Well, this is going to be tough...
Many of you have seen my '14, many have seen the Livernois Whipple build, many have asked for updates, some have seen my FS thread for the Whipple, but no one knows the whole story. So, here goes.
Where to even start…
The Jeep was awesome. Great vehicle, great DD, fun to drive. I always wanted a little more though… I kept my eye on the FI path since day 1, but really never knew that I’d take it. I did a lot of research via this forum, the 'other' one and other SRT platform boards over the past year. From that research I was close, very close to getting a RIPP kit. There are a lot of guys out there with the kit and are happy with it, there are positive testimonials everywhere and I've yet to see a complaint.
But, I hesitated. I hesitated because I have been a fan of the PD style over the centrifugal and there was news of an upcoming kit from Whipple. Their kit came out…interesting…but it was a tuner kit IMO. I have been down the path of tuning before and didn’t want to do it myself this time. Whipple kit is pushing 8+ lbs of boost, that is scary with the compression of these motors.
I was always concerned about boosting the 6.4 as I have seen plenty of the 2wd car guys have issues…burned pistons, etc.
Livernois posts that they have been working on their version of the kit - AWESOME. They have a good reputation so I started asking questions of them and their experience with the kit, boosting these motors, tuning, climate, heat. I was assured that their tuning was solid. They reiterated what they had stated in their threads - they believe that tuning was the root of all issues they had seen from other shops. They have worked through them and believe in their product.
Via PM and email, I asked a lot of questions about tuning with Livernois - logging, updates, climate, Texas heat, DD ability, ECO mode. Was I going to need to data log and go back and forth? The answer was that no logging or back and forth would be necessary. I asked how that would be done if things didn't seem right and was told that if I wanted to do that, I would have to buy another company's tuner to capture data and work with them - their handheld didn't do that. In that conversation I was told it wasn't needed though because 'they tune like OEM.' They were confident in their product and methods and I bought their pitch.
Screw the extended warranty I bought, I wanted more power. I LOVED the Jeep, but always wanted a bit more out of it. I really want them to make a Hellcat version, but I can have it now, I can afford it, and Livernois earned my trust.
Time to install - there is a thread on this, but I left some stuff out.
a. Install directions are Whipple's. They are for a 2012-13. There are differences for the '14 that don't line up. No biggie, I believe that I was the first to order and receive the self-install kit from Livernois and took it as part of the process.
b. Livernois changes some things - different injectors, different CAI, different BAP, different pulley to LOWER the boost. No instructions on their other parts, but I was able to work that out with them via email and phone conversations - it just cost me some frustration and an extra day on the install. Livernois did get their installer to throw together some pictures on their BAP setup, and that helped.
c. An extra word on the injectors - Livernois provides Injector Dynamics 850s rather than the Seimens Deka injectors that Whipple includes with their kit. They didn't fit. Plain and simple, they fit in the fuel rail but didn't fit in the manifold. Not a chance they would go in. I got around this by removing the lower O-rings from the ID850s and replacing them with the upper O-rings from the stock injectors. This allowed them to 'snap in' as expected. I was concerned that I'd have to do something else once everything was buttoned up because I fully expected them to leak, but this configuration was solid. No leaks, good to go. I discussed this with Livernois but nothing really came out of it. I had figured out a workaround, so that was that I suppose.
It's alive. You guys have seen my build thread. Exciting!
2 days later, shredded a belt… WTF! Luckily, I was <2 blocks from the house. Ok, FI, shit happens, get another $50 belt at the local auto parts house. The original belt was really tight and I had to adjust things to the absolute minimum distance. Spoke with Livernois about this, they stated they hadn't had any issues and it is a good idea to have extra belts. Sigh, not very comforting for a daily driver...
Same thing happened with the replacement. The tensioner was pinned all the way open with the belt on… <2 days later, it shredded as well. I heard it coming apart this time and got to the parts house before it came completely apart (2 of the 6 ribs gone here):
This isn't going to cut it. I got on Amazon and ordered a few more belts - 2 the same size and 2 the next length.
Let's step back and talk about driving. Normal driving was great. Lots and lots of fun and smiles. However, leaving from a dead stop was interesting though. In Auto, hitting full throttle was a no-no. It bucked and acted strange - it really felt like my Camaro did when the traction control took over and yanked throttle/timing out of it. Traction control, torque management, whatever it was just wasn't smooth. Livernois attributed this to tire spin and I have to agree somewhat, although I couldn't hear/feel the tires spinning. In Sport mode, this sensation went away 100%.
Never used LC. Never brake boosted off the line either. Just rolling into the throttle and she'd straight up scoot. 3.5 all the time. 3.9 with 4 passengers.
Ok, back to the story, shredded another belt. Livernois suggested that I get an alignment tool of some sort so I found one on Amazon. Unexpected cost, but let's figure out WTF is going on. Ribbed pulley on the supplied bracket is 1/8" off - full rib.
No wonder shit is coming apart. I got things lined up with a 10c fender washer to push the pulley out a bit. Passed that information over to Livernois and they go back to Whipple. Word comes from Whipple through Livernois that there are 2 sets of spacers for the pulley bracket and they would send me the correct one.
Yup, that is the 'bad' one and the 'correct' spacer. Yay - let's keep the 10c washer in there to try to keep belts together.
During the time with all of the belt issues, I kept getting cylinder 1 misfire SES lights. Livernois stated this was due to the winter fuel blends and they had seen this on some other vehicles. Next step was to update the tune… What a PITA. It took a few cycles back and forth to get the correct tune on their system for my unit to download. Once that was on, it was also recommended to go dyno the Jeep with a wideband and try to see where it was at. Another unexpected cost, but this path always has those in the way it seems.
Dyno day. We never went over 5k RPMs. We were told that we were aiming for .75 lambda. As the RPMs came up under load, we were seeing .82 and climbing. (11.0 expected vs 12.0 AFR for those that prefer this scale).
New tune again to add more fuel. Went smoothly this time getting the new tune. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to dyno again.
Jan 5th. I was coming home from dinner… Word for word my email to Livernois that night:
a. Driving home, 38* outside. I check opened up the SRT pages to check out temps out of curiosity. Intake was 80-85*, Coolant was 165*. I was in Sport mode and thought about running a 0-60 to see if I could better the 3.5 but traffic was around and I figured there wasn’t much point. So, I had a quick idea that maybe I’d check the Auto/no TC and see how that acted. I turned the radio off and rolled the windows so I could hear everything better, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling it. Boy, I should have listened and just cruised on home… In any case, I decided not to switch the mode, try a launch to 60, etc. – I just rolled into the throttle from a stop sign. Rolled in good, but didn’t stab it, good hard acceleration up to 70-80% throttle, 1-2 shift at ~5k RPMs and BOOM.
Time to get a tow truck...
Back at the house.
I spoke to Livernois about my options at this point, but was pretty much shell-shocked about everything. Original estimate came back from Livernois and I was even more shocked. My wife and I were about to go on vacation, so I tried my best to put this out of my mind and enjoy the slopes. (Didn't work).
Many discussions have occurred, between myself and Livernois, between friends, with other shops. Many more between my awesomely understanding wife and myself. I feel bad about keeping the JG community out of this, but I felt it was right at the time while trying to figure this out.
End result - the s/c kit is for sale. I also have a set of Lloyds' mats, front and rear with white SRT lettering up for sale. And a BT catch can - red anodized and a clear canister as well.
I've got a factory stock short block that is being installed next week. Once that is done the SRT will be sold (yea, it's for sale as well). I hate to do it, as I have absolutely LOVED this Jeep. I wanted one the first time I saw the announcement of the 2012 version at the NAIAS. I waited for 2 years to get the ZF 8 speed and Uconnect. I ordered on day 1 of the order banks opening for the '14s. I got the first one in Houston (along with another that was delivered to the same dealership).
Some will ask, "Why is it going back to stock?" "Why sell?" I referenced that in the my FS thread for the s/c - my dad and I have a deer lease that I need a 4wd, offroad vehicle, which the Jeep is not. I was already planning to get a truck; the original plan was for a used, beater vehicle to fit that necessity. With the cost of fixing the Jeep, and buying a truck, my wife and I cannot justify the straight up cash expense to do it. Selling the s/c, reverting the Jeep to stock and dumping it makes the most financial sense for us. So, I picked up my new truck Friday. I hate to leave the Jeep community, and I hate that I'm done with the SRT. This was truly the best vehicle that I have ever had, and I have no idea when I'll be able to justify something like it again. But, the new Raptor in the driveway is pretty sweet.
Take heed with your FI endeavors on the 6.4L platform. Put an AFR gauge on it. Dyno it with a wideband before you trust it. Better yet, build the damned bottom end and be safe from the start. I wish I would have.