As the aftermarket world descends on Las Vegas this week there will be a tidal wave of products revealed at the SEMA Show. However, as the hall is still filling with parts and cars we have word of a ground-breaking product that will warrant serious attention from fans of the Gen 3 Coyote engine in the 2018 F-150 and Mustang. That product is the all-new 3.0-liter Gen 5 supercharger from Whipple.
Yes, you read that right. This is a new, 3.0-liter supercharger that should not be confused with the iterative Gen 3 upgrade that Whipple Superchargers recently unveiled for 2017 and earlier Mustangs. The Gen 5 is an all-new system designed specifically to boost the third-generation Coyote engines found under the hood of the Ford’s latest pickups and pony cars.
“The 2018 Mustang proposed multiple packaging problems,” Whipple Superchargers Vice President Dustin Whipple said. “The first issue was the implementation of the direct-injection system. This took critical space in the valley of the block where we made such tremendous gains on the previous year. At the same time, the hood line dropped, posing a potential issue with hood clearance with the supercharger drive pulley.”
While those obstacles might be daunting to some, the Whipple crew took on the challenge as an opportunity to move its supercharger systems forward rather than taking a step back.
Packaging For Power
We had a few options to deal with the direct-injection system and packaging around it. — Dustin Whipple, Whipple Superchargers
That’s right, rather than limiting the system’s performance to conform to traditional packaging constraints, Whipple did a stranger thing. The company took its traditionally top-mounted blower to the upside down. Because the boost definitely likes it cold, Whipple mounted the new 185-cubic-inch, twin-screw blower in the valley underneath a new larger intercooler.
“With this in mind, we have been developing a new rotor design that is an incredible leap forward in technology, but packaging is difficult in some of the later model vehicles with shorter hood lines,” Dustin explained. “The new rotor design features a 3/4 rotor combo versus our well known 3/5. This fit perfectly above the direct-injection system and allowed for an even bigger intercooler than the last model. The shorter supercharger allows for a massive plenum on the feed side of the supercharger to help maintain incredibly high volumetric efficiency along with a built-in 150mm inlet for maximum power capacity.”
Not only is the packaging different and the blower a bit larger, but the Gen 5 is based on a new 3/4 rotor pack. These larger rotors only have a 33-percent step-up ratio versus the familiar 3/5 rotors and are said to offer a wider, more efficient powerband, which suits the high-revving, modern Coyote engines. The female rotor is also built more robustly, while the male rotor is a little lighter. Combined with lighter gears and shorter rotors, the Gen 5 creates less inertia and its rotors are more securely mounted.
The Gen 5 features all our latest technology. — Dustin Whipple, Whipple Superchargers
To that end the 3/4 rotor pack is said to have reduced bearing and seal surface speed, thus its front and rear bearings can rev up to 30,000 rpm. For race applications optional ceramic bearings are available which reduce temperatures and expand the RPM capacity to 34,000 rpm.
“We found that consumers will consistently exceed manufactured rated RPM ranges, therefore we designed the Gen 5 to have over capacity options from the beginning,” Dustin said.
Speaking of capacity, the Gen 5 3.0-liter blower is available in Stage 1 and Stage 2 configurations for the F-150 and Stage 1, 2, and 3 for the Mustang. Both systems have already shown some impressive results during Whipple’s development testing. On a 2018 Mustang the kit has produced as much as 755 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels while burning 93-octane fuel, while on an F-150 the Gen 5 has produced as much as 650 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
“The F-150 kit uses carry over components — the Gen 3 supercharger and inlet from the previous year — but because packaging was not constrained like the Mustang, we were able to actually package in an even larger intercooler than last year, which was already 33 percent larger than our competitions,” Dustin enthused. “The Gen 3 increased power 30-40 rear-wheel horsepower on the ’15-’17 F-150s with zero changes. Couple that with an even larger intercooler, the direct injection, new cylinder heads, and new cams and you have a very powerful package.”
Of course, all that improved hardware won’t do much without a calibration for the factory powertrain control module. With new wrinkles like dual fuel injection (port and direct) and a 10-speed automatic, calibrating the latest Ford’s can be a challenge, but Whipple is ready with a new flash tuner and companion calibrations for the Gen 5 systems.
In the near future, we can expect to see several projects utilizing the Gen 5 supercharger, but one of the first is sure to be a new 2018 Mustang GT put forth by one of Whipple’s top dealers, Lethal Performance.
“We hooked up with Whipple back in 2005 just as they were just getting the Gen 1 systems into production,” Lethal’s Jared Rosen reflected. “We’ve seen the progression of these systems the entire time since then. That’s almost 13 years of continual improvements and striving to be the best.”
With that kind of history, it is no surprise that Team Lethal is excited to see what this new 3.0-liter blower is made of on the dyno, street, and track.
“It’s really awesome to see what Whipple has done over the last decade with its kits. The company has evolved making its kits the most well-thought-out, best-fitting, and best-performing kits on the market,” Jared said. “Seeing Whipple’s changes to the 2018 kit is just another example of its efforts to offer not only the best systems, but also to stay ahead of the competition. While most manufacturers will simply adapt current ’15-’17 to the 2018 with minimal changes, Whipple designed a completely new setup while also launching its Gen 5 rotor design at the same time. Whipple is gonna crush it and we’re very excited to be a part of it.”
And the part they will play is moving straight from bolt-on upgrades right into a Gen 5 install on brand-new Mustang, so stay tuned.
“We’ll be installing one of these kits on our 2018 GT with a 10-speed auto, which is currently being built,” Jared said. “As with all of our cars Whipple is always a big part of our game plan. We’ll start off with the kit just how it was designed using the complete system with the Whipple calibration. We know how well these calibrations did on the ’11-’17 models and are confident the 2018 cal will be just as good or better.”
Dustin says that Whipple’s calibrations have far greater access to the programming in the PCM than most aftermarket solutions. As such, he says the Whipple cals delivered with that new Tomahawk tool can deliver the maximum performance (making use of high-flow port injectors and the factory direct injectors) while not sacrificing driveability.
“Our calibration is using actual supercharger logic, meaning part of its predictive strategy is based on the supercharger,” he explained. “Therefore it doesn’t fight the supercharger, it works with it and uses tables differently than a naturally aspirated engine. This is how we get close to OEM drivability and reliability. There are simply no guesses or workarounds. If we need to add a sensor, a new table or custom code to work with the supercharger, we add it.”
The Stage 1 systems are currently undergoing testing for California Air Resource Board approval for an executive order and the Stage 1 Mustang system will feature a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty.
For more on these exciting new supercharger systems, visit the Whipple Superchargers’ site here.