Regular readers know that Xtreme DI released a pair of high-pressure fuel pump upgrades for Ford direct-injection applications last year — on at the SEMA show and one at the PRI show. The XDI-HPFP-35 delivers 35 percent more fuel volume, while the XDI-HPFP-60 boost the volume by 60 percent. However, until recently there wasn’t complete tuning support to unlock the full potential of this hardware.

As soon as you put straight E85 in the car it will not make any more power on the stock fuel system. — Uwe Ostmann, Xtreme DI

While the factory hardware can support solid gains when you are running pump gas, its is the allure of high-octane E85 that really signals a need for one of the improved high-volume mechanical fuel pumps, which basically step up the flow from an in-tank electric pump in these applications.

“Mainly E85. The fact that, with E85, you need 30 to 40 percent more liquid volume for the same amount of air and that’s when you run out of fuel system right away, especially on the 2.3s,” Uwe Ostmann, owner of Xtreme DI, explained. “As soon as you put straight E85 in the car it will not make any more power on the stock fuel system.”

Xtreme DI offers upgraded high-pressure fuel pumps, offering 35- and 60-percent flow improvements, for a variety of Ford EcoBoost applications, including those powered by 1.6-, 2.0-, 2.7-, 3.5-, and 5.0-liter engines.

To support that demand for flow, the pumps are paired with a set of high-flow direct injectors from the likes of DeatschWerks. This combination allows supporting a much higher power level running those high-ethanol fuels.

“It is possible to stretch out the max amount a given injector can spray by increasing rail pressure to avoid having to buy a pump and injectors. But this always puts stress on the high-pressure fuel pump and decreases its volumetric efficiency,” Uwe added. “With bigger injectors this stretching is not necessary which in turn results in an overall higher flow capacity of the fuel system.”

High-Pressure Hardware

The benefit of this hardware extends beyond just increasing the range of flow. With more flow available it can be controlled more precisely via tuning. To make sure that tuning is available Xtreme DI has partnered with the likes of Brew City Boost, ID Motorsports, Mountune, and Revolution Automotive for research and development.

Adam Browne, of Revolution Automotive, is an R&D partner for Xtreme DI’s high-pressure fuel pump upgrades for Ford direct injection upgrades. He used SCT Advantage software and a BDX handheld tuner to dial in a 2018 Mustang GT on E85 delivered via stock injectors. (Photo Credit: Revolution Automotive)

This helps extend the range of the high-pressure fuel pump and allowed us to run higher boost. — Adam Brown, Revolution Automotive

“Since the injectors flow more than the factory pieces we were able to actually command a lower fuel pressure. This helps extend the range of the high-pressure fuel pump and allowed us to run higher boost. Of course, when you do this you need to keep an eye on the injector pulse width to make sure that you have enough time to spray the fuel,” Adam Browne, of Revolution Automotive, explained. “This really comes into play in the higher-RPM ranges, say 6,000-plus RPM. It ends up being a balancing act of pressure versus pulse width versus injection window. On both the EcoBoost Mustang on E85 and the F-150 we still had range left with the DeatschWerks injectors. Calibrating the HPFP VE table is necessary as well. We want to maximize every ounce of the pump and the VE table is a major part of that puzzle.”

Pairing the knowledge of skill tuners with Uwe’s direct-injection knowledge is proving to spur on a rash of impressive direct-injection power developments that have been revealed in recent weeks.

Electronic Support

“Our partnership with Xtreme-DI has been the biggest revelation,” Adam said. “The knowledge Uwe and company possess about direct injection has been an eye-opener and an asset for us. Learning how to properly calibrate start of injection, end of injection, the high-pressure-fuel-pump commanded pressure and the HPFP volumetric efficiency table pave the way to an optimized DI tune. There are a whole host of other parameters under lock and key that are critical parts of the calibration as well.”

To make that all come to fruition both Adam, who spearheaded the Mustang development, and Matt Alderman, who lead the F-150 development, at ID Motorsports, use SCT Performance’s Advantage software to develop the calibration and the spiffy, new BDX handheld flash tuner to deliver them.

With the aforementioned upgrades and a JLT cold-air intake onboard, Adam dialed in Bill Tumas’ 2018 Mustang on E85 to generate 473.93 horsepower and 438.17 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. That’s a whopping improvement of over 53 horsepower and 48 lb-ft over its resonator-delete, 93-octane baseline.

“Some of the major tables that I spend time calibrating in SCT for the Xtreme DI pump and DeatschWerks injectors are the fuel-pressure set point, high-pressure fuel pump VE table, start of injection, end of injection, fuel injector slope, HPFP capacity, and max fuel pressure allowed,” Adam said. “The BDX is necessary on the ’17 and newer EcoBoost F-150 including the Raptor and the ’18 and newer Mustangs (all engines). It essentially is the replacement for the tried and true X4. The new device allows for up to 20 stored tune files and is CloudTune capable, which is very exciting!”

The SCT software and BDX hardware offer the keys to unlock those parameters that need adjustment to unlock the benefits of the increased fuel flow delivered by bigger high-pressure fuel pumps and injectors.

Direct Performance

The BDX is the device that supports these newer platforms early on. — Matt Alderman, ID Motorsports

“The BDX is the device that supports these newer platforms early on,” Matt said. “With Advantage software we are able to make our changes to the DI system along with the cam timing and drive-by-wire changes. Advantage also has a ton of transmission parameters available to us to make the power apply to the ground as we want. With the guidance of Uwe from Xtreme-Di we where able to get the most efficiency out of the DI system.”

So with the advent of factory dual-fuel systems and the availability of aftermarket add-on port-injection systems for EcoBoost vehicles, you might wonder why making the move to more expensive direct-injection upgrades are the way to go. The reason is simple — more power.

With the addition of an Xtreme DI high-pressure fuel pump, DeatschWerks fuel injectors, E85 fuel and a custom SCT tune he created, Matt Alderman of ID Motorsports was able to add another 35 rear-wheel horsepower to a 2018 F-150. (Photo Credit: ID Motorsports)

“There are a couple of reasons that I prefer upgrading a factory direct-injection system over adding supplemental port injection. Reliability, the more systems you add the more chance of something failing. It’s hard to beat the OEM controller/ECU for durability. If a supplemental system has an issue, it’s very probable it will lead to a catastrophic failure,” Adam said. “Secondly, Power! When you spray fuel into an intake runner via port injection the fuel mist takes up valuable space. That’s space that additional air could be filling instead. And, we all know the more air that a cylinder can ingest the higher horsepower the engine can possibly make. By DI spraying directly into the combustion chamber it allows the intake port to deliver the most amount of air possible.”

By upgrading the direct injection system and allowing more air to enter the chamber, the DI upgrades allow the tuner to really tweak the calibration to maximize the car’s performance.

Direct vs. Port

EcoBoost Increases

With the addition of the Xtreme DI pump and DeatschWerks injectors, the EcoBoost Mustang can be tuned up for running straight E85. The gains with this combination are significant. Adam Browne, of Revolution Automotive, extracted massive gains on this Mustang. It picked up in excess of 126 horsepower and 104 lb-ft of torque, which are gains you can definitely feel.

“The window to spray direct-injection fuel is a lot smaller than a port-injection system. But, in that window we can spray fuel at different crank angle degrees and pressures to manipulate how we want the engine to perform,” Adam explained. “Without giving away any trade secrets, you would run different injection times for a turbocharged engine versus a naturally aspirated one. Also, there are companies that are developing different spray patterns for the DI injectors that can unleash even more power.”

The ID Motorsports development on the new dual-fuel pickup also yielded some impressive gains by filling up with E85, and recalibrating the factory powertrain control module.

“With E85 we gained a solid 35 rear-wheel horsepower over 93 octane on the 5.0-liter 2018 F-150. After driving the F-150 on E85 we found noticeable acceleration gains. We were very impressed with the results,” Matt said. “We will be offering a Flex Fuel tune for those that want some great gains with just changing fuels bringing the best of both worlds with just one tune.”

With a built 2.3-liter on a engine dyno controlled by an aftermarket engine control unit, Mountune demonstrated some big gains with the addition of the Xtreme DI high-pressure fuel pump. Supported by tuning the additional flow yielded improvements of 39 horsepower and 67 lb-ft of torque.

On the pony car side of things, Adam tuned up 2018 Mustang GT (owned by CJ Pony Parts’ Bill Tumas), leaning heavily on the upgraded DI side of the dual-fuel system and burning straight E85. The results were quite impressive with the only hardware mod being a cold air intake, which sets the stage for a future that could be filled with 500-horsepower naturally aspirated Mustangs.

“For those who can properly calibrate it, yes. The parts are already available to have a 500-rear-wheel horsepower, stock-engine, naturally aspirated 2018 Mustang,” Adam predicted. “For those that haven’t seen we already made 473 rear-wheel horsepower on E85 through factory cats and factory headers with a JLT cold air intake. Imagine some tuned-length long-tubes, an X-pipe, and an intake manifold upgrade with an aluminum driveshaft? That sounds like 500-plus rear-wheel horsepower to me! You might just be seeing a Rev Auto 500-rear-wheel-horsepower package in the not so distant future! Then we get into the power-adder game. Add some Xtreme-DI fuel system upgrades combined with your favorite air compressor and, oh man, I can’t wait!”

It looks like the direct-injection era of Ford performance is just starting to build RPM, so it will be fun to see what the aftermarket can do with this technology in the near future and we’ll be here to share the details with you.