Best of Diesel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
If you are driving around a Dodge with a 5.9 Cummins engine, you are probably counting down the days until you will be able to buy a sleek new truck with better horsepower and miles per gallon. But did you know there are devices out there that cost significantly less than a new car and can make your old engine drive like new again? Read on to learn more about engine programmers and what they can do for your 5.9 Cummins engine.
Comparison of the Best 5.9 Cummins Programmers (1998.5 – 2007 Models)
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
What Does a Programmer Do for a Diesel Truck?
You may be wondering if programmers are actually worth the hype and what they will be able to do for your diesel truck. But the real question to ask is, what can a programmer NOT do for a diesel truck? And the answer is: not much!
Programmers will take your truck’s old engine and wake it up so that it is as good as new again. If you have ever wished for more horsepower, improved towing capacity, increased amount of miles per gallon, smoother shifting, or a number of other incredible fixes, invest in a programmer and watch it work its magic.
What Years Fall Under 5.9 Cummins?
Dodge made 5.9L Cummins engines over several different periods of time, so make sure you double check your vehicle’s model year before investing a programmer for a 5.9 Cummins engine. There are three different time periods when Dodge was producing 5.9L Cummins engines. From midway through 1998 to 2002, Dodge was putting out 5.9L Cummins engines with 24 valves. The following two time periods were 2003-2004, and midway through 2004-2007. Be mindful of what your vehicle requires when looking into programmers.
Review of the Best 5.9 Cummins Programmers
All right, now that you have some background on programmers and engines, let’s take a look at some actual products:
Mads Smarty Touch Tuner SG2
The Mads Smarty Touch Tuner SG2 is the first device on the market to mix an amazing gauge display with the intelligence of a Smarty programmer, making it easier than ever before to keep track of everything that is going on with your truck.
The Smarty Touch is multi function, and every single one of those functions is specifically designed to enhance your truck’s power, drivability, and fuel economy – along with improving the smoothness of your truck’s ride (even under enhanced power conditions).
This model is simple to install and to use. And if you are interested in upgrading, the tuner also comes with additional TNT-r software, which you can contact Smarty about after purchasing to receive an access code.
The Mads Smarty Touch Tuner SG2 is a great tuner that will improve pretty much everything about your Cummins engine. The instruction guide is not particularly helpful, though.
MADS Smarty Jr. J-06
The MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 is a great tuner that will produce noticeable gains in your truck’s power and performance, particularly for manual shifting systems. If you shift manually and are frustrated with the dead spot you frequently encounter between shifts, the Smarty Jr. will fix that forever!
This tuner straddles the line between adding measurable power and not powering up your truck so much that it will require upgrades to its turbo, transmission, and fuel systems. It is also excellent at adjusting the speedometer to calibrate properly if you have installed larger than usual tires on your truck.
Its three different power levels are easy to use and will rock your truck’s world! There really is not much to dislike about the MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 programmer – your truck will thank you for installing this bad boy.
The MADS Smarty Jr. J-06 is an excellent tuner that will take your truck to the next level, particularly through eliminating the dead space between manual shifts. It doesn’t come with a dashboard mount, but that could be a good thing when it comes to keeping it hidden from potential thieves.
Best for the Money:
Edge Insight CTS3
When it comes to keeping track of everything that is going on with your truck’s engine, you are not going to be able to find a more effective tuner than the Edge Insight CTS3. The CTS3 is the very best at monitoring all of your truck’s vitals, from its transmission, engine performance, and injector balances, to its fuel rail pressure, exhaust, and basically anything else you could possibly think of.
This close attention to every aspect of your truck’s engine and functioning make the CTS3 the ideal tuner for anyone who anticipates putting their truck in more intense situations, such as lengthy road trips or a lot of towing heavy burdens.
And while this is one of the most comprehensive tuners on the market, do not for a second worry that it is complicated or difficult to use. On the contrary, the CTS3 is one of the most simple and intuitive tuners you will be able to find. Get tracking with the CTS3.
The Edge Insight CTS3 is a fantastic choice in tuners if you want to know pretty much everything about your truck engine’s vitals and functioning. Just know that there will be a bit of wait time between when you turn your truck on and when this tuner starts up.
4. Smarty S-03 Programmer
The Smarty S-03 Programmer is an awesome tuner for those looking to improve their truck’s performance but not take it off the rails in terms of power. It will give your truck a boost to around 70 horsepower, but if you want to take it any higher, this tuner will work awesome in conjunction with a fueling box to produce upgrades in turbo, transmission, pump, and injectors.
But if you are looking for a tuner to make your truck run better but stay pretty mellow in terms of power, you have found it with this Smarty S-03. It has very fast load times so changing tunes is a quick process that will take only about five minutes at the maximum. It can boost your truck’s miles per gallon by two miles, so it will end up paying for itself in no time.
The Smarty S-03 Programmer is a great tuner that will improve your truck’s performance without maxing out its power. It is one of the more laid back tuners on the market, so if you want to take it to the next level, you will likely also need to invest in a fueling box.
5. Edge EZ Performance Chip
The Edge EZ Performance Chip is an awesome tuner that is probably the most simple and easy to use out of all the tuners on this list. It comes with three modes, and requires no additional programming.
The three modes represent three different levels of horsepower: Level 1 has 20 Horsepower, Level 2 has 30 Horsepower, and Level 3 has 40 Horsepower. Simply switch between the three modes and that is all you need to do to operate this tuner!
Best of all, mode switching can happen even while the vehicle is moving. And even when on the highest levels of horsepower, this tuner will still improve your truck’s fuel economy. Users report that it will increase your average miles per gallon by at least two miles, with some users reporting up to six miles! You really can’t beat a tuner that will rapidly pay for itself in terms of saved fuel costs.
The Edge EZ Performance Chip is a great tuner that anyone will be able to use effectively. The instruction manual could use better pictures, though.
Are Programmers Worth It?
It is true that programmers can become pretty pricey pretty quickly. But they are more than worth the investment you will be making in your vehicle. Check out some of the biggest reasons to invest in a programmer:
If price point is your biggest hang up when it comes to buying a programmer, start thinking of it in term of reduced fuel costs. Any programmer of quality will result in increased miles per gallon for your engine, and after just a couple of gas tanks, most programmers will ultimately end up paying for themselves.
If you are driving around a truck with a 5.9L Cummins engine, odds are that truck has already seen its best days. But with a programmer, you can wake your truck back up and take it to levels never seen before! Programmers will unleash your truck’s full capabilities and leave it feeling better than brand new.
Programmers do not just enhance a truck’s fuel economy and power, they also just make it run better, plain and simple. And a more efficient truck that is able to tow things more easily and shift more smoothly will be a truck that is not only more fun to drive, but also less likely to break down and need repairs. This is yet another way in which a programmer will ultimately save you money in the long run.
Programmers will be able to take an old, tired 5.9 Cummins engine and make it run like it is better than brand new. And you will be the one to reap the benefits, whether that is increased horsepower, improved miles per gallon, or overall better performance for your truck. What are you waiting for? Go test out one of our recommended programmers for 5.9 Cummins engines today – we promise you will not regret it for a minute.
Related Buyer Guides