optimize the torque. Plus, this device will read and clear DTCs. As with other products from the company, there is no trace left behind. When you revert to stock settings and disconnect the device, no one can tell it was ever installed.

According to the Smarty Jr. tuner 5.9 Cummins reviews, you can also expect a quick installation time. You won’t need special tools or expertise to get started. Some people do wish that the display was slightly more comprehensive and advanced, especially considering the higher price tag. However, the company is a leader in the market and does offer a one-year warranty to give you additional security with the purchase.

Pros

  • Simple to install
  • Highly rated
  • Reads and clears DTCs
  • Fast ECM download time

Cons

  • Lack of color screen

4. Smarty Tuners S-03

No products found.

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

1998-2002 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

Number display

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

2 minutes

Warranty

1-year

We think that the best tuner for 2002 5.9 Cummins is this model from Smarty. At first, you might be shocked by the higher price, especially when you notice the smaller display. However, we recommend reading through the Smarty Tuners reviews before judging a book by its cover.

This advanced tuner utilizes innovative engineering and has undergone extensive field testing. Because of the exceptional quality control provided by the company, you won’t have any worries when making adjustments to your Cummins engine.

Use one of the pre-set software levels to make fast changes. Plus, the ECM download time is rated at less than two minutes, which is some of the fastest in the industry. You can also adjust the speed limiter between 25 and 250 mph. If you change the tire size on your truck, those adjustments are simple to make as well. It’s also not traceable, so you don’t need to worry about voiding your powertrain warranty.

The reason for the higher price is the exceptional power control options. Instead of spending all of the time creating fancy displays, this company focuses solely on maximizing the 5.9 Cummins engine potential. However, they do provide a one-year warranty, which tends to be the industry standard.

Pros

  • Advanced tuning options
  • Simple install
  • Not traceable
  • Fast ECM download time

Cons

  • Expensive

5. Edge Products 85400 CTS2

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

5” high-resolution swipe screen

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

unknown

Warranty

1-year

The best tuner for 07 5.9 Cummins might be from Edge Products. Unlike the model earlier, this is more than just a monitor, but you will have to pay for the additional capability. This Edge tuner for 5.9 Cummins works with your 2003-2007 Ram truck but is also compatible with some Ford and GM models.

You can install this easily by plugging the device into your OBDII port. Then, mount the five-inch display in your cabin for easy viewing. It's always ready to go when you are at your fingertips.

It features a high-resolution swipe screen that makes all of your customizations simple. Correct the speedometer, adjust limiters, and tune the performance. This model adds up to 180 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. The notification center lets you know if there is any information you need to know about, so you can keep a close eye on your engine performance.

If you can get past the price, this is a great tool to invest in for your Cummins engine. After all, the best motor deserves high-end equipment. Furthermore, your purchase comes with a one-year warranty, but you can often extend that through the manufacturer if you need a longer-term.

Pros

  • Large display screen
  • Quick install
  • Customizable
  • Real-time monitoring

Cons

  • Expensive

6. MADS Smarty Touch

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

1998-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

4.3” high-resolution touch screen

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

unknown

Warranty

1-year

This Smarty tuner for 05 5.9 Cummins actually works with the 1998-2007 Ram models, as well as several others. It comes complete with a 4.3-inch touch display with high-resolution for maximum viewing pleasure. It also features one of the fastest PID refresh times in the industry, so you spend less time waiting. The upgrades will always be free, which is good because you are already spending a good amount to get the unit.

The CaTCHER software includes ten power levels, so you don't have to spend a lot of time on customizations. The twin CPU design means that everything occurs in lighting fast speed, and you gain access to the information you need immediately. Typically, you are looking at a four-second start-up and 1.5 to six-minute ECM update time. Plus, installation is simple and straightforward.

Choose from four different dashboards, each with a customizable gauge layout and background. There are also configurable visual and audible alarms, so you know if something needs your attention. With this data, you can effectively protect your engine. As with all of the other options reviewed, you can also take advantage of the one-year warranty if something should be wrong with your unit.

Pros

  • Large 4.3” display screen
  • Includes ten power levels
  • Fast ECM download times
  • Real-time monitoring

Cons

  • Expensive

7. Superchips 3845 Flashpaq F5

No products found.

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

2.8”

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

unknown

Warranty

2-year

If you are in the market for something more cost-effective, you might find success with this Superchips model. It works on all 2003-2007 5.9 Cummins, as well as some 6.7 models. The price is low, but it doesn’t skimp on performance. In fact, you can expect gains of up to an additional 115 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. That shows you that you are receiving an excellent value for your investment.

The screen is smaller at 2.8-inches, but it’s perfect for anyone needing a compact model. Plus, this device does more than just tune. You can also read and clear DTCs and avoid taking your heavy-duty truck to the mechanic. Just imagine the money you will save performing your own diagnostics.

Reading through the Superchips customer reviews, it's clear that users feel this product offers a simple install. If you don't want to spend a lot of time getting everything up and running, this is a great option. What's most surprising is the longer warranty term. Superchips provides a two-year warranty, which is double that of most companies. Plug this unit in, create your tunes, and unleash the power of the Cummins engine, the way it was meant to be.

Pros

  • Long two-year warranty
  • Easy install
  • Reads and deletes DTCs
  • Budget option

Cons

  • Smaller screen

8. Dodge 5.9L Cummins Smarty Junior

Product Specifications

Compatible Vehicles

2003-2007 5.9 Cummins

Monitor Size & Display Type

Number display

Storage (up to how many tune files)

0

ECM Download Time

Less than five minutes

Warranty

1-year

You can gain complete control over the engine performance of your 2003-2007 5.9 Cummins. This highly-rated option from Smarty Junior is a top choice among enthusiasts. It's even one of the lower-priced models from the company because it is an older model. While there is a newer option on the market, this one is tried and true, so you can't go wrong. Just look at the rave reviews.

Furthermore, it contains three power options. Choose from an extra 40, 70, or 100 horsepower. In addition to ABS/Speedo recalibration, this is also a DTC code reader. What this brand truly prides itself on is fast ECM download times. You can expect changes to occur in five minutes or less. With the short installation time on top of it all, you won’t be waiting for anything.

This product is untraceable. Once you revert back to stock settings and remove the tuner, no one will ever know that you customized the engine. Save yourself some money and time with this product. Plus, the company offers a one-year warranty to make sure everything is just right. When you make the power adjustments needed, you will experience your 5.9 Cummins like you never have before.

Pros

  • Three pre-set power options
  • Reliable model
  • Fast ECM download times
  • Untraceable

Cons

  • Smaller screen

5.9 Cummins vs. 6.7 Cummins

Thankfully, the 5.9 Cummins vs. 6.7 Cummins isn't that much different from one another. In fact, the 6.7 Cummins carried over a lot of parts from the previous model, because it was that well made.

The most significant difference between the two Cummins engines is that the newer one contains exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF).


Engine Tuner Compatibility

As you look for the best tuner for 2001 5.9 Cummins, you want to start by finding a diesel-compatible model. Then, you must ensure it works with the 5.9 Cummins and your model year. While many of these work on multiple engines, you can’t assume that’s the case.

To find the best tuner for 5.9 24v Cummins that fits your truck, read through the product specs, either found on Amazon or through the manufacturer’s website.


Installing a 5.9 Cummins Engine Programmer

When you begin the installation of your 5.9 Cummins tuner, you want to start by reading the instructions. The majority of units will require that you plug the connector into the truck’s OBDII port. From there, you should receive on-screen instructions regarding the configuration.

Here is an example of an Edge Products Evolution CTS2 on the 2007 5.9 Cummins.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What does an engine tuner do?

The best diesel tuner for 5.9 Cummins will increase the performance by adjusting horsepower, torque, and fuel economy. It makes setting adjustments that allow the engine to perform better. 

Does tuning cars ruin the engine?

If you follow the recommended guidelines for your diesel engine, you shouldn't harm the engine. You are merely allowing more power to be released. It's helpful to have access to real-time data to monitor the engine and its health.

Does tuning reduce engine life?

Quite the contrary. By optimizing the performance of your 5.9 Cummins, you can help the engine last longer, especially when you have real-time data to monitor.

What’s the difference between a tuner and a programmer?

The Cummins tuner allows you to choose from pre-set configurations that adjust the power at various intervals. With a Cummins programmer, you create the settings yourself, based on various criteria.

Costs of tuning a 5.9 Cummins engine?

If you choose a quality Cummins tuner, you will only spend the cost of the equipment itself, ranging between $100 and $600. You don’t need professional installation with these units. If you prefer to use a performance chip instead, you might need to take your Ram to the service center for installation, which will increase the cost.

What is the maximum amount of horsepower that I should add to my engine?

Each tuner has a limit that it reaches with your 5.9 Cummins engine. Read through the product descriptions to determine how much power can be added.

Are extra head studs enough if I frequently drive with high horsepower and want to tune the engine even higher?

If you tune your engine to the extreme, you might require additional equipment, such as extra head studs, to ensure support and stability.

Can the shelf life of the engine be extended through tuning with these products?

As you monitor the real-time data, you gain access to the information you need to keep your engine running its best, which should improve the life.


Conclusion

If you require the best tuner for 2005 5.9 Cummins, the MADS Smarty POD might be just what you were hoping for. It works with the 2003-2007 5.9 Cummins and increases the horsepower to the extreme. All that’s left to do is unleash the engine’s power for a whole new driving experience.

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