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  1. #1
    Master Mechanic HawaiiKid's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Honolulu, HI
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    Question Programmer/Intake questions

    hey guys,
    I know these 2 topics have been beat to death, but in my search I couldnt find much information on my specific truck, the 03 Silverado with a 5.3L V8. I currently have a thrush exhaust on it was a downturn right before the rear axle, and thats really the only mod to it (other than audio stuff). I am looking to get better mpg over performance at this point, just because most of my driving is around town and I would rather not be getting killed at the pump as much. So my questions are this:

    What is the cheapest tuner out there that is actually worth buying?


    Is it worth buying a drop-in K&N (or similar brand) filter for my specific model, or would I need to buy a full CAI system for it?

    And one more...

    Would my MPG improve with a tonneau cover?

    Thanks guys!

    2003 Silverado, SOLD 1/11/11 for my... 2001 Ford Mustang Bullit, #1787

  2. #2


    I've heard that tonneau covers do help with mileage, but not much. Myth busters actually tested if removing the tailgate helps, but they found that it doesn't help. Air forms a bubble in the bed apparently. A drop in filter helped my truck, but the most gains will be found in a full-replacement. Let us know how it turns out!

    '01 Chevrolet S10
    -custom air intake
    -painted dash
    -footwell lights
    -Strange Performance stickers
    -exhaust coming soon
    -Xplod Head Unit with iPod connectivity
    -12" Sony Xplod woofer
    -Majestic 400 watt amp, bridged

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

  3. #3
    Master Mechanic TritonBoulder47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Tunkhannock, PA (North East)


    Anything that will let your truck "breath" easier will help with both MPG and HP... If all you can afford is a drop=in, then start there... You can also build your own intake system. Spectre make a full line of intake tubing, filters, joints, and adapters. Your local Auto Zone should have everything you need... And its only a fracation of what a Volant, K&N, AEM, ect CIA would cost...

    Tim a.k.a. Da' Boulder

    2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 - Custom Emergency Response POV

    Firefighter, Fire Policeman, Ambulance Driver, Rescue Tech, Emergency Lighting Installer

    Tint, 20's, Bull Bar, Intake, Exhaust, Billet Grill, Stereo, Custom Console, Emergency Equipment, and the list goes on...

  4. #4
    Master Mechanic HawaiiKid's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Honolulu, HI
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    Thanks for the advice guys...Triton, I was actually thinkin of buying some of those parts and building my own intake this next week.

    Anyone have some input on tuners for this engine?

  5. #5


    I am running a hypertech programmer in my 05 silverado with the 5.3 and works awesome. lots of options to tune and change different things

  6. #6
    Sr. Engineer Joethepoolguy's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Leon, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by 05bluebeauty View Post
    I am running a hypertech programmer in my 05 silverado with the 5.3 and works awesome. lots of options to tune and change different things
    I have an SCT X3 power programmer,and it's very nice. They have units already programmed with 3 different tunes, or because I did some internal engine work, I went with the unprogrammed X3. With this one, I use the programmer to retrieve the data from the truck's computer,and send the log to a guy who wrote the different programs for my truck. They will taylor-make a program just for you. These people are very helpful and excellent at what they do. There are many different parameters that you can play with also. Here's the link to the website. Give them a call!!!
    Last edited by Joethepoolguy; 02-20-2010 at 10:51 AM.

    2004 Silverado 2500HD LT 4x4 QuadraSteer
    6 liter w/ Comp Cam
    Stainless Steel Headers
    K&N Panel Filter W/Airbox Mod
    A/C Iridium Spark Plugs
    SCT Power Programmer
    MPT Custom Tune
    MagnaFlow Dual Exhaust
    Cobra 29 LTD Bluetooth CB
    Custom Badges
    3" Rear, 2" Front Rough Country Suspension Lift
    33x12.5x33 M/Ts

  7. #7
    Jr. Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Rochester, MN


    Personally I think the drop in filters don't do anything. I put one in my fiance's supercharged Grand Prix and monitored some of the diagnostic data like knock retard (a very important one to look at in a supercharged engine) and I didn't see anything different going on. Also we have not noticed a difference in mileage. I have seen dyno charts and air flow charts between drop-ins and cold air intakes and on all of them the drop-ins do not do much of anything and the full intakes blow them away. I have modified the last 3 vehicles I have owned (97 Suburban 5.7, 99 Grand Prix GTP, and 99 Silverado 4.8). On all 3 of the most worthwhile mods by far were intake and programmer (the GTP the best mod was probably a smaller supercharger pulley but I needed the intake and a tune to safely run the smaller pulley). I think on every vehicle I own from here on out I will do intake/programmer and exhaust strictly for sound (haven't seen much of anything for performance gains from exhaust for it to be worth it).

    For intakes I prefer the Volant as it is fully sealed off from engine heat. Not only are you going to make more HP and mpg with an intake, but you are going to get way better throttle response.

    As far as the programmer, I am your guy. I have been selling used programmers on ebay for a few years ago and I recently started a website. The cheapest good programmer would be a Hypertech power programmer III, don't let anybody talk you into a Max Energy, they have the exact same tuning on them and you would only be paying more to have a prettier product. Search for a 30019, I currently have a couple of them in stock. The beauty of programmers is that a used one as long as it has been set back to stock settings is 100% as good as a new one but about half the price. Personally I prefer the predator because I was a mechanic and I have a lot of custom tuning experience. The Predator has some advanced features that probably 99% of people will never use, but for that other 1% of people it is really awesome to be able to get those features on a handheld programmer! Otherwise I would recommend the Hypertech as it will probably be easier for you to sell once you decide to buy your next truck and sell your 2003.

    My Suburban and my Silverado I did the programmer and intake at the same time and noticed a 1.5-2 mpg increase on both of them. However that was using premium so with regular that increase will not be as significant since timing will not be advanced as much.
    Last edited by TrailLeadr; 03-02-2010 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Removed spam links
    99 Silverado Z71 4.8
    2" Suspension lift (Add-a-leafs and leveling keys)
    Long tube headers with 3" offroad Y-Pipe
    Volant Cold Air Intake with Ram Air Intake Tube
    Jet Mass Air Flow Sensor
    Diablosport Predator Tuner

    Previous Truck:
    97 Suburban K1500
    3" Body lift
    2" Suspension Lift (Add-a-leafs and cranked up torsion bars)
    35" Yokohama M/T's
    K&N Intake
    Airraid Throttle Body Spacer
    Hypertech Programmer
    Dual Flowmasters

  8. #8
    Jr. Apprentice TexAg95's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Colorado Springs, Colorado


    I can tell you that you will see a slight MPG improvement if you install a tonneau cover. Last year I purchased a Leer 700 tonneau cover for my 2007 Sierra for two reasons, 1) wanted to be able to secure items in my bed while at the lake and camping and 2) for improved MPG. I saw about 1 MPG better with the tonneau installed. My next purchase is a CAI in March and then dual magnaflow exhaust in April. Hope to see some MPG and performance improvements in both.

  9. #9


    Option Racing C.A.I. and Chip from = $260 well spent
    Pavement sucks... :grrrrrr:

    1994 K1500 4x4 Ext. Cab
    PCM chip and Xenon 8000k bulbs bored over .050"
    balanced Crank, 10:1 compression
    Flat top pistons,cam,ported heads
    Option Racing Cold Air Intake
    Holley Throttle Body Spacer
    Accell Igition, 45kv coil
    FloTech Headers, no CATs, dual exhuast
    Goodyear Silent Armor A/T 305/70-16
    Pioneer SupertunerIII CD USB Bluetooth
    Kicker ZX200.2 ZX Amp
    Kicker Audio COMP 10" Subwoofer

  10. #10


    I just added a cold air intake to my of 05 silvy. have'nt had it on there long enuff to see any change in mpg's yet. But you can can sure feel the difference in the go department. the kit really woke the truck up mid range and top end. Plus it sounds cool. the kit I bought from oriellys auto parts for around $140. was made by Spectre performance. It was alot cheaper than others like K&N but the same quality. The spectre kit looks better though, It has a polished aluminum tube. I'm sure it improve mpg's , anything to open the lungs on an engine so it can breath will help mps's

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