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Old 04-28-2014, 11:34 AM
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Exclamation Buyer Beware: Supercharger

I just wanted to post a consumer report type warning to any 2012 to current JK owners considering the purchase of a Magnuson Supercharger. This primarily pertains to automatic transmission models and cannot verify manual issues. I am not here to bash the manufacturer or promote another alternative. I just wanted to share my personal experience with this system and pass along the information to the Jeep community.

Some quick facts: Installed on a 2012 JKU sport w/auto. 4.88 gears, 37" tires and 14K miles.

I purchased one of this unit a couple months ago and am completely disappointed with the overall drivability. This system has 2 primary issues. The first one is the inherent "surging". This surging feels like a misfire or hesitation. At wide open throttle this is not an issue but regular commuting at various RPM ranges and gears it is very noticeable. There was one update that I received that addressed this and it did improve but still very much there. I suspect in time this may be something that eventually will get dialed in. They will not automatically send you updates. You will have to check in periodically and ask.

The second and most notable issue / complaint about the Magnacharger is the automatic transmission shifting points or lack thereof. Here is the problem. Under normal driving conditions the transmission will hold the current gear and does not want to upshift at any type of normal range. here is an example. If you were to take off from a dead stop and apply approximately 20 to 40% throttle and hold it there, hear is what you can expect. 1st to 2nd gear is usually (I emphasize usually) pretty normal. 2nd to 3rd will shift around 3000 to 3400 RPM's. 3rd to 4th would be somewhere around 3800 to 4500 RPM's and you can all but forget about 5th. From 4th to 5th it is hold around 5000 RPM's and in many cases not shift at all until you completely take your foot off of the throttle. This shifting combined with the surging makes for a pretty un-pleasurable experience to say the least. I hate driving in fact.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of a fix. I contacted Magnuson to express my problems only to find out they were well aware of it. I was confused as to why this system would have been released knowing of this? The response was "there is no way we could have tested every Jeep configuration". This is true (and not expected) but they went on to say it only seems to affect "lifted Jeeps with larger tires and / or gear changes" (that's probably only 95% of Jeep owners that would be willing to invest in a supercharger but lets give him the benefit of the doubt) He went on to say "we have also seen this in Jeeps that have not had tire and / or gear changes and is not a Magnuson specific issue". Well okay then this must be a Chrysler issue, I am sorry for bothering you with my nonsense. Oh wait.....here are a few FACTS taken directly from my e-mail to them

1. Purchased Jeep at 7K miles bone stock with no transmission or any other issues.

2. Installed lift, tires, gears, recalibrated etc. at 10K miles and zero issues with transmission or anything else on or off-road.

3. Installed Magnuson Supercharger at 14K miles and now have both issues mentioned above.

Magnuson then went on to point the finger at Diablo because they have not decoded the transmission parameters. Wait....You guys chose this tuner for your system knowing they have not decoded the tranny. How is that a Diablo problem? Anyway the fact is, it is my problem now.

Conclusion: There is no current fix or any type of timeframe projected. This is from both Magnuson and Diablo. Is there something else I would have spent 6k plus on? If you own an automatic 3.6L Wrangler I would proceed with extreme caution. In truth there is no F...ing way I would by this system.

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Old 04-28-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
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I understand you've spent money and been burned. That really stinks! But can you at least reset your computer to stock so you enjoy driving your jeep again? If you can't, that would REALLY stink!

Hopefully updates will come sooner than you anticipate. Good luck!

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Old 04-28-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
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Do you have an auto locker in the rear?
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:52 PM   #4
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Sounds like you can ether pay for a local tuner who can work with jeeps or figure out the problem yourself. IMO I wouldn't even FI a engine without getting a solid tune from myself with the right equipment or from a pro shop. I'd assume the hardware with the supercharger is fine it just needs to be tuned right.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention. People can make their own decisions about whether to purchase from a particular aftermarket entity, but I would have a very hard time buying a Magnuson or Diablo product after reading this. If someone from either of those two companies is reading this, they should know that there are probably many, many other people reading this that feel the same way and won't bother to post anything.
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:10 PM   #6
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I was on the cutting edge of 03 cobra tuning way back then and ran into nothing but problem after problem. It was probably 4 years and melted pistons to get everything ironed out and running flawlessly. What you are running into is pretty common. It takes months and sometimes years for the tuners to learn all the ins and outs of the various PCM's and until they do you are at their mercy.

As mentioned, I would try and find a local tuner very familiar with JK's who has a dyno.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:02 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I may look into a local shop for options. The main problem seems to be the trasmission mapping not the engine tune. The two are not talking to each other at the moment. According to Magnuson and Diablo decoding the transmission is a long and tedious process. That I can understand. I am frustrated because I was unaware of this at the time of purchase / install. Now it's already done and it leaves me with very few options not to mention the expense and time frame. I live in Michigan where our Jeepin season is somewhat short. We leave our Jeep at our summer place for 5 months just outside of the dunes where we primarily wheel.

To answer a couple questions.
1. No auto locker in rear. Curious as to why?
2. You cannot reset the the computer back to stock because it will not run with the supercharger installed.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:17 PM   #8
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well thats a stinker...
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:19 PM   #9
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Im sure this is addressed with the Diablo tuner but just noticed this.

"For Jeeps with larger tires than stock or non-stock gearing, you will need an AEV Procal to adjust the tune "

https://www.magnacharger.com/p-126-j...ercharger.aspx
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:51 PM
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Im sure this is addressed with the Diablo tuner but just noticed this. "For Jeeps with larger tires than stock or non-stock gearing, you will need an AEV Procal to adjust the tune " https://www.magnacharger.com/p-126-j...ercharger.aspx
Magnusen told me originally that I could not use the Diablo tuner to make tire / gear changes even though the tuner allows for this. My calibration was already done prior to the install and part of the original file I sent to Magnuson so they could then send me their mapping for the charger. They did mention the ProCal on the front end but after seeing my file said it was good and not necessary.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:01 PM   #11
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Just out of curiosity, do you still get the surging if you operate the tranny in manual mode? That is obviously going to eliminate the erratic shift points, but takes away from the whole idea of having an auto trans.
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:36 AM
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Just out of curiosity, do you still get the surging if you operate the tranny in manual mode? That is obviously going to eliminate the erratic shift points, but takes away from the whole idea of having an auto trans.
The surging is still there in manual mode but it does make the shifting better to a degree. The problem with the "manual mode" on these Jeeps is it's only a partial manual. The computer still overrides your input based on throttle position. For example if you are a little heavier in the pedal and up shift at 3500 rpm's it will still hold the gear until the computer decides to up shift. This is something I noticed right after I bought the Jeep and prior to any mods. I felt because of the computer doing what it wants to do anyway it renders the manual mode pretty worthless in my opinion. If I had known this I probably would have done with a manual from the beginning as I wouldn't be experiencing half the problems I am having.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:20 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear, of all the superchargers out there for the JK I'd want the Magnuson.

I've read similar gripes with other setups, so you're not alone. The ECM on these Jeeps must really be a bitch to re-program properly.....
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:41 AM   #14
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nail in the coffin for me planning any FI on my JK for at least another year to see if any of these manufacturers can get the tuning right. While Diablo is what most of them use it sounds like Diablo is the source of some or a lot of the issue and unfortunately as has been said it may not even be there fault but that the system is so guarded by Chrysler.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:35 PM   #15
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nail in the coffin for me planning any FI on my JK for at least another year to see if any of these manufacturers can get the tuning right. While Diablo is what most of them use it sounds like Diablo is the source of some or a lot of the issue and unfortunately as has been said it may not even be there fault but that the system is so guarded by Chrysler.
I don't understand why you would even rely on someone who is providing the hardware to also have a generic tune that would work for every JK. You should have the mindset when buying a FI kit that you would need it tuned in a shop (not from sending and downloading new tunes on the web) to get it working perfect. I'm sure if you went to their shop it would be a lot different but doing a tune over the web just sounds a bit risky for a new jeep.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:52 PM   #16
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I don't understand why you would even rely on someone who is providing the hardware to also have a generic tune that would work for every JK. You should have the mindset when buying a FI kit that you would need it tuned in a shop (not from sending and downloading new tunes on the web) to get it working perfect. I'm sure if you went to their shop it would be a lot different but doing a tune over the web just sounds a bit risky for a new jeep.
"I" wouldn't rely on a canned tune. I don't think anyone has the ECU and transmission control unit hacked completely yet regardless. I would do as should be done. Buy FI, run canned tune from my house to a competent tuner and get both dyne and road tuned. At this point it won't matter as there are not very many tuners in my area of the east coast along with nobody having the ability to custom tune a Jeep anyway. Shift points wouldn't change at a shop or in the mail.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:59 PM   #17
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Shift points wouldn't change at a shop or in the mail.
If you getting an auto FIed and tuned. Changing shift points should be part of the tuning process.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:44 PM   #18
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If you getting an auto FIed and tuned. Changing shift points should be part of the tuning process.
You cannot change the shift point on the nag1 yet the lx "charger/challenger" guy have some work around but nothing great.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #19
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You cannot change the shift point on the nag1 yet the lx "charger/challenger" guy have some work around but nothing great.
Well i'm not sure it could be done but you would think that would be one of the first things you would attempt to figure out before you release a kit with a bundled tune for a auto.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:54 PM   #20
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Well i'm not sure it could be done but you would think that would be one of the first things you would attempt to figure out before you release a kit with a bundled tune for a auto.
They have supercharging lx cars for years without cracking the tcm I wouldn't hold my breath and at the end of the day its not mandatory for a proper tune. Its just going to take time and the early adoptors are the testers.
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Old 04-29-2014, 05:20 PM   #21
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College bud of mine is a BSME with years in the automotive instrumentation field. He worked with all of the big three and knows a thing or three about mucking about with those little black boxen under the hood. If I decided to play around with performance tuning the engine I figure I could do worse than foot a round-trip-ticket, decent lodgings and board for the time, expense and trouble he could save me. He's done some amazing work on a WS6 Pontiac Trans Am (which is miles from stock, now.)

Don't skimp on your tuner. The days of slapping a Holly 4-barrel and Isky cam under the hood are long gone.

Spec it. Then build it.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:53 PM
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They have supercharging lx cars for years without cracking the tcm I wouldn't hold my breath and at the end of the day its not mandatory for a proper tune. Its just going to take time and the early adoptors are the testers.
I agree with the early adopters being the testers. I guess that is the risk with any new system. I banked a lot on Magnusons knowledge, experience, and reputation. I didn't go into this expecting things to be flawless. However considering this system is pretty mild at 6lbs of boost and a far cry from radical, I expected it to be far more refined. Actually I will settle for mediocre at this point. It honestly drives like shit. But I'm hopeful and will look for a shop locally that may be able to tune it. If anybody knows of an experienced shop in Michigan or the Chicago area let me know.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the technical / electronic aspects of newer vehicles. Like someone said, it ain't like bolting on a 4 barrel in garage, making a few adjustments with the screwdriver, and rolling it.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:02 PM   #23
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I agree with the early adopters being the testers. I guess that is the risk with any new system. I banked a lot on Magnusons knowledge, experience, and reputation. I didn't go into this expecting things to be flawless. However considering this system is pretty mild at 6lbs of boost and a far cry from radical, I expected it to be far more refined. Actually I will settle for mediocre at this point. It honestly drives like shit. But I'm hopeful and will look for a shop locally that may be able to tune it. If anybody knows of an experienced shop in Michigan or the Chicago area let me know.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the technical / electronic aspects of newer vehicles. Like someone said, it ain't like bolting on a 4 barrel in garage, making a few adjustments with the screwdriver, and rolling it.
I would contact Diablo and see if they have any recommendations of competent tuners in your area.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:57 PM   #24
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I agree with the early adopters being the testers. I guess that is the risk with any new system. I banked a lot on Magnusons knowledge, experience, and reputation. I didn't go into this expecting things to be flawless. However considering this system is pretty mild at 6lbs of boost and a far cry from radical, I expected it to be far more refined. Actually I will settle for mediocre at this point. It honestly drives like shit. But I'm hopeful and will look for a shop locally that may be able to tune it. If anybody knows of an experienced shop in Michigan or the Chicago area let me know.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all the technical / electronic aspects of newer vehicles. Like someone said, it ain't like bolting on a 4 barrel in garage, making a few adjustments with the screwdriver, and rolling it.
There is a shop here in Traverse called lovefab owned by Cody Loveland he has an awesome rep for building boosted engines. In fact he just patented a custom engine. He has built twin turbo trans ams pushing over 800 hp, boosted Silverados making around 500 and diesel trucks. He does a lot of tuning with EFI live, which "I" don't know if its available for the jk.
I would give Cody a call tell him your issues and see if he can sort ya out. Oh and he has a dyno too. Not gonna lie he charges pretty big bucks but obviously manages to bring rigs in still.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:18 AM   #25
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I had a Magnuson on my 05 GTO and your frustrations bring back bad memories. The Maggie was not the problem, but I'd never have another Diablosport tuner even if you gave it to me. My car finally ran decent after headaches and multiple canned tunes. Once I got a custom dyno tune it was flawless and I was completely satisfied. I don't know who can do a custom dyno tune for you, but I'd highly recommend it if you can find a tuner. I would buy another Magnuson SC in a heartbeat, but only if I knew a tuner who could tune it properly.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:42 AM   #26
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I had a Magnuson on my 05 GTO and your frustrations bring back bad memories. The Maggie was not the problem, but I'd never have another Diablosport tuner even if you gave it to me. My car finally ran decent after headaches and multiple canned tunes. Once I got a custom dyno tune it was flawless and I was completely satisfied. I don't know who can do a custom dyno tune for you, but I'd highly recommend it if you can find a tuner. I would buy another Magnuson SC in a heartbeat, but only if I knew a tuner whoi could tune it properly.
I find it odd that you blame Diablosport when magnuson wrote the tune? Diablo tuner is simply a tool yes it comes with tunes for stock motors but a supercharged tune would be written by the manufacturer of the supercharger.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:31 PM   #27
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Tuning issues aside, forced induction is generally not a good 'bolt-on' addition for stock open-deck engines not specifically designed for that type of application (ie-Pentastar). Serious mechanical problems can & usually do develop.

An Internet search of 'open-deck engine+forced induction' will yield a trove of information supporting this statement.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:56 PM   #28
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An Internet search of 'open-deck engine+forced induction' will yield a trove of information supporting this statement.
I searched as you suggested and found various references to the generalizations:

- Open deck is easier to manufacture, lighter, allows for more even cooling of the cylinder, but is not as strong as closed deck.

- Closed deck is stronger, but is heavier, harder to manufacture, and because of less even cooling at the top of the cylinders, the cylinders can warp under high heat more easily than open deck.



"stronger" and "weaker" are relative generalizations, but does not mean that an open deck cannot be strong enough for mild boost levels.



I found specific examples, thanks to your suggested search term:

- A post from 2003 mentions that the "new" Subaru WRX STi (14+ psi boost stock) has an open deck design.

- A book about building performance Nissans (1991-2006) describes one of the Nissan engines as being open deck, and says that it can't withstand boost over 14psi, or extending the rev limit much higher than stock.



And those are examples of 10+ year old engines. The pentastar, A new engine design that was designed with future turbocharging in mind using the same basic design, is probably equally capable of handling boost pressures in the 14psi or less range.

In fact, according to pentastars.com, "A turbocharger could be added without changing the deck machining"


So thanks for pointing me to info that helps show that the Pentastar is most likely just fine with the low levels of boost produced by these supercharger and turbo kits on the market
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:41 PM
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Until now I hadn't ever heard the term open or closed deck blocks. I read up on it and found it interesting. I am by no means a guru when it comes to engines or design. Prior to installing a FI kit I spoke with several friends (who are mechanics and own shops) about the application and the Pentastar engine. All said that they were not the least bit concerned with such a low psi boost. One even suggested a NOS dry kit (50 to 75HP) for low RPM range until the charger gets me to the sweet spot. And of course for the hell of it too. I primarilywheel in the dunes and I cannot think of a worse environment for robbing horsepower. I was looking for a way to gain a signifant increase in torque without doing a Hemi swap. An FI in my opinion is the only way to do it. All the other bolts ons, exhaust, tuners, etc just can't produce the increase that makes any noticable difference in the environment I'm running in. I've tried all that with my previous Jeep and just cut to the chase on this build.

I really appreciate the info and found it interesting. At this point I will keep hunting for a tuning option for my current issues unless Magnuson beats me to it (I hope they do).
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:43 PM   #30
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I searched as you suggested and found various references to the generalizations:

- Open deck is easier to manufacture, lighter, allows for more even cooling of the cylinder, but is not as strong as closed deck.

- Closed deck is stronger, but is heavier, harder to manufacture, and because of less even cooling at the top of the cylinders, the cylinders can warp under high heat more easily than open deck.



"stronger" and "weaker" are relative generalizations, but does not mean that an open deck cannot be strong enough for mild boost levels.



I found specific examples, thanks to your suggested search term:

- A post from 2003 mentions that the "new" Subaru WRX STi (14+ psi boost stock) has an open deck design.

- A book about building performance Nissans (1991-2006) describes one of the Nissan engines as being open deck, and says that it can't withstand boost over 14psi, or extending the rev limit much higher than stock.



And those are examples of 10+ year old engines. The pentastar, A new engine design that was designed with future turbocharging in mind using the same basic design, is probably equally capable of handling boost pressures in the 14psi or less range.

In fact, according to pentastars.com, "A turbocharger could be added without changing the deck machining"


So thanks for pointing me to info that helps show that the Pentastar is most likely just fine with the low levels of boost produced by these supercharger and turbo kits on the market
The entire paragraphs read;

"The open deck makes manufacturing cheaper, at the cost of upper cylinder support; there have been numerous open deck engines in Chrysler’s history, including the aluminum slant six and the current four-cylinders. A turbocharger could be added without changing the deck machining, using special O-ringed head gaskets or other methods." - from pentastars.com (the 'other methods' mention would most likely be a type of 'block guard' installed during manufacture, or something similar)

"A twin turbo and single-turbocharger version were originally planned for introduction by 2014; both would be based on the smallest size (3.0 liters) and might be slated for limited-production models (e.g. a new Viper based on a Maserati or an SRT mid-sized car). The twin-turbo version was projected for a whopping 420 horsepower while the single-turbo was set for 370 hp; developed by Maserati and Ferrari, the 3.0 twin turbo ended up at 404 horsepower. The twin turbo uses different heads and internal parts, with modified blocks, but shares the same basic design; and the blocks are sourced from Chrysler." - from pentastars.com

The above statements from Pentastar Engines: Overview and Technical Details, the website mentioned, clearly indicate that engine modifications are required (with no 3.6L 'charged engine' even discussed)
Also note the following statement at the bottom of the webpage "Pentastars.com is not part of or associated with Chrysler Group".
While the information provided by this site is helpful to some degree, it is certainly not totally complete & therefore not totally accurate.

UselessPickles, in the future would you kindly substantiate your claims/position with facts/references that are complete in context please.

I can find NO credible information from Chrysler, or any other reliable mechanical/engineering source, to support the following claims stated in the quote above;
"the Pentastar is most likely just fine with the low levels of boost produced by these supercharger and turbo kits on the market"
or
"The pentastar, A new engine design that was designed with future turbocharging in mind using the same basic design, is probably equally capable of handling boost pressures in the 14psi or less range."

The 3.6L Pentastar, as manufactured presently, is not designed/capable of performing reliably throughout it's expected lifetime using 'bolt-on' forced induction systems. That is simply a mechanical fact of this particular open-deck design (again, as currently produced).

Those who wish to learn more about forced induction would be wise to read 'Supercharging Performance Handbook-Jeff Hartman' which shows up listed near the top using the search terms I suggested earlier.

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