The EcoBoost market is hot and Whipple’s got a lot of ability as far as the development of new products… — Jared Rosen, Lethal Performance
If we say the name Whipple Superchargers, your thoughts are instantly transported to the sweet sounds and feels of twin-screw boost. Blowers might be its business, but business is good on EcoBoost Fords as well. That’s right, the company is flexing its power-adder expertise on Ford’s gas-direct-injection-turbo machines like the 2017 F-150 Raptor.
“We have been dealing with Whipple since 2005 when they introduced their new blower and we have used them on all of our cars. They are mainly known as a supercharger company, but as we have seen with the industry in general, the platforms are changing,” Jared Rosen, CEO/President of Lethal Performance, said.“The EcoBoost market is hot and Whipple’s got a lot of ability as far as the development of new products like calibrations, and they use intercoolers in their supercharger kits, so why not tap into that?”
Along with the crew at Lethal Performance, we headed to Prodigy Performance in Wellington, Florida, to test the Whipple Raptor upgrades on Team Lethal’s in-house project truck.
We’ve been advancing in air and cooling technology for 30 years and we have a unique relationship with Ford… — Dustin Whipple, Whipple Superchargers
As Jared mentioned, Whipple Superchargers is wisely broadening its horizons to include upgrades for the latest factory turbocharged vehicles as well. Fortunately, all boosted vehicles share some similar traits.
“We’ve been advancing in air and cooling technology for 30 years and we have a unique relationship with Ford and the devoted Ford customer,” Dustin Whipple, Vice President at Whipple Superchargers, explained.
“As some of the customers switch to EcoBoost technology, we were getting a large demand to use our years of experience to continue to offer them products. We felt this was an excellent cross-over opportunity for us to showcase our capacity for making extra power in any given application.”
Lethal Performance upgraded its 2017 F-150 Raptor with both a Whipple Mega Cooler intercooler ($899.99) and cold-air intake system ($379.99).
Can’t Stay Stock
With that in mind, Lethal teamed up with Whipple to enhance its latest project Raptor and we paid a visit to the truck to document the installation of the Whipple upgrades and the testing of those upgrades at Prodigy Performance in Wellington, Florida.
“Our trucks can’t stay stock for long. We like to modify them and add parts to see what they do to show our customers and help the manufacturers test their parts as well,” Jared explained. “It’s no different with this one than it is with any other vehicle. We start from the bottom and add some simple parts.”
Whipple says its Mega Cooler offers 54 percent greater volume and 8 percent more surface area than the stock unit. The company says its testing has shown temperature drops of up to 90 degrees.
Before we arrived the Lethal Raptor had already been upgraded with a BoostMax and PedalMax from JMS Chip & Performance, as well as a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust system.
“EcoBoost vehicles utilize more advanced sensors, and the control system offers a nice range of adjustment for fuel and spark. It can easily compensate for additional boost-pressure via BoostMAX activation, while staying well within the OEM envelope and design parameters of the powertrain and drivetrain,” Brad Grissom, of JMS, told us when we examined these parts. “…The biggest thing is the warranty-friendly approach we use for both BoostMAX and PedalMAX. You can simply remove both products in a matter of minutes, and there is no trace of the product ever being installed.”
Whipple’s air intake system for the Raptor replaces the front half of the factory induction system with a larger composite tube, a powdercoated heat shield that mounts atop the factory airbox, and a Black Series HEX filter featuring a velocity stack.
The BoostMax also features an adjustment knob, so we when we arrived in South Florida we ran baseline testing again with the knob turned to zero. Then we cranked up the boost to document the difference and then began to test the benefits of the Whipple hardware — an upgraded intercooler and a CAD-designed cold air intake.
Whipple Intercooler Features
• 54-percent greater volume then stock intercooler
• Heavy duty bar-plate design
• Offset 14FPI on cold airflow side of intercooler
• Bolt-on performance, no modifications required
• Zero cutting or modifying vehicle
• No other parts needed
When it comes to the factory intercooler, it is designed to work on a totally stock truck. Start turning up the boost and running the truck hard and heatsoak may rob you of that EcoBoost power you were counting on. Likewise, the factory induction is designed to flow enough to support stock boost and horsepower levels.
“The factory induction system is certainly limited by its panel type paper filter, airbox lid and tube. The lid itself allows for tremendous turbulence. The intercooler is certainly not bad, it’s far better than previous models, but it’s a production-based core where OEM’s only target a specified goal versus extra capacity,” Dustin explained. “We were able to get 54 percent more volume while increasing efficiency with a new offset air fin we developed, achieving increased cooling capacity.”
Jonas Cooper, Chief Technology officer at Lethal Performance, starts the installation by removing the factory airbox lid and induction tube. At this point, you will also want to R&R the stock spark plugs and gap them down to .025-inch.
In order to achieve those results, Whipple uses modern development tools, like Computer-Aided Design and Computational Fluid Dynamics to virtually create and test the parts before building them.
“We designed the parts in our CAD program, Pro-E. We then did CFD analysis using Ansys CFX to maximize the intake system and the intercooler design. From there we test-fitted prototype pieces on to a pre-production truck to verify fitment,” he said. “Once the truck was released, we worked with a local customer that had one of the first so we could do the testing and fitment. We worked with our calibration engineers to develop what we feel is OEM type drivability but more aggressive. Once this was all done we worked with CARB to get our EO.”
Next Jonas transfers the factory inlet air temperature sensor to the Whipple inlet tube and slides on the silicone couplers and hose clamps.
So not only are these parts street legal, even in California, but they are also quite effective.
“The temp Delta at peak RPM is over 50 degrees Fahrenheit cooler in real world applications,” Dustin added. “The temp is also more stable on back-to-back runs or aggressive driving. The factory cooler takes far longer to recover from WOT runs, so the Whipple intercooler gives the customer more consistent power.”
Then he slides on the inlet tube and installs the heat shield using the factory airbox lid clamps. Finally, he slides on the Black Series HEX air filter and tightens all the clamps.
“What’s pretty awesome is that only three things have been added to this truck,” Jared enthused. “The PCM hasn’t been flashed. It’s really simple stuff that you can do at home and get gains like that. It’s pretty awesome.”
According to Whipple, the filter in its Raptor induction system flows 132 percent more air than a stock paper filter, which should definitely help feed those turbos.
We noticed a gain with every part we added. It was substantial every time and we were blown away. — Wes Hamilton, Prodigy Performance
As you’ll see on the dyno graphs below, the gains were definitely impressive. They were even enough to earn the respect of Wes Hamilton, President of Prodigy Motorsports, who spends his days boosting Dodges and Jeeps with twin-turbo systems.
“We noticed a gain with every part we added. It was substantial every time and we were blown away. As soon as we raise the boost, unless the computer starts pulling things back, the gains just keep on climbing,” he added. “Where the torque came in early, before 3,000 rpm it made almost 500 lb-ft of torque over and over again. That’s what you are going to notice. Like they say, horsepower sells cars but torque wins races.”
Jonas unbolts the skid plate. Then he unplugs the intercooler fans and removes the bolts retaining the intercooler support. You can then use a jack to support the intercooler while you loosen the clamps and disconnect the inlet and outlet hoses.
“I am very impressed and it’s exactly what we expected,” Dustin added. “What is there not to like; simple, quick, and low-cost power upgrades for one of the most incredible trucks built today. It’s a perfect package.”
For more on the Whipple upgrades you can check out the company’s official site here. Likewise, you can learn more about the JMS gear here. And, naturally, Lethal Performance offers both product lines for sale here.
Looking at the factory intercooler next to the Whipple unit, it’s clear that it offers a lot more volume. The core is a ½-inch thicker than the factory unit, but it still fits in the stock location.
Jonas swaps over all the stock hardware from the factory intercooler to the Whipple unit, including the rubber isolators, bypass valve, and electric fans. With those in place, he slides the new ’cooler into place, connects the factory hoses and bolts up the support. After tightening everything and plugging in the fans, he wraps up things by reinstalling the skidplate.
We started out by baselining the Lethal Raptor with the BoostMax set to zero. In this configuration its only mod was the Magnaflow cat-back exhaust. It put down 377 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels on the Prodigy Performance Dynotech chassis dyno. Turning the BoostMax all the way up tacked on peak gains of 30 horsepower and 54 lb-ft of torque. Adding the Whipple cold air intake added another 8 horsepower and 4 lb-ft of torque at the peak. Installing the intercooler resulted in a peak gain of 4 horsepower but gave up a bit of torque. In total, the BoostMax, Whipple CAI and Whipple intercooler added peaks of 43 horsepower and 43 lb-ft of torque. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the intercooler should help retain a higher average output in the real world by staving off heatsoak.